TINUBU: A TRUE POLITICAL GOOD FATHER, STALWART AND LEADER SHAPING DEVELOPMENT ACROSS NIGERIA
Since the emergence of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) as Candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the 2019, gubernatorial elections in Lagos, much has been spread about his candidacy and the people’s choice, with the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s name brought into disrepute on many occasions.
Nigeria’s political history is one that is unique and rife with many memorable events since independence. Nigeria’s democratic history is regarded by many to have gained a strong foothold following the events of May 29, 1999.
While Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, took over control of the Federal government from General Abdusalam Abubakar at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and declared the day as the “beginning of a genuine renaissance” in Nigeria, a 47 year old Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who would later become the Asiwaju of Lagos and the Jagaban of Borgu kingdom, was sworn in at the Tafewa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, as the 12th governor of Lagos and the 2nd executive governor of Lagos State.
On that sunny afternoon, Tinubu agreed to a pact of a new dawn with the throng of Lagosians who had graced the handing over occasion. Now, 19 years later, the many activities of that day may have been forgotten but what we cannot forget is the commitment to the pact of a new dawn and progress made that day, and its realization for Lagosians and Nigerians at large, despite the anti-progressive siege waged on Lagos State by refusing to yield Federal allocations to the State by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led Federal Government. It quite behooves logic that the same PDP is in the race for the governorship seat of Lagos State; this is a State they nearly crumbled its development. Tinubu who was an active member of the Afenifere (a pro Yoruba political group), was first elected as Senator for Lagos West in 1993 under the platform of the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP). He however contested the Lagos State governorship ticket on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1999 and in 2003, winning both elections by a wide margin.
Since 1999, it is unarguable that Tinubu has remained one of the most prominent examples of political leadership and strategic planning all across the 36 states of Nigeria. In fact, very few comes close to this man in terms of leadership, mentorship, development drive and the creation of multiple opportunities for Lagosians and Nigerians and this is so despite the many scheming, political quagmires, corruption trials, etc., the Asiwaju of Lagos has lived true to his title. In Nigeria’s current political sphere, Tinubu appears to be a detribalized politician who remains committed to the ideals of people like Obafemi Awolowo with his onward drive and push for development all across the length and breadth of Lagos. The biggest task of any leader is having a vision and making all those around him conscious of the vision. For Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his vision for Lagos State birthed the Mega City project, a project that was openly accepted by the people of Lagos and is today, positioning Lagos as a true Mega City. Successive governments of Lagos State have keyed into the same vision driven by the Asiwaju for the State, as is the case of Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF), the current governor of the State Akinwunmi Ambode, and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the governorship election of the State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS).
It is election season in Nigeria again and because 2019 is, only a few months away, Nigerian politicians have descended into the arena of mudslinging and defamation to score cheap points for the elections. While this may work with others, there is hardly any stain on the personality of the Jagaban and his continuous drive to protect the integrity of his dream and goal for Lagos State.
Since the people of Lagos State accepted the Mega City drive of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu led government as the best direction for the State, the State’s citizenry has kept every official occupying a position of leadership on their toes for the actualization of the vision. Babatunde Fashola could achieve so much as governor of the State because he relied on the people to make progress happen. No one can run a vision successfully without the full participation of the owners of the dream and that is the most significant mistake that has triggered the rejection of Akinwunmi Ambode by conscious Lagosians to run for governorship for a second term. What Ambode did was tantamount to challenging the people of Lagos to a fight and if it is not yet clear for everybody to know, you cannot win a fight against the people, a notion even respected by the Jagaban when he had to support Fashola’s reelection bid in 2011 because he was the people’s choice. A leader must at all times respect the wishes of his people and this is the very mantra upon which Tinubu’s successful political strategy has gained incredible strengths all over Lagos, Nigeria and even beyond Nigeria. He has not always had his way on issues because this man respects the wishes of his people above his desires, for the greater good of all.
It is common to hear the opposition label Tinubu as the godfather of Lagos politics but that only lends credence to the huge successes he has been able to achieve howbeit, using his human potentials. God is good and Tinubu does not come close to God in any way, so a better label for the successful Lagos politician will be the “good father”, because he has done nothing short of good for his people. Lagos is currently Africa’s 5th largest economy with a GDP of $136 Billion, this is only testament to the fact that anything Tinubu touches becomes gold, and it increases in value.
With the recent emergence of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu (BOS) as the governorship candidate of the APC in Lagos, many critics have based his emergence on several factors but none of this people have enough insight into the surrounding issues as much as Akinwunmi Ambode who eventually declared his support for Sanwo-Olu. Tinubu being a leader that is true to his name in every way respected the people’s choice. Lagosians are rest assured in Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu because they know how much he has contributed to the Mega City drive in many key positions under the leadership of Governors Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode. If you also consider the Jagaban’s record of accomplishment, you will only see a positive trail among politicians and leaders that have worked with him.
Very few persons have set clear examples of what leadership should be in Nigeria and in fact, it was not until Tinubu and his Action Congress of Nigeria faithful teamed up to form the strongest opposition party in Africa with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), before the PDP lost at the centre. Such is the strength and tactical nuance possessed by the man who apart from politics continues to spearhead matters touching on the everyday progress of Lagos.
At the national level, he is also a Maestro and I do not think any 1999 governor holds as much sway as Tinubu does currently. His mentorship capacity is one of the most exceptional and detribalized, as seen in the examples of Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who served as Tinubu’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. He currently serves as Nigeria’s Vice President. Ben Akabueze served as Tinubu’s commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning, an appointment that lends credence to the fact that he does not allow sentiments rob him of the best hands. Akabueze is today, the Director General of the Budget office for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The same can be said of Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF) who is the present Minister for the tripartite Ministry for Works, Power and Housing. Fashola was Tinubu’s successor and he was Chief of Staff to Tinubu when he served as Governor in Lagos. Alhaji Olaiwola Mohammed is Nigeria’s current minister of information but he had also served as Tinubu’s Chief of Staff. The same can be said of Babatunde Fowler who worked assiduously with Governor Tinubu as Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service to increase the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through the introduction of the Electronic Banking System/Revenue Collection Monitoring Project (EBS/RCM), which is responsible in many parts for the State’s economic standing today. Babatunde Fowler is the current chairperson of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Other notable examples of Tinubu’s protégés who are championing the affairs of Nigeria in many areas include Dr. Muiz Banire (AMCON), Olorunnimbe Mamora (Abuja Investment and Infrastructure Centre), Dr. Leke Pitan, Femi Pedro amongst others.
The man Tinubu has worked very hard to cement his position as one of Nigeria’s finest thought leaders, and both friend and foe agree to this.
The famed Jagaban would say “Creation is always more difficult than destruction; greed is easier than greatness,” but despite the difficulty, he has played the “game” of politics which he described as “… a football game, where in the course of playing, you will sustain injuries and have bruises. You nurse your injuries and continue to play. That’s the only way you can win.”
Tinubu is “a great mobiliser and grassroots politician, Senator Tinubu’s contributions to the entrenchment of democracy in the country is commendable,” Otunba Gbenga Daniel, one of Tinubu’s opponents whose tent is with the PDP had this to say about the man. He further described Tinubu as “a political bridge builder whose unique politics established him in the hearts of the people with magnetic passion and altruistic followership.”
Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s nomination as candidate of the All Progressives Congress is only another step towards the actualization of the Lagos dream and the Lagos Mega City Project. Lagosians at this time have to trust their choice as perfect for the Lagos dream, as they have trusted Tinubu’s leadership in the past.