The acronym BAT (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) has become a conceptual political discourse in our politics and polity as a nation. And because of its implications, consequences and influences, the ‘concept’ becomes controversial. So, the definition of the concept ‘BAT’ depends on the disposition of the definer to the concept. If those who are disgruntled and unfavourably disposed to ‘BAT’ define the concept, you should expect derogatory qualifiers in their definitions.
To this end, the usual rancorous, vituperative verbal attacks and negotiated conspiracies against Bola Ahmed Tinubu in an attempt to assassinate his character and scuttle his 2023 presidential ambition are understandable, as the attacks and allegations are usually baselessly parented by those seeking to stoke and manipulate people’s anger in order to advance their own political objectives.
Since 2007 when his tenure as two-term Lagos State governor came to a halt, BAT has not held any political position, but he has received attacks and demeaning insults more than any politician, including those who remain perpetually in power and who have amassed affluence and huge wealth from 1999 till this moment. But why is the system this unfair, especially when it has not been able to legally establish any case of financial misappropriation or other forms of guilt against Tinubu?
Many of his political hate mongers resent him for his stake being a facilitator of Lagos’ socioeconomic and infrastructural overhauling evidenced in the state’s sustained, uninterrupted growth in the last two decades.
But Tinubu has many more haters, especially in politics because his political influence transcends Lagos State. In 2007, for instance, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with overwhelming influence, recorded landslide victory in the April 2007 elections. Tinubu singlehandedly swung into action of negotiations to bring together the fragmented opposition parties into a “mega-party” with which he challenged and weakened the PDP’s influence, especially in Southwest.
The fruits of his negotiations became manifest in 2013 with the merger of three biggest opposition parties — the_Action Congress of Nigeria_ (ACN), the _Congress for Progressive Change_ (CPC), the _All Nigeria People’s Party_ (ANPP); a faction of the _All Progressives Grand Alliance_ (APGA) and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of serving governors of then ruling _Peoples Democratic Party_ — into the popular _All Progressives Congress_ (APC).
The victorious emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari as a merger candidate in the 2015 presidential election, which ended the 16-year rule of the PDP, redounded to Tinubu’s credit for his political expertise and wizardry without which Buhari, who had before the merger, contested 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections and lost, might not have won the election.
You see why diehard political opponents would not stop their indignant resentments and feelings of ill will toward Tinubu; he ended PDP’s hegemony and broke its near two-decade political jinx.
I wonder why the maxim “No permanent enemy or friend in politics”, which is axiomatic in the way some personal-interest conscious politicians defect from one political party to another, does not apply to some unrepentant crooks and unforgiven political actors in our clime! This crop of stakeholders in our polity should be educated on the need to place patriotism and national interest above any others, either personal or politically motivated, and make progressive friendship for the development of this country.
It is an incontestable fact that Tinubu was one of the focal protesters against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections, who demanded establishment of a new democracy in Nigeria. With a view to achieving this intent, you would not blame BAT for his brave application of the maxim by placing national interest above his personal interest, thereby making friendships with political actors across notable opposition parties for the purpose of building a formidable force.
Jimoh Olorede, a writer and researcher, writes via [email protected]