It’s been a free-for-all brawl between loyalists of two prominent Yoruba sons, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Aare Gani Adams, over the subject of restructuring and 2023 presidency. WALE ELEGBEDE reports
In their own rights, the duo of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Aare Gani Adams, are distinguished personalities who have made their marks in their various endeavours. In fact, they not only possess cult-like followership, they are, without doubt, astute and influential in the country, such that any action or inaction from them draws reactions from many quarters.
As a former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu has carved a niche for himself when it comes to the art of politics. It can be aptly said that he lives, eats, and sleeps politics. The APC leader has become a force and a voice of reckoning over the past 20 years.
He is smart, savvy, and knows how to rally best brains in any sector to get the job done. To call him a genius is to be saying the obvious because his footprints are everywhere since he hit the limelight decades ago and there is nothing to show that he is slowing down soon. On his part, the formidability of Gani Adams, who is the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, is never negotiable.
He is a strategist and quintessential with his approaches. Over time, with his unique Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), he has demonstrated courage and dedication in defence of the Yoruba race. However, despite the enviable qualities these two distinguished men possess, they have not been on the same political page, lately. Although, by virtue of his position as the Yoruba generalissimo, Gani Adams is expected to be apolitical, his political antecedent, especially in the run-up to 2015 elections placed him at variance with Tinubu.
While he backed former President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, the former governor of Lagos State was a major force behind President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC). Speaking on why he supported Jonathan’s second term bid, he said, “When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the president for eight years, he never really looked at us.
Instead, he was always antagonising us and always looked the other way. “But when President Jonathan became the president, he called me to Abuja,spoke with me and we had a handshake and ever since my life has not remained the same and that was how our relationship began.
He has since been supporting us (OPC) and our activities and that is one of the reasons we have been backing him.” With the election won and lost, the relationship between the duo can best be categorized as cat and mouse. Not a few Yoruba expressed doubt in 2017 on whether Tinubu will give his blessings to Adams when he was bestowed with the prestigious Aare Ona Kakanfo title, but the APC leader eventually did and even congratulated him in a letter dated October 17, 2017.
But stoking the fresh fire of controversy between him and Tinubu last week during an interview he granted The Heritage Online Television, Adams described the former governor as a poor student of history as it relates to Yorubaland and the country’s presidency, alleging that the APC leader was only paying lip service to the concept of restructuring. Adams who fielded the questions in Yoruba, said: “Our elder brother (Tinubu) is already gearing up to run for president but look at how he is handling his base, the South-West.
First of all, he is supposed to settle rifts with all those he fought with in the South-West before you start running up and down to become president. He thinks because he has money to spend but money cannot buy everything.
“In 1983, during the second term of former President Shehu Shagari, the likes of Umaru Dikko told late Chief MKO Abiola when he said that he wants to be president of Nigeria that presidency is not for sale. They told MKO that you may have your money but they won’t sell to him.
So, our big brother has started towing the same path. “I don’t think our brother is in sync with what the region stands for. I don’t think he wants the concept of restructuring as well. I think what he wants is to be the President of Nigeria and ‘chop up’ as they do in Lagos,” he said.
But taking a swipe at Adams comment on their principal, a socio-political group, Bola Tinubu Disciples Organisation, described the Aare as an ingrate who is only after tarnishing Tinubu’s image for whatever reasons.
In a statement signed by its coordinator, Hon. Agarawu Wasiu, the group said it is on record that the coming into the limelight of Adams, was an offshoot of the support he enjoyed from Tinubu , adding that he was rehabilitated to become what he is today by the former Lagos State governor.
The read in part: “We are abashed that Adams could have easily forgotten the roles Asiwaju Tinubu played in his climb to the stardom he is now finding so difficult to manage. Asiwaju played the father for Adams when he wedded. When he was declared wanted by then Lagos Police Commissioner, Mr Mike Okiro, it was the same Asiwaju that saved him. This ingrate would have been wasted by Okiro, but Asiwaju Tinubu rose up and stood firmly by him. “Gani Adams was one time prominent Okada rider on the streets of Mushin and became popular through his notorious activities.
He graduated from Okada riding to a “cut and nail carpenter” in Mushin. “It is imperative to inform the general public to ignore the hungry, rampaging loafer who is hiding under a struggle for the freedom of Yoruba to propagate the interest of his party, the PDP where he is a contractor and a corporate beggar. “He had at a point said Asiwaju Tinubu does not give him intended attention anymore. He said he will never work for any interest of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his lifetime again.
The question now is: why is he now seeking attention? To think of it, has Asiwaju come out to even tell him nor anybody that he is contesting for Presidency in 2023? Why is Gani crying more than the bereaved? “Gani Adams is the only problem we have in Yorubaland, a double face and traitor who can trade his kids for money. Of what importance does he think he is in Yorubaland? A nobody of course! “The relevance of his bravery and importance to our security should be measured with his level of involvement in the quest to form Amotekun.
He was sidelined during the implementation of the Amotekun Security Outfits, just because of his garrulous behavior. “We understand his plight. He is being ignored politically in Southwest and doesn’t find it comfortable that none of South West state is paying him political attention any longer.” Also hitting back at Adams, former publicity secretary of APC in Lagos State and current cabinet member in the state, Mr Joe Igbokwe, said on Facebook page, “Otunba (Adams) we have not forgotten the events of 2014 and 2015. It was one of the greatest betrayals ever known in Lagos. I do not even want to remember my experience on Ikorodu road that day.
It was a nightmare for me. “Otunba it is you that will go and apologize to Asiwaju and not the other way sir. ASIWAJU made you, ASIWAJU stood by you in the days of the locusts. Asiwaju nurtured, cleaned you up, polished, trained and repositioned you, raised you up and you can never finish paying Asiwaju even in this age for what he did for you,” he said.
However, reacting to comments against their principal by the Tinubu loyalists organization, the Director of Communication, Aare Onakakanfo Strategic Intervention Group (ASIG) Olajide Odumosu, said attack on the person of Adams by Tinubu’s disciples had rather inflicted more damage to the reputation of the APC leader than good, noting that rather than addressing issues raised in the earlier interview, Tinubu’s supporters were raining insulting words on the Aare. His words: “Having gone through the story, it is obvious that Tinubu’s Disciples Organization are nothing but a large group of loose cannons that are ready to mortgage the future of the Yoruba race.” “He was groomed by the late General Shehu Yar’Adua.
Tinubu’s political background is alien to Yoruba ideology and that his campaign for the presidency, which started two months after the swearing- in of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office, was illtimed and a distraction to the APC government.
“All the issues raised in the said interview were nothing but the truth because they outweighed the response from Agarawu. Tinubu’s quest for power is Hitlerish and no sane Yoruba man will like to identify with the former governor of La-gos state. He should name three unique things he had done for the Yoruba race. “Tinubu had a hand in the breakup of all the socio-cultural groups in Yorubaland, Afenifere, OPC, YCE, others. He whittled down the popularity of PRONACO. The OPC under Aare’s leadership broke up into groups.
He sponsored the renegades in Somolu, Ilorin and Ibadan. Now those groups have gone under and they are of no relevance at the moment. “Afenifere had a bitter story to tell about him. The Yoruba socio-cultural group had been in existence since 1948, yet he had infiltrated the group with Afenifere Renewal group. He went to the presidency with another group led by Pa Ayo Fasanmi, saying they are the authentic Afenifere.
YCE is presently another victim of Tinubu’s political chicanery. “The new Yoruba World Congress that is just starting is presently feeling the heat of his infiltration, with some of its top members resigning with no genuine reason. Even there was an unconfirmed report that the Lagos state government slowed down on the implementation of the Amotekun Security outfit because they are waiting for Bourdillion’s go – ahead.
“Even as it is evident that his body language on Amotekun across the southwest is nothing to write home about. All these are pieces of evidence against Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. While serving his unjust detention in prison, Obasanjo decided to deal with Aare Gani Adams. And one of his reasons then was because of his closeness to Tinubu. “He was released from detention after 14 months, that was between October 2005 and December 2006.
He said Aare was an ingrate. Let him justify this. Has he built a house for Aare Gani Adams? Did he buy a car or sponsor Aare’s education? Or did he spend any money for the development of the OPC as organization? When Okiro arrested Adams in 2001, did he pay for his legal fees?
“Even during the installation ceremony of the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland on January 13, 2018 in Oyo, did he contribute financially or send any representative? He didn’t.
These are questions begging for answers. “In 2007 when Aare Gani Adams launched his book “Leadership challenge” at Museum Centre, Honourable Tunde Balogun, Tinubu’s representative at the book launch, promised to give Aare five million, but up till today, he didn’t fulfill his promise. “In 2005, Tinubu offered Aare Adams twobedroom apartments at Lagos State Low Cost Housing Estate, Ojokoro, Meiran, Lagos but he rejected it.
The last time Aare meet with him was in 2009. So why is he after Aare? “Any Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland must say the truth at the right time, no matter who is involved. And the Aare Gani Adams I know is up to the task.
Therefore, it is a complete misinterpretation of words to say Aare Gani Adams is a misfit for the Yoruba race,” he said. Clearly, the sign are ominous for the Yoruba race ahead of the 2023 presidency contest because a house divided against itself cannot stand. How early the region puts its house in order will largely determine whether the plum seat will fall on its laps.