The Hausas say ‘ba’a neman kare ranar farauta’; -which is that you do not wait till the day of hunt to look for the dog of hunt. And worse still if the ‘dog’ you look for is the one you have neglected since after the last successful hunt. Because by then such a ‘canine’ may have either grown frail and weary from physical neglect, Or, it may, in fact, have grown sated with grudge and resentment –from the bitterness of neglect. Thus one way or another, the next hunt is threatened, either by physical inability, or yet by the malevolence of unforgiving mind. But luckily dogs alone are the most un-likely ever to harbour a malevolent spirit. Dogs do not become malevolent even to their un-kind masters. Or so said the Austrian zoologist, Konrad Lorenz that: “There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.”
And so in a sense, the parable makers are not altogether right: you can in fact look for a ‘dog of hunt’ even on the ‘day of the hunt’, provided only that the dog has not grown frail and weary from physical neglect. Because then it may not be able to hunt. And this is exactly what the President, Muhammadu Buhari is now doing, seeking out his Party’s Leader the Asiwaju, Bola Ahmed Tinubu only when the political hunting fields have started buzzing with the braying and snorting of fresh games. It is amazing that Mr. President still trusts in the hunting prowess of the Party’s once neglected ‘greyhound’. That Buhari believes Tinubu has still neither grown frail and weary from political neglect, nor has he grown sated with grudge and resentment, is quite interesting to know. Ant it appears with these two (Buhari and Tinubu), just when you think you have known them enough, you are just starting to know them: if you think that Buhari is the veritable ungrateful political ‘hunter’ who seeks out his hound only on the day of the hunt, then you should know that Tinubu is the quintessential faithful canine who has his eyes always on the game of hunt and not on the hunter.
Tinubu is both an excellent political ‘dog of hunt’ and a smart, puny little ‘dog tail’ all rolled up in one. He knows exactly when to play the happy-tail-wagging spaniel. But he knows also how, even as the lone Alsatian of his ruling party, to sometimes tactfully allow himself to be wagged by the puny, little ‘tail’. The moral being ‘wag when you have to wag, and be wagged when you have to be wagged’! With Tinubu, both roles are aptly in the political detail –always. Knowing when and how to stoop to conquer. And knowing when and why sometimes to grandstand to overcome. For as they say, “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks”. Interestingly, there is not a whimper anywhere, now that the Jagaban is re-confirmed as the only Hercules capable of cleansing the Party’s Augean Stable. There is no objection from any quarters. The objections will come only after the Asiwaju has cleansed the slimy Stable and has set up the dinner table. Then in unison they’ll rise to show how he is not gifted in the art of culinary dishing. But you see there is no ‘night’, the Hausas say, any bleaker than a bat has always known.
Tinubu has seen it all. Above all, he has fathered a peaceful political revolution in Nigeria, which has not only shattered the myth of the invincibility of incumbency power, but which has also saved the nation from the malignance of a ruinous era bent on balkanising our country. Yet, he was assailed thereafter even by upstarts beautified by the political feathers that he had woven. Did they not say that he was the leader? The courageous Jagaban? The one who led from the front? And did he not lead them from the front? Selflessly investing his time, his energy and his resources? Did we not see, from the pre-natal stages, the singular efforts of Tinubu corralling several ideological eggs into one political embryo, to give life to a new mega-party around which both progressives and even repentant fascists for the first time cooperated, to enact the parting of our political Red Sea? Did Tinubu not traverse the length and breadth of this country, building strong bridges of geo-ethnic and geo-political consensus? Did Tinubu not put his life on the line to take on a desperate PDP incumbency? But just after he had set the political dinner table, did we not see them all turn vultures and hyenas against the Jagaban? Did they not say that although he was an excellent political chef, yet Tinubu was not to be trusted to dish from the table that he had set? Did they not say that he wanted to install a puppet leadership for the legislature. Well then, he was prevented from installing a ‘puppet’ leadership for the legislature. But did the ‘change-era’ that his revolution midwife eventually get the kind of legislature that it deserved?
The Hausas say ‘wanda ya qi sharan masallaci, ba zai qi sharan kasuwa ba’: who will not sweep a place of worship, will soon scrub the market place. But they also say that ‘angulu bata san kudin doki ba’ –meaning ‘the vulture does not know the price of a horse’. But it knows best how to feed from its carcass. Every dog they say has his day. And now they are coming back to where it all started. From the Jagaban. The Path-finder. They might as well name him what the Yorubas call ‘Aboaba’ -the one to whom all rebels must turn.
The APC edifice is an axial structure. And whether or not they like it, Tinubu continues to remain the crooked-looking head-corner-stone that has been keeping it from crumbling. The opposition has done all that it can to pull the Tinubu carpet off the feet of Buhari’s APC. They have cajoled and they have lobbied. They have blackmailed and they have intimidated. They have name-dropped and they have even appropriated his hallowed mouth to chew political garlic. They have given this ‘dog’ every bad name in the book, to hang it. They have failed. The Tinubu dog will not run with the hare and then hunt with the hounds. The patient dog they say, eats the fattest bone. But come to think of it between Buhari and Tinubu there is no ‘dog’ and there is no ‘hunter’. They are each other’s dog and they are each other’s ‘hunter’. Now’s the time for Tinubu to play Buhari’s ‘dog of hunt’: by corralling all the APC herd into one grazing reserve, for the President. On election day, Tinubu will be the ‘hunter’, while Buhari on the ballot will be his veritable ‘hunt dog’-to win the vote. So now, if you ever thought Buhari and Tinubu are like ‘chalk and cheese’, immixable, you are dead wrong. They have always been like ‘gin and lime’ –inseparable. And their political message has always been one: ‘if you love me, love my dog’.