There’s something about Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Abeokuta, Ogun State capital. In 2015 when the APC campaign was losing steam based on repeated promises in its nationwide tour, Tinubu changed the tempo in Abeokuta.
“When Britain was in trouble, they turned to their General, Winston Churchill, when France was is trouble, they turned to their General, Charles De Gaul. When America was in trouble, they turned to their General, Dwight Eisenhower, Nigeria is in trouble, we have brought you General Muhammadu Buhari,” Asiwaju had said charging the audience to see another dimension about Buhari.
Eight years after that incident, Tinubu still returned to Abeokuta to drop fresh memorable lines. In the buildup to his party’s presidential primaries, which he later won, Tinubu went into a tirade, calling out those he perceived were standing in his way, including Governor Dapo Abiodun.
“Emi lokan”, “O lule”, which have since found their way to the Nigerian political lexicon were used by Tinubu in Abeokuta.
On Wednesday, it was still in Abeokuta that he publicly announced his displeasure with the naira redesign approved by Buhari. “Let them increase the price of fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote and we will win. Even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought. We are going to win.”
In what could be seen as a veiled reference to the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, the man at the centre of naira redesign, Tinubu added, “We will take over the government from them, the traitors who wanted to contest with us. They had no experience.”
Emefiele was linked to the APC Presidential race and a group had purchased N100 million nomination for him, with the media buzzing with stories on his involvement in the election, but the bank guru later distanced himself from the race.
Although, naira redesign is an initiative of the CBN governor, Buhari made it clear that he approved it. Addressing federal cabinet members late 2022, Buhari said: ‘‘As is known, our local laws, specifically the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007, grants the CBN the power to issue and redesign the Naira. In line with this power, the bank’s Governor approached me earlier in this year to seek my permission to embark on a currency redesign project. I considered all the facts and reasons presented before me by the Central Bank.”
For Tinubu to go against a policy sanctioned by the president says a lot about the gathering storm in the ruling party 29 days to the election. Buhari’s absence at his party’s presidential campaign had set tongues wagging but the president later joined the trail, with 10 states earmarked for him.
A division in APC at a time when opposition parties are putting up a show of force is not what the party which seeks to continue in government needs, at least not now.
Truth be told, the signs are troubling. Journalist and public affairs analyst, Geofrey Ekeana, had asked, “What strategy is APC employing to win the election next month? Queues at filling stations for fuel, at banks for new currency, at Airports because of NAHRCO strike. I don’t believe these are right one month to the election.”
Perhaps, Asiwaju thought about this before venting, but does this mean APC is sitting on a keg of gunpowder?