By Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu
Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s race for the office of the President of the Federal Republic came crashing like a pack of poorly arranged cards, and it actually is, recently, at Chatham House, and before a global audience, in London. This is because what had been packaged for delivery to the world as a ‘class act’ turned out to be a dumb demonstration of his disdainful approach to fulfilling what he had described as his life ambition. On that day in London, Tinubu proved to the world that he was actually chasing the wind and creatively deficient in strategy and tact. He also successfully proved to his Nigerian supporters that he holds them in contempt. Besides, he told the Nigerian media to go burn in the hottest part of hell as despite owning a newspaper, a television, and an FM radio station, he did not find them worthy of his time.
His last appearance on BBC was more of a contemptuous ride. He attempted to show that it was cheaper to talk to a British medium that would patronise him with questions than speak to the Nigerian press, where he had invested heavily, for fear of being deeply probed with questions. In doing that, he proved those who said liars must have good memories right when he told the world that he made his wealth through inherited real estate. How could he forget that one of his marketers-in-chief, Dele Alake, had told Nigerians that Tinubu made his wealth through massive stock investments? Either way, real estate or stocks, there is no proof. Those with smart memories would remember that fraudster Hushpuppi (otherwise known as Ramon Olorunwa Abbas), who now serves 11 years in a federal prison in the United States of America (USA), had also told the global audience that he made his money through real estate. In Tinubu’s case, he claimed he inherited real estate. But no previous literature or narrative, since his days as a short-lived senator, linked either of his parents to any real estate business.
In claiming that he inherited real estates, Tinubu sought to deconstruct what most Nigerians had always believed of him – that everything about him is questionable – his parentage, immediate family origin, education, work history, life in Chicago, life as either NADECO member, or, indeed, all the dates on his life’s calendar. The later video of London, showing him on a dinner table pretending to show off his dancing skills, comes back as proof that he is not physically fit to sustain the rigours of a presidential office. However, some of his fiercest supporters argue that even a clinically invalid being can be President of Nigeria in so far as there is a mechanically air-worthy B737 standing by at the Abuja airport and a chopper regularly steaming close by the president’s residence and office with an equally efficient and well-oiled medical evacuation team on 24/7 standby to ensure a six-hour dash to London for quick stitches that would elongate time irrespective of its effect on governance.
The London job interview at Chatham, which was a caricature, is also a new model in recruitment. Human resource practitioners and experts need now bring Tinubu to a master class to educate more on this ingeniously deceptive approach to recruitment interviews. It says one thing – when next you are invited to a job interview, either in public or private enterprise, in serious, semi-serious, or Ponzi schemes as of the type run off a Bourdillon gate, you should take along with you, a retinue of lifelines to supply answers to questions you must answer. You could as well, take along your village oracles and deities. You could also take the chief priests and soothsayers who would look into the crystal balls to prepare your lifelines with answers to issues that you would confront if you are, per misadventure, get the job you applied for. Playing dumb here helps.
As it is, Tinubu ended his presidential run in London. No thanks to his media minders who clearly nudged him to avoid ‘local’ media. How could a Tinubu who is deeply in love with the press; a Tinubu who climbed the political ladder on the back of the media; a Tinubu who cherished television appearances as Lagos governor and opposition leader; a Tinubu who was an interviewer delight a few years ago; a Tinubu who literally danced before the media in celebration of his self-acclaimed title of ‘National Leader of APC’; a Tinubu who bought over Comet newspapers and created a media empire that gave him the necessary backing and cover, suddenly be avoiding the same media? How could a Tinubu who deployed the media against Goodluck Jonathan a few years ago suddenly be scared of standing before journalists to answer questions –the same type he loved to see journalists ask presidential candidates in the past? Isn’t that proof that he is being shielded from something that may be expository, one that could show that, indeed, he has been chasing after the wind? How come a highly cerebral Tinubu suddenly prefers to appear before his own handpicked town hall guests to answer questions that present themselves as pre-arranged? Is it impossible that the Chatham House team rejected pre-arranged questions which made him abdicate the responsibility on him to answer the question and surrender same to his acolytes?
However, I like what Tinubu is doing. I can’t imagine a man way into his 80s (natural age) still hopping in and out of aeroplanes and mounting podiums, even with the sort of assists he gets. Many of his natural age mates are bound to their sick beds. He is not. He has done well for himself by being assisted in keeping fit. But, Nigeria has more than enough evidence to show that a president’s health is critical to the effective execution of the office and administration of the country. Some of the evidence was shown to Nigerians during his campaign outings, where he churned out classic hit tunes that show a disconnect between his eyes, mind, and mouth. And those moments helped many Nigerians get some comic relief from the pains that the APC government has visited them with since 2015.
Besides, many Nigerians wonder why Tinubu and his campaign team have cleverly dissociated themselves from the Buhari-led APC government and insist on seeking to convince Nigerians to endorse the party still, not with the fact of APC’s achievements since 2015, as severally claimed by Buhari, but with Tinubu’s supposed achievements in Lagos state between 1999 and 2007. This approach, also disingenuous, tells Nigerians that the APC government of the 2015-2022 period has been a waste of valuable national time. In other words, the Tinubu campaign tells Nigerians that they must reward Tinubu for being the architect of the monumental failure, which scars they bear, with a compensatory mandate. Why is the APC presidential campaign team refusing to campaign with all the glorious achievements that Lai Mohammed celebrates every day? Why are they not referencing the largest rice pyramid in Africa etc.? The fact is that Tinubu’s APC campaign team has strategically pulled itself away from Buhari’s APC. And the only way to avoid being confronted with the reality of the party’s failures is to prevent the Nigerian media and seek palliative support in the British media.