Tinubu: A Hero Celebrated In His Lifetime

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Asiwaju Bolatito Ahmed Akanbi Tinubu comes in different shapes to many people not only in Nigeria but also the outside world.

To the majority of Nigerians and ordinary man on the streets, he is the consummate humanist, a magnanimous man whose scope of kindness knows no bound. It has been said several times that the former Governor of Lagos state can give out his eyes to whoever needs it and several times I have personally witnessed this. Striving hard to please other people at the height of his own discomfort has become a pastime for him.

To the private sector, he is the ultimate, well versed boardroom player whose level of intelligence and astute ability to put in place measures that gravitate the accounts and profile of a company from zero to profitable status has assumed a phenomenal dimension. Bola Tinubu worked and left indelible mark in Mobil Nigeria Limited and his record at the oil giant still stands till today as he is still being held in high esteem by the company.

In politics, to the Yoruba speaking people of the southwest geo-political zone of Nigeria, Tinubu is the ultimate new leader. He never solicited for it but his activities and tortuous but successful struggles to emancipate the region from the clutches of the charlatans of the demonic Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who turned our dearly beloved region to their personal possessions from 2003 to 2011 speak volumes of his love for the people. His desire to put the region in the forefront of developmental politics in the country knows no bound. Yet Tinubu has transcended the toga of a sectional leader as his leadership presence has already gone beyond the southwest region with his political aura radiating the whole length and breadth of Nigeria.

To us in particular at the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom is the ultimate war general who we can all follow into any war blindfolded because we are more than confident that we will come out victorious. Suffice to add that Tinubu has always lived up to his ‘Asiwaju’ title leading us into many ‘wars’ from which we have always come out victorious.

To the opponents of progressive politics in the country, Tinubu has thus become a scourge, an albatross they cannot get rid of and will never be able to get rid of Insha Allah.

The real symbol of progressive politics was not only celebrated in Nigeria but in the entire continent of Africa during his Diamond Jubilee of 60 years on mother earth. Encomiums, praises, eulogies and songs of praise were showered on him from far and wide. Indeed, our dear Asiwaju was celebrated in his lifetime, something that was hitherto alien to the Nigerian culture.

So much has been written and said about this great Nigerian. This little write up is an addition to what has been written about the national leader of the ACN. The man, Tinubu has always come to me as an interesting person, a man whose activities are worthy of a school curriculum for students to learn the real act and practice of progressive politics in Nigeria and Africa. Therefore, adding ‘Tinubuism’ as a school course would not be out of place. Indeed, the study of the politics of Tinubu in the Nigerian schools will serve as a pool of knowledge for aspiring next generation of Nigerian politicians. For Nigeria to grow in future, the next generation of politicians must study the art of give and take, cerebral welfarism, self belief, selflessness, determination, foresight and generosity which are the hallmarks of the Tinubu School of Politics.

This is a man who is always ready to sacrifice personal ambition to achieve general victory for his group and party. Much has been written and said about his putting his life and personal comfort on the line to struggle and achieve democratic rule for Nigeria. It is an open secret that Tinubu was hounded into exile, marked for elimination and had his business interests destroyed by the military junta, yet he never waivered.

One particular incident has always remained indelible in my mind and this has made my admiration for this great man an everlasting one. Tinubu had everything going for him to become the Senate President in the aborted Third Republic of the prolonged Transition Programme of the military junta of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.). His party, the proscribed Social Democratic Party (SDP) had the majority members in the Senate. He was at a vantage position – he had the highest number of votes in the senatorial election of that year and he was the most popular among the senators possessing the requisite qualities needed to head the Senate – highly efficient and effective oratory power, suave, young, good academic background and a cerebral player in the private sector. Then, the senate president was his for the asking and he had even won over the majority of his colleagues for the coveted position. But when the party decided to zone the position to the North Central geo-political zone, a committed and good party man, Tinubu not only relinquished his personal ambition for the general interest of the party but also used his resources to ensure that the choice of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, clinched the coveted seat. That particular selfless action and more that would follow later made Tinubu an enigma he is today and for me in particular, my hero of all time.

Much has been said and written about his remarkable positive turn-around of the fortunes of Lagos State when he was governor of the state for eight years; laying what has become a solid foundation for consolidation for the present Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, which has become positive reference point in governance in the country. Are we talking of his financial management wizadry which transformed the internally generated revenue (IGR) from N600 million monthly when he assumed office to about N7 billion monthly before leaving office in 2007? Or creation of jobs through agencies like: LASTMA, LASURA, KAI and other similar agencies? There is so much to talk about the Tinubu administration but for me, his strict adherence to the principle of separation of power endeared him to my heart. Among his peers, the Tinubu administration was the most peaceful in the country. The reason cannot be over emphasised. Tinubu was perhaps the only governor of his era who never interfered in the affairs of the other arms of government. Rather than interfering in their activities, he put in place measures that enhanced the duties of the other arms. Today the judiciary in Lagos State ranks the best in the country in terms of facilities and incentives for judges and judicial workers while the state House of Assembly also ranks the best among its peers. All these are courtesy of the Tinubu administration which is presently being enhanced by the Fashola government.

As a lawmaker, I’m a living witness and can testify that the Lagos State House of Assembly is independent and discharging its duties without fear or favour and I dare say that the foundation for this independence we are enjoying was laid by the Tinubu administration.

Indeed, who else deserves being celebrated in his lifetime than this cerebral democrat? Asiwaju welcome to the club of elders. Your wisdom will never diminish.

•Alawiye-King, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, wrote in from Lagos.


In : Politics

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