Public opinion is that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is deluded about his 2023 presidential ambition. For a political tactician with results to show, such impossible dream baffles. Events, however, are beginning to show that Ahmed may be the smart one in the room, Nigerians being the ones who are clearly deluded.
He has planted five men in the new cabinet, plotting his future. Using the last election, he cut down two Southern rivals with one sword: loudmouthed Okorocha has been eclipsed from strategic state power, as has Rotimi Amaechi from access to state funds. Ahmed is now the most powerful hopeful standing in the wreckage of Southern Nigeria. When he is not silent about security challenges in his region, he speaks dishonestly about them. In both cases, the intent is the same: loyalty to Mohammadu Buhari, and to his own ambition, technically irrigating the latter with the blood of the innocent.
A section of the public believes that power-loving Buhari will not hand over in 2023, and that if he does, his successor will be a Northerner. While Buhari is capable of bottomless impunity, he might not easily pull off certain things. Ahmed has his own herdsmen in the APC machinery, besides the support of a moral argument for Southern presidency. His bullion vans are also waiting at the back of his house, ready to move.
He understands that his candidacy will offend public sensibility, but he also understands Nigeria better than the pundits: the public will rant and shut up. The media, bankrupt except for a few, will reinvent his story. It was Ahmed who, using a topnotch foreign public relations firm, edited Buhari from a serially rejected draft to a fine work of art. So he did with Fashola, thrusting him on governor’s seat from total obscurity. And Ambode, and Sanwo-Olu.
For a nation which operates in reverse, impossible political ideas stand the greatest chance for success.
Ahmed knows this. He knows that Nigeria is a farce, that those who interpret events with commonsense logic are the fools soon to be educated.
As I have often stated, Nigeria is a stampede—and no stampede is organized—except that this stampede has a singular direction: power. And, in the last two decades, no Nigerian politician has dribbled power better than sly, dangerous, and pragmatic Ahmed.