By Ismail Hashim Abubakar
Although the articulation of the presidential ambition of Bola Ahmed Tinubu (if actually this his real name) is seizing the attention of the public these days, Tinubu’s psyche might have likely become fraught with political confusion since 2020 when Mamman Daura gave the popular BBC interview on competence as the chief criterion for Buhari’s succession, rather than regional or ethnic consideration.
This time around, the greed of Bola Ahmed Tinubu seems even to surpass that of Atiku Abubakar. The man is using every channel to realise his (of course, legitimate) ambition while at the same time subjecting himself to more public shame. The man has become too wild in his bid to realise his dream of emerging as President, and there is a strong indication that he can go to any length to achieve his goal.
However, Tinubu is in a very disadvantageous position occasioned by the mixture of his ethno-religious and geographical inclination. The man is a Muslim, no one doubts, but of course, a very nominal Muslim who favours ethnic proclivities more than religious brotherhood and solidarity.
Based on clear historical evidence, to Tinubu, a Yoruba Christian is far better than a Muslim of any linguistic extraction. However, his hatred for the Hausa is beyond any human quantification. The series of brutal massacres of northern Muslims by government-backed OPC in the Southwest, especially Lagos when Tinubu was governor, still evokes gory memories in the minds of many Muslims, and this will play well as Nigeria approaches the general election in 2023.
Nevertheless, the shaky religious credentials of Tinubu, besides the status of his wife as Christian and his Christian handlers, do not at all make him a Christian or outside the fold of Islam. If that is the case, if, for example, he is nominated to contest for President, CAN and Nigerian Christians will never accept him as their representative, lest it means his running mate can be a Muslim.
Moreover, for most Muslims, especially in the North, Tinubu does not have enough moral credentials to be nominated as a Muslim candidate with any (northern) Christian candidate. Many northerners, in fact, will prefer a Christian from the South and a strong Muslim from the North to be paired to contest for the big office rather than Tinubu.
Tinubu’s visit to Kano a few days ago and his meeting with important and influential clerics in the city would not likely be sufficient to make his ambition sellable. Likewise, the many (courteous) praises showered on him by some Muslim scholars during the visit will not help him either.
So far, this is the dilemma that Tinubu has found himself in. My biggest fear, which I pray situations will not lead to that, is if all the above peculiarities tend to remain the huge stumbling block in the way of Tinubu to the Villa, and he may be left with no option but one: to publicly proclaim to accept Christianity. This decision will then mark his burial in the cemetery of Nigerian politics.
Ismail Hashim Abubakar wrote from Rabat and can be reached via email@example.com.
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