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Setting Woofing Writers On Tinubu

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Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, popularly known and called ‘Jagaban’ by his admirers, is not a stranger in the political landscape of Nigeria, especially in the South-west zone where his phenomenal rise from his election as Lagos State governor in 1999 placed him on the top echelon of national political leadership. Since his election as governor, the political maestro has worked his way through envisioning and leading his people from the narrow confines of opposition into mainstream position.

As an arrowhead of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) who fought the regimes of both former military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and General Sani Abacha over the annulment of the June 12 election, his eventual emergence as a governorship candidate was a clear testimony of people’s recognition of his enviable struggles against military juntas.

His eight-year administration as governor of Lagos State served as a prologue to his astonishing political sagaciousness that prepared him for what would later come to be known as the essentials of the ‘Lion of Bourdillon’. His incessant clashes with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over non-release of monthly Federal Allocation for several years helped proved the mettle he was made of.

Though his place in local and national politics remains incontrovertible, opposition to his leadership role is still not ruffled completely in the South-west zone. There are political analysts that are quick to denounce him as a pretender to the leadership of the South-west zone. However, that does not decrease in one bit his indelible footprints in the politics of the Yoruba people. Coming from a zone that is noted for its fiery opposition status in the game of national politics, Tinubu rallied the South-west to join mainstream politics. He achieved this by deploying his vast connections and evolving a political dynasty in mostly the South-west, and extending strong political alliances in various parts of the country for national victory.

The cacophony of voices against Tinubu in the Yoruba zone should be expected as it is a society that is not only intellectually buoyant but also forward-looking.  So long as a society is largely made of informed followers; it’s practically impossible to attain a unanimity over any matter at a given time. Considering his footprints in zonal and national politics, Tinubu remains a force that can only be ignored at the perils of his detractors. More than any politician in the country, the Jagaban, with other forces, was at the forefront of wresting power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that had sworn to rule the country for 60 years.

Those who doubt the enviable position occupied by the ‘Lion of Bourdillon’ were quick to beat a retreat and revert to him to ensure the re-election of President Buhari in 2019. The APC National Leader is now a political talisman of a sort that is sought after to win elections, and this has attracted an army of detractors. Having stamped his feet in the politics of Lagos, he quickly became the political landlord of Nigeria’s commercial city for many reasons. Unlike political minions whose vision is often blurred by greed, Tinubu knew what he wanted and never wasted his precious time to plot his way to the top. To walk his way to his present state of political affluence, he had engaged people from outside the state to run Lagos when he served as governor. Mr Rauf Aregbesola, Lai Mohammed, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who is now Vice President, among others, were recruited to join in making Lagos great.  By the time he was done as governor, Tinubu had recruited cronies that would later form the fulcrum of his formidable machine beyond Lagos. He would soon replicate same feat in various states.

The profile of Tinubu as a bridge-builder across political alliances reveals him as a strong political godfather. Though joined by new political alliances, he succeeded in torpedoing the PDP machine headed by former President Goodluck Jonathan. One great point going for Tinubu is his aggregation of political interests across religious divide. Unlike in the North where a backward power elite feel comfortable dominating the political space through religious and ethnic discriminations, the Jagaban is never known to pursue any form of discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnicity. Coming from a background that views religion as a personal matter that must not be turned into a rumbustious discourse, Tinubu, who was forced to flee Nigeria in the days of military dictatorship, is known to be a mentor to both Muslims and Christians and is never in any way engaged in discrimination.

From his achievements, Tinubu has entrenched a system that is formidable in rallying potential leaders in advocating national development not only on a zonal basis, but also on national level. That explains why his relevance in the nation’s politics is assured in both the present and future. Apart from developing human potentials and facilitating the emergence of new faces in national politics, he has deployed his enormous resources in establishing business outlets that have continued to empower Nigerians and bring wealth to our people.

The curse of our political leadership is the deliberate transfer of wealth and investments from the country to foreign lands. In Nigeria, when politicians make money, the first thing they do is to buy houses in Dubai and other European cities. Tinubu may have houses and investments abroad, but his business concerns that cut across various business sectors in various part of the country have added value to Nigerians and continue to serve as sources of livelihood for citizens.

Realising the positive capacity that media can play in ensuring reasonableness in public opinion, Tinubu’s investments in the media have assisted in understanding the dialectics of modern government and public discourse. The former governor is not the richest Nigerian, but he has used his office to widen and deepen the scope of political engagements and relevance. He is not only a political phenomenon; he possesses political roots yet to be attained by any politician in the country.

Unlike many Northern politicians whose vision never wander from helping themselves for personal empowerment, Tinubu’s politics is hinged on the larger picture that covers both the security of all, including the individual. In modern politics, the relevance of each politician depends on his influence within his circle of operations. Some may insist that Tinubu is not a leader of the Yoruba, but he remains the only figure whose influence cannot be discountenanced when issues of the Yoruba people are being discussed.

The ‘Lion of Bourdillon’ is a case study in the survival of political maneuverings and persistence.  That is why he remains the undisputed political godfather of the Nigerian state. Some Nigerian may choose to ignore him, but he remains a force to be reckoned with. The sounds of 2023 is far, but yet near. Demonising the Tinubu character may serve as the delicious meal for baying political errand dogs. For such a man who has invested so much in Nigeria, it would be uncharitable to expect him to adopt a ‘siddon look’ approach as those in the game of power ride on the wings of night in deciding where the pendulum swings to. Surviving the incoming political treachery for Tinubu could turn out an uphill task as those committed to destroying this political talisman are set to embark on a new voyage.

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