Babachir Lawal playing ‘grass-cutter politics’ – Josef Onoh

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The Asiwaju campaign in the southeast has criticised Mr Babachir Lawal, a former secretary of the federation from Adamawa state, for suggesting that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will not receive votes from the southeastern region of Nigeria.

The campaign said the ex-SGF was not hallucinating when he told the southeast was off-limits for Tinubu. They invited him to come back and see the overwhelming support Tinubu has received in just two states in the region so far, even though the full campaign period has yet to begin.

Dr Josef Onoh, a spokesman for the Asiwaju campaign in the southeast, refuted Lawal’s assertion that the Asiwaju camp had prevented him from campaigning for the Labour Party’s candidate there.

“Campaigning in the southeast is different from cutting grass; it requires diligence, patience and a delicate weeding process that inexperienced labourers with cutlass are not deployed to do; rather, an experienced farmer handles it by himself and weeds out the parasites from the progressive crops. As Imo and Ebonyi state, rallies indicate Asiwaju’s position of power; hence he chose to campaign in the region by himself rather than sending representatives. I advise he sticks to trimming grass while Asiwaju sticks to galvanising and canvassing for votes,” Onoh scolded.

He said that Lawal’s problems stemmed from more than just his disappointment in the APC presidential candidate, which was only one of several factors.

“His attempts to polarise the campaign by deploying religious sentiments failed, and he attempted to play the ethnic card to fool Nigerians which brought about the fast dismissal of Lawal by so many groups he felt he belonged to, indicated that he was stranded.”

Lawal’s allies, including the Northern Christians Association in the APC, the middle Belt forum, and others, have rapidly come out to confront him, according to Onoh.

According to Onoh, Lawal’s loss of influence over ex-members like Yakubu Dogara and others was due to his acting like a Don Quixote whose fantasies can never be satisfied.

For his interest, Onoh reminded Lawal that in the past one week, Asiwaju has traversed Delta state twice, Bauchi, Gombe, Ebonyi and Lagos states, working tediously to galvanise votes from all geopolitical zones in the country. He wondered how the former SGF came to the wrong conclusion that Asiwaju was not on the ground in some sections of the country.

He claimed that Tinubu’s national popularity stemmed from his campaign not playing the religious or ethnic card. He cautioned Lawal against relying on “grass-cutting politics” and instead urged him to expose his views to critical intellectualism, adding that Tinubu would provide Lawal with automated new instruments to maintain his grass-cutting political strategy.

“Lawal’s frustration was caused by the ovation given to Asiwaju in Imo and Ebonyi states, not limited to the one billion naira Southeast businessmen donation to the Tinubu presidential campaign, which was testaments of his acceptability in the southeast region.

“Babchair’s allusion that Asiwaju will not get 25 per cent votes in the northern states is preposterous and reflects his mere perception, which represents his understanding of politics. The northern governors are the ones who championed the need for a southern president in 2023. History will forever be kind to them; Babachir cannot say he is more principled than these governors for their resolve in ensuring that power rotates to the south and went ahead to stand and champion their position, clearly shows the difference between the principled political class and the grass cutting ones,” Onoh lambasted Lawal.

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