The 2023 presidential election campaign continues to take shape as each of the contestants reveal more and more of their plans. The Labour Party, for instance, appears to have adopted a strategy of presenting its candidate, Peter Obi, as some sort of latter day saint, patron of the Christian youth and the antithesis of a system of corruption which has been theorised to have run Nigeria aground.
For their part, the People’s Democratic Party know they have an unmarketable candidate, so they have resorted to the classic politics of casting aspersions on every other candidate hoping through this sullying of every other party to emerge least blameless. The Labour Party has also joined in the business of candidate sullying.
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress and their candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have formulated a strategy of marketing their candidate as an idealist and an embodiment of the philosopher-king of Plato’s beloved republic. They hold no stock by descending to the banal fray of candidate sullying that has been the fascination of the other major parties.
Of course, many parties and the strategies that they have adopted have not been mentioned – no one really knows or cares what they are on about, but no doubt they are also campaigning.
Of all the sullied candidates, the most smeared and attacked is APC’s Bola Tinubu. Despite being a political figure with no substantive position in government since he completed his tenure as governor of Lagos State in 2003, he is blamed for every woe that the country currently suffers. He is bizarrely accused of being a government above the current government, even as he campaigns for a job which, if such accusations were correct, would place him beneath his current station.
The image besmirchers, however, have met stoic silence when they accuse him. He does not hasten to the media in a hurry to respond to them for theirs is an agenda of distraction, designed to turn him away from the real issues of the campaign. An experienced and savvy politician, Tinubu appears not to have been moved by their efforts. Indeed, it would seem that by all accounts, they are the ones dancing to his tune.
When he was said to be aging and dying, he released a video of himself exercising. No words, but the message was clear. Later, they argued that he is hiding, dodging interviews because he is incapable of answering questions. Slowly and in his own time, he revealed his plan.
Tinubu mounted a stage bigger than any which could be provided by his traducers and more consequential than any climbed by his fellow contestants and pointedly answered questions with the depth of a man of stout reasoning, sound intellect and absolute confidence in himself and his vision. In the process, he showed off what none of his other contestants can claim – a deep and experienced team of politicians and allies, some he mentored, others he adopted, all men and women of depth and ideas. Neither the calcifying ideas of PDP’s candidate nor the mountebankery of Labour Party’s statistics wielding envier of all things Bangladeshi could match up. Labour Party is removed from the realities of the Labour Unions and PDP is out of touch with even its own democracy, having splintered within itself on account of their candidate’s singular and all consuming presidential ambition.
Meanwhile, Tinubu moves steadily forward. He has buried issues surrounding his age, his educational background, his qualifications and his credentials. He has done all of this while steadfastly refusing to engage with those who have nothing to contribute to the discourse but lies and vitriol.
When he is asked a question, he pauses, thinks and then responds with such wisdom that compels men to keep quiet. He eschews the janus-faced politics of the Labour Party and the bewildering ahistorical mess of the PDP, both of whom struggle to be the darlings of the media without offering anything of real value or insight to right thinking members of the public.
There is no doubt about the fact that APC candidate, Bola Tinubu, is one of those noble politicians whose depth and intellect command attention. It is a refreshing trope in an election campaign where people are focused on all the wrong issues. An eagle does not peck at corn with chickens, so Tinubu does not join issues with lesser candidates. When he does descend, though, he scatters the brood and sends them chasing their own tails. He may only answer them one at a time, but he always seems to do so once and for all. That is why they call him The Factor.