Financial Insurgency As Electoral Ladder
With the approach of the original January 31st, 2023, deadline for wholesale change of currency in Nigeria, the subterranean, intramural battle of wits in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Nigeria gathered ominous momentum last week. The APC is split right through the middle into two factions, namely the Buhari faction led by out-going and statute-bound President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Tinubu faction led by the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
As is his custom when pressurized by the sitting president’s policies and preferences, Tinubu launched a barely concealed broadside against the ‘powers that be’ for trying to sabotage his presidential ambition by changing the currency as well as instigating the intractable fuel scarcity in Nigeria. He ended his umbrage by chanting in his native Yoruba (paraphrased), “You all know my capabilities, very well. Whether there is monetary squeeze or no monetary squeeze, whether there is fuel scarcity or no fuel scarcity, we shall vote, and we shall win!”
Although both he and his aides have since tried to walk back the overwhelming impression that his vituperation was aimed at President Buhari, by asserting that the intended target was the opposition PDP, nobody in Nigeria is deceived. Indeed, a flurry of joisting maneuvers in the Nigerian political ecosystem suggested that a major political battle occurred in the APC last week.
First of all, the Speaker of the rubberstamp House of Representatives, a Tinubu loyalist, threatened to charge the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria for contempt, if he did not appear before the Representatives as soon as possible. Then the Senate in milder terms followed suit by demanding that the cut-off date be deferred for several months. For its part in a bid to assuage frayed nerves, the Presidency assured Nigerians that the currency switch was not targeted at ordinary Nigerians but at “corrupt persons and financiers of terrorism.”
Next Tinubu hurriedly met with the powerful APC Northern Governors bloc. About the same time, the Governor of Kano State a staunch Tinubu backer whose State has the largest population of voters in Nigeria, gruffly advised President Buhari to postpone his scheduled state visit to Kano, since “conditions were not favorable for such a visit.” The implication of this public snub was that the President risked being pelted with stones by Kano citizens smarting from the inauspiciously timed deadline date for the currency switch.
Faced with this overwhelming pressure, the Buhari Maladministration buckled and announced that the deadline date for currency change has been pushed backwards by ten days to February 10, 2023. An elated Governor of Kano State Abdullahi Ganduje, hurriedly flew to visit with Buhari at his private country home in Daura, Katsina State where he told journalists that conditions were “now favorable for President Buhari’s state visit to Kano State.” Even Tinubu was overjoyed, declaring at a townhall session in Benin-City, that “some of our cousins, our wives selling garden eggs, carrots, roasted corn, they need money and they need (the) Naira….even though we didn’t get all that we wanted, we got an extension by a number of days…”
I and I am not a fan of either Buhari or Tinubu. I man condemn in its entirety and with neither equivocation nor reservation, all vote buying, voter bribery, and the subornation of the political process.
I and I recall that when Tinubu allegedly deployed bullion van economics and financial lubrication tactics to seemingly procure electoral victory for Buhari in 2019, nothing was done in terms of holding him accountable. Now that he wants to use the same lubrication tactics for his own electoral benefit, Buhari is targeting corrupt persons by changing Nigeria's currency. You see the double-standards, which is a hallmark of the Buhari Maladministration?
Without prejudice to the need to sanitize the political space which I and I unequivocally endorse, and the concomitant suffering inflicted on common Nigerians due to poor planning and shoddy execution, which I and I whole-heartedly deplore, this is classic Buharism. “Eat and clean your mouth. Use people and dump them.”
The shrewd Tinubu runs the risk of being outsmarted by a shrewder Buhari and go down in History as his useful idiot. Having climbed the electoral ladder, Buhari wants to dismantle it before Tinubu can do the same. By so doing, Tinubu would join the growing list of persons used and dumped by Buhari. It is a list which includes a certain Rotimi Amaechi.
The latter as Minister of Transportation initiated the railway line from Kano to Maradi in La Republique du Niger, whose foundation may be laid by President Buhari during his forthcoming state visit to Kano State. Amaechi did this expecting the Presidency of Nigeria as recompense. That expectation was a mirage. It never materialized. The shell-shocked bredrin overwhelmed by Buhari’s betrayal has since withdrawn prematurely into his shell.
Tinubu once boasted that he is richer than several states in Nigeria. Today he may be able to boast that he is richer than Nigeria itself, given President Buhari’s inept and bankrupting mis-leadership.
If Tinubu's money lubricates the electoral wheels of fortune for him and he wins the Presidency, Buhari and Nigerians will taste pepper, just as the Tinubu family may rapidly become the Kennedys or the Bushes of Nigeria. The same thing goes for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the opposing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP if he wins the presidential contest.
If Tinubu loses without being able to deploy his humongous financial arsenal to buy the Presidency from Nigerians, ex-President Buhari, without propaganda structure to shore up himself, will also taste pepper. Tinubu will savage his reputation once he is shorn of power. Tinubu may be of declining mentality, but his caustic tongue seems largely unaffected.
Should anything untoward happen to his political chances, Tinubu is warming up to spill the beans. His latest release single of curses and woes will drop any time from February 10, 2023. Bank on it dropping, if he is unable because of Buhari’s change of currency to deploy his financial war-chest to procure electoral victory.
That said, I and I urge Nigerians to vote wisely for Peter Obi as the next President, if they want a fresh start away from the criminal political structures and ruthless financial insurgents of the APC and the PDP. The future of Nigeria is at stake. The choice Nigerians make will define how the world judges Nigerians’ national character and integrity or lack thereof. Not to mention either seal or unseal the national fate.
We are watching 👀
Anthony Chuka Konwea, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, MNSE, FNIStructE, MNICE.