From his prominent years as a member of NADECO (during the Military Junta) to his exile, his return and eventual tenure as the Governor of the Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (popularly referred to as the Jagaban) has earned himself a reputation for the role he played (and continues to play) in Nigeria’s politics.
Usually tagged the “The political godfather of Nigeria’s southwest”, his unlikely convergence with the former head of state, now president, Muhammadu Buhari, facilitated the opposition victory in Nigeria’s electoral history. No one could tell if he foresaw President Buhari as the game changer or saviour Nigeria needed at that time, but one thing is for sure; his notable display of power proved him worthy to hold the highest office without any questioning.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a remarkable, shrewd, and ambitious Nigerian politician, businessman and philanthropist, whose strides and achievements cannot go unnoticed. His power-play, people network, street smarts and grassroots reach has earned him the arguable position of one Nigeria’s most influential politicians. Let’s take this further: Bola Tinubu is one man whose political history and antecedents can form a subject of study in any political science class or discourse anywhere in the world.
He is a force to reckon with in Nigeria’s political space; a Godfather, nation builder, and an expert strategist who has successfully dominated the politics of the largest African country, beginning from the late 90’s. Effortlessly, he boasts of an outstanding political network, a special gift for negotiation, and an impressive financial status that gives him a head start over his numerous contenders. While some may not like him, it is hard, if not impossible, to ignore his impact and clout.
His political weight in the Nigerian political space is still evident to this day, particularly in the southwest, where he has received non-stop, notable and enormous support as someone whose political history, contribution, and presence has made an impact. The majority of Nigerians believe they can toss the coin in his favour and earn him a place at the top, while some think of him as the only best option for the seat at the Aso Rock Villa.
Tinubu exerted his political prowess in leading the merger and formation of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013. He gave his support and resources to ensure that the current president emerged from the APC, and it is no doubt that without his involvement, that would have been impossible a feat to achieve, not to mention his participation in ensuring democracy came to stay by opposing the military regime back in the days.
Who wouldn’t want to give such a man a chance?
Now, the question on everyone’s lips is: can Bola Ahmed Tinubu bring Nigeria good fortune?
Or to put it in another way: would he be able to put Nigeria in a good place to stand on her feet again and take her to a place of hope like MKO Abiola almost did in ’93? You bet! June 12 still means a lot to most Nigerians. It was a day in 1993 we hoped would mark the turning point in making Nigeria a better nation. Sadly, we missed that, but here is another opportunity for us to rewrite history—to elect the right man for the job and build a better nation.
Certainly, Tinubu has the natural right as a Nigerian to seek the highest office in the land; he is qualified. But first of all, he ought to gauge his odds, being that Nigeria has become a country where excellence is justified by ethnicity and tribalism; where a group or sect believes that power should only rotate around their circle, in their region, and only in their favour. These are one of our major concerns—the same concerns that played out as far back as the time of Pa Awolowo.
So, we shouldn’t be in shock if the dice don’t roll in Tinubu’s favour. Pa Obafemi Awolowo tried but never got the chance. He is known as the president that never ruled Nigeria, or in the words of Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, “the best president Nigeria never had.” If the position for the job of the president relied solely on merit, justice, equity, intellectualism, experience, and ability to deliver quality leadership, and the society that we live in today embraces such criteria wholeheartedly without bias, Pa Awolowo would have been more than qualified for that position, being that he was a man who embodied all of these qualities. Similarly, Bola Tinubu models the same qualities and it is apparent in the way he transformed the Lagos economic and political landscape during his time as the governor.
In as much as Tinubu deserves to run for the highest office in the land, there is the prediction that his efforts might fall on deaf ears as the reality of today’s political landscape in the country is far from being fair and reasonable. For this reason, all strategies might work against him. But in the words of Marcus Garvey, “Real men laugh at opposition; real men smile when enemies appear.” We believe Bola Ahmed Tinubu has what it takes to rise above every opposition—breaking the jinx, so to speak. On many occasion, we have seen him display strength of character and handle oppositions, as high as the Federal Government when Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was on seat.
The same Tinubu was the first Governor to willingly report himself to the EFCC the same day he handed over to his succession, Babatunde Fashola SAN. He flew to Abuja to meet the PDP-assembled EFCC and spent nine hours answering all petitions against him with resounding facts and proofs, and was eventually freed. Again, under the PDP, he was docked by the CCT in the most celebrated Asset Declaration case of all time. Yet again, he was discharged and acquitted. He even went ahead to make himself available for probe and prosecution by choosing not to procure any Indefinite Injunction.
Presently, the general public has started getting the fillers that he might be contesting for the Presidential Office in 2023. While he has not stated his intentions, he is, without a doubt, a man to beat in the race. Who knows, his unpredictability might be another strategy in his political playbook—one that many of his opponents will struggle to copy from. Bola Tinubu hasn’t held any public office since his tenure as Lagos governor, which defeats the argument that he is power hungry. He has played his elderly and strategic roles from the sideline while still being pronounced at the centre.
He knows the nuts and bolts of leading at the centre and he is also in touch with the people at the grassroots. Looking through his profile, his achievements and exposure over the years, the prediction of him being the one that can break the Nigerian jinx holds strong reason and merit. 2023 is going to be an interesting year as Nigerians head to the polls again to decide their destinies for another four years and beyond. Indeed, betting on Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a safe and sure option.