Tinubu: A kingmaker at 67 - Simply Entertainment Reports and Trending Stories


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tinubu: A kingmaker at 67

Tinubu at 67
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Third Republic senator, former Lagos State governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, may have become the main issue in Nigeria’s politics. Twelve years after leaving the corridor of power as governor, he has remained relevant in national life. As he celebrates his 67th birthday this week, the eminent politician is again on the front burner.

Not only has the annual colloquium in his honour become a powerful tool of political mobilisation, it has also offered the country a veritable opportunity to always reflect on the journey so far and make realistic projections for the future. The theme of this year’s discourse holding at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, is: ‘Next Level: Work for People.’ It underscores the people-oriented ideas, struggles, battles and exploits of the pro-democracy crusader, seasoned administrator, progressive arrowhead, statesman and citizen of the world. It is the 11th edition.

For his party, it is another time for reassessment and sober reflection. The ruling party survived the plot of retired Generals, who are major political principals and principalities. It won some states. It lost others in the polity. As APC chieftains gather for Tinubu’s birthday, they may have to also brainstorm on the way forward on the sidelines of the colloquium. How will the party handle the election of principal National Assembly officers to avoid the mistake of 2015? Will there be party supremacy and discipline? How will APC resolve the Zamfara debacle? Has post-election reconciliation not become compelling? Will the party henceforth put its house in order?

In post-Bola Ige era, Tinubu has remained the most outstanding Yoruba political megastar with a large following. Across the six regions, he is being perceived as a rallying point and national asset, whose contributions were critical to the enthronement of the first post-1999 humane and progressive government at the centre.

Tinubuism encapsulates the time-tested philosophy of service premised on the evergreen Awoist theme of “Freedom for All, Life More Abundant,’ and driven by the permanent and non-negotiable devotion to the creed of progressive welfarism in a polity still struggling to resolve the multiple crises of nation-building, conflicts of political participation, illusion of hope for gainful employment, contradictions in education, insatiable quest for social welfare,  and thirst for the restoration of sanctity of the ballot box.

The former governor is a man of many parts, although his political profile has now dwarfed his rich resume as boardroom guru, strategic economic planner and socialite. Former House of Representatives member and Senior Presidential Assistant on the Diaspora Abike Dabiri-Erewa described Tinubu as a dynamic leader, consummate politician, consistent democrat, towering progressive arrowhead, seasoned administrator, financial surgeon, great organiser, powerful mobiliser, master strategist, tested and trusted visionary leader, courageous fighter, man of foresight, defender of the oppressed, apostle of rule of law, foremost philanthropist, and man of the people.

It is incontrovertible that Tinubu is a dynamic leader, who is always bubbling with energy, zeal and enthusiasm. This may have been the bedrock of his successes in his chosen fields of endeavor. There is no evidence to show that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has thread the long, narrow and tortious path to limelight, and survived through the dint of hard work and divine grace.  But, the stress and strains of the past, which he had to pass through as a struggler, are hardly taken into consideration by detractors who are envious of his indomitable status.

Tinubu is a consummate politician. The Lion of Bourdillion understands the language of politics, which, is a great deal of competition and struggle. The ultimate goal is the attainment of power, which in his view, is not served a la carte. His incisive wit, power of foresight and strategic thinking are vital assets. Although the Federal Government waged war against him as governor, he survived. While the political earthquake swept across the Southwest in 2003, Tinubu became the last man standing. If Tinubu had slept on guard in 2003, Nigeria would have become a one-party state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He resisted the intimidation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and converted his weak position as an opposition figure to a position of strength. From Lagos, the battle to reclaim the Southwest begun. Ironically, one of the states, Oyo, may have gone back into conservative captivity.

Tinubu can also be counted among the consistent democrats and progressive arrowheads who have never jumped ship. Having placed his hand on the plough, he has not looked back. As governor, there were occasions when he had to bow to suggestions on governance by his cabinet of talents. The political leader has always honed his skills of negotiation, consultation, and reconciliation. His associates often allude to the fact that he has never claimed to have a monopoly of knowledge. He is always willing to bow to superior arguments.

As a leader of the progressive bloc, Tinubu’s greatest under the banner of the APC is the installation of a progressive government at the centre in 2015 and 2019. The defining moment was 2015 presidential election.  It is to the credit of Tinubu that the Southwest agreed to participate in mainstream politics and the zone has not regretted it. Unlike under the Jonathan administration, the Buhari administration is giving the Southwest a sense of belonging.

In the Third Republic, the celebrator became a man of the future. He had taken the politics of the populous Lagos West by storm. He won the highest vote as a senator in 1991 on the platform of the proscribed Social Democratic Party (SDP), defeating Mrs. Kemi Nelson of the banned National Republican Convention (NRC). The bulk of the votes came from Alimoso sub-zone, which has since been referred to as ‘Tinubu country.’ Tinubu shone like a star in the Upper Chamber. Yet, his senatorial career was not insulated from vicissitudes. The all-civilian National Assembly had a military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, to contend it. When the transition programme finally failed as designed by the Evil Genius, Tinubu’s career as a federal legislator was aborted by the Abacha regime, which sacked the elected leadership.

His boss at Mobil Oil Company, Chief Pius Akinyelure, had advised him to retrace his steps, if politics became hotter. The financial surgeon was the treasurer of the company. But, Tinubu never went back to the boardroom. He returned to the drawing board to politically strategise for the future. He joined the pro-democracy movement, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), to fight for popular rule. By the time civil rule was restored, the symbol of the struggle, Chief Moshood Abiola, had died mysteriously in detention.

Although Tinubu wanted to return to the Senate in 1999, fate decided otherwise. He was elected governor on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). As governor, he presided over an administration that was a model between 1999 and 2007.

To observers, Tinubu became a key player in national politics, following his success at state and regional levels. For him, charity should begin at home. He had a 24-year development plan for the transformation of Lagos State.  Tinubu years in the Centre of Excellence were remarkable for progress. As governor, he jerked up the internally generated revenue from the N600,000 monthly to billions of naira. Today, Lagos can boast of over N33 billion monthly IGR. The implication is that the state can survive without federal allocation. Also, Tinubu fought the infrastructural battle in the city state. He constructed roads, built hospitals and schools, created opportunities for employment and re-energised the transport sector. He initiated the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The judiciary reforms he introduced were legendary. Tinubu pioneered the payment of NECO and WAEC fees for students.

The former governor also created additional 37 local councils, based on popular demand. When the allocations to the councils were seized by the Federal Government, his team of experts invented a creative financial engineering that made the councils to survive the federal onslaught. As governor, Tinubu contributed to the debate on the national question as an apostle of true federalism and restructuring. He was also an electoral reforms curator. To him, the sanctity of the ballot box is critical to the survival of democracy.

Tinubu handed over to Babatunde Fashola (SAN) in 2007. After the expiration of his two terms of eight year I 2015, the lawyer-turned politician handed over to Akinwunmi Ambode, an accountant. On May 29, Ambode will pass the baton to Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Reflecting on his achievements, the Lagos State APC Governorship Advisory Council (GAC), observed that Tinubu succeeded in raising worthy successors. “What you celebrate today is the reality of unprecedented, steady and consistent progress in the Centre of Excellence, the foundation of which you laid as the first Fourth Republic Governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007.

“It is gratifying to note that, in this dispensation, you have led the way in raising a crop of quality, devoted, dynamic, focused and result-driven leaders, who have continued to sustain the progressive vision at the state and national levels. Your strength lies in your powers of ideas, risk-taking, courage, resilience, vision of a welfarist society and leadership by example,” it added.
Among the leaders that have been raised by Tinubu are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), former Lagos State Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Fasola, Ambode, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed, former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola,  one-time Finance Commissioner Wale Edun, Babatunde Fowler of Federal Inland Revenue Service, and Opeyemi Bamidele.s

Tinubu and other compatriot floated the Action Congress (AC) in 2007. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) reclaimed the Southwest, although the battle shifted from the ballot box to the court.

Among the leaders that have been raised by Tinubu are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), former Lagos State Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Fasola, Ambode, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed, former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola,  one-time Finance Commissioner Wale Edun, Babatunde Fowler of Federal Inland Revenue Service, and Opeyemi Bamidele.s

Tinubu and other compatriot floated the Action Congress (AC) in 2007. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) reclaimed the Southwest, although the battle shifted from the ballot box to the court.

However, 2015 was the turning point. Tinubu’s gospel of strength in unity paid off. Reflecting on the 2015 calculations, one of his associates said he re-invented the theory of the slaughter’s slab to suit the collective aspiration of the opposition. In Tinubu’s view, there will be no going back for the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), led by Buhari, and Prince Tony Momoh,  the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), led by Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the ACN, led by Chief Bisi Akande and a section of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), led by Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, if they agreed to merge together into a single party.

The merger, he explained, would lead to the permanent withdrawal of their certificates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Tinubu, the acknowledged party financier, provided selfless leadership and the quantum of resources for the novel project. He urged his colleagues to take the risk and be optimistic about the future. The struggle heralded President Buhari’s success at the poll and the abortion of PDP’s dream of ruling for the next 60 years.

Party faithful have also hailed his contribution to the President Buhari’s second term challenge. As the Chief ‘Reconcliator’ and Co-chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, APC won a resounding victory in the just-concluded poll. Also, the party under his leadership retained Lagos State for APC and produced Governor-elect Sanwo-Olu, who defeated Jimi Agbade of the PDP at the poll.

In politics and private life, Tinubu is reputed for philanthropy. His abode is a Mecca of sorts. He is a cheerful giver, benefactor, godfather and defender of the oppressed.

Tinubu holds honorary titles from many towns across the country. He is the Jabagan of Borgu Kingdom, Aare of Ile-Oluji and Aare Ago of Egbaland.

But, there are many aspects of his life that may not be known, until he opens up in his autobiography. When the autobiography is written, it will inspire the future generations.

Many stakeholders believe that Tinubu still has a lot to contribute to national greatness.

Paying tribute to Tinubu, House of Representatives member-elect and former Lagos State Works Commissioner Ganiyu Johnson said he is a talent hunter. “Your greatest strength lies in your ability to raise a crop of leaders who are building on the progressive foundation laid by patriotic pathfinders of history,” he added.

An APC youth, Toyin Balogun, described Tinubu as a source of inspiration to the younger generation. He said: “Your pedigree, sagacity, tenacity of purpose, hard work, resilience, courage and loyalty to worthy progressive causes have continued to serve as sources of inspiration to the younger generation in the vineyard of people-oriented, welfarist politics.”

Lagos APC secretary Dr Wale Ahmed, who described Tinubu as an oak tree offering protective shield to progressives nationwide, said he has no equal in mentoring and role modelling. Ahmed, a former legislator and Special Duties Commissioner added: “God has equally blessed you with a good wife, Distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu (OON), who share your vision of greater good for the greatest number of our people.”

To House of Representatives member James Faleke said Tinubu’s name will continue to resonate in he hearts of lovers of democracy, urging other politicians to emulate his virtues.

Hailing the celebrator, Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said: “Your consistent struggle, selfless and constant sacrifices over the years have continued to define you as a true and worthy leader. You are indeed, an epitome of hard work, discipline, and patriotism. Without doubt, this generation is highly blessed to have your personality as a great mentor and trail blazer.”

In This Story:#MuhammaduBuhari #AsiwajuBolaAhmedTinubu #WaleAhmed #YemiOsinbajo #GaniyuJohnson #MudashiruObasa

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