Could Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), be that unifier a sundered Nigeria needs? What are his antecedents as regards respect for diversity and sensitivity to inclusion? Well, as governor of Lagos, Tinubu had a diverse cabinet; in fact, he is reputed to be one of the few governors who appointed non-natives into state cabinets at the time – when it was unsexy to do so.
Tinubu showed his expansiveness as governor of Lagos. And over the years, he has shown an aspect of himself as a Nigerian flag-waver. Tinubu cannot be put on trial for religious or ethnic prejudice. He can be accused of any other character errancy, but not of sectarianism, insularity or dogmatism.
I believe Tinubu’s presidency is the south-east’s best chance at re-centring itself in national politics. At the moment, Tinubu is the only candidate from the south who enjoys plural support across the divide, groups, zones and regions. So, it is only logical that consciences and interests in the south are mobilised behind him.
I thought by now the south-east must have learnt from the perils of political naivety. It is imprudent of a group of Igbo elders under ‘’Igbo Elders Consultative Forum’’ to declare publicly that they are not in support of Tinubu’s presidential bid. This was the same path these elders toed in 2015 against Muhammadu Buhari which resulted in the political blackballing of the zone. I am of the opinion that elders should be temperate and circumspect on matters of this tenor.
I suggest, they should be fair and equitable in their support for Peter Obi. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. Scorched-earth politics will only leave the land barren. They could have elected to be neutral or stay aloof. They could have also deployed tact in managing all political interests without publicly showing preference for any.
The south-east must cast its net wide and consider some possible outcomes. The APC and its presidential candidate are options they must explore. Going all head in in politics is injudicious.
We should be wary of repeating the same mistakes of 2015. We must not let our emotions colour our reality. We must not walk starry-eyed into political Siberia. We must not attempt another hara-kiri.
As I said in a previous column, the Labour Party is not a viable vehicle to ride to victory. It is a rustled-up contraption without deep roots across the country. The south-east regaining its place means it must look beyond a solitary party – that is the Labour Party (LP). It must put itself in the thick of things – at the centre — and play realpolitik. To sit at the table, it must wrest itself from the enchantment of the Labour Party and its candidate. We go all in and throw all in but get nothing out.
One Igbo leader who seems to be reading the hieroglyphics of the times right is Orji Uzo Kalu. Kalu is playing realpolitik. He understands the art of the deal. Orji Kalu, despite his reputational flaws, could be the politician that would take the south-east out of political Siberia.
He said in a recent interview: “Presidency is not a regional issue. I asked the political parties to zone the presidency to the south-east. When they didn’t do that, and since the presidency is not a regional issue, I had to withdraw. I have no problem with the Igbo man being president, but we have to do it with other Nigerians. If we don’t do it with other Nigerians, it will not work, no matter how popular you are. It’s the president of Nigeria, not the president of Igbo land. But for now, our presidential candidate is Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu is strategic. He will make his presidency beneficial to the Igbo. The Igbo will be the biggest beneficiaries of Tinubu’s presidency.’’
I agree, Tinubu’s presidency will be of great benefit to the Igbo. Really, it will be a coup de maître if more Igbo leaders join Orji Kalu in his crusade for Tinubu. Who says the south-east and the south-west cannot work in political consonance?
However, it is important that Tinubu begins now to show the prospects of inclusion and of sensitivity to diversity in his disposition, plans and policy paradigms. It is important he emphasises that there will be no perpetuation of exclusivist proclivities which deepen national strife and insecurity.
Tinubu should reach out to the south-east, traditional rulers, political leaders and everyday citizens with intentions and plans of bringing them into one composite fold where all Nigerians can exist under justice, equity, peace and harmony.
It is in the best interest of the south-east to support Tinubu. I believe Tinubu’s presidency will be for all Nigerians.
By Fredrick Nwabufo, Nwabufo aka Mr OneNigeria is a writer and journalist.
Published by TheCable
Ooni’s new wife adds colour to Olojo festival
The new wife of Ooni of Ife, Mariam Ajibola, on Saturday stepped out with her husband, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, for the first since she got married to the royal father on Saturday as the annual Olojo Festival got underway in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Mariam, who attended the event with her husband, and other dignitaries that included; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Osun state Deputy governor, Benedict Alabi, among others, was dressed in all white attire, and was seen speaking with the royal father as different groups paid homage to the Ooni during the ceremony.
The new Yeyeluwa of Ife is attending Olojo, a major cultural celebration in Ile-Ife, during which Ooni will adorn ‘Are crown,’ for the first time as Ooni’s wife.
The new queen was ushered into Ile Oodua Palace in Ile-Ife at 8pm on Tuesday, September 6 by her mother and other members of her family from Kogi and Kwara states and since then, she had not attended any public outing.
84-year-old man rapes 8-yr-old child in Ogun
Operatives of the Ogun State Police Command have arrested one 84-year-old Stephen Jack for allegedly defiling an eight-year-old girl (name withheld).
The state Public Relations Officer, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abeokuta.
Oyeyemi said the octogenarian who resides at Okun Owa area of Ijebu Ode was arrested following a report lodged at Obalende divisional headquarters.
He said the girl’s father had told the police he discovered that his daughter was bleeding from her private part.
According to Oyeyemi, the father said when he asked the little girl why she was bleeding, she informed him that the suspect had sex with her.
Oyeyemi said the DPO Obalende division, Murphy Salami, immediately detailed his detectives to the scene, where the “randy old man” was apprehended.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the old man is a known pedophile in the area,” he said.
Oyeyemi said the victim had been taken to the General Hospital Ijebu Ode for medical treatment.
He quoted the Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, to have directed the transfer of the suspect to State Criminal Investigation Departments for more investigation and possible prosecution.
Keyamo: Why Osinbajo was not included in Tinubu’s campaign council
The campaign council of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, has cleared the air surrounding the absence of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo from the list of patrons.
In a statement released on Saturday by Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of the council, the APC camp said Osinbajo was left out of the lineup to allow him “concentrate on governance of the country and administration of government.”
On Friday, the APC presidential campaign council released a list containing 422 names of its members.
Osinbajo was absent from the list alongside Yakubu Dogara, former speaker of the house of representatives, Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation, and Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former minister of state for education.
The vice-president had contested the APC presidential ticket with Tinubu, and it appeared to have severed the relationship between the duo.
The absence of Osinbajo’s name from the campaign council further fuels the suspicion of an awry turn in their relationship.
Addressing the situation, the campaign team said President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the omission of the vice-president and Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, from the list.
“Our attention has been drawn to some stories making the rounds that there may be something amiss within the family of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the name of our own revered and respected Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, is not included in the list of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council,” the statement read.
“Nothing can be farther from the facts. For the avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is the chairman of the campaign council. As a result, Mr President has SPECIFICALLY directed that the Vice-President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, should be left out of the Campaign Council to concentrate on the governance of the country and administration of government.
“As a responsible party and government, all the key functionaries of government cannot abandon their positions for electioneering campaigns. The APC has the mandate of the Nigerian people to administer the country on their behalf at least till May 29, 2023, and this we intend to do with all sense of responsibility.
“Our candidates and the leadership of the APC have also indicated that the list is not sacrosanct as there may be periodic review of it as circumstances dictate.
“We will not toe the path of those who governed the country in an irresponsible manner before us, and our Party is not in total disarray like those who wish to ‘rescue’ the country but cannot simply manage their own internal affairs.”
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