#EndSARS: Tinubu’s Strategy For 2023 In Focus

#EndSARS: Tinubu’s Strategy For 2023 In Focus
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Mustapha Suleiman

Since the commencement of #EndSARS protest in several states, one man constantly   remains in the middle of the raging storm, the national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.


Aside accusation by some political class opposed to his political style who accused him indirectly of sponsoring the protest, though not a political class, the Miyetti Allah Cantanhore group came out boldly in accusing him of sponsoring the protests but Sen.

Tinubu, the accused; has suffered losses as his properties were torched and looted by the hoodlums that involved in the protest. Some of his investments’ such as   TVC, The Nation newspaper, were either burnt or destroyed by the rampaging youths.

While some analysts held that his (Tinubu) 2023 presidential ambition was behind the attempts by his political rivals to tarnish his image before Nigerians and his sympathizers, others think the arsonists that attacked TVC, The Nation Newspaper and other establishments owned or affiliated to him was to demonise him before the electorate before the next general election to curtail his growing influence and acceptability..

However, BAT has accused his political detractors of sponsoring hoodlums to burn down his Media Houses but was quick to tell whoever cares to listen that he still remains the Asiwaju of Lagos in all ramifications.

It is of interest that some governors, ministers and politicians who are not in line with Tinubu have been aligning to ensure that he did not emerge as the APC presidential candidate in 2023. But the Tinubu political armoury is fighting back as it is believed he is working hard to silence any opposition using persuasion and promises of political positions in return if he emerges which has been his bait to get politicians to his side.

Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, is alleged to belong to the political group working against Bola Tinubu’s 2023 interest.  They even linked his recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the peak of the #EndSARS protest to a move aimed at implicating the APC national leader as being behind the protests that claimed lives and properties to rub mud in the face of President Buhari creating an impression of not being part of the present administration that is bedeviled with hardships and policies too unfriendly with the poor masses.

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Inspite these accusations by Bola Tinubu’s detractors, he was seen to have issued press statement during the protests, signed by him beckoning on the protesters to leave the streets and give the Federal government the benefit of doubt to kick start the process of implementation; acknowledging their demands to be very genuine.

 Politicians eyeing the presidency in 2023 see Tinubu as a man to beat, hence anything that can deflate his ego and influence is a task that must be done to get their ambition materialised.

There are insinuations in some quarters that President Buhari is not really in support of Tinubu to replace him at Aso Villa, but it will be too early to take it for real, going by the massive financial and political support the APC national leader gave to the President Buhari during his first and second election.

Asiwaju Tinubu’s renewed interest to take over from President Buhari came after helping to deliver Buhari during the general election and as well backing him strongly all through the litigations challenging his victory and certificate saga; he never wasted time and began assembling his structure for 2023 project Tinubu; this action did not go down well with some politicians as they accused him of been power drunk and should have waited for at least two years into President Buhari’s second term before forming a political structure to succeed president Buhari come 2023. Political permutations became obvious and Tinubu again surfaced in the midst of the controversy.

Amid the EndSARS controversy, BAT was nowhere to be seen as rumours had it that he flew to France and resurfaced on Saturday and went to see the Governor of Lagos State Sanwo-Olu , declared to the public boisterously that he never went anywhere as he remains the Asiwaju of Lagos, the Jagaban Borgu , that he is among those that own Lagos. Although he has not officially declared interest in running in 2023, hand writings on the wall have meant a lot that Tinubu indeed is eyeing the presidential seat. Some stakeholders, however, see him as a threat and must be tackled as soon as possible before it is too late.

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Perhaps, that must have been part of the reasons some governors on the platform of the party insisted on the exit of Oshiomhole as national chairman who is considered to be Tinubu`s loyalist.

His chances

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, no doubt, is a master strategist who has dominated the politics of Nigeria’s commercial capital for over two decades and has built for himself a formidable political network, propensity for deal-making and substantial personal wealth which give him a great advantage over many other contenders.

On his ambition for the 2023 presidential elections, Tinubu has been silent. After the latest ructions in the ruling All Progressives Congress, in which Tinubu and his allies seemed to lose out, he mocked those pundits who purported to know his political intentions.

“To those who have been actively bleating how the President’s actions and the NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting have ended my purported 2023 ambitions … Already you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born.”

On 25 June, the ruling party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had dissolved its National Working Committee (NWC) on which Tinubu and his allies had a clear majority and could choose the party chair. They lost that battle. Now the management is in the hands of a caretaker committee and state governors are battling to reassert their control over the party’s machinery.

Tinubu has not held an official position in government since his second term as Lagos governor, which ended in 2007, but his influence in national politics has grown. The schisms in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have led to the formation of at least two different camps: Nasir el Rufai, governor of Kaduna State and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport on one side; and Tinubu, the national leader of the APC and deposed chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, on the other.

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Tinubu as a former two-time governor of Lagos State have been credited for ensuring that progressive governors run the state since he left the post which have led to the social and economic progress seen in Lagos over the past two decades.

Tinubu is widely popular in Lagos, his vast political capital earned from instituting successive governors in Lagos states and parts of the South West as a follow back to drum support of protégés.

Tinubu’s current role is the national leader of the APC, a title that although appears honorific, gives him power and influence within the party structures. And it is believed he would rely extensively on this credential to push for a formidable involvement in the push to secure his party’s slot.

Tinubu cannot succeed with support only from the south-west, he needs northern votes as well to get from the eight million northern votes, as it is believed he has been wooing some major northern stakeholders within the party to make his ambition accomplished.

The collaboration between Buhari and Tinubu in 2015 involved the latter being tasked with bringing in the south-west votes and providing a southern technocrat as the vice-presidential candidate.

 Even though Buhari plays his cards close to his chest, it is thought he would not outright dismiss Tinubu’s ambition. Tinubu is known to have some influence within the present government and would rely essentially on this goodwill, given some positions conceded to him by nominating persons to cabinet members.

He believes these persons would rally round him when the chips are down and it becomes clearer that the coast is clear for the race to begin in earnest. Already, it is known in political circles that he has started oiling his political machine by constituting privately campaign offices in parts of the country, including Abuja, the Federal capital Territory.


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