Having benefited tremendously (N2.1 billion) from what is now known as Dasukigate, the founder of DAAR Communications and owner of Africa Independent Television (AIT), Chief Raymond Dokpesi, aired a smear campaign against the National Leader of the then opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, last year. The documentary, “The Lion of Bourdillion”, was actually meant to portray Tinubu in bad light and assassinate his character in the eyes of the public in those heady days of high-wired political desperation.
The documentary was first broadcast on March 1, 2015 and by March 6, 2015, the indomitable Tinubu had slammed a N150 billion suit against AIT to effectively stop the broadcast, which was another rough tactic of the Jonathan Presidency and Peoples Democratic Party. The broadcast stopped even before the High Court of Lagos State restrained AIT from airing it further on April 1, 2015.
Chief Dokpesi put up a fight against Asiwaju Tinubu in a counter claim of N200 billion (just imagine), under oath, that the documentary was pure facts and not a calculated attack against the personality of Asiwaju Tinubu. He cited the relevant aspect of the Constitution, Section 22, to buttress his position. The legal tangle continued silently as Nigerians got busy with other things, especially when evidence started to emerge daily on the criminal appropriation of our collective patrimony by a gang of political profiteers intoxicated by transient power.
However, by last weekend, it emerged that the media mogul had eaten the humble pie and swallowed his vomit. I have not read in recent times such a humbling statement as the one Chief Dokpesi issued as part of the conditions for the out-of-court settlement of the matter. The letter of apology, entitled “Retraction and Apology by DAAR Communications PLC to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, is indeed a painful punishment. The Yoruba cultural equivalent of the well-publicised retraction is like you prostrating and kissing the dust before your adversary who now puts his left foot on your head to humiliate you further.
The letter, personally signed by Dokpesi, partly reads, “DAAR Communications Plc, acknowledges that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is an outstanding political leader of unblemished character and integrity, as well as a leading public figure and opinion moulder who has made and continues to make immense, colossal and gargantuan contributions to the progress and development of the nation in general and Lagos State in particular.” Tinubu himself would have smiled heartily reading this “gargantuan” praise!
Dokpesi went ahead to make “a public and unequivocal retraction of the said documentary” and tendered “unreserved apology to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the broadcast of the documentary on its television station, AIT”. The letter even ends with a prayer that Tinubu “will live long to make more enormous contributions to the advancement of our nation, Nigeria, Lagos State and the world at large.”
Through this encounter, the Jagaban of Borgu and most accomplished Nigerian politician has further established his pre-eminent status in Nigerian politics. The letter must have been very difficult for Chief Dokpesi to sign just as the airing of the retraction on a daily basis on AIT for a period of a quarter year (four months) is not funny. No defeat can be more humiliating but what honour remains anyway for AIT and its staff-owing owner?
Like many other Nigerians, I have never met Tinubu but I am just enthralled by his mastery of his game. Like a skillful footballer that mesmerizes his opponents or a talented actor that acts his script with panache, Tinubu is a dazzling and superb political phenomenon. Today, he stands tall as the grand commander of Nigerian politics and without him, Nigeria would not have been where it is today. As a matter of fact, if Tinubu had not endured the siege to his home or if he had succumbed to the pressure, in both carrot and stick formats, of the Jonathan Presidency, the present government, for which stealing is corruption, would not have been in place.
What especially makes the Tinubu phenomenon a compelling reference point is the ability of the persona to create and mentor a whole set of dynamic leaders. His imprint on Nigeria’s politics today is everywhere and he doesn’t have a rival. His greatest political achievement is Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, who was his Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General when he was Lagos State Governor.
Besides, the current two-term Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, was Tinubu’s Commissioner for Works. His Chief of Staff, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), is the well-acclaimed two-term Governor of Lagos State and today’s super Minister of Works, Power and Housing. His first Chief of Staff and long term right hand man, the highly effective Alhaji Lai Muhammed, is the current Minister of Information. The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who is the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, is a proud graduate of Tinubu’s School of Politics. The man that Tinubu appointed as Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, is today’s Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service. The list is long.
I learnt that 98% of the National Assembly members from Lagos State are “Tinubu’s boys”. The media mogul and entrepreneur, Dele Momodu, is not ashamed of saying he is a Tinubu’s boy. Those who were elected Governor with Tinubu in 1999 have disappeared into a kind of political Siberia. There are those who seek re-election perpetually and we don’t hear much of the likes of Mbadinuju of Anambra State and Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State, except in Dasukigate for the latter. There are also Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom and Achike Udenwa of Imo. Where are they today?
Certainly, if you want to fight Tinubu, it is good you think twice. All hail the Jagaban, the triumphant! Chief Dokpesi, sorry o!
VALENTINE: EVERYDAY IS FOR LOVE
Valentine Day is almost here and many people, both young and not so young, are planning to celebrate it in a MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) manner. Some accounts will be in the red for it, to please several partners, afterall the symbol is a red heart, a heart full with blood and affection.
The whole Valentine fuss was originally a Pagan rite of Cupid, that naked character that shoots people with his arrows to make them fall in love. Cupid was the son of Venus, the god of love and beauty. It was this rite that eventually wore a Christian toga when the Italian Bishop Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 by Roman Emperor Claudius II for conducting secret marriages.
Valentine Day today is synonymous with debauchery and reckless sexual freedom. Everyday should be for love, not just February 14. Young people should not be deceived because sex remains the most powerful creative force, which, as I wrote recently in a sister column, is like atomic power with its boundless energy. It is both powerful and destructive.
Therefore, Valentine or no Valentine, be thoughtful and careful.