Did Buhari miss Tinubu in Lagos? By Lasisi Olagunju

(Published in the Nigerian Tribune on Monday 29 April, 2019)

The president was in Lagos some days ago but the Asiwaju of Lagos was not available to receive him. We’ve always known that lessons not learnt at home would be forced in from outside, someday. That day is here so soon for the Smart Alecs of the South West after the lovey-dovey romance of the last elections. The president did not attend the birthday colloquium of his best man, Bola Tinubu which was taken to his backyard in Abuja. But he was in coastal Lagos for Akinwumi Ambode’s stellar projects. Buhari flew down to Lagos but did not meet Tinubu, the unchallenged owner of the land. The Leader of Lagos and Friend of the President (FOP) had taken himself out of the country ahead of that visit. But did the president miss him?

It is funny that the dogs are out so soon to give life to the eerie omens of the immediate past. What obsesses you is that which will always dominate your thoughts and talks. Kidnappers and bandits may continue to rule and ruin villages and cities, the power elite won’t stop dreaming big about Abuja and about tomorrow and its spoils. They are already talking about the next elections – even before this year’s are concluded. The Northern flank is slamming its massive iron door against its southern allies forgetting that the one who slaps his mistress immediately after a sizzling bedroom act would soon have another erection.

Alhaji Junaid Mohammed and Babachir Lawal some weeks ago formed an unusual armoured combo. They said the South should forget a shift of power in 2023. I also read old Balarabe Musa blasting the whole South over calls for a restructuring of the Nigerian nation. They were joined this last Saturday by their infantry men, the notorious Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF). These no-nonsense brats appear positioned for a mop-up that will soon follow an almost certain shellacking of the southern ex-concubine. Hear Gambo Gunduju, president of AYF: “The year 2015 is in the past. What about 2019 general elections? What votes did he bring to Buhari? I hope you have the statistics of the votes which Buhari got. Would you say that what Buhari got is what he expected from Lagos?” Again, listen to Abdullah Bodejo, president of Miyetti Allah: “If Tinubu is recognized by the Yoruba people as their leader, why did Buhari score 50 per cent there? Why did he not ask them to give him like even 60 per cent at least? Tinubu has failed and that is the truth. Or are you telling me that Tinubu did anti-party activities by telling the South West to share the votes 50/50 to APC and PDP?” These gentlemen are flogging the wrong horse. In war and in peace, overfed leaders always lose the Yoruba field.

Tinubu’s allies have started playing anti-South 2023 presidency numbers even when the final rites of the 2019 polls are still on. “The South should forget getting the presidency in four years time,” they are saying this daily, almost in a chorus. Buhari’s North is refreshed, renewed, back and bold now even with the ship of state sinking in their hands. The Speakership position of the House of Representatives is no longer even sure for their friends in the South West. The North Central is their choice. They are now preaching justice after roofing their reign with shining sheets of inequality. They’ve invented ingenious arguments with a snide at history: “You can’t have the VP and the Speaker at the same time.” But ‘they’ can have all the arms of the government and head all our security forces at the same time. That is their definition of justice, fairness and national cohesion.

But can you really blame them? Even in the South West, the currency of political engagement is injustice. In the APC Federal Government, Tinubu’s Lagos State has 39 appointees; Ibikunle Amosun’s Ogun State has 43 while Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo states individually have less than five. Today’s south west is the classic case of eight masqueraders ogling six bean cakes. Only the closest to the kitchen of the APC power men gets a full meal.

Now, why would Buhari visit Lagos when Tinubu was out of town? Or why would Tinubu choose to be out of town when Buhari was visiting Lagos? The president has also moved out of the country “on a private visit to London.” When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49BC and entered Roman Italy, he discovered that his ex-ally and now arch-rival, Pompey had tactically moved to Greece. Caesar did not wait for the rival; he went for him and his men. What Caesar had for Pompey and his legions stationed in Spain was pure scorn. He derisively announced that he was “going to Spain to fight an army without a General, and then to the East to fight a General without an army.” His impression of Pompey was that of a General with “no idea of how to win a war.” And both used to be allies. Between them, they levied wars against the senate, bought votes into consulship, set the rabble against nobles, even respected Cicero got exiled for opposing their alliance. They were united by the unstated desire to take Rome out of its prized republican politics. Their ambition was to be the unchallenged Masters of the State.

Buhari’s first term was about winning a second term. And so, he shoved Tinubu’s body in and out of bed -and then, back to bed to get satiated. The deed is done, the second term is here already and it is about winning Nigeria forever for himself and his ‘people’. The imperial president won’t share his loot with anyone and so, last week, he left Nigeria on a private trip with the key of the state in his breast pocket. He did not transmit any letter to the National Assembly on this because he is the sovereign and can rule us from anywhere. There will be fights, rough and tough. These friends will war and will drag stupid us into their coming pig fight – and we will all be sorry for ourselves. We won’t know that the fights we will see around us would be for the politician to possess and pillage the land, not to nourish it. It was so with former friends Caesar and Pompey. Cassius Dio paints the picture so elegantly in his ‘Roman History’: “Because of the insatiable lust for power” by these former allies, “Rome was being compelled to fight both in her own defense and against herself, so that even if victorious, she would be vanquished.” And at the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, Caesar saw the end of Pompey, his former ally. He won and got the whole of Rome as his prize. But did that translate to victory for Rome and its people? The war and its outcome ultimately set the stage for a series of events cascading imperial Rome from republicanism to dictatorship, to a further turmoil, and, finally, to decline and decay.

Third republic Senate President Iyorchia Ayu in an interview in the Sunday Tribune of April 14, 2019 described Bola Tinubu’s current allies in the North as the most reactionary of the Northern conservatives. That sounds very much like the old Kaduna Mafia. This victorious army of the elite don’t take prisoners. They pulverize all who won’t crack- friends and foes. Ayu said Tinubu won’t profit from his investment in this cavernous friendship – his nose will be bloodied. You don’t deal with possessed people as these ones without a Plan B. He and his wisemen were told this before the elections but they were too power-seeking to listen. It does not appear there was any other plan beyond making their bent backs available for a ride to sweet power by the mafia. Hungry, ambitious political allies are demons. We’ve been told by J.D Brown in his Daughter of Eve series that the rules for demon engagement – and slaying- are simple, and they are just three: Never tempt a demon with a promise you can’t keep; never trust a demon; never save a demon’s life. That hungry tiger you saved will come back to hunt you. Caesar did that to Pompey.

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