Opinion: Politicus – Tinubu and the parable of Haman

by Demola Rewaju

When analysts say that all the AD governors were deceived by Chief Obasanjo in 2003, they forget that it was Bola Tinubu who forced the hand of Pa Adesanya’s Afenifere into supporting the general’s second term ambition. 

One of the most politically fascinating stories in the Bible (the holy book of Christians) is the power tussle between Haman and Mordecai. Haman was at the pinnacle of power and everyone bowed to him except one man, and that a Jew, did not. His name was Mordecai. Haman confessed to his political allies that all the power he wielded and all the fame he had were nothing so long as this man, Mordecai, did not kowtow to him. Haman’s desperation to bring this man down consumed him so much that he was eventually consumed by it.

Former Governor Bola Tinubu has emerged as a political force in SouthWest politics and by extension, national politics with a number of skills which have well been highlighted by his loyalists, bootlickers and even his critics. These are well documented and are often true but little known is the role of luck and timing in the attainment of his present status.

When analysts say that all the AD governors were deceived by Chief Obasanjo in 2003, they forget that it was Bola Tinubu who forced the hand of Pa Adesanya’s Afenifere into supporting the general’s second term ambition. Afenifere in Lagos was being torn in two with the impeachment of Sen Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele as Tinubu’s deputy governor contrary to the wishes of the Afenifere and he had an uphill battle to face. When therefore Obasanjo started making overtures to the Yoruba group, Tinubu was quick to announce to the world that he had 10million votes to deliver to Obasanjo from Lagos in order to win second term as president of the nation.

With Tinubu’s declaration, Afenifere was forced to go into negotiations with Obasanjo in order not to lose relevance in the South-West which wanted a Yoruba man to see out his second term. Whatever the concessions made, Afenifere/AD obviously did not campaign as much as they should or would have until the first round of legislative elections saw them lose heavily across the South-West even with inroads into Lagos. Osoba, Adesina, Adebayo, Adefarati and Akande had all gone to sleep because they had Afenifere backing as well as agreement with Obasanjo that federal might (INEC rigging, military intimidation etc)…all except Tinubu.

You see, Tinubu had more troubles than with PDP. He had an internal battle with Afenifere in Lagos to which Sen. Kofo Bucknor-Akerele belonged and whose arrowhead, Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu had moved the mass of the group including serving state and federal legislators, into PAC where he was a contestant in the 2003 governorship elections. Having sealed a pact with Obasanjo and even campaigning for and with him wearing identical traditional Eyo regalia, Tinubu had reason to go to sleep but he could not because he had Afenifere to contend with. Most AD posters of Tinubu for governor 2003 had Afenifere written on them to proclaim that he was the original Afenifere in Lagos. It was this internal battle for the soul of Afenifere, and not his political sagacity, that ultimately ensured Tinubu was the last man standing as governor after Hurricane OBJ hit.

Tinubu then launched an offensive against Obasanjo and found an ally in the then vice-president Atiku. As the only governor elected on the AD platform, he suddenly became the dispenser of political favours in the SouthWest and tried severally to capture the soul of AD as a party and Afenifere as a group. Ousted governor of Osun state, Chief Bisi Akande claimed a faction of AD while Sen Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa claimed the other. Other ousted governors railled round Tinubu except Chief Adebayo Adefarati, a principled and traditional Awoist who stood with the core leaders of Afenifere in AD and died as its presidential candidate.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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