BY KAZIE UKO
Former Senator, representing Kaduna Central District, Shehu Sani, has advised a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to engage a translator to always interpret Hausa and fulfulde languages to him.
The two languages are both spoken by the Fulanis of Nigeria.
Shehu’s unsolicited advice, perceived by many as mischievous, came amid the political pomp and pageantry that greeted the 69th birthday celebration of the former Lagos State governor and senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, today, Monday, March 29, 2021.
Friends and political associates of the ‘Governor Emeritus’ of Lagos State gathered in Kano for the 12th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, an annual pseudo-intellectual event to celebrate the birthday of the man whose political sophistry propelled the APC to capture the Presidency of Nigeria in 2015, with the merger of factions of political parties, including from then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo and a retinue of other political office holders from the south west, Tinubu’s zone, were meant to join the party in Kano but were dissuaded by bad weather, according to reports. They eventually participated virtually. While the Vice President joined his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, in Aso Rock others huddled inside the VIP section of the Abuja airport and their various offices.
“Happy 69th Birthday to Asiwaju. He is a phenomenal politician and a democrat who played an outstanding role in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. My advice; Get Someone you trusted (trust) to always translate to you what is said in Hausa and Fulfulde,” Sani offered on his Twitter handle on Monday.
Senator Sani obviously spoke tongue-in-cheek. His many unspoken words may be a reference to whatever political agreement the APC might have gone into as the founding members forged their alliance prior to the 2015 election which eventually swept PDP out of office after 16 years in power.
There have been both muffled and loud murmurings of Tinubu being next in line after Buhari, according to unseen APC rule book. But events since the President strengthened his hold on the levers of government appear to speak contrary to that understanding. Also, the forceful agitation by the south east for power shift to the zone may not be helping matters for the Tinubu story.
The best prominent northern political elites, excluding the President himself, who speak both Hausa and Fulfulde, have done is to advice for power shift to the south but specifically neither to Tinubu nor the south west.
Therein lies Shehu Sani’s advice to Tinubu to hire a trusted aide to give him a true interpretation, not just literally but, perhaps, also body language, of what he discusses with his northern political associates.