Bola Tinubu - The Pessimistic Case
1. Obviously his age and health. He is in reality around 80 and visibly mentally diminished. This body, ravaged by time and self inflicted wounds, is now about to collide with the pressures of the Nigerian presidency. His body will not win.
I expect him to land in hospital for an extended period within 6 - 12 months. This is not wishing him ill. He has essentially been in retirement for 15 years. Now he gets a full time job. We can use travelling as a practical example
Over the last 15yrs, if you asked him to visit Indonesia, he could simply refuse on account of it taking him 18hrs to get there. Now? He will have to go there because there is a G20 or some other summit there. He will have to go to China, the US and all sorts of places.
A couple of years ago, when Buhari went to Tokyo for the Japan-Africa summit, a wicked person told me he slept for almost the entire day after he landed there. And Buhari is currently in better physical shape than Tinubu
2. Political Infighting - if the president is ill, then people who should be helping him lead reforms will be fighting for offices that are closer to him (e.g Chief of Staff). If you’re too far away, it will be like being in another country. Proximity = Power
We are going to more of the infighting we saw under Buhari where the Chief of Staff was fighting with the National Security Adviser on the pages of newspapers. Time with the president, ensconced inside Aso Rock, will be hard currency. And it will be worth fighting over
Corruption - Tinubu is exceedingly corrupt, that is not breaking news. The corruption here will be the corruption of Nigeria. That is, he will corrupt everyone and everything. This is not theoretical - he’s done it in Lagos. No one is better at building patronage networks
After 8 years of Buhari, members of Nigeria’s unproductive elite are exceedingly hungry. Part of why so many lined up behind Tinubu to get him elected is because he holds the promise of ‘food’. He will put ‘food’ in a lot of mouths - not to sate hunger - to keep them quiet
You think the media are currently bad? He will get to all of them. Religious leaders? He will get to all of them. Any outlet that can produce plausible criticism of his government? He will get to them. He understands human weakness like no other. And he will exploit it
The sum total of this is that you will see Tinubu one day Commission a bungalow and call it a skyscraper and the media and everyone else will join him in calling it a skyscraper. When this happens and you find yourself losing your mind, may I suggest you consider Canada?
4. Cynicism - Unlike almost any other political party I’ve seen, the APC is cynical in a way that is difficult for me to describe. Cynicism is their organising principle. And Bola Tinubu is the cynic in chief. The APC is also the biggest collection of assholes in Nigerian history
Given that Nigerians are themselves incredibly cynical, this is like a match made in hell. APC don’t believe that anyone is good. They don’t believe things can get dramatically better. They believe this is how it can be and they might as well be the ones managing it
Now led by Bola Tinubu, you’re going to get a formidable political machine animated by nothing other than cynicism. They’re useless at governance so they will direct their energies to what they are good at - raw, cynical retail politics.
The patronage network Tinubu has built in Lagos is incredible to behold. The thought that he will now be doing this at the federal level amazes me just thinking about it.
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