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Time To Rally Round Bola Tinubu – Femi Aribisala

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Femi Aribisala

Let me re-introduce myself in case you have forgotten. I have been an implacable critic of the politics of Bola Tinubu. Among others, I have written articles against Tinubu entitled: “What Does Tinubu Want?” “Time to Get Rid of Tinubu’s Cronies;” “Time to Disgrace the South-West Godfather;” and “Don’t Cry for Bola Tinubu.” I stand by every one of those articles, even though the warnings I gave in them went largely ignored.

Although many Tinubu supporters don’t seem to realise this, my opposition to Tinubu was not personal. My opposition was based on the grounds that Tinubu’s politics was shortsighted. In that regard, my position has been proved right. The strategic political objectives of Tinubu were unattainable and have been not been attained.

In the first place, Tinubu’s recent politics were designed to make him a key player at the national level, as he has been at the regional level. He really wanted to become the vice-president of Nigeria. This has proved unattainable, and we warned him about that. Most of his so-called friends at the national level are fair-weather friends. They never really liked him and were afraid of him. Under no circumstances would they allow him to duplicate his stranglehold on South-West politics outside the South-West.

The reality of Tinubu’s politics in Nigeria is that he can be a king-maker but will not be allowed to be king. The best Tinubu has been able to achieve has been to nominate a vice-president who, to all intents and purposes, is not even a major power-broker in government. As vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has only succeeded in being a fall-guy; for the collapse of the naira and for the failure to date of the 2016 budget.

In the second place, the strategic design of Tinubu’s politics was to make him a power behind the throne at the national level. This objective has also proved to be a pie-in-the-sky. Since becoming president, Buhari has largely ignored Tinubu’s counsels. Not a single Tinubu nominee became a minister in the president’s cabinet. Those who made it from the South-West were deliberately the people he did not want.

Tinubu nominees failed to make the position of Senate president or Speaker of the House of Representatives. The APC has also failed to make Tinubu Chairman of its Board of Trustees. To date, Tinubu has no statutory post in the party he midwifed. The party chairman, thought to be a Tinubu man, has been bought over, so much so that Tinubu is now asking for his resignation; but to no effect.

Having used Tinubu to win the election, he has been dumped like a used rag. It was because we anticipated this reversal of fortunes, that some of us were loud in warning Tinubu in the heady days of APC coalition-building. It was in that context that I later wrote my article saying: “Don’t Cry for Bola Tinubu” on the grounds that he deserved what happened to him. We warned that this would happen but he refused to listen.

But now times have changed. The bombastic change platform on which APC fought and won the election has failed to materialise. The change we are now facing is one far worse than anything hitherto experienced. It is absolutely incredible that, in spite of the grandiloquent promises made during the 2015 election campaign, the dollar is now exchanging for the naira on the parallel market at virtually 500 to 1. Like the naira, the Nigerian economy is in freefall, going from bad to worse.

But another change has also taken place and this one is political. It is finally apparent to Bola Tinubu that his friends in the APC are really not his friends at all. That is why he has now complained publicly and resigned as inconsequential “National Leader” of the party. Having used him to achieve their ends at the polls, his fair-weather APC friends have now indicated that they are not merely interested in dumping him, their plan is to decimate his ranks and render him powerless. They are now out to use their new-found vantage point to attack him in his hearth of the South-West and to split his coalition by sponsoring those in opposition to him and, if necessary, by rigging them into power at his expense.

Given this development, this is not the time to tell Tinubu “we told you so; we warned you but you did not listen.” This is not the time to say: “Don’t Cry for Bola Tinubu.” This is the time to cry for Tinubu. As a mater of fact, this is the time for all true progressives to rally round Bola Tinubu. The reason for this is simple.

Now that Tinubu has hopefully learnt his lesson, he should be more open to those of us who he thought were his enemies in the past but should now realise have always had his back. Tinubu should now be more amenable to wise counsel. Now that he has resigned from the honorific, but irrelevant, title of leader of the APC, he should start making plans to extricate himself from the APC altogether. At the very least, he should leave no one in doubt that he would not be taken for granted by leaving the door open for a realignment with a more agreeable coalition as the APC begins inevitably to unravel.

The nullification or dilution of Bola Tinubu’s power in the South-West, at this juncture of Nigeria’s economic hopelessness, renders Nigeria at the mercy of Abuja’s incompetence for the foreseeable future. Since coming to power, President Buhari has been unapologetic about the Northernisation of the Nigerian government. He has completely jettisoned any pretensions to the principles of federal character but has placed Northerners in every strategic sector of the government. This is part of the rationale behind the resurgence of pro-Biafra agitators, as well as the emergence of the Niger-Delta Avengers. In the process of consolidating the North, the agenda is now to decimate the South-West. This should not be allowed to happen.

At the moment, Nigerian democracy has no opposition; which is why nobody is complaining about the disastrous collapse of the naira and the adverse economic climate. The government is even floating the idea of further increases in the price of petrol, and nobody is up in arms. The PDP is at war with itself, and the cynical anti-corruption campaign of the government has been used effectively to silence it. That is why the burgeoning attack on Bola Tinubu deserves a rallying response.

Progressive Nigerians should not allow anyone in these climes to make a fool of Bola Tinubu. We must help him to consolidate and even enhance his position. At strength, Buhari can only be a one-term president without Bola Tinubu. All Tinubu needs to do is to start making plans to form another alliance that links truly progressive Northerners with those of the South-West, South-East and South-South. The possibility of that happening should give him a new fillip. At the very least, it would put him back into reckoning, ensuring he can only be ignored at great cost.

Without Tinubu, Buhari would not be the president of Nigeria today. Buhari’s wife, Aisha, acknowledged as much after the 2015 election. Without Tinubu, Buhari would not have secured the presidential ticket of the APC. Without Tinubu, Buhari would not have had the semblance of widespread national acceptability. Without Tinubu, Buhari would not have had the funds to mount a national campaign. Without Tinubu, Buhari only obtained 370,000 votes from the entire Southern Nigeria in the 2011 election. Without Tinubu, Buhari has no political future; unless the unproductive hegemonists currently ranged against Tinubu succeed in turning him into a toothless bulldog.

Therefore, I insist, this must not be allowed to happen. This is the time for all truly progressive people, North and South; East and West to rally to Tinubu’s support. Let us forget the past; even the immediate past. In politics, there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends. Let us be united in one purpose; the unity of Nigeria is paramount. Nigeria should not be conceded to hegemonists. It is now abundantly clear that those that have clamoured for power for long and have now attained it have no clue what to do with it; other than to put their kinsmen and family members in key positions, while the nation’s economy has gone to the dogs.

We must not be in any doubt as to what is going on now. Instead of investing in the future of Nigeria, the only real investment taking place now is towards the hegemonic control of the country by a small segment of the population for the foreseeable future. This is not only anti-democratic; it is anti-Nigeria. It must be resisted politically with wisdom and clear-sightedness. It must be resisted adroitly by the formation of a new, truly national non-sectarian coalition that stretches across the Niger. In this design, Bola Tinubu would be invaluable once again as one of its principal architects.

Equally important, the South-West must learn from the past when Akintola was used to divide it from Awolowo. That kind of history must not be allowed to repeat itself. From my point of view, the bottom line is as follows. My democratic instincts have always made me opposed to Tinubu’s status as the godfather of South-West politics. But under the present circumstances, I would rather have Tinubu as the godfather of South-West politics, than have Buhari as the godfather of South-West politics. To the extent that a Tinubu can never be the godfather of North-West politics, then Buhari must never be the godfather of South-West politics.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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