• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Presidential election: Who is after Bola Tinubu?

2023: Given what is at stake, it will be reckless to rely on mere assurances

The seemingly ingrained tendency for human beings to so easily forget their antecedents, repay evil for good and seek to destroy those God chose to use as their benefactors never ceases to amaze me.

As a passionate member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I am saddened at the concerted, coordinated and consistent effort by a caucus within the party to diminish the influence and relevance of one of the prime architects and engineers of the party, namely Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In fact, Bola Tinubu was one the young men and women who flocked around Chief Moshood Abiola, Nigerian president-presumptive and winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election. Tinubu was elected senator on the platform of Abiola’s Social Democratic Party (SDP), to represent Lagos-West in Abuja.

He was a dapper-dresser; handsome and precocious. He was fearless and daring. When Abiola went to see General Sani Abacha on the November 1993 night the military toppled Chief Ernest Shonekan, the Head of the Interim National Government (ING), he took the young Tinubu with him. The Abiola-Abacha parley was held at the Flagstaff House on the marina in Lagos.

Indeed, it is now Tinubu’s turn to face the turbulence of a Nigerian presidential campaign. Let’s hope that the rest of Nigeria will become like Yorubaland in the near future. It is not so now. Therefore, Tinubu would have to deal with the reality of the moment. He should resist the temptation of taking a leap in the dark. The move would become an unnecessary but dominant distraction to his campaign for power.

What is amazing is that most of those involved in the ‘bring Tinubu down’ project are those who owe their political ascendancy to the Jagaban. The prominent and enviable positions they occupy today is due, apart from God, to Asiwaju who identified their talents, recognised their capacities and decided to back their political careers with his time, energy, intellect and financial resources.

Despite the treachery of such people, they are at least living testaments to Asiwaju’s acumen for identifying, hunting for and nurturing leadership materials. Incidentally, former Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and former speaker House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, duo were beneficiaries of Asiwaju’s strategic and material support. In the process, the Jagaban stepped on several toes.

Read also: Tinubu whose mistakes made Buhari warns us against another mistake 

But this kind of betrayal is not limited to Lawal and Dogara. Some others who have become leading public office holders across the land courtesy of the Jagaban, like former Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, Lagos State counterpart, Akinwunmi Ambode, are repaying Tinubu’s benevolence with unbelievable ingratitude.

Even President Muhammadu Buhari’s closest advisers and teeming admirers acknowledge Asiwaju’s critical role in the electoral elevation of Buhari to the apex office after three previous failed attempts. Thankfully, the President so far has continued to show his appreciation for the Jagaban’s indispensable and inestimable contribution in collaboration with others to his success.

As for those who are today revelling in biting the fingers that fed them, I can only refer them to the book of Proverbs 17:13 in the Bible: Evil will never depart the house of anyone that repays evil for good.

I am in a position to speak authoritatively on Tinubu and his politics as one of his followers and associates over the last decade. I can testify to his immense capacity for hard work, capacious memory, integrity, fierce commitment to any cause he believes in and genuine patriotism as well as faith in Nigeria.

I only laugh when those who are beneficiaries of his so-called ‘imposition’ of candidates for elections accuse Asiwaju of having a ‘domineering attitude.’ They do not know the man. Yes, he stands strongly and forcefully by any idea or ideal he believes in. But nothing delights him better than a debate over issues and he is always ready to bow to superior opinion.

The Asiwaju they don’t know takes politics seriously as a vehicle for national reinvention and transformation. Asiwaju prepares with utmost commitment for every election taking every tactical and strategic step to ensure victory. Asiwaju never takes the electorate for granted.

Asiwaju does not enjoy himself. He is not a member of a decadent elite that squander time cruising around the exotic beaches of the world. He is always burning the proverbial midnight oil working every day till the early hours of the morning.

The Asiwaju they don’t know genuinely believe in and love people and this is not for politics. The Asiwaju they don’t know are ever eager to offer a helping hand to the needy, encourage the weak and raise those who are down. The Asiwaju they don’t know is a wizard in the art and science of financial management and economic rejuvenation.

As a trained journalist, I am always amazed at the depth of his expertise in the area of accountancy and economics. It is thus no wonder that he laid the foundation for Lagos that has become the cynosure of all eyes today. Surely, this man can be a great asset in our bid to get out of the current economic recession, if he eventually becomes the Nigerian number one citizen (President).

For those who have made a vocation of the practice of bashing, insulting, derogating and undermining Tinubu, I urge them to continue on their path. But they should remember that all those who have done so in the past have lived to regret it. The simple message: Underrate and undermine Asiwaju at your peril. He is what the Yoruba call ‘Akanda Eniyan’ – God’s special creation.

Ibrahim, a public affairs analyst, writes from Epe, Lagos