ASIWAJU’S CANCELED 13TH COLLOQUIUM: A WATERSHED FOR NORTHERN ‘OLIGARCHIC’ ELITE
– By Omogbolahan Babs
Fate has a way of working for the realisation of one’s predestined celestial kismet. That may have been the case with the presidential hopeful and National Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was exactly a month ago that the political juggernaut stood in front of the mammoth audience which included Governors, Ministers, Obas, Emirs, Obis, Heads of Government agencies, captains of industries at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites where people had gathered to mark his septuagenarian birthday and 13th annual colloquium. The event was witnessed live by Yours Truly on that clement-friendly Tuesday afternoon of March 29, 2022 after having secured a pass into the well decorated hall through my egghead brother, Babajide Fadoju Specs, an aide to former governor of the Pacesetter State (Oyo), late Abiola Isiak Ajimobi. No sooner had the National Anthem been rendered when the birthday ‘boy’, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu mounted the rostrum in company of the host governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu whose speech was next on the programme of event, some royal fathers and a few political bigwigs. And to the chagrin of all present, Bola spoke:
“Because of the activities of my birthday and early prayers today, I have not been following news. The incident of bomb attack on the train yesterday night was brought to my attention not long ago. I just received news of a very sad incident this morning about travellers in train that were killed by suspected bandits. I hereby call off the celebration as we shall continue to pray for the repose of those who lost their lives and those at the hospital.” He went further, “That this is happening in Nigeria calls for sober reflection for me. Dancing, eating and drinking when our sisters and brothers have been killed does not befit an elder statesman like me and a senior citizen. As a result of what happened, I have decided to call off this event…” The hall with all the important dignitaries already seated was thrown into a frenzy-like uproar. Some filled with awe of such a profound statement with undiluted empathy, others overtly bewildered by the altruism that characterised the personage of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when one considers the personalities that were already seated in juxtaposition with his decision to call off the well-attended event.
Not long after I returned to my hotel room, I got calls from majorly our brothers from the north expressing their admiration for the person of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. A senior citizen and close ally of a member President Muhammadu Buhari’s kitchen cabinet sent me a WhatsApp message when he heard that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had cancelled the event, “Alhamdulilah! I have been praying for him to do that. He really amazed me.” The way my contact was amazed by Asiwaju’s cancelation of his birthday celebration was the same way many northern elites were flabbergasted. Majority of them did not see it coming. Yours Truly is even very sure that The Presidency did not see it coming. The bomb attack which had two narratives – one, to mock the ruling Party, and taunt, especially Mr. President and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu himself of lacking empathy at a time the nation was supposed to be mourning over such gargantuan loss (of lives). Secondly, the attack was alleged to have been masterminded to seek sympathy from Nigerians that the ruling Party could not deliver on its promise to secure the nation.
That singular action may have been climacteric for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition. It is indeed a watershed for the Jagaban Borgu. From the information available to Yours Truly, many northern power brokers who hitherto felt a Tinubu presidency threatened their continuous relevance and therefore were averse to his candidacy appeared to have had a 180* U-turn, including some of them within The Presidency. Only recently, the petite but workaholic governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai hosted the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who had gone to pay him a condolence visit on the March 28 train bomb attack in Kaduna. The man known for his conservative viewpoints had to leave his official seat for his visitor (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu) to sit on. Political watchers and people with discerning minds who knew the Governor of the North Western state is not entirely a Tinubu person largely opined Asiwaju Tinubu may have won Governor El-Rufai to his side following his cancellation of his 13th Colloquium to honour the Kaduna sad incident.
Going forward, 2023 poll presents a man with destiny whom despite several plots and continuous shenanigans to scuttle his chances at The Presidency come 2023 by his political adversaries, including members of his own Party has continued to win in all fronts. Many Nigerians can already see what a Tinubu presidency will look like. Hence, the realignment of majority of the northern elite hitherto opposed to Asiwaju of Nigeria, if I can borrow the words of the richest black man on earth, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tinubu’s presidency. A proof of this beckons as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) goes on to conduct its Presidential Primaries in a matter of weeks from now.
Asiwaju Is Coming!
Omogbolahan L.A. BABAWALE
Lead Resource Person
The Think-tank Initiative (3TI)
Omogbolahan L.A. BABAWALE writes from Abuja. He can be reached through any of these email addresses; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.