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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Leaders should keep focusing on the price and leave little things for little minds

Jagaban has undoubtedly invested in people of which in return, God has supported and favored him. But one thing God does not do is to rub it in his face. Jagaban has built bridges and networks. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a successful businessman who God is using to put food on the table of many. He is resourceful and can turn things around from nothing. He is courageous and does not give up easily.

Others in his shoes would have defected to the PDP when President Olusegun Obasanjo stopped his Local Government Allocations as the Governor of Lagos. He did not keep lamenting over the Federal Government’s action. He found a way around the problem and moved on.  He also has the knack for identifying and appointing those who can deliver.

However, irrespective of these attributes, he should please note that in all his campaigns, words should matter.

Tinubu/Shettima ticket is an APC internal matter that outsiders have no control over. Secondly, Tinubu is wearing the shoes and should know where it pinches. The bucks end on his desk and should have the last say on who he prefers to be his future Vice President. Thirdly, the game is about numerical strength among the voters and winning at the end of the exercise in 2023. Fourthly, as a person, I also believe in merit atop religion or tribe. However, one must be sensitive to the plurality of our commonwealth. Fifthly, he cannot choose two Vice Presidents at the same time. Whichever choice he makes, the pick must belong to only one religion. Sixthly, nobody would want him to be perpetually regretting his choice of a Vice the way President Olusegun Obasanjo is doing.

Therefore, I do not quarrel with his pick because, in the end, his choice shall make him and the party. I can only wish him and the APC good luck.

I am surprised that people were shocked at the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC. Didn’t we know that when Governor el-Rufai tried it in Kaduna and succeeded, it would crawl into the national political platform? I am sure Tinubu’s team would have considered all these points, researched the voting patterns in the North, which would have led to him picking Shettima as his Vice and for many other plausible reasons, especially knowing that Politics is a game of numbers.

While it is good to use emotional intelligence in the balancing act, politics does not reward people based on emotions and morals. It is usually on the votes a particular block can bring to the table. On this matter, we need to remove sentiments, and nobody can hide behind a finger and not be seen by others.

We may color or deny it, but the truth remains that if Tinubu had chosen a Christian as his running mate in the North, most Northern Muslims would switch votes to Atiku or Kwankwanso. Period!

I can also categorically say that if Peter Obi had picked a Christian Northerner as his running mate, the brouhaha in the media would be more resounding than what Christians did in Tinubu’s matter. Factly factual! That tells us that religion still plays a formidable role in the majority’s decision-making process during elections.    These are my views and if they were correct, no party would want to take the risk.

However, my point of departure with Tinubu is how he passed the message to Nigerians and, by extension, the voting class. In telling Nigerians why he chose Shettima, I thought Tinubu would have used inviting words Christians won’t see as putting them down. Shettima is not a Saint as a former Governor but has specific attributes working for him that Tinubu could have leveraged. For instance, Shettima was a former Governor in Borno State whose performances could be brought briefly to the open. He also witnessed insurgency first hand, which gives him the advantage of perhaps understanding issues surrounding the terrorist activities in Borno state better than others. He could also have used what the CAN Chairman Bishop Naga said of Shettima, being supportive and Christian friendly, instead of “I chose him because he is competent, capable and reliable.”

Tinubu’s statement in rationalizing his choice implies that there are no ‘competent and capable’ Christians in the North. On reliability, that statement, by implication, also loudly says that there is no reliable Christian he can trust that is good enough in the North to be his Vice. He has spoken. It is for the aggrieved, who feels marginalized and offended, as we thought in the case of Kaduna, to mobilize and get their PVCs and speak through the ballot box.

When we juxtapose the recent statement on Shettima with his previous comments, through the campaigns before, and after the APC primaries, sometimes Tinubu could use words, phrases, or statements that people might misinterpret to mean so many negative things.

At Abeokuta, he rhetorically asked, ‘This one sitting at my back, Dapo, could he have become a governor if not for me?’ Talking about a sitting Governor before his people wasn’t the best of things to say. He has forgotten that God used him in the life of Dapo. He shouldn’t forget that he also came to Edo against Obaseki and could not do the magic. He also boasted about how he helped Buhari after the strings of his electoral failures. Is there anything we have that was not freely given by God?

After his victory at Eagle Square, he told the Senate President to go and lick his wounds. It could have been a jibe, but was that necessary after winning his primary with a landslide? Leaders should keep focusing on the price and leave little things for little minds. Many could begin to feel that inclusive governance will be out of the question if Jagaban becomes Nigeria’s president.

For Shettima, I hope he won’t go the way of the past by calling his foes and party members not supporting him orange and pepper sellers the way he referred to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and Senate President Lawan on television as exemplary men who should be selling ice cream and trading in tomatoes.

People can forget what we tell them, but they will never forget how our words make them feel. The duo should always endeavor to use words that can bring kola from friends’ and adversaries’ pockets. Tinubu and Shettima need to stoop to conquer so that people shall continue to gravitate towards them as they proceed on the next arduous task of competing with others to become the next occupants of Aso Rock.

Grace and peace!!!

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