Gaslighting is the art of manipulating someone by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. The person being gaslighted may sense that he or she is losing grip on reality. The gaslighted person may feel crushed. He may frequently question himself, his memory, his feelings and his perceptions. Worse, the gaslighted person may even think that he is going insane. Named after the 1940’s film “Gaslight” in which a husband tries to drive his wife to insanity by repeatedly adjusting the brightness of a gaslight when she is not looking. Gaslighting is a distillation of abuse, use and dump, psychological manipulation, emotional trauma, lies, betrayal and deceit.
In the Nigerian universe, the EndSARS aftermath and CNN documented savagery of the Nigerian military has placed Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a fierce dilemma. Rather than refute the allegations of butchery of EndSARS protesters with official facts, the information supremo, Alhaji Mohammed, is busy gaslighting CNN and threatening sanction against transatlantic informational exchanges between Nigeria and the American news network. Such is the potent power of gaslighting that it demonises perceived enemy, opponent, rival or ambitious upstarts and make them question their own sanity.
Northern reactionary forces are now perfecting gaslighting orthodoxy against the ambition, aspiration and political dream of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, come 2023. In May 2019, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, gaslighted Tinubu with a powerful grenade. The grenade launch against the Jagaban of Borgu, the Asiwaju of Lagos and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress was to checkmate Tinubu’s omnipotent and overreaching political influence.
El-Rufai’s anger, argument, narrative, polemical assault, crude vulgarities and disrespect of Tinubu were all designed to further reinforce El-Rufai’s iconic signature as a dismantler of godfatherism in politics. He wanted to be seen as an epochal figure who desired to help Lagosians redirect the course of Lagos political culture of slavish and subservience attitude towards the whims and caprices of the mythic Tinubu, who, in all honesty, looms larger than life in South West politics. El-Rufai’s barbarian transgression against Tinubu amounted to gaslighting!
Tinubu is a master of political witchcraft. A whole oeuvre of his political life will form a course of study in any university. For decades, he has been weaving his political sorcery on the South Western Nigeria’s political savannah where captive politicians are automatically sired to obedience, loyalty and respect.
His home-grown Baba Sope political doctrine is driven by brutal and merciless dictation from the Bourdillon headquarter in Ikoyi. There is no escaping from the merciless fork of his political assassination against any offender, naïve enough, to contradict the whim and caprices of Baba Sope. He charges at political dissidents like a wounded cougar demanding blood, body and broth. Politicians under his tutelage from Lagos to Kogi live with fear of this lovable and enigmatic politician who could mutate between benign benevolence, into a deadly Mafia enforcer, using invisible foot soldiers like Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya (MC Olu Omo) all the way to intimidation, blackmail and divination.
Within the South Western political architecture, Tinubu has introduced a full blown democratic oligarchy where he knights anybody he wishes – be a banker, civil servant, housewife, journalist, pastor and common tout into places of social and political relevance in Lagos, his fiefdom!!! That monarchical power is causing massive inflammation within APC and leaving room for dissidents and rebels.
Tinubu’s grip on South West political levers is constantly at war with Yoruba unsleeping passion for liberty, and hence the clamour to reduce his political voltage. This defenestration of Tinubu political power became a persistent utopian dream for many homo modernus within the APC family who will later package their anger into Otoge and the recent Soro Soke wake up call. For nowhere is Tinubu more persecuted, hounded and sabotaged than in his own party, APC. The intricate dialectic of destiny and fate cannot be confronted by mere political wizardry. What is most shocking is the recent ironic gaslighting of Tinubu? Even though he still has an extraordinary support from his base, the ambiguities of his 2023 presidential hopeful seems darker and darker. The straw of comfort for him is fading away as we navigate 2023.
The lunatic fringe of the Endsars protesters, in a bizarre logic of internalised grudge and existential tension, offloaded their apocalyptic mayhem on Tinubu’s business interests and torched them. This irrational anger of ordinary citizens against a man who holds no political office under the scheme of things clearly showed that our youths are becoming sullenly hostile to cult of personality and godfatherism in Nigerian politics. No one can deny, however, that the global contortions of the year 2020 has been gobsmacking, unpredictable and horrible. The emptiness and panic of the pandemic is making everybody to think outside of one’s expectations.
However, what we cannot be delicate about any longer is the ambivalence of President Mohammadu Buhari and the Fulani hegemony towards Tinubu’s ambition for 2023 and their romance for an Igbo president. The squatter at Aso Rock whose allegiance is only to himself is now gaslighting Tinubu along with his larger Fulani apologists.
Last week, Prof. Sahabi Danladi Mahuta, a renowned Islamic scholar and Professor of Environmental Biochemistry at the Usman Dan Fodio, University, Sokoto, detonated a deadly bomb at Tinubu’s real or imagined presidential ambition for 2023. He goofed, garrotted and gaslighted Tinubu in such a way as to think we live in an implausible world. Hear him: “Tinubu is old (experience and age-wise), politically well-connected and rich, which is a big factor in Nigeria politics, but carries a lot of baggage, which is known to us.”
This vexing bomb thrower, scoundrel and eliminationist could not recollect that both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Peoples Democratic Party rhino, former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, were in their 70s when they contested for the presidency in 2015. What is at play is a malignant, manipulating and gaslighting fireworks against Tinubu’s 2023 presidential ambition from the engine room of Fulani political arrangers of Nigeria.
In politics, there is no weapon more deadly than receiving a Judas kiss from the men and women who once dined and drank with you and today are the hindering forces against your life’s greatest trophy. Is Buhari going to memorialise Tinubu’s contribution to our democratic renewal with insult and clannish betrayal? Are the Fulani who are the regents of our civic values, the shapers of our political destiny, the gatekeepers of Aso Rock have all decided to throw Tinubu under the bus of irrelevance? Is Tinubu not reliving the travails of Chief MKO Abiola all over again?
Can anybody tell me if Tinubu has not been psychologically manipulated in believing that someday in 2023 he would be the next matador in Aso Rock? Can someone tell me if Tinubu has not been emotionally drained on all fronts in harbouring insane desire to rule Nigeria? Can someone tell me if Jagaban has not been crushed as things now stand? Buhari who has been gaslighting Nigeria has now succeeded in equally gaslighting the man who delivered him to Aso Rock!
Or is it all bluff and bluster in a prehensile feud of who is in charge? This is what rot looks like. Could someone tell Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State who recently decamped from PDP to APC in a most incredulous desire to rule Nigeria to watch his back and trust no one in politics?