By Segun Ige
WHAT is ‘imperative’ about Tinubu’s Kano colloquium? It is claimed, well, that the length and breadth of such visit is parameterised after the possibility of having a ‘United States of Nigeria’. It means Nigeria is as yet a ‘child of necessity’ occupied by men and women of diverse exposures, experiences, socio-cultural inclinations, and ethno-religio sentiments.
Again, what is ‘imperative’ about Tinubu’s Kano colloquium? By the way, the North has serially been ensconced in unconscionable attacks, abductions and masochism of different kinds. And, as such, Tinubu, as a ‘listening’ and ‘watching’ leader, has intervened – of course, not in some increasingly threatened, terrorised, traumatised state.
Being the ‘jagaban’ of the All Progressives Congress, Tinubu is a self-acclaimed leader, who indebtedly believes to have been in statu pupillari to Lateef Jakande. He believes his political ideas and ideals are significantly patterned after the similitude of the one-time Lagos State governor. Commemorating his 69th birthday as well as holding his colloquium in Kano signifies the ‘marriage’ between ‘Fulani’ and ‘Yoruba’ (Fine, it’s not bad to rather celebrate his political avant-gardism and spirit of excitement of statesmanship.
All that is cool, okay, and not bad). It demonstrates that, after all, the Yoruba – or rather the APC – have not been fuelling any form of dissent, discord or disagreement in the Fulani-herdsmen crises seemingly falling things apart in the country. This difference-denying mechanism may be taken to mean that, particularly with the Ortom near-death escape from supposedly armed herdsmen suspected to be Fulani, the Peoples Democratic Party could have been stoking some kind of bigotry and cynicism.
Let’s remember that the North covers two thirds of the Nigerian population. Crucially, after Lagos in the South West, Kano is the most populated in the North. It has about 15 million people. And since Tinubu is a stalwart in Lagos, he needs to utilise his sweeping party-power in sweeping “the PDPites” under the carpet. That’s an inward-looking political player who has perseveringly striven for the mastery of the game.
The imperativeness of Kano culminating to the coup de grace of the much-wanted 32-years leadership cannot be overemphasised and glossed over. Monday, March 29, 2021 then becomes a groundhog day, a subtle political campaign that the population-hub of the North – Kano – “can do it again”. It does remind me of President Donald Trump’s MAGA – “Make America Great Again” – but here, it is clearly “Make APC Great Again.”
It is interesting to note, isn’t it, that the Trump-Tinubu notion of “greatness” is brought to bear in different illocutionary contexts of nationhood? I’m not sure if Tinubu is going to contest for presidency, come 2023, though. But I believe he ‘knows’ his job: When to do it; where to do it; and how to do it. His clairvoyance is certainly hinged on the fact that the APC may well not be running again.
And as far as he is concerned, the premonitions could possibly be reversed, hence condescending and creating common ground between the leaders and followers; making the led see that they have, after all, been the essence, the reason, the raison d’être of their systemic leadership. A leader like Tinubu is a political artiste who has mastered the ‘songs,’ ‘proverbs,’ ‘idioms,’ and ‘parables’ needed to arouse the ‘mixed audience’ for ‘dual participation’.
Well, the clamour for ‘cohesion’ is not something new. My then-lecturer poet Chris Anyokwu argues that: Divided we stand, for unity is a poisoned chalice/From which their helmsmen flee. In short, the Nigerian leaders have long been grappling with the Entscheidungs problem of uniting an originally decoupled country. In other words, he does not believe in the doctrine of unity or cohesion anymore.
He, what’s more, recommends “Leadership 101” – ‘a coursework for naïve neophytes’. What shall I recommend, then? I think a ‘values-based leadership’ is pertinent: ‘selfreflection,’ ‘balanced perspective’, ‘selfconfidence’ and ‘genuine humility’ are essential elements of leadership, especially in the 21st Century. Our leaders, to me, do not necessarily have to begin from square one to cement the cracks and fill up the loopholes in the country.
Most of them are experienced leaders, who have cyclically ruled, governed, and occupied one political position or the other. What is even more considerable, it’s not, and should not, only be on seeking one slight political opportunity that we’d be hearing political preachers of one love and unity. What’s the essence of preaching unity when a large portion of the country is enwombed in the bellies of Boko Haram and bandits?
I think it’s a delusional unity resting on the colloquialism of mass abduction of schoolboys and schoolgirls and teachers in Kankara, Kagara, Kaduna, and what have you. The colloquium should have been deployed, by Tinubu, as well as the Buhari team, in tactfully and intelligently addressing and deliberating on ways by which the disturbing, distressing and dumbfounding largely inconceivable stories of kidnapping and abduction would be halted. And now, schoolchildren, in particular, have suddenly become main targets.
Kidnapping, quite sadly, has become the most lucrative business enterprise ablebodied personalities are venturing into in Nigeria. On the other hand, of course, increase in unemployment rate is causal to volunteers who surrender their consciences in egregiously engaging themselves in brazen brigandage. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
You see, the Federal Government is itself not addressing deeply localised issues contributing immensely to the havoc, anger, and danger wrought by these young men. At least, if there are no political opportunities for the youth, there could be some job opportunities. The gross production of graduates by the Nigerian universities is saddening: Tens of thousands of them rumaging and scavenging every nook and cranny of the country trying to figure out how to get what they want. And you know what? They do get it by all means!
Ige, a Lagos-based freelance journalist, wrote via [email protected]