January 28, 2023

The new conspiracies against citizen Tinubu

By Emmanuel Aziken

There is little doubt that the 2023 election season is turning out to be about the most exciting outing for the Nigerian media with the hard-hitting lines and narratives from the political class.

The bombastic excitements of Dr KO Mbadiwe and the theatric cries of Sam Mbakwe have today been replaced by the comical outings by some of the presidential candidates and the recent feisty exchanges between them. What do we make of the dancing steps of Governor Nyesom Wike who has now been restricted to Rivers State and not the national scene having been cut short by the PDP.

However, what came to fore in the week ending today is the tale of conspiracy that has now enveloped one of the major presidential candidates, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The allusions of a conspiracy within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC had been vaunted since the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the party.

The conspiracy tales are despite the strong support that Tinubu enjoys from the other room in the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, some strategic arms of the security apparatus and also, among some presidential aides.

But the story of conspiracy has been unending. President Buhari went to Bauchi a city that has repeatedly turned out the votes for him and could not talk because of a microphone malfunction.

Last Wednesday Tinubu returned to Abeokuta and openly alleged that the fuel scarcity crisis being faced by Nigerians and the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria were orchestrated to derail his move to claim his turn as president.

Remarkably, the assertions by Tinubu were made in Abeokuta, the very town where the APC presidential candidate in June 2022 made the Emilokan assertion about his turn to be president.

At that time he openly taunted President Muhammadu Buhari over his repeated failures in presidential elections saying that he, Buhari, could not make it until he, Tinubu forged the alliance that brought him to power. According to Tinubu it was now his turn after Buhari’s stint to be president.

Returning to Abeokuta last Wednesday, Tinubu alleged that the ‘powers that be’ were now trying to derail the election and deny him his turn.

Remarkably, hours later, Bayo Onanuga came out to clarify the assertion that Tinubu did not refer to Buhari in his denunciation of the fuel scarcity crisis and the naira redesign policies.

Rather, he blamed Atiku Abubakar and the PDP for the twin issues facing the country.

What happened in Abeokuta was that Tinubu went out of his prepared speech. Normally what has been the practise of recent in the APC campaigns is for the candidate to briefly attack Atiku, PDP, stingy Peter Obi and make one or two promises. After the rally, a prepared speech would then be circulated to the media.

Now, Buhari is the minister of petroleum under whom the APC government has been unable to produce fuel for local production, and still under him, the nation has seen the unprecedented diminution of crude production. So, if not Buhari who is both president and minister of petroleum who would you blame for the fuel crisis?

The Tinubu Campaign has also been particularly grumpy over the naira redesign policy of the APC led federal government.

Despite sustained support for the policy by President Buhari, Tinubu has been particularly disdainful despite the acclaimed benefits of the policy in addressing kidnapping, stabilising the value of the naira and also curtailing vote-buying.

In a week when an APC chief, Comrade Ayodele Adewale came on national television to allege that the two bullion vans pictured in the Lagos residence of Tinubu missed their way, more focus is now being put on the prospect of the cash withdrawal policy in curtailing vote-buying.

There is no doubt that vote-buying has become a noxious accessory to the electoral heists that many political actors have lately foisted on Nigeria. It was particularly nauseating in recent bye-elections.

Though your correspondent may not have the facts, but Hajiya Naja‘atu Muhammad on Arise News television on Thursday claimed that Tinubu bought the ticket alleging that for the first time in Nigerian history a presidential candidate is able to use money to overwhelm all the state governors.

Still on Arise News that night, an APC operative came out to allude that Governor Godwin Emefiele of the CBN was a saboteur for introducing the cash withdrawal policy. The APC partisan did not hide his bitterness with Emefiele who he alleged was determined to use the policy against the presidential candidate of his party.

Also on Thursday, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila of the House of Representatives, a well known mentee of Tinubu’s, vowed to issue an arrest warrant for Emefiele should he refuse to honour the invitation of the House Committee delegated to interface with the CBN on the cash withdrawal policy.

Gbajabiamila is being hailed by many politicians who have stockpiled money to use in the election and are now at their wits end over the new policy.

The conspiracy narrative around Tinubu continued on Friday with speculations that Mr Frank Mba had been appointed as the commissioner of police in Lagos. Coming on the eve of the election it was greeted with consternation by supporters of Tinubu who saw it as another evidence of the conspiracy of the Buhari government against him. Mba is about the first Igbo officer to head the Lagos State command.

As at press time the appointment has not been confirmed. But if true, it would be a serious blow to any scheme by the powers that be in Lagos to throw those who fall out of line with the Tinubu political order into the lagoon.