This Democracy: Bola Tinubu’s Strategic Contributions

This Democracy: Bola Tinubu’s Strategic Contributions

Sunday, June 16, 2019 3:13 pm


Cover deign on Tinubu

Nigeria has shifted to gear two after President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2019 presidential election and was sworn in for a second term on 29 May.

In the current democratic experiment, a man whose contribution cannot but be highly acknowled is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor.

Below is a story that TheNEWS (hard copy) wrote in 2015 on his role in the mergers that turned the All Progressives Congress (APC) into a rumbling political juggernaut that ended the dream of People’s Democratic Party’s 60-year reign. Read it and you will find out those things that make Tinubu ‘tick’. The story is entitled:

Jagaban’s New Nigeria

Former Lagos Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was a key figure in the political seismic shift that ended Peoples Democratic Party, PDP dream of ruling Nigeria for 60 years

BY AYORINDE OLUOKUN/ABUJA

All’s well that ends well. This ancient proverb which even became popular as the title of a comedy written by William Shakespeare, the famous British playwright seem to sum up the feeling of members of National Working Committee, NWC of All Progressives Congress who met in Abuja on Wednesday last week.

This magazine learnt that though Chief John Odigie Oyegun led members of the NWC have much to complain about on how the 2015 general elections were conducted in some parts of the country, they were however not oblivious that their political platform had at the end of the process virtually taken the Nigerian political scene by the scruff of the neck.

The meeting was called to review the performance of the party in the 28 March presidential and National assembly elections, as well as the 11 April gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections. But even more crucial on the agenda of the APC NWC was initiating a process of putting together a team that will ensure orderly transition of power to the country’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) from the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Indeed, there was a lot to cheer by the NWC.

Buhari:

Just as the former Head of State will be taking the reins of power from PDP in Abuja on 29 May, 19 governors elected on the platform of APC will also be assuming office in 19 states of the federation compared to seven of their counterparts in PDP.   The APC booty is even expected to swell before 29 May, when the governorship elections are concluded in Imo and possibly Taraba State, where the party, for the first time in Nigeria, fielded a woman, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan as its candidate.

Although governorship elections didn’t hold in Kogi, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Bayelsa, APC had also won majority seats in both chambers of National Assembly to complete the routing of PDP, from its 16 years unbroken domination of Nigeria’s political space.

Many PDP chieftains could still not believe what had it them. For some, the political upset staged by the APC was still like a scene from a bad dream.  Like the APC, the PDP will also do stocktaking this week.

It was learnt that the meeting will have in attendance all PDP governors, governors- elect, all the Senators, Senators- Elect, that of the House of Representatives and all the candidates who participated in the March 28 and April 11 general elections. The PDP had ahead of the meeting last week, directed all the States and Zonal Chairmen of the Party to furnish its NWC with the comprehensive reports on the last general elections in their respective States and Zones for the party to take general review of events and to take a common stand on the general conduct of the polls. This magazine also gathered that the meeting would also deliberate on how to stop the party from going out of the Nigerian political radar, following the massive reversal of fortunes it suffered in the election.

Cover story pages on Tinubu

Chieftains of the party across the country desperate to retain the undue privileges of being members of the ruling party have been decamping to APC in droves since their party lost the presidential election, making the PDP accuse the APC of engineering the plot to decimate it as a party. Olisa Metuh, PDP National Publicity told journalists last Wednesday that the APC has perfected plans to destabilize the party using those he described as disgruntled members to execute the plot as an aftermath of the 2015 general elections: “We are aware that some elements within our Party have been co- opted by the APC to destabilize our party aftermath of the outcome of the results of the 2015 general elections. While others have defected to the APC, some have been asked to stay behind to be used to execute the plot but the NWC will not allow this to happen.”  The accusation against APC by the PDP is in itself a poignant reflection of change of power levers in Nigeria. It’s a classic case of a murderer forbidding a man holding a sword passing by him, as indicated in a Yoruba proverb.

The fact is that the PDP had used the same tactics to disorganize political parties that have posed threat to its dominance of Nigeria’s political life in the past 16 years. The PDP under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had through such cloak and dagger means taken the sail off major Nigerian opposition parties who posed threat to it at the renewal of democracy in the country in 1999. Chieftains of opposition parties were enticed through invitation to participate in so called Government of National Unity to abandon their platforms and join the PDP. An example is the case of Chief Don Etiebet a former National Chairman of the APP who was encouraged by the former President to defect to PDP after doing considerable damage to his own party.

Tinubu

The former President similarly enticed other opposition chieftains like Alhaji Mahmud Waziri, the pioneer National Chairman of the APP, late Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, former National Chairman who was the Vice presidential candidate of General Buhari among others to join the PDP, an action which was believed to have been deliberately targeted at weakening opposition parties.  Ahead of the 2003 general elections, the former President had reached an agreement with the leadership of the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation to get the support of the then Alliance for Democracy, AD which was then in control of South West for his second term ambition.

Obasanjo lost in all the six states of Southwest Nigeria on his way to becoming the President in 1999. In 2003, he convinced the Afenifere chieftains to support him during the presidential election to remove the shame of lack of support for his presidential ambition from his -home base. He in turn promised to ensure that the AD Governors got re-elected in the gubernatorial elections.
But while the Afenifere chieftains played their part, Obasanjo literarily stabbed them in the back by ensuring that the PDP also won the gubernatorial elections, thus displacing all the AD Governors in the South West States. Fortunately, that plot took in not all governors, otherwise the historic change ushered into the country through the 28 March 2015 presidential election may not have been possible. Standing apart from other AD Governors like a sore thumb then was former Governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the then chief executive of Lagos. He not only refused to be taken in by the sentiments of voting for a son of the Southwest, but he was also able to stop attempts to rig him out of office during the election.

After his re-election on the platform of AD in 2003, Tinubu literarily became the only opposition not only in Western Nigeria, but also in the entire Southern Nigeria.  This was unacceptable to the former President distinguished for his vindictiveness. The Obasanjo PDP-controlled Federal Government seized on the opportunity of creation of additional 57 Local Council Development Areas for Lagos States by the former Governor to seize about N40 billion allocations to the state from the central purse. This was despite the fact that the former Governor was just one among his counterparts then who had exercised their constitutional rights to create additional Local Governments in their States. Tinubu challenged the withholding of the allocation in court and won.  The former President however refused to obey the court judgment.

The Governor refused to be intimidated by Obasanjo’s refusal to carry out the Court order as well as other forms of intimidation directed at him. Rather, he creatively met the attempt at intimidation and efforts to ground the activities of his government by denying it of funds with introduction of measures to the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of Lagos. With Lagos declaring an average monthly IGR at N23billion last week, the efforts are still yielding bountifully for the State eight years after he left power. It is to the credit of Tinubu’s financial wizardry that Lagos today is not only generating the highest internally generated revenue in the country, but is about the only state that can survive without allocation from the centre.

Ahead of 2007 general elections, Tinubu opened a new chapter in the history of opposition politics in Nigeria with the establishment of the Action Congress, a merger of the remnants of Alliance for Democracy, the Justice Party, the Advance Congress of Democrats, and several other minor political parties in September 2006. He was able to transform the new party into a credible opposition to the PDP across the country within few months. The party attracted top contenders, who deemed it as a desirable platform for actualization of their political ambition.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was the presidential candidate of the party in 2007. The party also fielded other top-notch talents for gubernatorial and other elections across the country. At the end of that elections and despite the massive rigging of the 2007 elections described as the worst electoral fraud in the country’s history, the defunct AC solidified its position as the strongest opposition party in Nigeria. It clearly won five states in the South west and, Edo in South-south Nigeria, in addition to Senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assemblies seats in Lagos, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo, Bauchi, Plateau, Niger, Adamawa, Oyo and Osun states.  But the party was denied some of the victories in Osun, Ekiti and Edo states, leading to protracted legal battles, through which the states were recovered from the PDP. The ACN ally in Ondo, the Labour Party also recovered the state from the PDP, but the courts could not help the ANPP candidate in Oyo state.

The role Tinubu played in the retrieval of the mandates of the candidates of the party and its allies was remarkable, with forensic analysis deployed to verifying ballot papers used in the election and a galaxy of senior advocates of Nigeria also deployed to wage the battles in the various tribunals and appeal court. In 2008, the Party’s candidate in Edo State, former Labor leader Comrade Adams Oshiomhole won a decisive victory and took the mantle of power in that state. In Ekiti state, the Party’s candidate- Dr. Kayode Fayemi also emerged victorious over the PDP Candidate Engineer Segun Oni in court, while Engineer Rauf Aregbesola also recorded the same feat in Osun in 2010. Alliance between the Labour Party Governor in Ondo State, Dr. Mimiko and the AC with the support of Tinubu also helped the latter retrieve his stolen mandate through the court. The Action Congress changed its name to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in 2010.

Still in pursuit of his convictions that only a national party with strong presence in all parts of the country can give the seemingly octopus-like PDP a run for its money, the former Lagos State Governor initiated moves to form a mega opposition party in alliance with the defunct General Muhammadu Buhari-led Congress for Progressive Change, CPC ahead of the 2011 general elections. The effort failed, as both parties could not agree on the sharing of party positions.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

Moreover, the initiative came too close to the election. As a result, both parties went into the 2011 general elections as individual entities. While the ACN selected Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC as its candidate, General Buhari ran on the platform of his party, the CPC.
President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP candidate, worsted both candidates. But the 2011 failure, especially when it was realized that General Buhari scored 12 million votes garnered from mostly the 19 states in the Northern part of the country was an eye opener on the possibilities of the alliance between the northern and southern part of the country. Also an eye opener was the political upset recorded against the PDP in the House of Representatives, by an alliance of ACN members and PDP members, who did not want the PDP leadership to impose a speaker on them. The PDP leaders, in pursuance of the party’s zoning arrangement wanted Mulika Akande, a lawyer and member from Oyo state, to be elected the speaker. But a large number of PDP members felt they had a better candidate in Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, also a lawyer from Sokoto State.

The latter camp had the number and went ahead, with Tinubu’s blessing to elect Tambuwal as the speaker. The political collaboration in the House, across the aisles signaled the possibility that the will of the ruling PDP could be challenged.
Outside of the House of Representatives, political maneuverings for 2015 elections also began in earnest.

Not wearied by the failure of his past efforts, the former Lagos State Governor again initiated the process of forming a mega opposition capable of challenging the ruling PDP immediately the curtain was closed on the 2011 polls. General Buhari and his CPC had also been converted to the idea of forging a new political coalition that could displace the PDP from power. It had taken three general elections for the message to sink in: no single opposition party can on its own muster the human and material resources needed to confront PDP which has vast access to the national purse.  Chastened three times by the PDP, leaders of the various parties were more willing to commit their platforms to the merger, this time around.

Sources told this magazine that Tinubu, along with the ACN chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, played the role of a stabilizer during the merger talks as the parties discussed issues of identity, logo, colours, slogan as well as fashioning out the constitution to be adopted by the new party.

The efforts to form a mega opposition party became a reality on 6 February 2013 with the formation of APC, an alliance of Nigeria’s four biggest opposition parties – the ACN, CPC, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, led by Governor Rochas Okorocha.  The resolution to dissolve the structure of the different political parties to form the merger was signed by Tom Ikimi, who represented the ACN; Senator Annie Okonkwo on behalf of the APGA; former governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, the Chairman of ANPP’s Merger Committee; and Garba Sadi, the Chairman of CPC’s merger committee.
“We resolve to form a political party committed to the principles of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end, determined to grow our economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, industrial growth etc, and stop the increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people,” Ikimi told journalists.

The PDP through Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, its national chairman then wasted no time in dismissing the merger as inconsequential to the party’s dominance of Nigeria’s politics.
But beyond the dismissal of APC as a lightweight, the ruling party began subterranean moves to ensure the party was not registered by INEC. Just as APC was applying to INEC for registration, two other associations – African Peoples Congress and All Patriotic Citizens believed to be sponsored by the PDP also applied to the Commission for registration. The two parties also adopted APC as their acronym. One of the PDP surrogates, the African Peoples Congress later unveiled its logo, constitution, emblem and acronym.
“We have just one APC (African People’s Congress). The other one does not exist and INEC is aware of our party. The other APC only did merely negotiation, but we started our party over two years ago with the documents submitted to the INEC; we have met the requirements of the constitution and the Electoral Act,” Kingsley Nnadi, the Legal Adviser of the party told journalists at the occasion.  He denied that some members of the PDP to scuttle the registration of All Progressive Congress hurriedly floated his own ‘APC’. “I believe that the unveiling of our party today has finally put to rest the contention over APC, which one is authentic or not and we are waiting for INEC’s reply. We have our offices in over 26 states of the federation including our national headquarters and our support is massive,” he added.

Cover story pages on Tinubu 2

There were also allegations that the leadership of PDP mounted pressure on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to abort the registration of the mega opposition party. This rumour triggered speculations that INEC had advised the merger group to adopt a new name because of pending litigations at the Federal High Court by the  ‘African People’s Congress’, another political association laying claim to the APC acronym. This fear eventually proved to be false as INEC registered APC on 31 July, 2013 to become a political party and subsequently withdrew the operating licenses of the ACN, CPC and ANPP, the three parties now fused in a coalition.

“This is the first ever merger in the history of Nigeria and it represents a paradigm shift in our politics,” Tinubu, who was then recuperating in London, after a knee surgery, said of the merger.
The spoof APC did not easily give up the fight to be recognized as the real APC as they took the matter to court.

This magazine gathered that determined to ensure that nothing stops the merger; Tinubu had reached out to the brains behind the spoof APC and persuaded them to withdraw their case against the mega opposition party, thus setting the opposition on a smooth sail. Sources told this party that from then on, Tinubu became the tactical force behind the APC.

His efforts were boosted by other political forces in the country: General Ibrahim Babangida for instance who had encouraged the merger of the CPC and ACN in 2011 and General Olusegun Obasanjo, former head of state and president, scorned and ridiculed by the Jonathan administration. And then came the implosion of the PDP itself triggered by President Jonathan’s plan to contest the 2015 elections, despite the understanding he would only run for a term and his offensive against members and chieftains of the party linked with Obasanjo, such as the party secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and South West Vice-chairman, Olusegun Oni. In the South West, Obasanjo’s allies in PDP switched to the APC and seven governors of the PDP stormed out of the party’s convention in Abuja in November 2013 to form a short-lived parallel PDP structure. Five of the governors, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Rotimi Amaechi, Aliyu Wammako, Murtala Nyako and Abdulfatah Alfatah, along with former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and Senators Bukola Saraki and Danjuma Goje, also swelled the ranks of the opposition, teaming up with the APC. Tinubu, as events unfolded, was seen shuttling between Lagos, Minna, Kaduna, Abuja, Abeokuta trying to forge a cohesive front for the APC, including even urging Obasanjo to assume the role of ‘navigator’ for the new opposition. The expanded governors forum, now including five PDP governors, also played a big role in galvanizing public opinion in favour of the APC.

In June last year came the party’s biggest test: its first national convention, with predictions by doomsday prophets that it would collapse. But the bleak forecasts never came to pass, as the party ensured that most of the positions to be competed for had been amicably shared by various contending forces before the convention: the convention was merely a coronation.

Tinubu played a crucial role in ensuring the emergence of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun led executive of APC at the party’s national convention held in June 2014. In supporting Odigie-Oyegun, the former Governor had resisted stiff resistance from other party chieftains who preferred the former Minister of Foreign Affairs during the late General Sani Abacha administration, Chief Tom Ikimi.
Convinced that Ikimi has been badly tainted by his participation in the Abacha administration and thus may make the party a hard sell in the South West part of the country, the former Governor of Lagos State had lobbied other chieftains at the convention to support the candidacy of Odigie-Oyegun.  There was also the fear that the former Foreign Affairs Minister was a mole for the PDP planted in APC. Tinubu’s convictions proved to be right when Ikimi who was frustrated by his inability to clinch the party’s chairmanship jumped ship some weeks later and went straight to the PDP.  Also, Tinubu’s support for Buhari was crucial in helping to ensure that the former General emerged the presidential candidate of APC at a rancor free national convention of APC held in Lagos.

The transparent manner through which the former Head of State clinched the ticket ahead of the other aspirants at the convention transmitted live on national television earned the opposition party more support and respect among Nigerians. Tinubu was believed to have mobilized other party stakeholders and APC governors to ensure that other presidential aspirants with huge financial war chests did not muscle the former head of state out.

“We chose Buhari not because Bola Tinubu is not interested in the Presidency. I am capable, competent, qualified, younger and richer but there comes a time that people must make sacrifices for their nation,” Tinubu said of his support for the former Head of State during APC presidential campaign stop in Lagos. “I prayed that Nigeria would get better and we would not need a man like him (Buhari). But today, we are in a great crisis; we face a lot of challenges. When South Africa was in a great dilemma and was about to disintegrate, they called Nelson Mandela, 74 years old. He used his wisdom to save his country. When the United States was in economic depression, they called 73-year-old Ronald Reagan because he was frugal and incorruptible,” he added.

Tinubu’s selflessness came to play again when it was time to nominate the Vice President for the party. Many had speculated that Tinubu was interested in the party’s vice presidential ticket.
Indeed, impressed by the role he played in his emergence, Buhari, according to reports, had asked the former Lagos State Governor to nominate anybody he wanted for the position of the vice president, including himself. But as a pragmatic politician, Tinubu refused to put himself forward for the position out of sensitivity to the religious factor. Instead, he nominated a Redeemed Church Pastor and former Lagos State attorney general and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to run alongside Buhari. Osinbajo has remained a close ally of the APC national leader since he served as a commissioner in his administration from 1999-2007.

The APC National leader confirmed in a later statement that Buhari offered him the vice-presidential ticket, but he refused it having weighed his “potential candidacy in all of its dimensions.”  According to him, the interests of the party, its campaign and of the nation are better served if he retained his position as the National leader of the APC.

This position, he argued would allow him to be a bridge builder across all divides:  “When my name was raised, the political hatchet men tried to chop it down with rumour and lies. Over the years, I have developed a thick skin. The personal attacks did not bother me. I am used to them. While I have a thick skin, I don’t have a thick mind. There has been one form of attack that has troubled me. That is the attack based on religion. The PDP and others have stoked fear of a Muslim- Muslim ticket,” Tinubu said while advising Nigerians to choose wisely and remove religion from the electoral equation.

Many political pundits saw the choice of Osinbajo as a masterstroke, which helped douse allegations by the PDP that the APC was out to Islamize the country. The choice of the VP also helped to increase the acceptance of the party by the majority of Nigerians from across the various religious divides.

Buhari’s choice of Yemi Osinbajo, according to analysts was the first knock out of APC against the PDP in the battle for the South West. Even President Goodluck Jonathan was quoted to have told his political associates that Osinbajo’s emergence had created serious political problems for him.
“I didn’t have any problem in being able to beat General Buhari, until Osinbajo came into the picture”, Jonathan, who had hoped to win re-election on the back of block Christian votes, lamented.

Political analysts concurred that the choice of Osinbajo really helped to blunt the arrow of Northern religious irredentist the PDP has tried to portray the APC presidential candidate before Christian voters in the South and Middle Belt part of the country.
On the campaign trail, the APC backed by millions of social media commentators and bloggers succeeded in convincing South West voters to embrace Buhari and drop Jonathan who was supported in 2011 over his non-performance, corruption and his inability to tackle most problems, such as unemployment and insecurity, confronting the country.

This magazine gathered that the former Governor also commissioned regular scientific surveys through which opinion of the voters were constantly gauged as well the use of consultants who helped to ensure that the campaigns of the party remained focused on issues.  Indeed, the APC presidential campaign has been applauded for its focus on issues and for probably being one of the most well run by an opposition party in Africa.

For a candidate to be declared the winner of a Nigerian presidential election, he has to score the highest number of votes cast at the poll.  In addition, the candidate must also obtain at least one quarter of votes in 24 states, which is two thirds of the states of the federation. Analysts had predicted that inability to break outside the Northern part of the country in terms of garnering of votes has been a major albatross of Buhari past attempts at the presidency. 1n 2011 elections for instance, over 90 per cent of the former head of state 12 million votes was from states across the Northern part of the country.

Since he began contesting for the presidency in 2003, Buhari has never won in any of the states in the southern part of the country. Also neither ANPP nor CPC is in control of any of the southern states during the three times he contested in the past.  But the formation of APC as a mega opposition, pan Nigerian platform offered Buhari the chance to break this yoke with his victories in the Southwest in the presidential election.
The APC gave Buhari a bigger national platform, with 14 governors in its ranks, especially its control of most of the South West, except Ondo State at the inception. In addition, there were APC Governors in Edo and Imo State. This gave Buhari a solid foothold in the South for the first time since he began to contest for the presidency. Thus, unlike during his previous outings, large crowds were characteristic of rallies in the south.

Apart from the bigger national platform, the APC also offered Buhari a much stronger financial muscle to prosecute his campaign. Thus, unlike in the past, he was able to   take care of all the necessary logistics necessary for a national campaign.

The PDP had ahead of the elections dismissed claims that Tinubu was capable of swinging the South West votes for APC, citing developments in the region like Ondo and Ekiti State which is now in the basket of PDP and alleged increasing unpopularity of APC in Lagos State. But the former Lagos State Governor proved them wrong.

Tinubu’s political machinery ensured victory for the APC in five of the six states of the zone. The party won in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, and Oyo and upset Jonathan’s points man, Governor Olusegun Mimiko by also winning Ondo state. The APC however lost to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti.

The former Lagos governor is unarguably the reason for the inroad that Buhari made in the Southwest and consequently the national spread that helped him to fulfill the constitutional provision of 25 per cent across 2/3 of the States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. At a colloquium to mark Tinubu’s 63rd birthday in Lagos few days to the presidential election, General Buhari publicly acknowledged Tinubu’s role. He paid a similar tribute after the poll, when he and his VP elect, collected the certificate of returns from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega.

Professor Attahiru Jega

But it was not smooth sailing for the former Lagos State Governor. As noted by one of his aides last week, the period between the formations of the party, the inauguration of the party’s executive, to its convention in Lagos, the national presidential campaign and the elections was one characterized by dangerous moves, plots and turns against him. For one, the PDP which was also carrying out its own surveys suddenly realized that it is about to lose the election in a big way, especially in the South West many had predicted would be the battleground for the two major parties. Hence, the ruling party forced INEC to postpone the elections for six weeks. President Jonathan virtually relocated to Lagos in the six weeks interregnum created by the postponement.

When attempts to induce the former Governor to support the PDP candidate failed, the ruling party had deployed soldiers in and around the Bourdillon, Ikoyi residence of the former Governor. Of course, this resulted in protests by supporters of Tinubu who consequently made a banner with the inscription “This is not Sambisa Forest” to force the soldiers to back off. The PDP in its desperation then embarked on the sponsorship of documentaries intended to portray the former Governor in a very negative light on the network of a Lagos based television station, though he is not a candidate in the elections.

In addition, this magazine also gathered that Ibrahim Lamorde, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was under tremendous pressure to move against Tinubu. But Lamorde was said to have resisted the pressure, offering to resign his appointment instead of arresting the former Governor on spurious charges. This was in addition to early efforts to destabilize the opposition party through planting of moles in its ranks as well as convincing prominent Northerners not to support its presidential candidate.

The battle of wits between the APC and the PDP continued even after the election with the attempts by Elder Godsday Orubebe, the agent of PDP at the Collation Centre to stop the announcements of results of the polls when it became clear that PDP had lost the election. It was gathered that PDP had unsuccessfully earlier scoured the court in Abuja and Lagos, before the Orubebe disgraceful performance for a Judge willing to grant an injunction against the declaration of the results. But the APC chieftains had also deployed their lawyers to be on standby in all the courts in the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos to stop the move.
With its failure at the presidential election, the PDP had attempted to get back at Tinubu by ensuring that his party lost control of Lagos, the economic capital which it has been in control of for the past 16 years, using the same mantra of change, that the APC had used to sack it at the centre.  President Jonathan had relocated to Lagos allegedly for the purpose few days to the gubernatorial election, with planeloads of cash in dollars and Naira, according to APC.

But the efforts did not succeed because of the refusal by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner as well as Commissioner of Police to be part of the plot to snatch Lagos at all costs. It was gathered that the Lagos State INEC boss for instance refused to recruit members of SURE-P Task Force who the PDP had hoped will help facilitate rigging of the election as ad hoc staff during the polls. And despite also encouraging AIG Mbu Jospeh Mbu, to ignore a police high command directive to leave Lagos, the APC went on to win the Lagos gubernatorial election, in addition to its victory at the federal level.

The historic significance of the opposition national victory and the role of the former Lagos Governor were not lost on party members and sympathizers. It was the first time a political collaboration between the Northwest, Northeast and the South West parts of the country, was forged since Nigeria came into existence as an entity, 55 years ago. An effort by Ladoke Akintola, premier of Western Nigeria to create the alliance was unpopular in the early 60s. It made Akintola earn political infamy among his people and led to charges against him as a lackey of the Northern Peoples Congress of the Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello.

About 50 years after, the Jagaban, as his admirers popularly call Tinubu has enacted the politically impossible and thus helped give birth to a new Nigeria. The question is whether the political experiment will endure.


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