Editorial: Who Authorized Tinubu to wield undemocratic power in Lagos?


By Samson Adeoye Senior Staff Writer, Ibadan.

The Gordian knot is an Ancient Greek legend of Phrygian Gordian associated with Alexander the Great. It is often used as a metaphor for an intractable, complex or unsolvable problem, a complicated somewhat notorious situation. This aptly describes the terrible situation the people of Lagos have found themselves. It goes without saying that for the past two decades, the people of this coastal enclave have been under the iron grip of the man they fondly call the “Jagaban of Borgu kingdom”. He alone decides who rules, who gets what and who goes out.

And over the years, the man has manipulated the electoral process to his financial advantage, with the somewhat enslaved people seemingly powerless to do anything. This has led some writers to dub him as “prolific”, “majestically creative” and even “possessing a magic wand”. A popular cleric added by referring to the people of Lagos State as “those that sit in the region of darkness”, “captured “or better still “held as prisoners of war”. The Jagaban borgu as he is popularly known has prospered under this camouflage and no one dares challenges his authority.

Under the cover of a strange contraption called the GAC (Governorship Advisory Council), he has succeeded in trapping a constitutionally elected government under his evil arm. The approach to any election year is often used as a dress rehearsal by prospective office seekers to prepare and solicit his “blessings” usually with trepidation. In this manner he has “made” and as they say “unmade so many people—including governors, senators and ministers. That he has made good for himself, no doubt about it; that’s why they call him several names among them “kingmaker” or “asiwaju of Lagos”. They also tag him as a “Lion” obviously for his perceived brutal strength.

Don’t forget an Igbo proverb exist that says “a man prefers to bear the name of an animal especially if the animal is strong like ‘Tiger”, “Lion’ or “Elephant”. Though we have no record of anyone bearing “crocodile” the self-acclaimed godfather of Lagos politics has reigned in such a crude manner foisting a kind of monarchical government on the helpless people of the State. Monarchy by the way is a political system in which supreme authority is vested in the monarch, an individual ruler who functions as head of state. Total sovereignty is vested in the hands of such a person.

It can be fully autocratic varying and can expand across to the executive, judiciary and legislature. In Lagos as of the moment, the Jagaban decides who gets elected in any capacity—and no one dared challenge his authority. Under the democratic system that Nigeria operates, this is constitutionally flawed and an aberration. The political legitimacy and authority derived from any of this process can never be legitimate. It is a surprise that the Jagaban has been allowed to prosper with this undemocratic process. He has used this basically ceremonial gab to confer legality on himself.

And herein lies the paradox. So the question remains: who authorized this man to wield this authority? Is it the All Progressive Congress Party Chairman or the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Because if this is the case, how can our democracy grow? Should anyone in this modern clime be allowed to just sit and “endorse” anyone for any cogent reason? If the president of Nigeria follows the practice to “endorse” a preferred candidate ahead of the 2023 general elections would the nation not be ablaze? What position is Tinubu holding in the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any constitutional arrangement to thrive in this practice?

The authority to endorse or elect a leader should rest on the people—the electorate! The understanding in the past was that Tinubu was allowed to get away with this undemocratic practice because he had the then ruling chairman of the APC comrade Adams Oshiomole in his pocket; so he could swing the tide of election result whichever way he wants it. But now, there is a stern, uncompromising leadership in place. The era of one man deciding the fate of millions of people should be emphatically brought to an end. The Abdullahi Adamu leadership must ensure that this corrupt process is brought to an ignoble end beginning with this forthcoming election.

When President Muhammadu Buhari said he was going to leave a lasting legacy, the Gordian knot in Lagos should be first to be dismantled. Tinubu must not be allowed to fester a monarchy within a democratic process. Comrade Adams Oshiomole played dirty with this trend and got booted out; the late Anenih at a time was dubbed “Mr. Fix it”, but in the process of time, he lost the aura. Since then, a lot of water has crossed the bridge. Now as we approach the last lap of the Buhari Administration, the onus is on him to free Lagosians from this dreadfully corrupt process by enthroning real democracy. Lagosians must wake up and ride the storm.

The people of Kwara did it with their “oto-ge” spirit followed by the Benin people who showed Oshiomole the door. Tinubu is not a spirit; he is a human being who should be subjected under authority—like the rest of Nigerians.