It is unlikely that President-elect, Bola Tinubu would have woken up on February 25th with any gut about the pyrrhic outcome of the presidential elections. Tinubu is a man who has faced several adversaries but has developed a habit of never succumbing to such challenges regardless of who may have initiated them.
Time has however revealed that as a master tactician, he is not infallible.
Twice, in almost quick succession, Tinubu has struggled to win public approval in areas where he has deep seated interests.
In Osun state which is rumoured to be his native origin, Tinubu failed to help his cousin, Gboyega Oyetola retain the seat “through election”. The dancing Senator, Ademola Adeleke polled 403,371 votes to defeat Oyetola who managed 375,027.
However, with Oyetola receiving a favourable judgement at the tribunal, time would tell if there would be any redemption for him and particularly for Tinubu at the Court of Appeal where the case currently is.
In Lagos, the ARPM tool which prides itself as being able to predict election outcome since 2003, projected almost nine hundred thousand (900,000) votes for the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
The prediction fell flat as the strongman of Lagos politics failed to get the much needed support from home. In a shocking twist of events, the traditional stronghold of the strongman became a weak link.
Tinubu came in second, scoring 572,606 as against Peter Obi of the Labour Party who polled 582,454.
In more bizarre circumstances, the Labour Party governorship candidate in Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour claimed more votes were won but they (Labour Party) were robbed.
Rhodes-Vivour said, “We won in Alimosho, we won in Ikeja, we won in Lagos Mainland despite all the cheating and manipulation of votes that we saw from 50,000 votes that are missing in Alimosho and another 20,000 votes missing in Ikeja.
“From our situation room, we saw that we won over 900,000 votes as opposed to APC 155,000 votes.”
While his statement contradicts the official report, there is no doubt that the strongman of Lagos politics may have partially lost his invincibility and would be hoping not to lose it all.
In fairness to Tinubu, after the “fall of Lagos”, he reflected like a true democrat, noting, “the fact that the APC narrowly lost Lagos State to another party should not be the reason for violence. As a democrat, you win some, you lose some. We must allow the process to continue unhindered across the country while we maintain peace and decorum.”
Inspite of the sweet public speeches, there is no doubt that the President-elect probably hisses, kicks and looks with disdain at some of the big players, most of his protégés, who failed to deliver massive wins in their constituencies.
Most, like Tinubu, would not just be hoping but actively working for redemption.
But the body language of some of the President-elect’s supporters tends to betray the tenets of true democracy and possibility of free and fair elections.
For instance, in a recent clip, Chairman, Lagos State Parks and Garages, Musiliu ‘MC Oluomo’ Akinsanya, threatened Igbos who will not vote for the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s governorship election, to stay at home.
In the viral video, he is heard saying; “We have begged them. If they don’t want to vote for us, it is not a fight. Tell them, mama Chukwudi, if you don’t want to vote for us, sit down at home. Sit down at home.”
Oluomo’s threat, like that of Tinubu’s wife in a 2019 video where she boasted that the Lagos would be summoned to drive out the Igbos could scare potential voters away from exercising their franchise.
The manner of campaign in the past two weeks has equally been sharply driven by ethnic sentiments as the race firms up between incumbent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC and Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour of LP and perhaps, Olajide Adediran of the PDP who seems to have lost some steam since the presidential election.
The election, regardless of the antics – must produce a winner.
However, with the strongman of Lagos now firmly in the grip of his lifelong desire, he now comes to face with his first test – would he allow free and credible elections in Lagos?
Would he trigger his “powers” as president in waiting to influence things in his annointed candidate’s favour?
Would he, beyond the fine rhetorics of public statements, instruct the militant tendencies, among his supporters to stand back and allow a truly peaceful poll in Lagos?
As this moment takes the form of a litmus test for the APC and its hold on Lagos, whatever transpires on March 18, 2023 would likely set the standards of what type of elections to expect under a Tinubu Presidency.