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Jibrin of 50 questions’ fame dodges two questions for Tinubu

Jibrin of 50 questions’ fame dodges two questions for Tinubu
January 21
11:06 2022

First off, let me apologise for the above headline being not-so elegant, to put it mildly. I was aiming to kill several birds with one stone. Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, a former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives is the Director General (DG), Tinubu Support Group Management Council, aka campaign manager. You’ll recall that on January 10, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu finally announced his desire to contest for his party’s presidential ticket in the general elections in 2023. Tinubu, a former senator and governor of Lagos State is also the national leader of the ruling party, APC (All Progressives Congress). As a result of Tinubu’s unsurprising declaration, Jibrin appeared on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ to talk some more about his candidate (aspirant) and yet tried to be clever by half by refusing to answer two critical questions: “How old is Tinubu, the man who wants to be the president of Nigeria; and what’s the source of his famed wealth?”

The question about his wealth may be tricky because there are many wealthy Nigerian men who no one is sure about how they make their wealth. But surely telling us his age can’t be that hard? Even if Tinubu, like millions of us, only has a sworn affidavit in place of a birth certificate, it’s still a fairly simple answer. Former President Olusegun doesn’t know his real age, but he’s picked a date (March 5) and stuck with it all this time. In any case, Tinubu having spent considerable time as a public servant and worked with Mobil, which his supporters attribute to be the source of his wealth, wealth so huge the man had two bullion vans driving into his compound during the 2019 elections. Didn’t he provide Mobil with a birth date? He must have had to use a date. Indeed, he celebrated his 69th birthday last March 2021.

I can’t quarrel with that. It doesn’t matter if some people think he looks far older than 69 or soon to be 70. There’s something else though, there are allegations that his alleged nephew, Gboyega Oyetola, the governor of Osun state is 67 years old. Anyhow, Tinubu’s unsurprising declaration is still generating debate among Nigerians. This would’ve been a good place for me to begin if for nothing for Tinubu promising to “build on what President Buhari has done” or “to continue from where President Buhari stopped,” as Jibrin said.  Nigeria with its purported 200 million people maintains her shameful position as the poverty capital of the world, having overtaken both China and India with a combined population of almost 3 billion as the country with the most number of extremely poor people. What a ‘feat’! Tell me, are their depths lower than this? Is Tinubu going to ‘help’ break more negative world records?

Nonetheless, let’s try to focus on Jibrin for now. I’m going to give the Jagaban a long rope. February 2023 is still far away. If he manages to clinch the APC ticket, I wouldn’t mind doing a weekly update at that time. I feel a lot of people at the moment are running the short game, almost foaming at the mouth when the APC is still trying to decide on a date for its convention. We need to reserve our energy for the real battle. Also, all kinds of people with questionable integrity are coming out of the woodwork, Abia ex-governor Orji Uzor Kalu being one of such people…

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So Jibrin spoke to the trio of Reuben Abati, Oseni Rufai and Tundun Abiola (who he kept calling Dotun despite her trying to correct him several times). Of the three, he had a hard time answering Rufai who truly wanted the previously mentioned 2 questions answered. Jibrin appeared rattled and would not talk about Tinubu’s age and wealth. Just imagine, the director-general of the Tinubu Support Group Management Council had zero interest in clearing any rumours or news about Tinubu. Instead, he turned around to throwing mud and accusing Rufai of being unprofessional, saying something to the effect that a journalist should always accept whatever his interview subject says or doesn’t say and “move on.”

These are just early days, yet. None of the interviewers mentioned anything about the alleged involvement with a US drug ring if reports are to be believed. Or the seeming confusion about the educational institutions he supposedly attended. As I said earlier, these are early days and only the beginning of the media heat.

Abati or someone else had asked after Tinubu’s health and Jibrin came again with a bogus philosophical dance around. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he used President Buhari’s health as an example, that Buhari is now even healthier than before. He seemed incapable of grappling with the notion that this ‘government pikinism’ at its worst. The Nigerian taxpayer has had to fend for Buhari almost all his life. There’s also the fact that Buhari was perhaps not well enough to withstand the rigours and demands of being president of a country like Nigeria. Someone may have lied about the true state of his health. But now, he has been revamped and revived by the Nigerian taxpayer and is been sustained in the UK. This is the same Buhari who as a presidential candidate condemned medical tourism and said he was never going to partake in it. He would go on to stay in the UK for 103 days at one stretch in 2017, barely 2 years in office. How does Jibrin think this helps Tinubu who recently returned from a long medical break in the UK? Are we in for another round, of 4 or 8 years of foreign medical trips by a feeble president, feeble in body and mind? Are Nigerians supposed to be overjoyed at the thought of “Tinubu continuing from where Buhari stopped?” I know Tinubu can’t knock Buhari’s record until he’s firmly in power as president, maybe. I don’t expect any APC aspirant to knock Buhari too. However, that’s different from telling Nigerians you’re going to continue from where Buhari stopped.

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The really curious thing is that Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin used to be very interested in posing questions to people in government. In 2014, as head of the House of Representatives Finance Committee, Jibrin sent 50 questions to the then finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, now the DG of the World Trade Organisation, WTO. He was doing his job, even if the motives were clear: Goodluck Jonathan, the Christian president from Otuoke had to go. Even when Dr. Okonjo-Iweala appeared before the House trying to explain, Jibrin and his gang couldn’t be placated. In the end, she submitted a lengthy answer, a 102-page document to the committee. Now, barely ten years later, Jibrin cannot answer a question as simple as: how old is Tinubu? If morning shows the day, the contempt with which Jibrin holds Nigerian journalists and Nigerians at large, if Tinubu becomes president, we’re going to have worse than the Tom and Jerry currently running presidential communication.

To this, I have to say, “God forbid.” Or in better Nigerianese: God forbid bad thing!

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