February 8, 2023

Tinubu and the Fulani agenda



By Rotimi Fasan

THE contrived cash crunch that has compounded the chaos created by the most prolonged energy crisis in the recent history of Nigeria has continued to torment most Nigerians. It has caused further confusion in their lives and dragged the country’s parlous economy further into the woods. With just two weeks until what is fast turning into a make-or-break presidential election, one that may be consequential to the continued existence of Nigeria as one united entity, and less than four months before he makes his final exit from government as president, Muhammadu Buhari is writing himself into history as one of the most sadistic and incompetent leaders that Nigeria would ever have the misfortune of being led by.  

The last one week has been among the worst Nigerians have ever experienced, owing to the naira redesign scheme, which has been turned into a weapon of mass immemorialisation, with the active support of President Buhari, and under the watchful guidance of the shadowy elements, infamously known as the cabal, resident in the president’s inner recesses.

It is rather unfortunate that in this eleventh hour of President Buhari’s time in office, Nigerians would still be worrying their heads about how the country has become beholden to a group of unelected people whose negative influence on the country could be so pervasive as to render useless any sense of direction in the management of the country’s affairs at this present time. It’s also becoming clear that all of these shenanigans are linked to the Fulani-led North’s obsession with clinging to power at any cost.

Yes, their target may be a particular politician or group of politicians, but the ultimate goal, as is becoming evident, is to make a peaceful transfer of power from the North to the South impossible. It is better to muddy the waters and create confusion than to allow an unwanted kaffir, a so-called unbeliever, to gain the reins of power. This is obviously the thinking of the most power-obsessed section of the Fulani political elite that speaks and makes decisions in the name of the majority. And I should say that at this moment, I make a clear distinction between the entire North and the Fulani section of it that is behind this dangerous plan that bodes no good for national well-being.

This is a case of revenge and vendetta at work. There is nothing about the naira colouring (for that is what it is!) that was motivated by the national good or the fight against corruption. If there is any such confluence of motives, it is at best incidental to the greater goal of stopping an unwanted politician from achieving what he has, by his own admission, called a “lifelong ambition”. The fact that the Fulani-North failed in their mission to stop this former comrade in their midst is a major reason why Nigerians are experiencing a cash crunch alongside a prolonged energy crisis.

Buhari, the self-serving politician whose anti-corruption instincts are most active when he has nothing to lose, would actually cause irreparable harm to an entire country in order to punish a politician who aided and abetted his rise to power.

 Whatever the reservations people have about Bola Tinubu (and they are countless), the fact that he is being betrayed by the very people he supported against the interest of the South-West, if not the south, and the better judgement of many politicians from the region, speaks to what many Yoruba people consider the congenital perfidy of the Fulani following the Afonja-Alimi experience. There should be honour among thieves.

The malarkey that Buhari wants a level playing field after enjoying the skulduggery of Tinubu’s politics and the largesse of his deep pocket is an unnecessary, and overly sanctimonious stretch of the truth. Where was his morality during the 2015 and 2019 elections when bullion vans were deployed? Was Tinubu’s name on the ballot then? Buhari could offer his support to him as a good party man and leader of the ruling party without soiling his hand. Anything else, including the surreptitious promotion of a rival party candidate, is to be complicit in an unfolding Fulani agenda. 

Like other Fulani elite that hide under the cover of one Nigeria or the other, Buhari appears to simply loathe the idea of a non-Fulani becoming president. Why, after 2016, would he not hand over power to Yemi Osinbajo each time he went on his prolonged medicals? Which of Tinubu’s alleged baggage does Osinbajo possess to warrant his relegation in a manner that flies in the face of the Constitution?

Politics is about agreement and horsetrading, even at its very best. Like MKO Abiola before him, Tinubu has invested in the political, Fulani-led North at the expense of the West. But what came of it? “The presidency is not for sale,” was Umaru Dikko’s response when it was payback time. His traducers didn’t stop until they had jailed and killed him. Part of the reason the election he won was annulled was to contain him financially. He was accused of using his wealth to influence the outcome of the election. Like Tinubu now, his running mate then was Kanuri.

It’s been 30 years, and we seem to have forgotten all too soon, but the dark omens of June 1993 are again gathering. We are sliding down the slopes of ethnic conflagration even as the rhetoric of inter-ethnic discourse is changing. We are in a never-ending cycle of national doom imposed by the perennial selfishness of a Fulani elite that cannot see what is in its best and most enlightened interest. While one flank of this elite appears to be working for national cohesion, the other flank is actively undermining it. Both sides are moving apace toward the common agenda of keeping power in the north. Those smart enough among them are already alerting their kith and kin to the dangers of their disloyal conduct. This is why Nasir el-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje, and the Northern governors of the APC are supporting a Tinubu presidency. The words of Jafar Jafar, Editor, Daily Nigerian News, in last Sunday’s Punch, speak to such awareness too.

Tinubu may be the target of the Fulani elite today, but he sure won’t be the only one to respond if and when things come to a head. Should he lose the presidential election, then, the only way the Fulani political elite can keep other Nigerians happy while still covered in national mistrust and odium is for another Southerner to win the election. Not a Northerner, much less a Fulani.