In the desperate search for political relevance, not a few Nigerian politicians behave like common whores, throwing morals to the dogs. Within the matrix of the content of character, they vacillate just like the tropic weather. They praise in the morning what they have denied the night before, once the price is right. Or, perhaps, the wind of change does not suit their political temperament.
Too often, they assume, but wrongly so, that the masses have lost their sense of history, forgotten or even forgiven, their odious past and ready to swallow their tall tales by moonlight, as if they were some gullible and naïve kids. But Nigerian electorate is much wiser now. For God’s sake, this is the 21st Century!
Incidentally, one Nigerian politician who squarely fits this bill is none other than Chief Tom Ikimi, Man Friday to the late dictator, General Sani Abacha. Only recently, he had this to say in his statement entitled: My Reflections. “I have spent almost 13 of the past 15 years faithfully dug in, in the trenches of the evolving democratic dispensations in our country, steadfastly pursuing my conviction that for true democracy to take firm root in Nigeria we should fall in line with the model practiced in successful democracies in the world, of a party in office and a scrutinizing alternative party holding the Government to account.” But we know him much better than that.
For the records, Ikimi was never a democrat and, even as an adept and crafty political chameleon, he cannot metamorphose into one over night. He may be suffering from delusions of grandeur. So, we ask the pertinent question: What role did he play during the dark days of the NADECO struggle to emancipate the Nigerian nation and its good people from the iron grip of military despotism? In those dark, inglorious days, Ikimi as the self-centered politician that he has always been chose to turn his back on the people and became deaf to their cries of anguish by dining with Abacha. He was and still remains the archetype of an ignoble anti-democrat. For Ikimi to have assumed that Nigerians have so short a memory and would embrace his foray into party politics without questions betrays his understanding of the word ‘democracy.’
He, Ikimi it was again who practiced ‘bolekaja’ diplomacy in the face of a clear injustice that triggered global outrage, when he openly supported Abacha’s death sentence on Ken Saro-Wiwa, acclaimed human rights activist and internationally recognized environmentalist, and the Ogoni-Four. No democrat would have justified and defended that type of brutal, barbaric and bestial murder of his people’s conscience and voice.
His claim that Chief John Oyegun, a much more refined and respected democrat, has never been a popular politician has been rubbished by his own antecedents. Has he forgotten that when he was the Chairman of the NRC during the IBB days of dictatorship, his people who understand him far more, elected Chief John Oyegun, as against Ikimi’s candidate, Lucky Igbenedion, as their first-ever democratically chosen state governor? And why not? Oyegun has over the years remained a consistent and committed democrat unlike Ikimi who, more like an unprincipled politician, pitches his tent wherever he feels the grass is greener and romances any government in power? Such a person does not have any moral authority to put himself forward for any elective post in the first instance.
Where was Ikimi when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu remained stoutly as the last man standing against the conservatives under the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime as it bulldozed through the South-West geo-political zone? Ikimi, the mole that he has always been, was hand-in-glove with the reactionary forces.
Now, he goes further to depths of depravity by alleging that Tinubu was not a millionaire until he became the Lagos State governor in 2003.Unkown to him, Asiwaju has worked his way up the ladder of corporate success to become the Treasurer of Mobil. Unlike Ikimi who has never been known to use his money for a noble or patriotic cause, Tinubu it was who funded NADECO against the blood-letting, fascist despotism foisted on peace-loving Nigerians by the Abacha regime.
Had Tinubu been as self-serving as Ikimi he would gladly have joined forces with the military administration then and become the Minister of Finance. But he chose, as usual, to be on the side of the people. Instead, he fled the country into self exile to strengthen NADECO’s clamour for the return of democracy. At that material time, Ikimi was the Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs to Abacha, globe-trotting, including being at the Commonwealth Group of Nations to defend the indefensible.
Also in his confused perception he claims that Tinubu wanted Chief Bisi Akande retained as the APC Chairman. Unknown to him, Akande had earlier asked to opt out due to old age. As an enduring brand for the anti-corruption battle in Nigeria he would not go against the stipulations of the party’s Constitution. But Ikimi thought otherwise. He stated that: “The Constitution of the Party clearly defines the Party Organs and the Party Leadership. There is no provision for anyone to be named as the Party Leader. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu having paraded himself both at home and abroad as The Leader of Opposition and of the APC had great difficulty in descending from the fictitious throne. In order to continue manipulating the party from his parlors in Abuja and Lagos he struggled to retain Chief Bisi Akande as Chairman.”
To also allude to the loss of Ekiti governorship to the PDP as a vote against Tinubu amounts to tissue of white lies! From all indications, that election was a personality struggle between Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Ayodele Fayose. The latter, if the vote by the people is anything to go by is more grassroots related. Was the vote against Tinubu, as erroneously assumed by Ikimi, the same scenario would have played itself out in the recent Osun governorship election.
He was wrong again on the Muslim-Muslim ticket. How could that have happened when ASPC had not formed a National Exco, nor put structures on ground at the unit, ward, Local Government Councils? That could not have been when the party was yet to provide the guidelines on the emergence of candidates for governorship at the state and the presidency at the national level.
It is for Nigerians to decide if they want a Muslim/Muslim ticket. After all, it happened in 1993 and heavens did not fall. What the citizens need at this critical moment of our troubled history are men and women who would frontally tackle the monsters of corruption, mass youth unemployment, insecurity, the insidious culture of impunity to deliver the dividends of democracy at their doorstep.
Ikimi is also wrong on the Ribadu issue. That Tinubu used and dumped him in the 2011 election is a figment of Ikimi’s wild imagination. During the negotiations to expand the scope of the party to assume a national dimension, the CPC and ACN had a gentleman’s arrangement that the former should produce the presidential candidate and the ACN to produce the Vice Presidential candidate but Buhari and Bakare did not accede to this.
That President Goodluck Jonathan eventually won can be traced to his presence at the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s Annual Holy Ghost festival. His tacit endorsement there sent a signal to the largely Christian-dominated South-West geo-political zone. Ribadu at that time could not even win at his ward in Adamawa state.
Contrary to Ikimi’s statement that “Tinubu’s reckless and arrogant self-aggrandizement paved the way for the imposition of a strange leadership on the APC in July 2013 when the party obtained registration from INEC,” it was his political clout that did the magic. And to say that “Those of us who had worked so hard towards the successful merger and creation of the APC were manipulated out of the scheme of things” exposes him as one always desperate for political recognition, wanting to reap where he never sowed.
The OANDO contract he also referred to on the eve of the APC Chairmanship election followed due process and has nothing to do with the person of Bola Ahned Tinubu. Ikimi should get his facts right.
He and Modu Sheriff were never going to be seen even by Nigerians as progressives or true democrats. While Ikimi is branded as belonging to any government in power, Sheriff has the stinking toga as the mastermind behind the Boko Haram insurgency. It was always going to be hard for the tiger to change its colours.
Tinubu has paid his dues in the democratic dispensation, as the beacon bearer. One can situate him within the milieu of a born-leader who has vision in quantum; one with the capacity to feel the pulse and the pains of his people; one who has the courage to do right and the boldness to say ‘no’ to evil in all its shade; one with the compassion to right the wrongs bedeviling his people.
Fortunately, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is blessed with all these character traits. And as amply demonstrated during his struggles for democracy, his eight years qualitative leadership as the Lagos State governor, against all odds he is eminently qualified to lead this nation to greater heights.
For ikimi’s exit, it is good riddance to bad rubbish. He has had no credentials of a democrat and he cannot now assume one through the backdoor! Nigeria and Nigerians certainly deserve more stable and morally sound leaders. You cannot give what you do not have.
Ajanaku, journalist, writes from Lagos.
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