Tinubu: Repeating mistakes of Afonja, Awolowo, Abiola, Diya BY OGBONNAYA WILLIAMS

tinubu b

One of the tragedies of the Bourbon ruling class of France after Waterloo of June 18, 1815, was that they came back to power, having learnt and forgotten nothing. They came back to power in France and continued to repeat the same mistakes that gave birth to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and other characteristics of the era. This appears to be true of some per­sonalities in Yoruba history, who saw themselves as the messiahs of their era, but ended up disillusioned. They never got what they wanted because they were propelled by ego, blind hatred and illusions of what they wanted to achieve. This is the same with Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who has erroneously been dressed in the robe of a political giant, when ordi­narily he is a political opportunist, masquerading and praying to be ad­dressed as Asiwaju Yorubaland.

He has got the first baptism of fire at the Senate where Senator Bukola Saraki emerged as Senate President. Tinubu wanted to have the Vice Presi­dency and Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Buhari presi­dency. What an illusion! The political amalgam that became the All Progres­sives Congress, APC, which Tinubu, no doubt was the midwife, would soon be the Achilles heel for his political ha­rakiri. The 3rd Republic Senator and former Lagos State governor will soon regret to have made the mistake of his life with the formation of APC. This was the mistake made by Afonja of Ilorin, who, as the Aare Onakanfanfo of Yorubaland, developed a morbid hatred for the reigning Alaafin of Oyo, his boss and emperor of the old Oyo Empire. Tinubu’s hatred for President Goodluck Jonathan was unparralled.

Afonja invited the Fulani jihadist, Alimi, whom he joined up with and destroyed the old Oyo Empire. He thought he would free himself from the influence and power of the Alaafin. The duo on getting back to Ilorin, af­ter the destruction of old Oyo town­ship and empire, Alimi taught Afonja the lesson of his life. Ilorin became an Emirate with Afonja killed. The Muslim Fulanis took over Ilorin land, where till date 95 per cent of the Yor­uba population is ruled by less than 5 pwer cent Fulanis.

Governor Mohammed Lawal, the ANPP Governor of Kwara State (1999- 2003) an Afonja descendent who thought he could force the Fulani’s to retreat and re-write the 200-years old history of the emirate was shoved aside by the Olooye himself, Senator Abuba­kar Olusola Saraki, a Yorubanised Fu­lani. Lawal’s elevation of the Baloguns of Ilorin to Obaship status, (including his father), was reversed by Governor Bukola Saraki.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo repeated the same mistake of Afonja during the Nigerian Civil war (1967-1970). When the then Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon came to power on August 1st, 1966, one of the first things he did was to re­lease Awolowo from prison. Realizing that he could not consolidate his grip on power without the backing of the Yoruba, Gowon promptly constituted a Federal Executive Council domi­nated by some of Awos-prewar allies like Joseph Tarka, Aminu Kano and Chief Anthony Enahoro etc. Gowon made Awolowo the Vice-Chairman of the Federal Executive Council and Federal Commissioner for Finance, a position that was equivalent of the position of Prime Minister of Nigeria, which Awolowo had been dreaming of all his life.

Having used Awolowo to vanquish the people of former Eastern Nigeria (Biafrans) Awolowo thought that be­coming the Prime Minister of Nigeria could be his by mere asking for it from those he served during the war (the Northern establishment) as soon as the war ended. Lo, that was never to be as he clearly saw the handwriting on the wall.

Early in 1971, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, to the consterna­tion of his people, resigned from Gow­on’s cabinet. Awolowo’s attempt to be President of Nigeria in 1979 and 1983 through his UPN failed. Neither Chief Philip Umeadi nor Alhaji Mohammed Kura (his running mates) could get him the Igbo or Northern votes in the two elections. Four years after 1983 (1987) Awolowo died, a frustrated man even though he was described as the best President Nigeria never had.

The late MKO Abiola, made the same mistake of Afonja and Awolowo during the 2nd Republic. Abiola in 1980 floated the Concord Group of Newspapers to fight the Tribune group owned by Obafemi Awolowo, in the Western states of Nigeria. He financed and bankrolled the National Party of Nigeria in Ogun State and other Odua states. Concord Press Nigeria Limited Group of newspapers fought and ex­posed Awolowo’s 1000 plots of land deal in Maroko. Having or thinking he had served the Northern establishment enough, in 1982, Umaru Dikko told Abiola to his face that Nigeria (North­ern) presidency was not for the highest bidder. In anger, Abiola resigned from the NPN and said good-bye to Nige­rian politics.

In 1993, Abiola, now the darling of Yorubas and Nigeria though he was ripe for Nigerian presidency was de­nied the victory of June 12, which is now a recurring point in the country’s history. His friend, Ibrahim Babangida and the Northern establishment denied him the Presidency, even when Abiola was a Muslim like them. Again, Abiola in November 18, 1993, was the first to go to Dodan Barracks to congratulate Sani Abacha for sacking his brother, Ernest Shonekan. Abiola even nomi­nated Ministers, with such Progres­sives as Lateef Jakande, Baba Gana Kingibe, Ebenezer Babatope, etc into Sani Abacha’s first cabinet. Abiola had the false belief that Abacha would hand over to him after one year. After a year, June 1994, Abiola made his fa­mous Epetedo Declaration, which led his detention by Abacha until July 8, 1998, when Abiola mysteriously died after drinking tea in the presence of Americans.

The foxy General Sani Abacha when he seized power in 1993, el­evated or demoted General Oladipo Diya as Chief of General Staff from position of Chief of Defence Staff to consolidate his grip on power. Very soon, Diya, acting his master’s script, used the Federal might to batter the NADECO, Afenifere, Odua Move­ment and other real Progressives of the Yoruba struggle. Tinubu even went on exile.

Soon after, Diya bankrolled the ac­tivities of the Imeri Group as Dr. Bode Olajumoke’s home in Imeri, at the periphery of Ondo state soon became the political Mecca and centre of Yor­uba politics. Diya even facilitated the Yoruba man’s position in the emerg­ing UNCP, which was begging Aba­cha among five leprous fingers of the same hand (apology to Bola Ige) to be their presidential candidate. Seeing that he would have no place in Abacha’s transmutation in a civilian presidency, Diya wanted to be clever through coup plotting. He almost paid with his head, thanks to expiration of General Sanni Abacha on June 8, 1998 in controver­sial circumstance.

With the failure of ACN, CPC and ANPP to wrest power from Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, Ahmed Bola Tinubu threw in everything and convinced all the others to dissolve and form the APC, which was meant to have Gen­eral Muhammadu Buhari achieve his ambition to be Nigerian Head of State once again.

Sooner than later, Tinubu would re­alize that the real owners of APC from the North would emerge. They will as Alimi did to Afonja in 1830 Ilorin. At the first post-election convention of the APC, this year, Tinubu would no longer be the National Leader of APC, while such paperweights as Odigie- Oyegun and Lai Mohammed will be swept aside. History, it is said, repeats itself. What can Tinubu manipulate with four APC controlled states in the southwest, while 16 Northern APC states, Imo and Edo states are not un­der his control.



  1. I disagree with this opinion on Asiwaju Tinubu. The APC can not have any ‘owners’ from the north. Fortunately, the person of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, though a northerner who possesses a strong base in the region, has never aligned with the elite of the same region. Clearly even, he got elected into this position by his popularity with the lay man. One attribute of the northern lay man which cannot be taken away, is justice. Therefore, any attempt by Buhari to allow the usual suspects in the region, hijack this party and rob Asiwaju of his position will be strongly resisted by the people, and Buhari will be worse hit by this resistance .. It is an entirely new ball game, and Tinubu, unlike Afoja, Awolowo, and Abiola .. picked his battle well ..

  2. To me,if Tinubu made a mistake by the coming together of those political parties,it is a beautiful mistake. i don’t know what the writer is trying to achieve,is he telling us to continue the Jonathan experiment or what? i cant just understand. Until this country stops the ethnic, religion and political conspiracies and face this ‘armed robbers’ politicians held on, the birth of new Nigeria will just be a mirage. God bless Nigeria

  3. This is a well written historical facts,but the facts were distorted to suit the writer.The interpretations of historical occurrences were distorted to suit the writer no doubt.Okay,Northerners,perhaps,the Hausa/Fulani likes to dominate and or lord political domination over other ethnics groups,but they supported Chief Olusegun Obasanjo twice and even in 1999 when his own people refused to vote for him,the Northerners voted for him.Yes,Bola Tinubu may face a waterloo in APC over his ambitions,but the facts today in Nigeria politics is that no single ethnic group,even the Hausa/Fulani,who claimed that they are in the majority cannot hold on to power perpetually and that is a fact.Lets look at this way,with a transparent and credible election,a combination of south-south,south-east,north-central and north-east can overwhelmingly defeat this present political alliance of south-west and north-west,i.e,Hausa/Fulani and the Yoruba people.The realities on ground goes beyond this your narrow interpretations of events.I think the Ndigbo were politically dazed as they never thought the alliance will work.I strongly believe that the Ndigbo were really bitter that PMB will turn things around as their prayers were let everything spoil so that we can have our own Biafra.The realities in Nigeria now goes beyond this narrow and parochial analysis of historical facts.APC goes beyond Bola Tinubu and it’s aspirations and objectives also goes beyond him.Ndigbo deliberately over voted and falsified election results in the south-east in 2015 just because they wanted GEJ to win.The victory of APC in 2015 general elections is a victory of light over darkness and that is the simple truth.People were ruling with impunity,corruption everywhere and you are interpreting events from a primordial and ethnic perspectives in this modern time,this is unfair.We are talking about insecurity,unemployment,etc and you are analysing events based on individual ambitions,this is most unfair.

  4. I sincerely hope 2 meet with Jimi Disu as I believe, know and fully persuaded that a dream team working through a team dream that I pioneer and lead can utilize and maximize the use of every platform of Jimi Disu to perform the critical and crucial need to inform the people, reform the system and transform our great nation of great people, a true new nation to be built on a true new foundation for a true new generation of followership and leadership-thank you.

  5. This is total bad belle. But again everyone is entitled to there opinion about issues in the polity, so enjoy your moment sir.

  6. I agree with the writer. Tribal sentiments apart, the the analysis is chronicling history, political as it may be , to make us to learn from the mistake of the past. One thing is certain, the north political group without prejudice is the most sophisticated, practical and strategic group in the country. When they allowed OBJs presidency, it was to assuage the Yoruba. The emrgence of Jonathan was an accident unexpected. The fall of the PDP happened when that group found a new way of ideology in CPC. The north is very United and will always win when they throw their support behind an idea or movement. A bitter pill to swallow.

  7. There is lesson to be learnt in every write up, let’s put sentiments apart. Tinubu shoud watch his back closely and ko ma fi ino si ori orule sun.

  8. Tinubu hatred for president jonathan was unparalled i totally disagreed sir.Awolowo died a frustrated man haba bros this is a new start for nigerians away from a corrupt party which i believe you love.

Comments are closed.