Former Governor of Lagos Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on Sunday described the crisis rocking the ruling All Progressive Congress as “Old Ambition Virus 2023”.
A statement made available to the NPO Reports Sunday afternoon by his Media Office said the bulk of the bickering within the party is occasioned by the threats of ambition and what people stand to gain.
The leader of APC said while politics should be a seasonal affair with governance being perpetual, politicians have “inverted” the order and made politics more perpetual.
He stated ”The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very season ournation nowfinds itself. They conflatethings,which no sensible person would conflate. Theprimarysymptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe theevents of2023 willbe decidedbefore weevenexit the year 2020.”
See Full Statement Below:
2023: A DIFFERENT FORM OF AILMENT
The alert responses ofLagosandOgunstate governments, actively supported by the federal machinery, Nigeria was able to quickly identify and isolate the two cases ofthe novelCoronavirus19. This action,thus far,hasstopped the spread of the disease into the wider community as has been seen in other nations. We are grateful to Godand to all those involved in the response effort, particularly the brave and committed medical teams on the frontline.
While Corona has been presently contained in Nigeria, wemust be alert to another sickness that seems rampantwithin acertain segment of society. That sickness is old Ambition–virus 2023.This illness afflictsmany in the political class along with their allies in the media. Those touched by this maladyfind thattheir ability to tell time and discern the difference betweenthe present and the futurehas beenstronglyimpaired. The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very season ournation nowfinds itself. They conflatethings,which no sensible person would conflate. Theprimarysymptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe theevents of2023 willbe decidedbefore weevenexit the year 2020.
Consequently, everything they say and do is geared toward obsessive jockeying for positionto control and manipulatea race still three years away.In doing so, they recklessly undermine the very party which they claim to serve and weaken the administration of President Buhari to which they claim to be loyal.Theyline upto run a race for which the track has not even yet been constructed.Put another way, they seek to pluck the fruit beforethe seed isevenplanted.As such, their actions border on the pathological. True, ambition isinherent inhumanendeavour. Without it,nothing greatisachieved. However, strong ambition applied in the wrong way has never done anything positive. At best, it results in confusion.Usually, its results in something worse.No matter how great one’s ambition and how able one may be, nobody can rush or speed time. That is beyond the realm of human capacity. To do so is to contest against fate itself.When it ends, such a contestrarelyendswell.
In a well-structured society,people come to understand that the time for politics is seasonal;it is periodic.Theresponsibilities of governanceare whatisperpetual.Many of our politicians sadly have inverted this reality.Politics and electioneering are secondary to governance for they are but tools of governance, the platforms by which one demonstrates his or her worthiness toleada great people. Themore a person obsesses over and constantly engages in politicalmanoeuvringis a warning sign. Not onlyis heprone to the 2023 virus.Helikelyhaslittle to offerin the way ofgood governance.He wantsto hold public office that youmightservehimnotheserveyou.For ifhe had adequately studied and been acquainted withthe ways and means ofprogressivegovernance, he would be focused on that important taskat the present moment.He certainly would not drown himself and all around him in harmful political intrigue.
It is against this backdrop that we should view the present ploys and plots to undermine the APCNational Chairman. TheChairman is human;thus,he has his merits as well as his flaws. Yet his humanity cannot be grounds for his dismissal. If so, the position will forever go vacant.
TheChairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party.He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us.To do so would be an act of ingratitude.It is no secret that theChairman and EdoGovernor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate. However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs of the party to hopefully resolve this spat. All party members know this.Such decisions arepart and parcel of internalpartygovernance. Yet, motivated by ambitions that have nothing to do with the quality of theChairman’s performance, people shunned the agreed party reconciliation mechanism and resorted to other means to oust him.Theseself-help attempts are unwarranted.These attemptsreveal more aboutthemala fides of their perpetrators than they do about theChairman.
Theplotters launched their attack solelybecause they perceive the chairman asan obstacleto their 2023 ambitions.Peoplewentto court knowing full well the party constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internaldisciplinary procedures. We even had a national deputy secretary improperly call for a NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself the acting national chairman. Clearly, this man would nothavesummonedthe temerity to make such amovehadhenot been instigated by powerful individuals who he thought would rewardor,at least,protect himforcommittingthe wrongful act.
Those engaged in thesemanoeuvressee themselves as clever or cunning. They do so because they only understand the mean craft of political intrigue. They have yet to understand the value and long-term utility of democratic governance.Thus, they embark on the strangest of quest. They would rather dismantle and weaken the institutional core of their party just to gain control of that weakened edificein order to pilfer the party nomination,which they crave. This ismore thansad.
Many of us expended sweat, tears, toil and sleepless nights to build this party. Our personal sacrifices were not insignificant.We built this party notsimply as a vehicle for personal ambition. We builtthe partybecause wesaw it as perhaps the only enduring hope to bring progressive governancetothis nation. Those who now seek to abuse the party by using it as their personaldevicedoitgreat harm. They should not be allowed to sacrifice this collective enterprise at the altar of theirself-aggrandizement. Somehow, some way they should find in themselves the bearing to adhere to the democratic spirit on which the party was founded. To be an APCmember means more than merely carrying a membership card. It means tobelieve in a set of ideals and principles geared to our highest purpose as a party and a nation.
Ina broader context, those afflicted with the 2023virusdo a grave disservice toPresident Buhari and his administration.They should betrying theirbest to help the president. Instead of seeingPresident Buharias our presentleader and commander–in–chief, their sole contemplationis upon his eventual exit. Yet,not even a fullyear has passed since his second inaugural.How can they be committed tohelping him realise his mandate when the fullness of their gaze is affixed to seizingthis verymandate for themselves?
The president is faced with many challenges. He is fighting hard on security to keep the populationsafe. He is pushing for economic reforms that will augur future sustainable growth. His disdain for corruption remains unwavering. Add to it now theCorona crisis and its resultant social as well as economic impact. Politicians express loyalty to him but the words of too many of our politicians are like butter under aburningsun;theymeltquickly away. Better to be loyal in deed. Instead of trying to manipulate party and other mechanisms solely to their politicalgain,it is time to shelve politicalintrigue for the time being. It is time for all party members to truly see what is at stake and workwith Mr. Presidentfor the collective goodof the nation.
This means we must rally aroundPresident Buhari. Instead of everyone saying they are working for the party and nation but going their separate ways based on their selfish designs, we must helphim builda stronger national consensus on policies that will ensure safety and bring greater prosperity. Ifneedbeand when called upon,we must offer ideas andsuggestionsthat move policy and progress forward.This is the time for governance. It is not the moment to bring the politics of 2023 into 2020. In due course, 2023 shall come.Nothingcan prevent it. However, that time is not today. If we are earnest, the presentofferssufficient work and challenges for us without trying to add to it by rushing the future. Let us dedicate our energies tohelpingPresident Buhari win the present. In this way, you better secure the future for the nation, the partyand evenfor whatever personal ambitions youmaynurture.
I have said what is on my mind in hopes that some people may leave the 2023 frenzy and commit themselves to the harder yetmore rewarding task of improving progressive governance,whether within the party or at the local, state or federal levels.Yet, I am not so naïve to think all will heed this counsel.The stubborn, those obsessed with the obsession of their ambitions, will ignore all advice. They will constantly pull 2023 into all thatoccursin 2020. Their vision is blurred and judgment made faulty bytheirailment. Weare democrats so wecannotphysicallyquarantine them. However,we can quarantine their ideas and antics bynot falling prey tothem. This is the best way we helpPresident Buharifulfilhis mandate and inoculate our party and the nation from grave folly.
March 15, 2020