Tinubu’s Records Trumps His Detractors, Sunday Dare Responds to Shaka Momodu’s Article
Reading Shaka Momodu’s diatribe against former Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu entitled ‘The Flawed Progressive’ in a ThisDay opinion column recently, one must extend the deepest sympathies to Momodu. The man’s soul has vanished, yet he writes this shameless piece to announce to the entire world that his soul has not died but that he merely sold it. Good for him. I hope he received a hefty payment. No matter the cost, the man lost something money cannot buy.
Shaka’s piece is a classic case of a journalist who needs urgent help. He writes like one on furlough from the institution. No trained professional hand, cultivated and lucid mind would have lent his name to such a puerile piece. His analysis showcases his disdain for rigour. The rigmarole in his arguments exposes the hollowness of the write up. His piece on Bola Tinubu exposes him to be not what he claimed to be; a journalist and writer. Bereft of what constitutes a logical and commonsense analysis, Shaka exposed his hand in a piece that is not only in bad taste but a sponsored hatchet job, ill-timed, ill-motivated and ill-advised.
Of course, Shaka’s right to write whatever he feels like writing cannot be begrudged. However, he must reckon with the fact that there is a wide gulf between responsible journalism and malicious fiction. Shaka has fallen into that gulf and from what we can see, it appears he has allowed himself to drown in it as well. His attempt to cast Tinubu as something other than a progressive is like a man who had bought the wrong size of shoes and was struggling to fit the shoes in because he must wear it at all cost.
Let us look at how the World Wide Web defined the word “Progressive”: ‘Favoring or promoting progress, advancing, forward looking, and forward thinking. A person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.’
Looking at the definition above, Shaka Momodu knew he was treading on thin ice. Yet, for lucre, he took on the ugly assignment. He had been recruited to disparage the person of Asiwaju. And he attacked the job like a hungry but enfeebled hyena without any teeth. Thus, he made the hyena noises but barely barked and for all the words, he never truly showed any bite. He therefore tried to set up Tinubu by first lavishing him with false praise. He asserted that the man is held in high esteem and loved by many. Shaka, the hatchet man, used his initial effusive praise to feign to be a balanced columnist but his intention was clear; to attack the person of Tinubu, not with hard facts but innuendo and claptrap. Remember the saying; “A lie oft repeated tends to be taken as the gospel truth by many.”
Continuing with his piece, Shaka went ahead to tell his readers how Tinubu was liked and hated by many, but he failed to tell us was how he arrived at his myopic conclusion. Was any survey conducted to determine the level of love and acceptability of the person of Asiwaju Tinubu, or otherwise? What people like Shaka and his ilk do is to create an impression, albeit a false one, that they are speaking as a representative of the people. What they will not say, however, is that they are sponsored by those in the ruling party afraid of the growing stature of Asiwaju Tinubu in the national space. That Tinubu is hated is true. What reformer is not hated by the guardians of the status quo? Thus, in trying too hard to prove his point, Shaka refuted it. The issue is not whether Tinubu is hated but by whom and for what reason. Those who don’t want equality and change hate him. Those who want it like him. Tinubu is one of the few Nigerian politicians who can walk freely among the people and also who likes to do so. Can the same be said of those hiding behind the high walls of Aso Villa?
The truth is the PDP never gave the APC a chance to survive as they wrongly assumed that key APC figures were like them and would place personal ambitions above national purpose. But now that the PDP have been caught unawares, they are flailing like drowning minnows, sponsoring men like Shaka, who, afflicted by the infamous Stockholm syndrome, will for a morsel, write anything and tell any lie to stay alive.
Factuality and verification is not their concern, rather their pocket determines what they do. At this time, when Nigerians should be glad that we have a viable opposition, some mercenary Nigerians will, for a little pay, do anything to malign personalities for no reason but to taste of the crumbs of the feast of the powerful and cruel.
He started to bare his fangs and showed his true intent when he attacked Tinubu’s intellectual accomplishments and what comes to my mind is, “Does Shaka have an ‘Intellectual Meter’ to measure how intelligent Tinubu is?” For one, I doubt if a mind that is less than cerebral can rise to become the Chief Treasurer of any oil giant of Mobil’s size and global reputation. But as earlier noted, Shaka just had to throw in a lot of mud with the hope that some will stick. Tinubu has never laid claim to being the present day Awolowo. In fact, he is on record to have said, “I have read Awolowo in several books, and he is our hero and mentor, but I cannot but be Bola Tinubu. I can only tread the path of Awolowo, without his shoes. I don’t know his size, I can’t step into his shoes because they are either bigger or smaller, and his image and legacy are bigger than me. I can only use and share the vision. He went away with his shoes and his cap but he left a legacy, a vision.”
Here is one thing that is unassailable. When the PDP used hook, crook, ladder, hammer and nail to monopolize the South-West, Tinubu and Lagos stood as the lone survivor of these machinations. Had Tinubu fallen, the PDP would have swept the South West in its entirety and would have made a substantial down payment toward its objective for a One-Party State. However, Tinubu did not crumble. Not only did he hold ground, he used that foothold to claim more space for progressive politicians. From Ekiti, Osun, Edo, Oyo and Ogun came into the progressive camp. Would Shaka dare say that governors Fashola, Aregbesola, Fayemi, Oshiomhole, Ajimobi, Amosun are not progressives? In politics, as in other things, the fruit falls not far from the tree. Since these fruits are progressive, then the tree from which they appear must be likewise for a mango cannot be grown of an orange tree or a cashew of a lemon tree.
Tinubu has the ability to fight any battle he believes in. When the South West crumbled to the garrison politics of the PDP, Tinubu was the only man standing and that eventually made him a rallying point for the Progressives across the country.
Even ThisDay Newspapers, Shaka’s original employers, recognized Tinubu as their “Man of the Year, 2013” and ascribed to him the “Man who re-built the Nigerian opposition.” I trust that the judgement of your paper was a sound and timely one and it was fully independent.
Tinubu has earned his place of honor in Nigerian history. He is the single person most responsible for preventing the creation of a one-party state and thus the person most responsible for salvaging Nigeria’s democracy from the PDP dictatorial inclinations. No other politician can boast of such a progressive achievement, particularly none in the PDP. The trajectory of his leadership skills is well documented. As Governor of Lagos, despite being starved of legitimate funds by the Obasanjo government, Tinubu dug deep and as a result of his resourcefulness and due to his shrewdness, Lagos state was the only state in Nigeria that could and can survive and even thrive without federal allocation. If that is not an achievement, then one must change the definition of the word.
He ensured that Lagos became financially buoyant because he achieved a massive increase in the states internally generated revenue. Few men in politics can compare to Tinubu’s depth and expert use of words, certainly not the current President. Tinubu has mastered and understands the power of words and ideas. Meanwhile Shaka and those who pay him have no idea what an idea is.
Another oft used but tired accusation used to accuse the Asiwaju and his party is that it lacks internal democracy. There are no hard and fast rules as to how candidates can emerge in a political party. Consensus, the last time I checked, has been a way by which parties in Nigeria chose candidates so as to limit acrimony and other negative fallout of primary elections. The PDP uses it a lot in picking their candidates and come out to conduct phony primaries but to appear democratic.
Shaka will do well to follow the Ekiti gubernatorial elections currently in the pipeline. The PDP has tried very hard to arrive at a consensus candidate and I fail to see how that is a problem. Accusing Tinubu of handpicking candidates is lowly hypocrisy. Was Oluremi Tinubu duly qualified to run for the Senate? Should being the wife of the biggest opposition figure in the country deny her of her constitutional right? Why is Bill Clinton’s head not on the chopper because his wife first became a Senator, later a Presidential candidate and later US Secretary of State? Because in America, your right as a citizen cannot be mortgaged because of your association by marriage, religion or other non-violent persuasions. I dare say that Oluremi Tinubu is doing a better job in her constitutional duties as a senator than Patience Jonathan is doing making a mockery of her unconstitutional role as first lady.
Tinubu did not get to where he is today by accident. Here is a man, who at great risk to his life, withstood the brutal Abacha and his goons and ultimately was forced into exile to avoid certain death. He is not without flaws, as only God is flawless. But as a man, his achievements are numerous and for all to see. When Tinubu became the governor of Lagos State, the state was internationally known as the dirtiest city in the world. Lagos has been improved, cleaned and made better. Take a drive round Lagos metropolis today and judge for yourself. At the end of his two terms, while the PDP gave Nigerians Yar’Adua, then Jonathan, Tinubu gifted Lagosians with one of the best administrators in Babatunde Fashola.
Tinubu has done excellently. The people of the Southwest recognize that but for his astuteness, courage, presence of mind and commitment to a better society the Southwest would have been overrun by the destructive and negative force called the PDP and other reactionary elements. These are days when most journalists are pliable, so the likes of Shaka come a dime in a dozen. Shaka’s piece is one fit for the trash. Tinubu has earned his accolade and his work speaks for him. Any wonder that anytime he talks, the entire PDP machinery starts to fall apart? Shaka, better go get a broom. You’ll need it!
Sunday Dare is the special Adviser on Media to Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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