Columns

December 10, 2022

Understanding Tinubu’s Buga Dance

By Emmanuel Aziken

Only very few have seen Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in such a buoyant mood as he was last Monday as the APC presidential candidate and his team members swayed to the beats of African music legend, Kizz Daniel in a London restaurant.

All the stress that many of us had seen on the APC presidential candidate appeared to have disappeared in that London restaurant as the Buga music echoed across the upscale London restaurant.

Tinubu and his team members appeared to have resorted to the restaurant to celebrate after the APC candidate successfully delivered the Chatham House lecture without a major verbal accident as he has been prone to during his recent campaign outings.

Indeed, Tinubu travelled to London for the Chatham House lecture after repeatedly turning down interviews from any of the major television stations in the country. The APC candidate even had to issue statements twice denouncing the open invitations to him from Arise News Television to appear at townhall meetings hosted by the television station.

The refusal to debate with fellow rivals or take interviews is because of fears that the APC candidate could melt should he be left alone to face scrutiny.

So, having escaped a major verbal discharge in London, Tinubu looked much fresher and if not, younger as he celebrated with his delegation.

Against the insinuations of critics that he cannot carry himself, and that he regularly needs minders to aid him climb stairs, Tinubu was much different this time. No one was by him as he did the buga dance, even if he did it clumsily.

The relief on him was undoubtable. Hours earlier, Tinubu had passed through the eye of a needle practically, delivering a lecture and having his team members answer the questions for him!

Who could have comprehended the native intelligence that the APC candidate brought to outwit his critics who were waiting to catch him make any of those blunders that he had made recently in his campaign outings.

Internet jokes of Tinubu calling Senator Ovie Omo-Agege governor of Niger Delta State, praying for the opposition PDP in Jos, promising to raise prices in Bayelsa and so many gaffes now abound that even campaign advisers now believe that it is impossible but for the candidate to make a gaffe at every appearance. ‘He is a human being after all,’ appears to be the swansong of his campaign officials.

However, Tinubu outsmarted all last Monday when he did the unthinkable by farming out questions to his team members after reading out his prepared address at Chatham House.

The APC presidential campaign has come out to robustly defend what happened. It is, however, reassuring that not all members of the APC senior hierarchy are toeing the same path.  

Not even a cabinet system of government allows such acts of political lewdness as what happened last Monday in Chatham House. Though the new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has eventually formed a cabinet, while he was in the hustle for the position, he did not have to farm out questions posed to him to any of his supporters.

It is shocking the extent to which some in the APC would want to lower our national esteem to project their support for their candidate. What was more shocking was the presence of some of the leading intellectual eggheads in the APC in the Tinubu delegation.

One was shocked that the delegation had folks like Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Prof Ben Ayade and Engr. David Umahi.

It would be a shock to believe that some of those who danced and partied with Tinubu after escaping a major verbal gaffe at the Chatham House lecture are ignorant of their prospects should Tinubu win. An understanding of their prospects can be understood from the lessons we see in the Buhari presidency in the last seven years.

Your correspondent is aware that several of those who criss-crossed the country with Buhari in the days leading to the 2015 presidential election were eventually left out of reckoning as wonder boys from Daura came onboard. One popular claim is that a former recharge card seller in the streets of Daura prior to the 2015 presidential election is now one of the most powerful gatekeepers in Aso Rock.

It is the frustration that arose from the hijack of the Buhari government that compelled Mallam El-Rufai to articulate his popular note to Buhari in the early days of the administration. It is as such shocking that after going through the same pathway that Mallam would give himself to such political roguery.

Should Tinubu emerge president the chief gatekeeper would most certainly not be any of those who have been answering questions for him. Those who know say the person would be a family member.

It is reassuring that following the Chatham House lecture and the Buga party that Tinubu was reported to have said that he is not shying away from debates or interviews, even saying he is ready to debate from morning to night.

That is welcome and soothing. We are eagerly waiting for his return to do so and convince us why we should make him president.