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IKE ABONYI
Ike's Column Opinion

When Buhari Battled APC Demons

There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circulating, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water

Alan Clark

When somebody is under a hex and tries to come of it, he acts angrily. That was the posture of President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at the extraordinary emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as he read riot acts to his party leaders, sacking the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party and setting up an interim leadership. It was clear to all political watchers that Buhari by that act had overcome the spell on him and like a chief priest had to exorcise  the demons that had bedeviled the party.

Although as a fallout from that action and in an attempt to douse the impact some fallacies were presented to the public as a reaction from the actors in the impasse.

The three most conspicuous characters in the APC drama which climaxed last Thursday, President  Buhari, Asiwaju Ahmad Tinubu and his godson Adams Oshiohmole have in their different reactions struggled in vain to water down the real essence. But who should be surprise, in politics, double speaking and two face appearance are convenient acts that are not recorded as a sin. It could even be taken as smartness and political wizardry. If you are like Oshiohmole you could even call somebody a thief and a brigand in the morning and turn around later in the evening to describe him as a saint and still expect the people to believe and follow because of their gullibility.

President Buhari knows as a fact that he was not on the side of truth when he said that nothing can separate his friendship with Tinubu. The President claimed that the dissolution of the NWC, of the party last week was not intended to undermine Tinubu yet he went ahead to support what Tinubu vehemently opposed and ensured that he was not listed to attend the meeting. With a friend like this who would not want you around or consult with you while discussing with your opponents on issues that concerns you, you need not go far in search a perfidious friend.

It’s now on record that when a very vital decision was to be taken on the future of APC, it’s so called National leaders was missing in action because as was reported the title he holds in the party was not known to law. He is just a laity, a common member of the general congregation. Yet the duo wants the public to see them as inseparable friends.

Yes, Buhari and Tinubu may pass as political associates who can still sleep together even as strange bed fellows if there is synergy in their interests but to describe them as friends after what happened last week amounts to celebrating hypocrisy.

Even Tinubu in his own face saving statement intending to show that he was not bruised while still displaying blood stains all over his body showed further how economical he is with truth by saying that he has not taken a decision on 2023 Presidency.

Instead what is empirical is that Tinubu’s  race for 2023 Presidency began long ago after he amassed such stupendous wealth enough to make him aspire for anything under the sun that money can give. The final decision was indeed taken since 2014 when he switched his support for President Buhari. Every political step he has undertaken ever since 2014 is being determined and guided by 2023, so trying to give picture of reluctance in a face saving reaction to a deliberate humiliation amounts to being clever by half.

The other truth which is also being under highlighted is the fact that Oshiohmole from 2018 until he was booted out unceremoniously should not have lasted this far. From inception he had not hidden the fact that he was going to be a bull in China shop. Shortly after resumption he attempted to do the work of the inactive President for him when he started bullying Ministers warning them that he was not going to take the rubbish the President took from them.

Two Ministers, Dr Chris Ngige and Rotimi Amaechi had to adjust their seat and their eye glasses before realizing that instructions they were getting were not coming from the President, the Vice President or even the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, but from a party Chairman that has no place in the government except in advisory capacity.

Oshiohmole carried on like this for two years bullying everybody and sowing and germinating crisis at different points. As a result, he left a-not-too fancy record of leading a ruling political party that gifted opponents four states due to clear avoidable administrative and leadership failure. So Oshiohmole’s sack last week did not come early and although belated remains one of the best political decisions Buhari took in five years.

If therefore by the rating of political pundits Buhari was able to come up with such sound political decision when he self-isolated with certain strategic characters, it presupposes that all along he has been misdirected or quarantined where political protocol mixed him up with the wrong people.

The real reason why Oshiohmole took on Governor Godwin Obaseki blatantly the way he did was simply because he felt the governor had no godfather in the party. He knew rightly that the Governor’s numerous visits to President Buhari at Aso Villa would yield nothing so long as the godfather, the Jagaban is not involved.

Even when the President and the APC Governors agreed with this assertion and pleaded with the godfather to intervene, nothing changed.

If Oshiohmole ever contemplated that when his fate hangs that his own godfather would not be around to unhang it for him, he would have moderated himself and not have been so obsessed in the fight.

There is a lesson to learn here from every divide in being arrogant with power and in being driven inordinately by ambition.

American folk hero and politician, Davy Crockett possibly captured it well when he wrote “It is quite possible that someone is insane and they think they have a chance.

Not insane in the clinical sense, but they may have such a strong political ambition that they blind themselves to reality” When political ambition intoxicates, as we saw in Oshiohmole, it blurs vision and reason is given minimal position. When that happens nothing matters, not even friendship until the goal is achieved.

If therefore it seems true as stressed in certain quarters that all politicians are scoundrel you then cannot but agree with this Rwandan writer Bangambiki Habyarimana that “Nothing is sweeter and addictive than power, the unlucky soul this demon possesses, if he is not sacrificed on its altar will sacrifice others himself to get it.”

Irrefutably, Oshiohmole’s character could very well be situated in all the views expressed by highbrows above. Having made a huge success in labour leadership, he got carried away forgetting that in labour unionism one requires just brawn, courage and ability to speak oratorically while in politics brain, scientific thinking and some quality in man management are required.

In August 2018 barely two months after Oshiohmole mounted the throne of the ruling party leadership and was running riot with excitement of the new job, I raised a query prophetically in this column ‘ Is Oshoihmole an undertaker’? In the article I told the story of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe’s joke in the second republic when he was told that Aminu Kano had joined the Presidential race. The great Zik smiled and said. “It is good that Mallam is also in the race the more the merrier, the only problem here is that if perchance he is elected as President he would one day carry placard with his talakawa group against the government forgetting that he is the President and that the bulk stops on his table.”

Zik’s remark is another way of recognizing the area of competence and proficiency of the late Mallam Kano. Zik in that joke was trying to let his audience realize that Mallam’s impact would better be felt where it can be overwhelming? In human resources management it is called area of specialization.

It’s clear from empirical showing that Oshiohmole even after eight years as Governor has not measured up reasonably to be called a successful politician. He clearly was unable to differentiate between Labour unionism and politics. He failed woefully to draw a line between activism and statesmanship and this error in judgement brought him too quickly to early retirement unless perhaps the man he once called a thief and a ruffian and now his saint, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu wins the Edo state gubernatorial race by September 19, 2020, who knows with APC/ INEC electoral abracadabra.

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