2023 Polls: Tinubu, Bakare and ‘Emi l’okan’


*By ISAAC OLUSESI isaacolusesi@gmail.com*

Pastor Tunde Bakare, a sly folk struck a wrong note last Sunday, supposedly the Sabbath Day of the Lord, and gone off the rails, with an axe to grind in order to get Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu dazzled out of the conscious reality of Nigerian voters. Bakare, probably on drip from gory politics and livid, plunged himself convulsively into faltering articulations and got stampeded, trying so hard to be heard as having spun a rambling story – ” ‘Emi l’okan’ that insists on one’s turn is entitlement politics with slide to imperial presidency..,” Bakare stated.  But this incorrect opinion, based on faulty understanding will not make Tinubu go rack, as a result.

Tinubu with an aura of everydayness needs to introduction. He’s the nation’s foremost  presidential front runner. He had his splendid reason to contest for the office of the President of the country and the electorate have their grandiose reason to want to vote for him. The shrewdness of the _’Emi l’okan’_ (It’s my turn) alignment is the strength of the tallied circumstances that have made Tinubu inherently deserving of the nation’s presidency, not by law or contract but Nigerian voters’ understanding that he has done so much to merit the next presidency and should have it. It is a healthy shift towards reciprocating Tinubu for  his many good turns, an adventure to balance him with the electorate’s one good turn by voting for him in the February 25 general elections.

But the Bakares have different fictions and are out of the ‘Emi l’okan’ alignment, brutally out at near the speed of lightening, fast and furious with the back to the wall. It stinks. Pooh! It dawns on me here to educate the Bakare’s on pretentions to truth, the spring board for dissenting opposition to decelerate Tinubu’s electioneering campaigns, but a weightless dissent, posturing to political brinkmanship and intrigues, meant to fragment the Tinubu’s political structures to make his presidential campaigns unsettled. I’m acutely aware of the whispers of the intent to want to disintegrate his integrity and create distrust sufficient enough to hit the ground running against the man, formidable and broad based with considerable salutary political waves in Nigeria.

However, neither Tinubu has been edged nor his All Progressives Congress (APC) despaired by the cock and bull story told by Bakare about ‘Emi l’okan’.

Excuse me, please. ‘Emi l’okan’ is not in the name of cultural exclusivism, ethnic chauvinism, tribal jingoism, religious bigotry, personal egotism or self puritanism. It isn’t any tendency towards presidential imperialism, dictatorship or imperial governance.  ‘Emi l’okan’  is not a taciturn either. In the day and not the dark hours, unearthly, considered mystique when the dead walk out of the grave, Tinubu gave vent to his ‘Emi l’okan’ that has beneficially re – aligned Nigeria’s political boat to sail. And not to rock or stumble it. ‘Emi l’okan’ is not in the region of permutations and conjectures, not anything a subterranean move to gratify any personal ambition. It’s Tinubu’s action, spoken clear and loud, albeit swiftly assertive, an elegant political public declaration of respectable personal willingness and preparedness to take a shot at the nation’s presidency, with implications that are at once central to the nation’s growth and development, grand and lofty, well reasoned and plausible.

The philosophy of’Emi l’okan’ lies in the axiomatic outcomes of the maximization of interpersonal relationships and friendships, with competence and integrity, trust and confidence, and openness and forthrightness, inspired across levels that spured Tinubu to take a plunge in APC’s most dramatic presidential primaries and got the nod of the party to be its presidential flag bearer. That first hand victory means just one thing to him, same one thing to the party, and same one thing to the nation’s electorate across party affliation, tribes and faiths. Correspondingly, that same one thing is the deliberate effort, fully mustered against certain Herculean task towards winning the 2023 presidential election.

The troika of ‘Emi l’okan’ alignment is this: a Tinubu candidacy first infiltrated his APC structures at the unit – ward – local – state levels; the candidacy felled his APC Governors and party men and women in his presidential line; and the candidacy demonstrated respect for the creed of the party, appeasing to the extant political blocs to move away from all tendencies to disintegrate the party machinery. Tinubu knows that a putrefied or dismembered governing party stakes divisions and strifes as the resultant mutual suspicion and distrust exert unhealthy pressures on governance and electoral chances. Lessons from states embroiled in intra party wranglings over the decades of democracy in Nigeria.

Squabbles and crises generated by intra battles hit up the party with superfluous grave  consequences on governance and politics that get distracted and other gains of unity and concerted front including electoral fortunes also get rolled back on the alter of unpredictable power play. Enormity of losses to the party’s internal incoherences and bickerings. Classically, Tinubu has refused, without let, to be hoodwinked to throw away the bathwater with the baby or kill a fly with sledgehammer by his highly commendable spirited efforts, still on going, at re- building bridges with the aggrieved personages within the party nationwide to drive home both his candidature and election. He’s double ready to do much more with the presidential poll so crucial, so near even if that will come at huge costs to him. He leaves the onus squarely on himself. That’s Tinubu who won’t want any party members or groupings swim against the platform on which he’s inching closer by the day to the nation’s most coveted office.

The Tinubu’s ‘Emi l’okan’ alignment is his public declaration of preparedness to be president of Nigeria and great sense of confidence in the peoples of this nation to be much interested in his longing for the presidency as much as he’s widely acknowledged to have made competent and substantial contributions to the nation’s well-being, with the Lagos State example (1999 – 2007). Needless re- listing one by one the accomplishments of his time as Governor of the state. It’s just apt to say here that his era remains the best reference to good governance and good politics with continued salubrious, wholesome effect on contemporary Lagos. His ‘Emi l’okan’ alignment is a conscious willingness that will re- enact Tinubu’s creativity at deploying the nation’s resources and preferences in the best interest of all Nigerians, increased justice, increased equality and increased fairness in terms.

Nigeria is tired of having unwilling, unprepared but conscripted president for any such unwillingness or reluctancy has failed to level up with the nation’s expectations as it were. Former Presidents Sheu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo, Usman Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, the foursome of conservative extraction, never privately or publicly declared any personal desire or intention, formally and informally, to run for the office of the president of this nation. Here is Obasanjo: “Why should I contest? Am not interested in becoming Head of State again.” And within a twinkle of an eye, he accepted his enlistment to be  civilian president.

And before he was marshalled to be Yar’Adua’s running mate, Jonathan only wanted to be governor of Balyelsa State, the second term and nothing more. He was made Vice-president and within the distance of a hair’s breath, he became president. Yar’Adua, himself had actually written a letter to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State, desiring to return as Chemistry lecturer after his tenure as Kaduna State governor before he was drafted into the presidential race by Obasanjo. And Shagari originally set out to be one of the five senators, representing the old Sokoto State before he was commandeered to be the president of Nigeria. And in the final analysis, the four at different times, had the nation’s sacrifices tipped over the cliff as the quartet never outshined one another.

The Tinubu’s _’Emi l’okan’_ alignment is that the presidency as important to him does not outweigh what the electorate wants. “Governing Nigeria is a sacred trust I do not take lightly. I shall give it my very best,” Tinubu said.

OLUSESI is Deputy Director Directorate of Publicity Research & Strategy All Progressives Congress (APC) Osun State