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It is Tinubu’s Turn to Chop; Vote for Him or be Charged for Blasphemy….
It is Tinubu’s turn to chop. He has invested a lot in Nigerian politics but not in its development. He singlehandedly, or so, installed the current president into power. Not only that, he has his boys (or guys) everywhere; as law makers in the National Assembly, as ministers, as governors—including the Eleyi of Ogun State (i.e. This One of Ogun State). He has wet the ground, day and night, for smooth ride to the ultimate house of power otherwise called the Aso Villa. Therefore, it will be blasphemous not to vote for him. Blasphemous? I will return to this soon.

Let’s agree, to avoid argument, that it is Tinubu’s turn to chop. What he might wish to chop has been eaten up completely. APC government, in which he is a strong man, seems not to have left anything for him to chop. Chopping, while in government, is the main raison d’être of an average Nigerian politicians while in power.

Many politicians, due to hypocrisy, are not bold enough to mention this chop-chop of a thing in the public. Though, we all know it. However, the Governor of Plateau State and Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Simon Lalong, boldly said it without any compunction at a campaign event in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital, on Tuesday. Many, within the circle of APC are not comfortable with the assertion. They are right—especially as it has the tendency to de-market Tinubu. But he only said what we all know, even if is always officially denied.

Nigerian politics is about chop make I chop. In other words, chop and let’s chop. Others have chopped and have been chopping. Now, Emilokan to chop. This is why we keep growing but not developing. With this political chop-and-let’s-chop mentality, it is safe to say the country has not set its foot, yet, on the trajectory of progress and development. ‘Chop’ is, of course, an English word which means to cut or to slice. In the context in which it was used or in the Nigerian vernacular, ‘chop’ means to eat. When used in Nigerian political context, it means to embezzle. “Come chop your own,” “Chop am sharp sharp,” “Government money na free money,” “O boy! No dull yourself o,” are all common vernaculars which explain how an average Nigerian politician thinks and behaves.

Politicians and their politics in Nigeria have become so sordid that Nigerians have to choose, in most cases, a lesser of two or more evils. There seems to be general consensus that the presidential flag bearers of the three major political parties in the forthcoming elections have some charges of theft, falsification, and corruption levelled against them. Yet, some Nigerians are willing to die for them. Say anything against Obi, you will be lashed with the poisonous tongues of the ‘Obi-dients.’ Tinubu is another ‘idol’ among his ‘worshippers’ who are said to be ‘BATified’. Say anything against him and see the wrath of the gods. In Tinubu’s case, it is even blasphemous not to vote for him.

Atiku seems not to have cult following like Tinubu and Obi but the allegations of corruption against him are terrifying. The recent allegations and counter allegations between the Atikulated and the BATified vis-a-vis their paymasters leave one in a sober mood. We can only remain spectators to see who blinks first. As Atiku and Tinubu continue to dance naked in the market square to the music of their supporters, we can only hope that they are not as corrupt as they are made to look. If they are as corrupt as alleged, haa! “Atiku!”—Yoruba exclamatory remark for “we don die.” Except if they repent.
Last week I wrote on the jihad of voting Muslim-Muslim ticket. It is as if the jihad message by the APC clerics is well received. Speaking at the Yar’adua Centre in Abuja in a symposium on ‘renewed hope 2023’ organized by the APC Professionals Forum, a former governor of Bauchi State—in reference to Tinubu—said: “It would be to, should I say, blasphemy to turn against him.” It is as if this jihad is now compulsory. Anyone who does not vote for Tinubu might end up committing a blasphemy!
But something is not clear to me. Is the former governor referring to the Christians, or the Muslims, or both, or only those at the APC Professionals Forum where he made the statement? When did APC become a religion? If he is referring to his audience at the APC Professional Forum, fine and good. It is possible they have sworn an oath. If that is the case, he (the ex-governor) might be right. If he is referring to the Christians, I probably do not know the finer details of Christian theology. But I can make an informed guess that not voting for APC is not a blasphemous act in Christianity.
What about in Islam—going by the fact that the ex-governor who made the statement that sounds like fatwa (juristic opinion) is a Muslim? If I pretend to be a scholar, I will say it is extremely ridiculous to think that anyone would be committing a blasphemous act for voting or not voting a particular party or candidate. But since I am still a student (not a scholar), it will be wise to ask the APC sheikhs if not voting APC ticket in the presidential election amounts to blasphemy.

I don’t really know if this people are campaigning for Tinubu or deliberately de-marketing him. They said it is his turn to chop. They said it is all about jihad. Now, they are making case for blasphemy. I hope his advisers are advising him and his campaigners well. I also learnt he is the doyen of Nigerian Muslims. This is terribly unfortunate. Insulting Nigerian Muslims because of Tinubu’s Presidency is disgusting. A doyen means a leading light, a senior member, a leading figure, a notable. If Tinubu is a doyen of Nigerian Muslims, an outsider might think Nigerian Muslims are like him or worse than him.

Certainly, there are millions of Nigerian Muslims who do not struggle to prove their Muslimness because no one doubts their Islam; this is exactly what Tinubu does. His awkward and nauseating recitation of the first Chapter of the Qur’an is irritating even to non-Muslims who, by virtue of having mosques in their residential areas, listen to this often recited Chapter every day. The characterization of Tinubu as the doyen of Nigerian Muslims, I think, should be rejected by Nigerian Muslims, especially the ulema.

Tinubu supposedly has some merits which his admirers can, and should, highlight during their campaigns. It is God that gives power. So, we should not debase ourselves, in the name of support, for any candidate. We do not need to weave some religious fictions around Tinubu’s personality. If God wills that it is his turn to chop, who can stop him? But I will advise him to work earnestly to develop the country.
This said, there is a mountainous task ahead. I don’t envy whoever becomes the next president. So, no one should kill himself for any candidate. Whoever finally emerges, if the elections hold, may God help him.

Abdulkadir Salaudeen
salahuddeenabdulkadir@gmail.com

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