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Jagaban of Borgu: The End of a Political Era – By John Danfulani

The history of the fourth republic can’t be complete without mentioning the political sagacity, survivability and alliance system of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu– Jagaban of Borgu, Lion of Bourdillon, and the governor of the coastal state of Lagos from 1999-2007.

The lion Bourdillon was an SDP Senator of the botched third Republic, certified June 12 activist, and a NADECO chieftain. These positions and activities bestowed him dregs of local and international visibility. But Jagaban’s surviving of PDP’s 2003 electoral Katrina that drowned AD governors, recapturing of South West geopolitical zone in 2011 gubernatorial elections, and adding of Edo–a South-South state, made him an instant political juggernaut.

Jagaban’s brightest moment was the birther of APC in 2014. Majority of Nigerians attributed the success of that epochal development to him, despite the participation of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, incumbent PDP and ANPC governors, senators and House of Representative’s members.

Again, the ouster of incumbent president Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, capturing of most states, and dominating of the red and green chambers in 2015 by the party they formed thickened his national clouds the more.

Multiple factors have been advanced on what is responsible for his prowess and dexterity. Two are outstanding: his stupendous wealth that unquestionably emanated from his eight years one-man-show-rule of Lagos state–an economy that is bigger than most African countries; and his strategic and tactical wizardry in deploying the wealth to hypnotised mandate givers. Me thinks, a combination of the two variables is responsible for his unexpected exploits.

Midway into APC’s 2015-2019 mandate, signs appeared that Jagaban’s curve has peaked the political plateau and commenced descending. Each time a discussion of that reality surfaced, his spin doctors trivialised and swayed attention to very mundane perspectives. He seldom refused delegating the onerous schedule of countering the irrefutable reality; he performed it himself. Statements from APC and government propaganda organs became complimentary routines when such talks were up.

Last week’s sacking of his protégé “comrade” Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and his National Working Committee by the party’s national executive committee finally settled the ding-dong surrounding his capitulation and lost of potency. Lips of his loquacious and combative spins have been sealed. Their end is dead like the Western Front.

Good students of our political history knew that his crossing of River Niger northward will end in an apocalyptic disaster. And dust-off his overbearing influence at his homefront—the South West.

The characters he went into fraternity with are tested and proven grant masters of power game. They are foot soldiers of an interest that has local and international backing. The interest was institutionalised by British imperialists and their transatlantic partner the United States of America. Though the Union Jack was lowered almost six decades, their neo-imperialists structures are guarding and guiding the interest.

Before venturing to what is clearly a calamitous misadventure, he was schooled, cautioned and dissuaded by very knowledgeable elements in his zone and beyond. His inordinate ambition blinded his sight and deafened his ears. Euphoria and sentimentalism of gateway victory and insatiable quest for materialism made him crested on tiger’s back with ecstasy of a carelessly weaned juvenile.

Now that his investment is zero returns or a bad one: what and where next?  There are mix hums echoing from the political walls. Some are assuring that Jagaban will fight his traducers and backstabbers through withdrawing from the watershed coalition. Others are postulating that he will fight from within the rancorous APC.

My take is: he has come to the end of the road. The wolves and cabals that broke his spine at the national stage will make sure they render him useless at the regional level. They are conscious of the realism that leaving him to dominate the regional politics again will disrupt their overall scheme of hanging on to power for a very long-time. So, they will balkanise Jagaban beyond recovery and redemption.

Now that tearing down his political pillars is fait accompli, his chain businesses will face; sudden, massive and decisive bombardments. The assaults will be launched from all angles, with maximum power at their disposal. Once this lethal phase start, he will willingly wave the white handkerchief of surrender because holding on will leave him with no pieces to pick at the end of it all.

Yes, we are truly seeing the end of an era called “Jagabanism”— which is; politics of clientalism, kleptocratism, primitive accumulation, thuggery, and prebendalism in Nigeria.

John Danfulani, Ph.D tweets at @john_danfulani. He can be reached at


Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng

Copyright 2020 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources. 

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