By SKC Ogbonnia
The scandals beclouding the presidential candidate of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu are not only disqualifying, but they have also become an endless web. Currently trending and most damaging is a valid court document which clearly shows he had to forfeit a whopping $460,000 allegedly from illegal drug proceeds to the Government of the United States of America. Combine that with an archived report that has surfaced which suggests that Tinubu indeed suffers from an apparent terminal illness, as well as allegations of money laundering, massive corruption, certificate forgery, perjury, to falsification of his age.
We are talking about a man who is possibly the oldest-looking 70-year-old multibillionaire in the human history. The person in question is also well known to have no legitimate source of income but owns private jets and launders money with bullion vans. Yet, the same character is desperate to become president of a country but refuses to answer simple questions about his past or present.
In a normal clime, any individual with a background as shady as Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not be grandstanding as a presidential candidate for a major political party, let alone any chance of winning. But Nigeria is not normal. Anything can go—without qualms. Therefore, having grabbed the party’s ticket by every foul means, it must not surprise anyone if Tinubu emerges president by hook or crook.
If such bad omen is to befall Nigeria, but may God forbid; the following three ominous developments are obvious:
CORRUPTION: Mentioning corruption in the same breadth with Tinubu can never be a breaking news. As the then Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu clearly stated, the Asiwaju is “a looter of international dimensions.” This notoriety is more troubling when considered that despite Nigeria’s sleazy reputation, none of its leaders, whether military or civilian, has ever assumed the governance of the country with the type of shady background well known of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. None!! Yet, most of them, if not all, ended up becoming more corrupt than they were before gaining power. Imagine then what becomes of Nigeria if the current APC presidential candidate ever has his way.
DRUG SCANDAL: Any scholar of politics who has observed the American modus operandi with respect to high-profile drug cases will profess that Tinubu’s alleged drug peddling will be unearthed should he wangle his way to Aso Rock. The U.S. is known to be very unforgiving of individuals who use drug proceeds to gain power in foreign nations.
A perfect example is Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former President of Panama. Like Tinubu, Noriega had amassed a huge personal fortune through shady sources. Though the U. S. authorities ignored the Panama president for a while, allowing him to enter the country as he pleased, they chose the seasonable time to exhume his drug case. Consequently, they convicted Noriega, removed him from power, jailed him for life, and shamed his country.
A similar sad fate awaits Nigeria if Tinubu is to emerge president. Now, consider that the former Lagos State Governor does not hide his stupendous wealth. Follow that with the fact that the man continues to deny any connection to massive corruption in Nigeria. There and then, and where prompted, the U.S. authorities are bound to link his sudden billions to the drug case that once led to his forfeiture of $460,000.00.
Statute of Limitation and Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution notwithstanding, the very nature of this case still presents prosecutors clear legal avenues to explore the Separate Sovereigns Doctrine and seek Tinubu’s indictment.
TERMINAL ILLNESS: A Tinubu presidency will subject Nigeria to another round of absentee leader whose degree of health crisis far belittles those of Umar Yar’Adua, and Muhammadu Buhari put together. For those who are not familiar with the extent of Tinubu’s sickness, it makes sense to consider an independent opinion as widely reported at a time he was not seeking office.
One of such innocent viewpoints is a chronicle by the Daily Trust Newspaper on October 29, 2014, which goes as follows: [“All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was flown to London on Friday for medical treatment…An aide said he was flown out in his private jet as his ailing health deteriorated. Our correspondent gathered that Tinubu is suffering from an ailment which affects his posture and balance as well his movement, speech and writing. He is said to have been managing the ailment for almost a decade. “He has been manifesting symptoms of Parkinson disease which include tremor, shaky limbs, hands and fingers, slow movement, impaired posture and balance and loss of automatic movements,” said a close aide.]
Close observers of the Asiwaju will agree intoto with the Daily Trust report. Bola Ahmed Tinubu not only appears far older than he claims, but he also appears physically and mentally challenged. These obvious terminal health challenges along with his shady background explain why he cannot face the Nigerian press or attend presidential debates. Rather, he is attempting to bamboozle the electorate by adopting his familiar mélange of propaganda and profligacy, hiring highly priced spin doctors whose sole raison d’etre is to spew fatal lies. He even goes as far as threatening pressmen with lawsuits, thereby portraying himself as a victim. But such shenanigans will not work.
The latest truth emanating from all these tales is that the Nigerian masses have become wiser. They are determined to firmly resist the political chicanery this time around. And the world is watching. It is incumbent upon the APC, therefore, to see an urgent need to compel Tinubu to withdraw from the race and quickly replace him in line with the electoral laws. Other patriotic Nigerians should join to demand his withdrawal. The change will stave off the inevitable worldwide outrage, as well as the thick cloud of shame that will engulf Nigeria if the country’s president is generally seen as a corrupt kingpin cum drug lord.
Critics will be quick to fire back here. They will resort to the mundane notion that the APC has presented a joint ticket of Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima. In other words, Shettima would step in if Tinubu becomes incapacitated due to his failing health or a likely jail term by the U.S. authorities over his alleged drug trafficking. But such a shameless plot is a gross disservice to the country. The Nigerian electorate deserves the right to critically examine whoever could become their president before the elections.