“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad”
The video clip making the rounds on the internet is the breakdown of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
As a build-up to this, amidst the political permutations and interesting siftings of the past couple of weeks, Mr. BAT’s status as APC’s most likely to succeed had begun to go down in infamy.
And so, In the said video, BAT did a quick run of his political history; how he had compassionately handed the keys to Aso Rock to old Buhari in the 2015 Presidential election. According to Mr. Tinubu, he was the indispensable partner God needed to make Buhari the President in 2015.
The story climaxed with Jagaban deciding to dump it all on his host. In order to further reinforce his much-priced and so-needed political hegemony, he needed to drive the message home. Mr. Tinubu took the proverbial Abraham’s knife, dragged his own political son, governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun on the altar, and sacrificed him there and then.
The favorite son of Ogun quickly became The ‘Eleyi’ of Ogun state.
You know, as Governor, it’s one thing to willfully choose not to adopt the ceremonial appellation of ‘His Excellency’. We have heard of the ‘Ogbeni of Osun State’ and ‘Arakunrin of Ondo’. But, it’s quite another (and a humiliating one, by the way) to be used as a sacrificial lamb by another to save his own face and salvage whatever honor is left of his name.
So let me be clear on this: politics is not fun. And I do not speak for those of us watching from the sidelines. I speak for those who are in the arena, whose victory or defeat, pride or prejudice hang in the balance.
It is natural that for us, the event that unfurled at Abeokuta was fun to watch– a deserved comic relief amidst rising political tension. But for the governor whose name quickly fell into the mouth of every Nigerian in scorn and ridicule, this was not fun. You would say that’s what he signed up for. But really, is it?
To be scorned in front of a National TV camera, by a desperate benefactor and afterward have to stand up on that same podium to thank and appreciate his ‘kind’ words? No one ever signs for such an unpleasant experience!.
But, for a while, let’s turn our camera back on the stage. There stands the Jagaban himself going on full-frontal attack. It is the last few arrows in his arsenal and he vows to aim them right.
He takes a hit at everyone. Swings his vestures back on– his shoulders cannot hold his agbada anymore than his hands could hold a crashing political career right before him.
The BAT phenomenon is not a strange one. We all are familiar with it– the terrible feeling of neglect in the face of an impending defeat. Tinubu, a man who has spent an entire career being in the inner circle and calling all the shots now feels alone and neglected.
C.S Lewis characteristically captures the situation in his essay, ‘The innerings’ this way:
…it is a hardship to stay late at the office or the school on some bit of important extra work which they (you) have been let in for because they (you) and So-and-so and the two others are the only people left in the place who really know how things are run. But it is not quite true. It is a terrible bore, of course, when old Fatty Smithson draws you aside and whispers, “Look here, we’ve got to get you in on this examination somehow” or “Charles and I saw at once that you’ve got to be on this committee.” A terrible bore… ah, but how much more terrible if you were left out! It is tiring and unhealthy to lose your Saturday afternoons: but to have them free because you don’t matter, that is much worse!
In politics, as in war, it is better to be hated than to be ignored. You see, being hated means that you are feared and a certain modicum of attention is paid to the things that you do. But when you are ignored and left outside the innerings, it indicates that there is really no tangible use for you anymore. It means that in the grand scheme of things, you really do not matter (anymore).
Tinubu who has spent his career enjoying the rallying of friends, allies, and political goons now suddenly begins to feel alone. A thick cloud of neglect hovers around him.
Being hated was never BAT’s problem. Remember the #EndSars protest? The video went viral after his return from overseas in which he taunts protesters who wanted his head. ‘I am still the Jagaban of Lagos,’ he boastfully said. Like Cassius described Julius Caesar, Tinubu bestrode the narrow world of attention like a colossus. For far too long, he had been the elephant in the room.
With all of these in mind, Tinubu’s intention becomes clear. He wanted to gather as much attention to himself by saying all sorts and reminding Nigerians of how great and powerful he is (or was).
The desperation in his bloodshot eyes was plain to see. He had his last chance to get his voice out there and become the center of attention once again and he did it all. To keep his name in the mouths of everyone, Tinubu sacrificed his dignity and honour.
If we must learn something from this episode, anything at all, it must be the reality of the nature of power. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Also, the fact that pride goes before destruction, and a haughty heart before a fall. To my mind, this scriptural text communicates the same idea in a famous heathen proverb: those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.