Who is afraid of the Buhari-Tinubu strategic partnership? By Segun Ayobolu

Bola-Ahmed-Tinubu2Barely a month after a fictive hack writer utilizing the pages of a national newspaper, to unleash a barrage of lies, wild concoctions and unsubstantiated fantasies against one of the pre-eminent leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC),   Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,  the same newspaper has without respect for facts or logic been on the onslaught against Tinibu. This time around, the newspaper claims without the slightest respect for facts or empirical facts that Asiwaju Tinubu has been placed under security surveillance because of his perceived opposition to the ministerial submitted to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari. Of course, the presidency has since denied the utterly unfounded fabrication. Yet, there are issues about the strategic Buhari-Tinubu political partnership that are germane to the present and future politics of Nigeria.  Students of politics may be quick to accuse this columnist of individualistic reductionism when group or organisational analyses are required.  But the role of individuals in organisational dynamics cannot be underscored.

There can be no doubt that the strategic political partnership between President MuhammauduBuhari (PMB) and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has turned out to be one of the most efficacious, effective and productive in Nigeria’s political history.   Although each time he contested for Nigeria’s presidency in 2003, 2007 and 2011, Buhrai garnered more than 12 million votes in the north, where he has a cult following, this could not translate into the pan- Nigerian victory that Buhari needed to emerge as Nige1ria’s President.

In the same vein, despite throwing formidable and logistical weight particularly in the South West behind AtikuAbubakar in 2007 and MallamNuhuRibadu in 2011, Tinubu’s now defunct Action Congress (AC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), could not lead the progressives to victory at the national level. The 2015 unprecedented electoral victory that swept Buhari to power on the platform of the APC was thus a function of the combination of Buhrai’s mass grassroots following in the north and the mass appeal of the Tinubu tendency in the South West and the tendency’s strong network with political elites across the country that had hitherto been scared of Buhari’s puritan and inflexible approach to politics.

Any skilled political tactician who wants to cripple and render Buhrai’s administration ineffective from inception will, therefore aim to sunder and tear apart the partnership between the two men, One of the astute strategists being deployed by the anti Buhari-Tinubu partnership in a  section of the medias  is to recycle and dredge up all kinds of spurious and nefarious allegations against Tinubu that had become stale over the years and all which have been thoroughly investigated by relevant security and other agencies within and outside Nigeria. That plan of action has obviously gained no traction in relevant quarters. Hence the new line that                 Tinubu is under security surveillance for being allegedly opposed to President Buhari’s ministerial list. The APC national leader, according to the fictional report, jetted out of the country because he is many of his nominees did not make the president’s ministerial list.

Of course, there are established protocols, processes and procedures that must be adhered to before anyone, no matter how highly placed, can travel out of the country. Did Tinubu violate anyone of these? In any case, the security sources quoted by the newspaper in question claimed they could not be placed on record because the purported investigation against Tinubu’s alleged plot against Buhari are still at the preliminary stages. This suggests that no in depth investigations have been carried out and any talk of a plot at point in time is tentative, premature and lacking in substance.

Now, for what rational or logical reasons will Buhari’s ministerial list instigate Tinubu to begin to plot against PMB whatever that means? In the globalised world of today, can a national leader of a political party travel to any of the advanced global democracies to plot the destabilisation and truncation of his country’s democracy? What magical wand does Tinubu wave that he will convince Senators to plot against Buhari simply because the President has exercised his right to pick men and women he can work with as Ministers? Is that an impeachable offence? The Presidential system of government gives wide latitude to chief Executives to appoint Ministers they can work with within or outside their parties. This is unlike the parliamentary system where the Prime Minister is bound to nominate his cabinet from members of his party in the legislature.

A number of commentators have cited the presence of Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) and Dr Kayode Fayemi as reasons for Tinubu’s alleged disagreement with Buhari’s ministerial list. This is childish. No matter what political intrigues may be currently at play, the presence of the two eminent gentlemen in Buhari’s cabinet testifies to Tinubu’s attributes as a talent hunter, discoverer and builder of leaders. Let us nurture not savage the productive Buhari-Tinubu partnership.