*Report exposed Tinubu wanted wife as Deputy Senate President
*Buhari questioned: “Where is your control if Tinubu has VP, NASS, 5 ministers?”
By KEMI KASUMU
“Initially, to be fair to the President, he wanted to have Gbaja as his project not even Tinubu’s project because he said that when Tinubu came to him, he did not even bring up Gbaja story, he was talking about his wife being Deputy Senate President and then, the President said ‘no, it cannot work’. So, when he realized that his wife thing cannot fly, that was when he now threw his weight behind Gbaja. And the President was wholeheartedly for it but because of the pressure coming from the North that Tinubu wants to be President, even Senator Ahmed Lawan is Tinubu’s ally, so they said there are too many Tinubu’s allies: Speaker, Vice President and about five Ministers. “So they asked him, ‘Mr. President, what then do you, as a person, control?’”
The muchmouthed President Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement of Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, may have hit the rocks as stakeholders reportedly realized the candidates are not, of a surety, the choice of the President but of a Lagos politician in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and “strong head” ally of President Buhari is leading light in the latest discovery and who has vowed to ensure the aspiration of the two legislative leadership hopeful do not work out as planned.
According to a Sunday Vanguard report, a dependable source, who craved anonymity, confided that the feeling of imposition of candidates and the politics of 2023 were the developments that mostly jolted the present narrative against godfatherism being championed by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, and outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The source, according to the report, was quick to cite el-Rufai’s recent journey to Lagos where he, at a forum, canvassed the destruction of godfatherism, especially in Lagos politics. el-Rufai, also a widely speculated politically ambitious man with a presidential ambition in 2023, counselled Lagosians on how to defeat godfatherism, boasting of dismantling such in his home state.
He had said: “Godfatherism! This is Lagos. Let me tell you something sir; you know, Kaduna State used to be like that. There were three or four politicians in Kaduna that you could not become anything unless you had them on your side.
“Those were the godfathers of Kaduna politics and you had to carry them along and, you know, the three words, ‘carry them along’, mean paying them regularly.
“But we chose a different path and the long and short of it now is that after this election in 2019, we have retired all of them; we had to.
“Here in Lagos, you have over six million registered voters, only about a million voted (in 2019 general elections); five million did not vote. If I want to run for governor of Lagos, I will start now.
“I will commission a study to know why those five million registered voters did not vote; where do they go on election day? Then I will start visiting them for the next four years. I will try and get just two million of them to come and vote for me; I will defeat any godfather. The key is to go to the people.
“The card reader and the biometric register have given us the tools to connect directly with the people. I assure you if you do that for the next four years, connecting with the people; the tin godfather, you will retire him or her permanently.
“But it is hard work; it requires three to four years of hard work. So, if you want to run in 2023, you should start now.
“With about N2 billion, if you start, you see these guys with black ties, they will give you the N2 billion. Many of the godfathers are either on paper or in the mind of people in politics. They are defeat-able.
“We retired four of them in Kaduna State within a four-year time and they are gone. One of them boasted that he put me in the Government House and he would take me out”.
Similarly, Dogara, while delivering a keynote address at a conference organised by the #NotTooYoungToRun# Movement for young lawmakers elected at both the national and state levels, on Tuesday in Abuja, spoke against godfatherism.
He said: “Unfortunately, the leadership model we have practiced so far is the kind of leadership that produces sycophants who are expected to serve their political godfathers and not the people. Our so-called leaders have mastered the art of political witchcraft so much so that if you are independent-minded, you are automatically disqualified and, if for any reason you are picked, then you have to surrender your soul for them to eat in small bites until you become their worshipper.
“In the midst of this pandemic sycophancy, our so-called godfathers expect us to fit in and not to stand up to be counted or make a difference. We need leaders who will lead us to build a nation and serve others, not godfathers who demand that we worship and serve them rather than serve the people.
“For you, trailblazers who carry the burden and the promises of a generation that must not fail, if you are ever going to get there, it must be on the wings of discipline that produces character. This is because without character, you cannot be men and women of influence and without influence you cannot change anything.
“Character means that you cannot be separated from your word, a quality no godfather in history has ever possessed. Character is not only that your word is your bond but that you are actually what you pretend to be. While godfathers always pretend to be something other than whom they really are, leaders do not. Imagine where we will be as a nation if all these godfathers that litter the political landscape become what or who they pretend to be.
“You must be reminded that true greatness only comes while serving others and not when serving yourself or godfathers. Above all, what will define you as a triumph in this journey is like I have said, discipline because everything that has ever gone down is traceable to indiscipline.
“If you have followed closely the antecedents of the National Assembly, it has often charted its leadership course. A leadership of the legislature that is determined by external interests will never find the convergence to legislate for the people or hold the executive to account. It is in this regard that, as fresh legislators who are youth, you need to demonstrate acute perspicuity that you will define the kind of leadership that will be answerable to you, the representatives of the people and the people you represent, not to some godfathers who live only for themselves”.
Rising in defense of Tinubu over the remarks of el-Rufai, the Publicity Secretary of the Lagos Chapter of APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, reportedly regretted that many have failed to recognize the many sacrifices of Tinubu.
In a statement, Igbokwe said, “He (el-Rufai) was making reference to Asiwaju Tinubu. The person that threw up the question is Muiz Banire, and you know the relationship between Banire and Asiwaju. But Lagos is not Kaduna.
“They want to be like Asiwaju, they want to command respect, they want the world to accept them the way they have accepted Asiwaju, they want to get great followers like Asiwaju BAT, they want to be admired the way people admire Asiwaju, they want the people to love them the way they love Asiwaju, they want to stand tall anywhere they go like Asiwaju, they want to attract attention like Asiwaju, they want to be celebrated and honored like Asiwaju, they want to be worshiped the way Asiwaju’s great followers worship him, they want to be lifted up the way God has lifted Asiwaju up, they want to be noticed like Asiwaju, they want to stand out like Asiwaju and they want to influence decisions at all levels like Asiwaju, etc.
“But in actions and deeds, they are not like Asiwaju. In character and in tolerance, they are not like Asiwaju. In commitment and hard work, they are not like BAT.
“In grace and empathy, they are not like BAT. In temperament and love for humanity, they are not like Asiwaju. They cannot surrender their home to the people the way BAT has been doing. They cannot fight for others the way BAT does.
“They cannot deny themselves freedom for the sake of others the way BAT does. They cannot stand for the ordinary people the way Asiwaju does. They cannot be trusted the way we trust BAT.
“They cannot give the way BAT does. They cannot sacrifice what BAT has sacrificed for humanity for close to 40 years. They cannot live for others the way Asiwaju has done for years. I can go on and on but he who must lead others must first lead himself.”
The Ndume candidacy Sunday Vanguard reportedly said was against the background of the fear of Tinubu that the northern lawmakers are converging to resist the imposition of anyone as Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
The source pointed out that the new development was what also reinforced the feeling in Senator Ali Ndume to renew his campaign for Senate President against the party’s choice of Lawan with an unusual vigour.
“The new narrative against godfatherism by the northern leaders is not unconnected with the House leadership tussle. They are realizing that giving too much power to one person or zone can be very dangerous much more for 2023”, the source said.
“I can tell you that the northern lawmakers are realigning. They are seriously considering someone from the North-Central zone for the House speakership to balance the power allocation. This time, even the South-East is being factored in. Remember that the North-West has produced the President and South-West, the Vice President. APC has zoned the Senate Presidency to the North-East. But why would Ndume up his campaign suddenly? Why would el-Rufai take his counselling to Lagos of all states of the federation? Something is in the offing. I pray for their candidates anyway. But the support for the favorite choices of APC will wane shortly. The game is on”.
As an intervention coming from el-Rufai, the source reportedly said: “Another angle is that el-Rufai group has finally realized that Gbaja is not the project of the President, he is the project of Tinubu and he has tried to mobilize people. They have even started holding some nocturnal meetings that they should forget about Gbaja and do another candidate. They didn’t give a specification as to where but the first thing is to solve Gbaja matter. He is Tinubu and 2023 project. Of course, you know that the South-West is eyeing the presidency.
“The man (el-Rufai) has realized it and that’s why he went to Lagos. Even the members of the camp who initially were spearheading the project have started withdrawing that this thing cannot work. So, it is obvious that the initial support Gbaja was having will not fly. This is what is happening at the moment. This decision was taken just between yesterday and today.
“And el-Rufai has been able to talk to some governors and emirs in the North that they cannot surrender the Federal Government to the whims and caprices of Tinubu and the main people around Buhari are buying this idea as I speak.
“They don’t want to come out and challenge the President’s candidate but you know el-Rufai is a stubborn person. He can do it. And they believe he should continue. In fact, they are asking many of the aspirants to stay in the race so that they can overheat the system to give them the opportunity to say ‘OK, we told you that this thing will not work’, to get legitimacy from the Presidency.
“Initially, to be fair to the President, he wanted to have Gbaja as his project not even Tinubu’s project because he said that when Tinubu came to him, he did not even bring up Gbaja story, he was talking about his wife being Deputy Senate President and then, the President said ‘no, it cannot work’. So, when he realized that his wife thing cannot fly, that was when he now threw his weight behind Gbaja. And the President was wholeheartedly for it but because of the pressure coming from the North that Tinubu wants to be President, even Senator Ahmed Lawan is Tinubu’s ally, so they said there are too many Tinubu’s allies: Speaker, Vice President and about five Ministers. “So they asked him, ‘Mr. President, what then do you, as a person, control?'”
Per adventure this internally ongoing politicking within the ruling party was responsible for the rumoured strained relationship between Buhari and Tinubu, the President did not give a chance as he hosted the APC National Leader to a Ramadan breakfast last Friday.