We analyse politicians not to bring them down or pump them up. We analyse politicians to serve and service our own interests as lay historians and philologists.
Just as there are definitive works and authors in literatures and histories, there also are definitive works and characters in politics and warfare.
By definitive, our Turkish-American professor once told us, is meant the works or personae that most characterise the salient points in any given matter. In African literature, for instance, we are told Chinua Achebe and Things Fall Apart, are definitive, man and work.
In politics and warfare, there is a thug called Napoleon. However his status as definitive is observed in part by this: Apart from Jesus Christ, Napoleon on good authority is the most written about of all historical persons. The point is that historians’ recurring Napoleonism is not to promote or diminish the estate of Napoleon. It is just that historians are about their briefs and Napoleon serves their purpose the best. A historian’s game is to be one of the premier analysts of his time or of all time. It is not to promote or diminish Napoleon or any of his local incarnates.
So, Bola Tinubu as a reoccurring ‘decimal’ in our analysis has nothing really to do with Tinubu per se. Tinubu may be taken as a point of contact, a definitive point of contact, to help give us a toehold on the Nigerian condition. And that, perhaps, helps guide us to suggest a way forward for future statesmen, even if in reverse gear.
Bisi Akande, former chairman of the APC and visibly a Tinubu sub-alliance partner, was out and about recently. He said the following…
Sun Newspaper: There have been reports that there is a power struggle between the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. This was proved when Tinubu accused Oyegun of, according to him, ‘jeopardizing my presidential assignment.’
Akande: There can’t be a power struggle between Bola Tinubu and Oyegun. Oyegun’s chairmanship of the APC was the creation of Bola Tinubu. As at that time, Bola Tinubu told me that he wanted Oyegun in preference to Tom Ikimi, Timipre Sylva, and Jaja. I had to assist Tinubu to sell Oyegun, as the preferred candidate to the other top executives in the party. One morning, for hours, I sat down with Senator Bukola Saraki, Ali Modu-Sheriff, Rotimi Amaechi, Kashim Shettima and a few other leaders, as I tried to sell Oyegun, in preference to whatever candidate each of them may be supporting. And it was with a condition that unless Oyegun was adopted by all of us, the South West would not attend the convention, which elected Oyegun. I was then the chairman of the party. So, what contention are you talking about? Does Bola Tinubu want to be the chairman of APC? Look, the way people see it in the public is not the way it is in politics. Tinubu is a friend to Oyegun, he started out how Oyegun became the chairman and all tendencies against Oyegun, Tinubu fought them until Oyegun was elected.
And that is the historical background. The same Tinubu is now headhunting for a replacement placeholder as party chairman. It is obvious the Tinubu sub-faction believes that Oyegun may have suffered a failure of nerves or is up to some chicanery.
However, like the typical Nigerian politician or analyst, not one point of blame is deposited at Tinubu’s own doorsteps. It is others, Oyegun and company, that are wrong, and thus must be hell. But is it always so? And in this specific instance nko?
Our prognosis is as follows: Despite the alleged sophistication of Tinubu and even Awolowo and MKO Abiola before him, the trio have shown incapacity in understanding America’s justly famous second amendment. This is so in its letters and more importantly in its spirits.
Let us first tell what it is by quoting those who should know. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
In technical terms, it is the concept of armed peace. That is, in reaching a truce or a consensus or a union or any alliance of whatever nature, the belligerents or factions thereof remain armed in peace, severally and jointly.
American citizens believe that their leaders are in all likelihood all good and great to go. But, being sophisticated negotiators, American citizens insisted on their right not only to trust their leaders but to so verify. That is, that they, the citizenry, not the leaders, have to institute that justice of their leaders being good and great.
Historically, justice is also a technical term. It was best defined by an ancient Greek guy, Thucydides. He defined justice as the relationship between equals [or near equals]. That is to say that, outside equality, you can’t get justice. No experience to date has contradicted the Greek wise man.
So, to ensure the justice of their joint decisions, that American leaders shall not be given to the lust of women or wine or powers or foolishness, American citizens, to be equals of their rulers, insisted without apologies on armed peace, on their being armed despite being in peace and trustful of their leaders. The moral? Without armed peace the weak can’t have justice. Justice is not about the fair lady and her curves. Justice is a power turf, big game and hunt.
And it appears, alas, that the Tinubu intra-faction [just like Awolowo did with Gowon and Gowonisms] decommissioned their own firing powers and handed over the relics to their composited leaders, the sheriff and gang, whom they only held in trust, unarmed trust. That is, they were incapable by their own choice of holding their composited factions’ leaders, their baba sheriff, in check. And this failure of nerves by the Tinubu brain box is wondrous. Wondrous? Yes, because it has to happen despite the free educational lessons from ordinary American citizens 200 odd years ago.
That is to say that Tinubu was building an alliance empire, with trust on dominant winners without capacities to be armed in peace. The implication of this is that Tinubu will never, okay, may never, receive justice from the hands of his dominant partners. It has nothing to do with Tinubu at work. It is all about the forces of power at play.
Incidentally, power obeys Newton’s law of notion. Power will continue in its continuous motion of conquest or dominance till an external force stops it.
This is where the next round of Tinubu errors creep in. For reasons that are bizarre or at least not clear, Tinubu not only sought the alliance of his present partners, he courted the runny enmity of other contender factions. Tinubu again behaved very un-American.
Well, with God nothing is impossible. But it looks rather implausible that a Tinubu can carpenter a grand alliance between the South West, South South and South East. And the reason is simple. Tinubu apparently [almost like Awolowo and MKO Abiola before him] engaged these factions in a war of attrition and mortality. Just as Awolowo in joy approved of levying genocide on others, and MKO sought the dismissal of the entire South East in his newfangled dream of ruling with the North, it appears Tinubu caged the South South and possible the South East out of his dreamed-for alliance and ruling hegemony.
As if history is on “eternal rerun,” Awolowo was spurned by his alliance partners. It was so pitiable he had to swallow spittle and come to the East to pick Umeadi for a VP slot. So also was MKO/June 12. And now Tinubu?
The moral is to go American in all your wars. Americans are the most sophisticated warriors on earth today. It is not just for their Abram tanks and nukes. It is more for their philosophy of war. Americans have never gone to war, discount the Red Indians, to annihilate, like Awolowo and Gowon. That is why America of all the competitor superpowers, America, Russia, China, has the most allies. And their allies include Japan and, don’t believe it, Vietnam today. When McArthur, America’s viceroy in Japan, boarded to sail for New York, Japanese patriots were drenched in tears. The game is in the fact that, for America, wars are games not mortal snake pits. The Awolowo school of war and alarums of wars/media must relearn this. They should be less and less Arabic, less and less acerbic and more and more Yankee in their war theatrics.
In conclusion, save the party and government, whole and entire, is handed over to Tinubu, any persons elected on Tinubu’s ticket to replace Oyegun will go the Oyegun way. This is an iron lore. Any other person than Oyegun has no option than to be like Oyegun, if he is to survive. So the sacking of Oyegun, to the extent it only alters the men at work and not the forces at play, is an exercise in nullity. This again is the iron lore. All else is in humour.
Takeaway: The next successors to the Awolowo war thrones and philosophies of war must learn after the Americans. They must learn to incorporate the concept of armed peace in their negotiations. Also important, they must, like the Americans, subscribe to wars, political and military, as games, not mortality plays. In the end, the power hunt is not about the men at work. It is about the forces at play, the forces that can pay. Ahiazuwa.