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“Let me say generally about this public image that I do not remember one public contest where he has lost the war. I speak of many battles-fronts; from Oyo to Borgu, Ife, Ibadan, to Lagos and Anambra to mention but a few. Of course, he bears many battle scars and these attests to his tactical ability to surrender battles in order to win wars.” – Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN; erstwhile Governor of Lagos State, presently the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, in the book: “Asiwaju: Leadership in troubled times”, edited by the trio of Tunji Bello, Sam Omatseye and Segun Ayobolu, pp. 67-68.

It was in the year 2015 and a few days to May 29. This columnist was opportune as one of the stakeholders to be present in a valedictory event to appreciate the tenure of the cerebral, Mr. Ben Akabueze, as the Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning in Lagos State. Towards the tail end of the event, the Anambra-born but Lagos-bred technocrat, rose up to appreciate the attendees, especially those of us who worked closely with him. He said inter alia that while he was being considered for an appointment in Anambra, out of the blue, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who he had known in his heydays in the banking industry, invited him and offered him the opportunity to serve in January 2007. He was retained throughout the era of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, from 29th May 2007 till 29th May 2015.

In the treatise edited by the trio of Tunji Bello, Sam Omatseye and Segun Ayobolu, published in 2012, the sagacious Akabueze stated succinctly of his experience serving Lagosians with Tinubu in the saddle: “Asiwaju . . .has displayed an unusual success in attracting and retaining some of Nigeria’s best professionals in various fields to serve in government during his tenure as Governor of Lagos State. These professionals come from different states in the federation because for Asiwaju competence counts far above other primordial considerations. Indeed, this is one defining character of the Tinubu leadership style (sic).” Presently, in the government circles, states and federal, appointments are done with partisan, parochial, pecuniary, puerile or pedestrian consideration! In sane clime, where professionalism, profile and pedigree are taking cognizance of, someone in the likes of Akabueze would be the Minister of Economic Planning and Budgetary Matters. Nay! Governance has been mostly hijacked in Nigeria and subjugated by sycophants. Do we then cry over spilt milk of bad governance when non-professionals possessing no matching competencies are calling shots in agencies of government? This was not so in the eight years of Tinubu in Lagos. Virtually, it was evident in the subsequent administrations of his successors: Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Mr. Akin Ambode and the incumbent, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu. This is just one issue in the quest to the presidency of 2023 that all aspirants to the prestigious and onerous seat of the president should address.

Tinubu: Time To Talk

It is noteworthy that the public announcement signaling Tinubu’s intention to throw his hat into the ring towards the 2023 presidency has rattled and ruffled feathers in hallowed and high quarters, pointedly the corridors of power. Was it that it was unexpected? Definitely, not the case for most public analysts and political watchers. Seemingly unsettling was the timing of Tinubu dropping the ‘bomb!’ Could it be strategic coming just few days after President Muhammadu Buhari’s interview on Channels TV in which he refused to give a hint of his possible successor fearing he might be ‘eliminated’ from the political scene and space taking cognizance of Nigeria’s muddy and murky political waters? Suddenly and seemingly, as if coordinated, vociferous voices have been so loud, some for and some against dwarfing comments on other contenders and possible contenders. Having perused and read many articles and online posts on Tinubu’s (why so much on him anyway?), I wondered whether many followers really know his leadership profile and pedigree while in government as a senator and governor. This is partly why this columnist has to come out with salient statements by two personalities that are not known for genuflecting or being garrulous in nature – Babatunde Raji Fashola and Ben Akabueze. I am not oblivious that these statements were penned down in 2012. Could things have changed and there is a different song, even though the story cannot change?

Someone like Senator Femi Ojudu has a story that is fixated albeit his song has changed! This columnist often tells anyone that cares to listen: “if you do not know my story, you cannot understand my glory.” Definitely, my song has changed from my usual song of ten years ago! God used some people for me along the way in turning my story to glory. Succinctly stated, Senator Femi Ojudu’s statement was ill-conceived and ill-timed for someone who was once a benefactor. Silence mode could be best for him while he chooses his candidate. The content and context of his seemingly skewed tinkering is against the Yoruba wise saying: “Omi l’eniyan te ko to te yaanrin” (meaning: someone’s feet first step upon water before it could stand firmly on the sandy platform at the bottom of the river). In this vein, one writer, even pontificated that Tinubu rather used many of his mentees rather than he being used to develop them. This is apparently against scholastic sagacity as in a leadership-dyad typical of mentor protegee relationship (MPR); a saturation stage is reached where the mentee feels he needs to be a mentor himself and no more a mentee. However, in the saturation stage, the mentee still acknowledges his mentor’s helping hands. At this juncture, one may ask pointedly: who gave most of these people (proteges or mentees) the platforms to serve? It is like saying Simon (who was surnamed Peter) and Saul (who later changed his name to Paul) were self-made or Jesus Christ made use of them. This awkward and awful line of thought would be simply and squarely denigrating the personality and platform that processed, packaged, produced and promoted them. Even Tinubu could not say he was self-made as he cut his political teeth under mentors and guardians who offered him platforms to showcase strategic sagacious steps in governance. One of his mentors is Chief Pius Akinyelure. He mentored the young BolaTinubu while in the corporate world; even though politically, in present-day Nigeria, the table has turned, yet Tinubu cannot denigrate Pa Akinyelure, covertly or overtly! Yorubas also say: the river that forgets his source will dry off (“omi to ba gbagbe orisun e, a gbe”). This columnist reflectingly attests to some people being part of his “curriculum vitae” for life! Why? The emergence and encounters between him and such personalities are memorable. Hence, it is time for proteges and mentees of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to step up and speak so loudly before the naysayers do havoc through what they know best to do – hatchet jobbing!

Tinubu 2023: Agenda Setting

Presently, socio-economically and politically, certain sordid statistics are staring us in the face. These are the issues to bring up as  2023   beckons!  It is high time followers focused and fixated on these core and crucial matters than mundane fables. Going forward, lovers of Nigeria (patriotic followers) should focus on issues that will deliver Nigeria walloping in this wild weirdly wilderness we have found ourselves socio-economically and politically! Away with jejune, puerile and pedestrian old wives’ fables and debates. It is high time, many followers reflected, reasoned and rationalised in towing the path of progressive tinkering in order to prevent the emergence of many “accidental aspirants” ending up elected as “accidental governors, senators, House of Representatives’ members, house of assembly members, and even becoming president” of our country. To this columnist, this is the real “affliction rising up the second time” if followers fail in checkmating and crippling this drift. In essence, this columnist would enjoin followers to focus and fixate on issues and ideas, and not sentimental or emotional comments. Let us look out for, vouch for and vote for aspirants who have pedigrees of success knowing there is no political saint – we all have our past! We need men and women now who have histories of rescuing their organisations or governments out of crisis into reckoning to be our governors and president! Asiwaju had demonstrated that in Lagos in raising IGR monthly from 0.6 billion Naira (1999) to 6.9 billion Naira (2007). This is empirical and evidential! (Source: Olawale Edun, in the book: “Asiwaju: Leadership in troubled times”, p. 142 edited by the trio of Tunji Bello, Sam Omatseye and Segun Ayobolu). Asiwaju Tinubu with canny and cerebral traits for identifying talents and financial engineering could replicate the same feat in our dipping and dwindling economy if given the chance. Presently, Nigeria is borrowing heavily to finance the budget. We need a game-changer as President in 2023.

Conclusion

This is one battle Tinubu, Jagaban Borgu, would fight with all in his political arsenal! In the opening of this write up, Babatunde Raji Fashola attested to the determined might in his political mentor when he enthusiastically and elated expressed way back in 2012: “Let me say generally about this public image that I do not remember one public contest where he has lost the war. I speak of many battles-fronts; from Oyo to Borgu, Ife, Ibadan, to Lagos and Anambra to mention but a few. Of course, he bears many battle scars and these attests to his tactical ability to surrender battles in order to win wars.” All eyes are on Tinubu, as a sagacious strategist. This columnist would want to pointedly the following questions: Is BAT prepared for all the darts and arrows his opponents are(will be) launching at him? Does he consider this “lifelong ambition” a war or battle? Is his arsenal strategically stocked to ward off expected and emerging attacks on the way to victory in his party? Is the vehicle rugged and robust enough for him on the bumpy ride to 2023? Supposing there is a gang up against his riding in that vehicle towards his fulfilling his lifelong ambition, will he be stranded and abandon his lifelong pursuit? In the alternative, as a master strategist, does he have an Option B? Will he rather support a viable candidate taking his vast political structure with him? In closing, digging deep into Tinubu’s tinkering, he is a strategist who does not run and rush to battle. Going by his corporate and political antecedents, from his days in Mobil Oil Producing to the Senate to Lagos House to his membership of Alliance for Democracy (AD) to formation of Action Congress (AC) to transforming to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) (to give the party a national outlook); and then finally to merger of parties establishing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu has been acclaimed as a determined and distinguished dogged fighter. These last lines fitly depict his personality, profile and profundity in politics and politicking within Nigeria’s context: “I plan for betrayal, I plan for backstabbing, I also plan for reunion and forgiveness long before they happen. In life, I expect nothing, I expect anything, I expect everything.” There is no gainsaying the fact that he is well prepared for the hurdles and hustles head up to 2023. I wish him the best!

 

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Black wash

Black wash

Blackwash is home to news, events, entertainment, inspiration and the rich cultural assemblage of the man and woman of colour. Blackwash echoes the beauty, struggles and successes of black people in Nigeria and diaspora. Every day, Blackwash publishes contents that impact lives spiritually, intellectually and professionally. Blackwash is powered by PROJECT MANAGEMENT HUB BN 2522711.

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