BOLAJI O. AKINYEMI
Nothing lasts for ever!
Bola Ahmed Tinubu began his political career with an understanding that reflects the popular Yoruba saying: “eniyan bo ni lara ju aso lo,” meaning: “People cover nakedness far better than clothes.
That was the soil in which this political iroko seed was planted. His growth was rapid from Coker Street, Orile-Agege, Lagos, his branches spread across Lagos West and his senatorial leaves were plucked with ease. Bola Tinubu was in touch with the people. He connected with the streets and conquered the grassroots with the help of Iya loja Emeritus, his mother Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji.
He was really in the good book of the people.
He understands the enormity of the influence of the market unions and associations in the Nigerian politics and positioned his daughters to understudy his mother.
But after her demise, he singlehandedly imposed his daughter on persons who reserved the rights to step into the shoes of his mother, having served the interest of Oja along with the late mama before the daughter was even born.
For me this was the point at which Tinubu lost it. He tore the cloth that his mother bequeathed to him with his greedy approach to leadership. Today he is regaled with clothes on. Yet, he is unfortunately naked before the people.
Tinubu’s presence in the Senate during Babagida’s democratic experiment was exceptional. Exploits from his immediate constituency of corporate stewardship came on hand. He was the most literate expert in the ICT and he brought it to bear. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was ahead of his peers so much that no one in his Senate class commanded the pedigree of his influence in Nigeria today.
His identification with the people when Babagida dashed our hope through the annulment of the only free and fairest election ever conducted in my lifetime, consolidated Tinubu’s political relevance among the people.
NADECO became a necessity and Tinubu was very much on ground to serve till our democracy dream became a reality in 1999.
His return to the country was rewarded by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) leadership which stepped down Lagos political juggernauts of that time in the person of Funso Williams.
Tinubu was smart and skilful in the game. Like the fig tree, his tentacles have spread across Lagos and interlocked with roots of other political shrubs and trees. As it now, he has, indeed, become a difficult tree to uproot.
In torrents, allegations came like storms which include running a drug cartel, “Toronto certificate” of his very questionable Chicago life style. But none could be used to pin nor nail him because before the court of the people, Tinubu stood guiltless.
But in the twinkling of an eye, the veil of deceptions that had covered a “sin full man” and made him look like the saviour of the masses is currently being torn to shreds before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Apara put his nails to the sinful garment of Bola Tinubu to unmask the bandits and his gang who have been ‘raping’ Lagos, the Centre of Excellence’ since two decades. The fleecing of Lagosians has been institutionalised with craftiness so much that the victims hail their oppressor to high heavens. They are even calling him out to come rape Nigeria in 2023.
Alpha Beta is a revelation, a conduit for Tinubu’s illegal empire. Through it, the emperor’s palace had remained connected and serviced directly with 10% of all the taxes that Lagos State Inland Revenue (LIRS) generates which go to this company’s fiat.
lt is after they had taken their own 15% share that they would then remit the rest to the Lagos State account.
A sad reminder were the days of Gen. Sani Abacha in power when the duties of the Federal Inland Revenue were taken over by private companies and certain individuals were made billionaires over night. The ATM machine that Abacha has become in death is not unconnected to the impunity that was prevalent with our taxes and revenue generation.
The absurdity of Tinubu’s banditry is so embarrassing that the Lagos State Water Corporation is serving as their headquarters. It is left to imagination whose tenants they are and to whom their rents are being paid.
Mr. Dapo Apara, a Nigerian chartered accountant, opened the can of worms when he accused the former governor of Lagos State (Tinubu), a consulting firm, Alpha-beta, and a former commissioner in the state, Akin Doherty, of money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and sundry corrupt practices.
In a writ of summons deposed to at a Lagos high court, Apara had claimed that Tinubu and Alpha-beta reneged on certain agreements reached in the past about the management and control of the consulting firm.
The silence on this issue by the masses in Lagos is the justification of the sophistication of Edo over Lagos which resonated with the “Edo No be Lagos” slogan.
Witnessing a protest from the state against church tithe, that silence greeted payment of 10% of our commonwealth to an individual and his cronies is a hard one to swallow.
But things took a dramatic turn for the emperor and his empire after the Edo election. If Lagosians had chosen to look away from his humongous financial fraud allegations against their state, would they do same against the blood of their children being gruesomely murdered in the wake of the endSARS protest?
Apara’s allegations were not unconnected with the fraud that Lagos Concession Company is to Lagos. The company which runs Lekki Toll Gate was said to be making N12 million naira a day. Even if you are poor in Arithmetic, a simple multiplication of that figure by 365 days will leave you with N4,380,000,000; reason our children must be evacuated with the barrel of gun to keep their business running.
Tinubu, who couldn’t appear before the court to respond to Apara’s allegations tweeted that the protest would be met with fierce force if the protesters refused to call off the protest.
But a reliable source said he was in Abuja on Monday, 19th of October, 2020.
This translates to a Yoruba saying: “Aje ke lana omo ku leni, tani omo pe aje ana lo pa omo je,” which means: “The witch cried yesterday and the child died today. And who would not conclude that the witch that cried killed the child?
If Tinubu tweeted from Abuja about a fierce force, and Sanwo-Olu declared a 24 hour curfew in less than four hours and warned strongly; “nobody must be found outside”, that for me is a shoot at sight order. Preparing ground for the order, LCC removed the CCTV camera and put out the light, Buhari as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces completed the job, turned guns at innocent youths, that moment the legitimacy of Sanwo-Olu as Governor and Buhari as President was lost. Reacting, Sanwo-Olu said the evil was perpetrated by forces beyond his control. Officially, Buhari is beyond his control, unofficially Tinubu as the Emperor of Lagos also is. We need not ask for clarification the forces beyond his control are known.
One of the youths made a call, and told him they learnt he was out of the country to France to be precise and asked how true it was, Tinubu responded: “IT IS ALMOST TRUE.”
It is left to Lagosians what to make out of the response. Tinubu seems to be inferring that he is neither on the FALSE nor TRUE lane. This is a reminiscence of Babagida’s principle of maradona leadership … a little to the left and to the right. Tinubu’s maradonic spell blinded the people. He was almost always true that 150 billion naira as a part of our collective commonwealth is paid as tithes to a man who is neither a pastor or our general Overseer.
The conspiracy that has cemented Lagos’ loyalty to Tinubu needs to be visited. Why did erstwhile Lagos governor, Babatunde Raji Fasola (SAN), looked away from this embarrassing illegality during his eight years tenure?
The role of vice president and man of God, the then attorney general of Lagos State drafted and supervised all legal agreements and frameworks, while all these were being perpetrated should be made clear.
It is the gamut of corruption that Lagos has become and must be sustained that the crowd at the Lekki Toll Gate must be dispersed to keep the money flowing.
But his hope of ever ruling this country was buried at the toll gate on Tuesday 20: 10: 2020.
In memory and honour of our children that were gruesomely murdered, I think #endTollgatecollection at the Lekki Toll Gate should be declared. May I further propose the renaming of the toll gate as ‘Gate of Blood’ so that our unborn generations may know that it was at that ‘jungle’ that the shackles were broken upon the legs of Lagos and the yoke of Buhari’s brutality upon the neck of our nation was removed.
Upon the blood of our slain, a new Nigeria will rise.
*Dr. Akinyemi was a former director- general of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Lagos.