Ikimi: Jagaban hits the bull’s eye


When penultimate week, the leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu responded to the broadsides of Chief Tom Ikimi (the Chief midwife of APC) on why the latter dumped (left) APC, I knew that the cat has been let out of the bag.

Tinubu’s reply was short but loaded. On the face of it, it was directed at Chief Tom Ikimi but very gifted mind readers would understand that it was simply a warning shot, deliberately re­leased in the air, with Ikimi as the point of contact, to all who care to take the hint.

Like or hate him, Tinubu has not left anyone in doubt that he enjoys strong mastery of political arithmetic and a distinctive flair for political manipula­tions, maneuvering and intrigues. He cannot be caught napping when wits and grits are in issue.

In his political life, he has always slept with one eye open in engage­ments and that accounted for Lagos State escaping the 2003 landslide that saw all the South-west States in PDP’s kitty when former President Olusegun Obasanjo prosecuted a political tsuna­mi in the South-west.

It was no surprise, therefore, that he doubted Ikimi’s sincerity in midwifing the APC even when the Edo Chief car­ried on with such swag and gusto as a dependable and reliable generalissimo.

In classical monarchical societies, midwives, especially to the palace, oc­cupied a pride of place for obvious rea­sons. They could change the course of history and confer heredity to any scion of the monarch through omission or commission. That they were subjected to oath of secrecy, sincerity and keeping faith, was a factor of the understanding of their position as critical in determin­ing in most circumstances, who the heir apparent is.

The kings and indeed the entire king­dom perpetually placed them under the guidance and watchful eyes of the chief priest who ensures that they oper­ate with the fear of the gods to avoid the kingdom being set at the precipice.

The power and influence of the midwife(ves) becomes more manifest in circumstances where the king’s two wives deliver same day or when the wife of the king gives birth to twins. The verdict of the midwife remains that of the gods as it were.

It was for that reason that the mid­wife gets the ear of the king and was viewed and treated as a critical compo­nent of the leadership evolution process with regards to access to the throne.

The midwife without let, effortlessly enjoys the confidence, respect and trust of the king.

Chief Tom Ikimi while he bestrode the nooks and crannies of the country trying to tinker the legacy parties into a formidable force, strong enough to fight the behemoth called PDP, little did he know that unlike the midwife in the classical monarchy, the king, the Chief priest and indeed the pregnant women did not perceive him as reliable, de­pendable and worthy of trust.

Many observes that witnessed the energy and zeal Chief Ikimi brought to the business of building or constructing APC would definitely disagree with his perception rating in the eyes of Senator Tinubu and all those that cast him in the image of an outsider within the APC.

A playback of the comments, praises and eulogies in his last birthday party graced by the APC chieftains across the country raises serious question about the character of the political class in Ni­geria. Little wonder Nigerians, especial­ly the discerning perceive politicians as rabble rousers, unreliable, unprincipled and unworthy of anyone’s trust.

If Chief Tom Ikimi was really on APC’s political watch list as Tinubu would want us believe, how come he was saddled with such sensitive assign­ment of mid-wifing a party that hopes to be taken seriously as the deus et machi­na of the country’s leadership quest?

What manner of an investor would enlist the services of an architect, valuer and builder with tainted credentials to build an edifice that can withstand the threats of windstorms and other ele­ments. Would the project ever stand the test of time especially the backdrop of the foundation being suspect.

The crisis of confidence that flows from a forced marriage of obvious strange bedfellows in APC remains the biggest threat to the party and not the isolated labeling of any member that defects. The party must find a way to deal with the issue of its weak founda­tion which is bound to continue to get weaker as we usher in the primaries.

If Ikimi’s main sin was that he ever dared to eye the chairmanship posi­tion of a party he laboured with others to form, would the APC not be send­ing a wrong signal or even providing the yardstick to judge it when every­one knows that its driving objective is to capture power from the PDP at the center. Would it be proper for APC af­ter formation, to fall shy of fighting for power at the center simply because Ni­gerians would be led into believing that its ambition is to secure power?

Granted that ideology does seem to take a flight in the political calculus of politicians in Nigeria, any contraption can be molded into a whole through bonding when long spoons are not sur­reptitiously introduced at the dinner table.

Apart from Chief Tom Ikimi, how many more members of the APC are still on the political watchlist and who is (are) the keepers of that list.

It feels cool sometimes to hit below the belt in a bid to score a huge political point in discussions but the drifts is not lost on any thinking person.

Nigerians celebrated the coming together of the legacy parties to form a formidable opposition that can chal­lenge the PDP to begin to walk the talk knowing that there is a viable alterna­tive waiting in the wings.

From all indications, it seems the PDP has gained more from the emer­gence of APC not through defections though but changing its ways by quickly embracing inclusiveness, transparency and internal democracy, while APC has come under severe attack as operating a cult arrangement under the supervision of Tinubu.

Personal political ambitions seem more realizable in PDP of today than can rightly be said about APC. This does not speak good of a party that opened its doors to hordes of defectors from PDP that found everything jejun about the lack of internal democracy of the PDP of old.

Could this then be a case of, “from frying pan to fire” or is anyone not see­ing what some of us are seeing? The fundamental problem of APC is its pre­tence to being a progressive party even when between it and PDP is a case of six and half a dozen. The vibe we get does not convince anyone of any remarkable ideological difference and Nigerians are likely to settle for the devil they know.

Make no mistakes about this, it is easier to dislodge a sitting government if the opposition has what it takes in terms of tact, message, strategies and world outlook or call it comportment.

The greatest mistake of the APC and its information managers is to be op­erating as an alternate government or shadow government by default. Some of us saw when the wrong steps were taken and a three sixty degrees can­not be guaranteed. The party would be lucky if it retains about fifty (50) percent of the States originally controlled by the legacy parties that formed it in the 2015 elections.

The political watchlist syndrome has further driven the nail into the coffin of a party that talked itself into image crisis by doing the right things wrongly. Why should a political party be keeping a watchlist of its members?

High flying political leaders and players across the globe deliberately retain the services of informed con­sultants who get paid for being pro­fessional. They speak truth to power not minding who picks the bill in the knowledge that their future retainer­ship would be guaranteed by successes recorded. Presently, the leadership of APC, though firing from all nozzles, is in all material particular, firing blank.

.Ogaziechi, legal practitioner, writes from Lagos.

Source: Sun

Publish Date: 

Monday, 8 September 2014