By Edwin Basauye, Benin City
Round One: What hope is there for Nigerians as Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has finally clinched the All Progressive Congress party ticket? Let’s start from Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the nation’s Vice President who lost heavily at the polls to his erstwhile boss. The road to the convention had thrown up a lot of dirt as PYO was variously described as “ungrateful” for daring to put his hat in the ring against his “boss”. They said he wouldn’t have smelt that position were it not for the benevolence of the Asiwaju who presented him as President Buhari’s running mate in 2015.
They said he ought to have stepped down the moment his “boss” expressed the desire to run for the same office. Truly, our style of politics is dirty, murky and if you like, hateful. That’s why, even after his defeat, supporters of Asiwaju seized the opportunity to bash him further. No thought is given to the fact that PYO is the nation’s number two man! The fact remains that whether through pretense or otherwise, Osinbajo was completely outclassed by his “boss” Asiwaju.
During the voting, unverified reports say, PYO was only able to dole out a paltry $5,000 to delegates, whereas his “boss” (also known as BAT) was dishing out as much as $30,000 to capture the hungry delegates. Now, no one needs to tell Osinbajo that Nigerians have no principles! Some have whispered in silence that Nigerians who had placed their hope on the delegates to do the needful were chasing shadows—that the delegates only went there for themselves –and the dollars!
And how true this turned out to be. Those who monitored the events saw that while the votes were being counted, Osinbajo sat motionless, very calm—not betraying any emotion. He may have been wondering what the heck went wrong and why these so-called delegates were not dazzled by his eloquence and grammaticism, something the Asiwaju lacks. Well, if that is true, BAT made up for it with his deep pocket—no matter how he got it, cash is cash! This appears to be the only language Nigerians understand. And in the full glare of the APC hierarchy, including the President, Buhari, the flag of victory was handed to him. Asiwaju had beaten everyone to it.
And while it was all smiles for Tinubu, the reverse was the case with Osinbajo. Observers say although he tried to put up a smile and clap his hands, the smile was dry, like that of a shack with his face stiff. Ah, this might spell trouble. Anyway, Asiwaju has made it good by visiting him in a show of solidarity—no victor…but vanquished!
Round Two: What hope is there for Asiwaju’s estranged political sons? His billboards displayed ubiquitously around the Federal Capital suggest he is the man to “reset Nigeria”. If this is true, the first step he has to take now that he has visited the vice president is bringing back his political godsons notably the former governor of Lagos State Akinwunmi Ambode. Asiwaju most show political maturity now that he is on the road to achieving his “lifelong ambition”.
He should spare no effort in rallying the young man back to his fold. This is not the time to be vindictive; deepening grudges has never helped anyone. Since his forced departure from office the Epe born politician has never uttered a word against Asiwaju, something most Nigerians are proud off. Come to think of it, the former Lagos State Governor had to shelve his political ambition once it became clear that Asiwaju was running for the highest office of the land. Anyhow, this is the time for truce and let peace reign. After all, apart from his huge qualities, his sterling performance in the past should encourage the new APC flagbearer to embrace him.
Round Three: In assembling his campaign team and eventually a think tank, Asiwaju must be tolerant and assemble the best. The advice here is for him rally experts in their various fields and work for the common good of the country. He should have a spectacular plan in place to rein in not only terrorists, but bandits, kidnappers and all sorts of criminals. Of utmost importance, BAT must strive to put an end to the rampant killings in the churches and mosques nationwide. It is a tough job, and this is why he must assemble only the best hands.
And lastly, will Nigerians get respite from the current hardship? Yes, they have to! Somehow, Asiwaju has to break the cycle of difficulties, and create avenues for reprieve. In his acceptance speech, he did mention that he was going to put the nation back on the manufacturing path. This really sounds fine. We can’t be importing match sticks and brake pads; this is a recipe for disaster.
Then he must ensure that the refineries are back in shape. We should be tired of throwing away huge bills for debt servicing. Above all, nothing would promote him better than to work for the safety of Nigerians– whether in their houses or along the lonely Nigerian highways. Now, as the euphoria of winning the party’s ticket dies down, the real work is about to begin.