2019: Buhari, 'The Emperor' And Haunting Shadows Of South-West
Will Things Fall Apart within and around the APC as it faces its first real test since it emerged as national champions in 2015?
The second coming of Muhammadu Buhari into the driver's seat of Nigeria's affairs was quite welcome with open hands and hearts by millions of Nigerians.
The quest then was simple- "anything but Jonathan". The cry against the Goodluck Jonathan administration was so loud it was heard from the regular gatherings of #BringBackOurGirls campaigner turn presidential candidate, Oby Ezekwesili all to way to Obama's oval office in the White House.
The loud shout of 'clueless' was resounding on social media and the man-made clamp on the distribution of petrol which lasted over 50 days left Nigerians with no choice than to let in the only option.
Three and a half years down the line we are heading back to the polls. Disgruntled as usual, Nigerians are crying "anything but Buhari".
But let's take a close look at the chances of the man who said "I belong to nobody and I belong to everybody" especially in the undecided geo-political zone which houses the most educated number of Nigerians - the South-West.
We begin at the centre of excellence where Governor Akinwumi Ambode is still licking his psychological and physical wounds.
He will be the first governor in South-West Nigeria since 1999 that would be eligible to contest for a second term but would be denied access to the race track by members of his own party.
Ambode was left alone even after he did all that the Emperor asked of him.
Even the King and Queen of Aso Villa begged on his behalf but the response from the Emperor was the same "it is not me, it is what the party members want".
Although Ambode has pledged to campaign for Buhari and Sanwo-Olu, did you see the look on his face when he accompanied Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC's Governorship candidate, Jide Sanwo-Olu to the Arena in Oshodi?
Did you hear the shouts of "incoming" each time Sanwo-Olu raised his hands to greet supporters that gathered to see the dignitaries? So, I would leave you with this - Think deeply about it, if you were Ambode what more do you stand to lose?
"If you enjoy the fragrances of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears" - Isaac Hayes.
The man standing at the entrance of the Gateway state has also been severely bruised by the Emperor and the Comrade.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun is the King's right-hand as far as the governors elected on the platform of the APC are concerned.
His support for the King born in Daura dates long before 2011. He has always been there as a shoulder to lean on. But it seems that shoulder may have been covered completely in palm oil.
Amosun did not ask for too much (well, that's as far as he is concerned).
He only said he would pick his successor like all his mates before him and those leaving office like him would do.
But the forces of change within change led by the Comrade may have pushed him to the edge.
While Amosun slept, the APC was divided under his watch and the Emperor has chosen a new Prince - Dapo Abiodun.
Although Amosun was there at the Villa on Sunday to support the King's manual for campaign; he must be asking himself - will these 8 years on the throne count for nothing?
If he is to stick to first love - Akinlade; then he must be ready to contest against the APC and the Emperor all the way while taking a few casualties which include turning a deaf ear to the King on February 16, 2019.
The sun shines brightly on Rotimi Akeredolu. Even though he may have had a rough start at the beginning of his tenure, he has stood firm.
He and the Emperor have always been strange bed fellows and in fact they never shared the same house not to talk of bed room.
Akeredolu owes his loyalty to his hurting colleague in Ogun.
Amosun was there for him from zero to hero. Akeredolu is fresh from masterminding an election victory in Ekiti where he stood firmly beside Kayode Fayemi.
It was not the Emperor that delivered Ekiti to APC; it was Akeredolu and Amosun. I hope the national leadership in Abuja is aware of this.
Akeredolu's destiny is not tied to the King. He will not seek to contest until 2021. If the King loses in 2019, Akeredolu would simply choose to remain in the APC or jump ship to another more popular group.
He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and would be ready for any legal abracadabra that the APC may want to throw his way.
Outgoing Governor Rauf Aregbesola would be glad that the Living Spring state is being handed over to the Emperor's relative, Gboyega Oyetola.
That's at least for now pending any change in leadership as the Adelekes have vowed 'no retreat, no surrender'.
Oyetola will find himself knee deep in debt from the day he is sworn-in.
In debt to the real winner of the polls, Iyiola Omisore and of course - he will repay the Emperor for all his support.
The PDP showed how popular it has become in Osun or how frustrated the people maybe with the APC.
First, it was the election of the dancing Adeleke as Senator and the decision to push on for the governor's office which ended rather controversially.
Sorry, it is yet to end.
The King knows he will have his hands full if he tries to change the course of the flowing Osun spring.
How much does the King cherish the votes from the Fountain of Knowledge?
Fayose is out. Fayemi is in. But Fayemi is more loyal to Akeredolu and Amosun than he is to the Emperor.
Ekiti is arguably the smallest state in Nigeria with the least number of voters. Would it be worth fighting for at the end of the day?
By the way, Fayemi was one of the three 'wise men' that met with the King early in November where they said "they put their feet down" on several issues happening within the APC.
In the words of Babatunde Fashola - May our loyalties never be tested - Fayemi will surely have his loyalty tried and tested this time around.
The Pace Setter governor got it wrong on two fronts.
Abiola Ajimobi chose to fight royalty. His attempts to water down the crown - Olubadan of Ibadan - may have back fired bearing tremendous consequences.
Although he is no longer in need of subsidy from Bourdillon after making enough money for himslef in 8 years but the bane is his ambition.
Ajimobi wants to become a god-father of some sort in Oyo. He no longer considers himself a mere mortal having broken the two-term curse placed on his predecessors since 1999.
As Ajimobi runs to the Senate, I wonder if he would be willing to fight for the King who did not visit the state officially in three and a half years.
He is a man of many victories. He has gone into battle wisely and candidly over the last 10 years.
His strategies have been so sublime that even when he loses he earns respect and accolades for even arriving on the battle field.
His winning streaks have been so consistent that the phrase "Baba Sope" could send shivers down the spine of some serving and aspiring politicians.
But it seems the Emperor never forgives. You might argue with this statement but we can go down memory lane.
Babatunde Fashola's success in Lagos remains on the mind of the people after he was sadly relegated to the door steps of memory by his successor.
The children's theme park along Mobolaji Johnson Avenue is named JJT (Johnson, Jakande and Tinubu) not JJT-F.
The battle for Fashola to become minister was shrouded in allegations of fraud in his closing days with the construction of a website worth million of naira.
The Emperor also lashed out against his renegade former commissioner, Muiz Banire who picked holes with his style of leadership.
Senator Bukola Saraki had his hands full with the CCT for allegedly usurping powers within the Red Chambers while Senator Dino Melaye may have gotten his fair share of pain after his Bourdillon rant.
Recently, Ambode dared to say "No" after he was warned to cut short his ambition and accept his time on the throne has come to an end.
Ambode refused and tried to fight. Like Ikemefuna in Achebe's Things Fall Apart he was suddenly cut down.
Perhaps the Emperor may have failed to heed the warning “That boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death.” Time will tell.
All that aside, why would the King think that he can abandon the Emperor for three years and suddenly wake up to become his best friend after attending just one birth day party?
The Emperor felt humiliated and his wife openly shared her disbelief.
The Emperor is getting ready for battle again but his cunning strategies may mislead many to think he would not review his tactics - as always he would ask himself -"What Do I Stand To Gain?"
Long Live The King! Or perhaps the King's time is up.