Tinubu: The bullet that hit Ikimi
One of the least controversial facts about Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is that he is a successful politician. He has high marks as a politician. And the signature trait that has distinguished him from most politicians is doggedness. Orji Kalu has it. Atiku Abubakar has it. But Tinubu is a master of the art. Those who have worked closely with him will attest to his love for a deliberative process of decision making, a disciplined evaluation of costs and benefits and above all an instinctive feel for the power of strategic restraint. His unique combination of intelligence, toughness and often startling humanity is a wonderful advertisement. Having realized that democracy is the highest civic good, Tinubu has been preaching the ideals of freedom and pluralism. This has been resolutely affirmed by his actions.
So, it is not strange for such a successful man to be an object of vicious attack by the likes of Chief Tom Ikimi. It was Theodore Roosevelt who said it is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again—who spend himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. Asiwaju has fought political battles. He has come a long way and he got scars to should for it. What he endured during the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency is better left to the imagination. All his governor colleagues in the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) were swallowed by the invidious politics of Obasanjo. If he had not fought back, today, Nigeria would have been a one party system. The people Democratic Party (PDP) would have been the only cock crowing in our political space. It blows my mind that some people do not realize how great an accomplishment this is. He has deepened our democratic experience. Nigeria politics is better because of him. He has moved from AD, to AC, to ACN and now APC. This kind of creative transformation is quite profound. Our Political firmament is the better for it.
I have intensely and critically read through the lengthy statement released by Chief Ikimi castigation Asiwaju. I have also read Tinubu reply to Ikimi lengthy letter. It is very easy to find out who is in the right. Truth is simple. Some of the issues raised by Ikimi are petty, trivial and farcical. He was carried away with rage and was amusingly impatient. Some politicians display so much pettiness and hostility that is simply not productive. Throughout the letter, Ikimi prided himself as the enthusiastic ideological engine of the APC. He painted Asiwaju as if he were a man with horns and a tail. Ikimi wrote that œTo further bolster his image it was also frequently said that Tinubu has control of all the votes from the South Western Nigeria which, as has been currently touted, when added to the votes of North western Nigeria would guarantee victory for the APC in the upcoming presidential election. This reckless and arrogant self-aggrandizement paved the way for the imposition of a strange leadership on the APC in July 2013 when the party obtained registration from INEC. Those of us who had worked so hard towards the successful merger and creation of the APC were manipulated out of the scheme of things. In the bizarre struggle to seize control of the party we were even openly accused by the self-proclaimed owners of the party, of wanting to steal their party.
Asiwaju in his reply stated: œIt was clear to practically everyone who had the interest of the party at heart that we simply could not have a man of Tom Ikim antecedents as Chairman of the party. If Ikimi were the Chair of APC the party would have to sleep with both eyes open lest its chairman sell off the party before day break. No matter what anyone may say about me it is unlikely that I can be accused of supporting incompetent or morally light-weight individuals for important political positions. My philosophy is to put the best forward, men and women of competence and integrity, who can stand up to us politicians to challenge us and say no when necessary. Such people are not noisy or able to gain attention by being loud. I believe my role is to project them. Who in their right mind would compare the highly principled Chief Bisi Akande or Chief Oyegun with a Tom Ikimi? Either of these two men is known for their no-nonsense styles, not once in their careers would you hear that they betrayed a cause or were anybody stooge. It is obvious that these men are not driven by the same passion. Politics is who gets what, when or how. Tinubu did not participate in the formation of APC to take a back seat. That is what Ikimi would have wanted. This is pure illusion. There is no man on earth that can work for a person he does not trust. It is like willfully allowing yourself to be buried alive. A transformational leader has to be sure of what he wants happen and extraordinarily strong willed in seeing it happen. Nobody can deny the fact that Asiwaju works hard to make the right tactical decisions and support the right policies and people. He is sound enough to dive beyond the surface. He does not allow appearance to supplant reality. Neither does he allow glittering externalities or cavalier superficiality to subvert the core of genuine probing. That is why he is still on top of his game when most of his colleagues have been dumped in the dust-bin of history. A look at the quality of men he has raised up politically is a mute testimony to his largeness of heart. Even the most retarded imbecile will recognize the fact that he has spent time and resources in nurturing people who overtime can hopefully become important developers of ideas.
A false picture is being painted about Asiwaju in some quarters. I remember meeting him for the first when he was executive governor of Lagos. He was so charming and affable. He made such a powerful mark on my impressionable mind. My journalistic training enabled me to recognized hisleadership potentials. As a member of APC, my prayer is that our party should win the next presidential election and then focus on building a society that would move the powers of a smothering federal government back to the states and local government. Government should be closer to the people and better aware of their real needs and wants. I want my party to be open and beckoning to a majority of our Nigerians because we have better proposals for them and their families™ future. APC wants a society full of opportunities.
The recent rumour about the death of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu was meant to depress him and keep him off balance. Asiwaju needs not be distracted. He should keep his vision rightly focused, his will fully engaged, and his self-discipline intact. He should not allow anything to weaken his morale and distort his judgment. He should realize that a leader engaged in trying to bring about a transformation will find himself living in an environment hostile to his intentions.
By Ikechukwu Orji
Orji is a Media Consultant and Journalist
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