Tinubu: A cut above the rest



WHEN I wrote the piece: ‘Tribute to Tinubu: A Parody of Shakespeare’ a few friends and colleagues said I was un-characteristically ‘patronizing.’ Tinubu deserved that tribute which I paid to him; I still think him worthy of all the sentiments contained therein and I still feel proud that I wrote that piece.

Tinubu has fathered a peaceful political revolution in Nigeria which has not only moved our democracy beyond a notch by its shattering of the myth of the invincibility of incumbency, but it has saved the nation from the malignance of a ruinous era of political impunity which was bent on balkanizing our country.

And let me say that if Tinubu, afterwards should, for any reason lend the instrumentation of his time, his prowess and his resources in the promotion of any contrary ideal odious or antithetical to the noble one of growing our democracy and developing our nation, I should also, with a measure of antipathy equal to the enthusiasm with which I had praised him, deploy the venom of my pen to harangue and to dis-approbate him.

But come to think of it, if you ask me whether I think Tinubu is ‘evil’ – politically, I should answer as much with the affirmative ‘yes’ as with the negative ‘no’.

For as ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’, logically speaking I think, so should ‘ugliness’ be also ‘in the eyes of the beholder.’ And so to a bitter PDP whose defeat the Asiwaju’s deft, adept and adroit politics had caused, Tinubu is most definitely ‘evil’; and thus in the subjective eyes of members of PDP Tinubu is uglier than the mythical Gorgon.

But to the APC whose political fortunes Tinubu’s (even if) neo-Machiavellic master-tactic has now raised from ‘nothing’ to ‘everything,’ the Jagaban is most definitely no ‘evil’ but ‘good.’ And thus in the objective eyes of sincere members of APC Tinubu should be the personification of beauty itself – politically that is.

Presently in the treacherous hustle and jostle for political positions, this is not so with the hawks and vultures in the APC who now masquerade as altruistic progressive change-agents of the Buhari government.

To these neo-conservative opportunists, all of a sudden ‘Asiwaju’ ‘The Leader’ is now simply Tinubu ‘The meddlesome interloper’! He is as they now claim ‘unnecessarily interfering with our democratic processes’ and must thus be cut to size.

And on this you cannot but have a sense of the poignantly disgusting and the de ja vu: especially if you recall what the then Rhodesia’s oppressive head Colonist Ian Smith said to the anti-colonial world of the 70s about Zimbabweans: “These blacks are spoiling my democracy!” ‘my democracy indeed!’

Or maybe if you have some appreciable knowledge of the UPN’s Second Republic politics when the then ‘Adedibu’ of that era’s Ibadan politics, Adelabu Adegoke, after a resounding UPN victory achieved through the instrumentation of Adelabu’s political enfant terrible, was told plainly by Awo that since he had no western education, he could not be a Commissioner!

Though academics is not the basis of this comparison, Adelabu’s reply aptly typifies, today, the mentality of those who have contributed next to nothing to the birth and ascendancy of APC, but whose hubris is now questioning the leadership of the man who almost singlehandedly formed, midwifed and nurtured it to power.  Adelabu was said to have asked rhetorically in Yoruba: “adiye da lori iresi, sugbon ko da n kpalo?” meaning: ‘so cooked chicken is good sitting atop a bowl of rice, but a live one is not good to grace the hallow of the parlour?’

They said that the Asiwaju wants to install surrogate leaders for the legislature so he can remote-control them. And I say: ‘assuming, without conceding, that this is true, to what end, if we may ask, would Tinubu want to remote-control the NASS?’ Is it to prevent it from passing good progressive bills that will give effect to the promise of ‘change’ by Buhari? Or is it to egg the NASS on to anti-Buhari tantrums so that the General’s government cannot effectively function? I really don’t get it!

And I even wonder more: did they not invest Tinubu with all the sobriquets and appellations of a ‘Leader’? Did they not say that he was the courageous ‘Jagaban’; the one who led from the front? And did Tinubu not lead them from the front? Selflessly giving his time, his energy and his resources? Did he not put his life on the line of a hysterically dangerous incumbency desperately angling to keep power by hook or crook? Did they not say that Tinubu’s was a goal-oriented and decisively go-getting ‘Leadership’?

Did we not see the series of political mutations afterwards initiated and set in motion from the pre-natal stages, the singular efforts of one man to corral several ideological eggs into one political embryo, so as to give life to a new all-embracing political party around which both progressives and even repentant fascists could congregate to make practicable what was thought well-nigh impossible, namely enacting the parting of the political Red Sea to say to the behemoth PDP ‘let my people go!’

We thought that we saw Tinubu walk the miles from the North West to the North East; from North Central to the South East and from the South West to the South-South to build strong bridges of geo-ethnic and geo-political consensus; planning and strategizing to form alliances, to create leagues of political amity and to search out for men and women of weight and of mettle; political and non-political actors with diverse gifts and varying competences, to man the many points of the opposition’s political rudder.

These efforts were rewarded with successes in the creation of the first ever successful merger, the formation of the first ever peoples party, the conduct of one of the most transparent party primaries, the emergence of the most popular presidential candidate, the running of the most competitive presidential campaigns, and the first ever defeat of incumbency by an opposition party in one of the most transparent presidential elections.

But now that the political dinner table is set, surrounded, unfortunately, by opportunistic political vultures and hyenas, they are telling us that although Tinubu is an excellent political cook, he is not as good in the culinary art of dishing. That the Party Leader must stay away from the Party’s First Political Supper! In fact like Caesar, they accused the Asiwaju of ambition. The same Tinubu who had publicly announced that Buhari had offered him a chance to be on the Presidential ticket – an offer which he said he politely declined.

Tinubu does not deserve this kind of treatment. The Asiwaju as the Party Leader and the Party are the veritable taproots of Mr. President. If they who care about Mr. President’s success are left at the mercy of the Party’s vultures and hyenas who only care about the spoils of politics, sooner or later the shrub of the Presidency and its blooming foliage will feel the wilt. It is both morally and politically expedient that Buhari steps in to restore rank discipline and to assure the Asiwaju and the Party hierarchy that he has ‘got their back’; just like they, through thick and thin, had always had Mr. President’s back.

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  • okechukwu

    Mohammed (If this is truly your name), going through your write up one may begin to see Tinubu in the eyes of heroes of democracy of the past. infact, one may likely see him in the shoes of great Mahatma Ghandi who was a sacrificial political leader – not given to self aggrandizement, or wicked acquisition of public properties. But we know the truth about the man Tinubu and his manner of ‘payment’ after using his sophisticated media instrument to make his followers see white colors as black. Are you in any way telling us in full sincerity and conscience, that Tinubu has masterminded Lagos politics for the greater interest of Logosians? There is no need to lay further accusations, but Nigerians know Tinubu too well to allow him have a strong hold on Abuja reminiscent of Lagos state. However. If you passed your CV to him for the ‘usual’, i advice you to withdraw it for now!!

    • Olu

      I am a Lagosian to the core so much so that I refuse to go anywhere else in Nigeria. I can tell you that today Mr. tinubu is the best thing that has ever happened to Lagos and the southwest. I took note of one very special gift he gave the poor working masses of Lagos state in name of dignity packaged as BRT dedicated lane despite stiff opposition from PDP. Among other things too many to mention this to me as a Lagosian without the need to use BRT speaks volume interms of selfless dedication to humanity. Please take time to drive down on the ever busy Ikorodu road and objectively look at the long line of poor working class folks and school children lined up under well shaded bus stops and shaded pedestrian bridges. Neither Tinubu nor his immediate family members have use for this initiative. Yes Ghandi or MLK or Mandela can identify with this initiative.

      Interms of southwest, the ability to compare PDP against ACN /APC administrations is part of the reason why majority of Lagosians and south westerners are able to line up behind Tinubu unlike any other southwestern leader and the outcome of the immediate general election is the prove. I sure respect your opinion and Tinubu not unlike you and I can not be perfect but to imply that Lagosians in General see TInubu the way you and others like you do is not a most sincere reflection of the true situation of things.

      For the record for 16 years the single biggest new and most far reaching infrastructure in Lagos state is the under construction Okokomaiko to Marina light train and west Africa gate way six lane road, since third mainland bridge Lagos has never seen anything like this before and for the record that axis of Lagos is inhabited by low / middle income folks. Please review Tinubu’s Lagos state transport master plan blue / red line e.t.c. Mr Ogunlewe under Mr. Obasanjo as Minister for works could have initiated this or something better but did he?

      Politically, Nigerians especially other states in Nigeria should wish for more Tinubu’s. He refused to just go with the flow politically and with clear mind, sense of purpose and can do spirit he got the southwest into the central government. The great Awo did not do it and indeed Obasanjo never had any agenda for Lagos guess what Mr. Tinubu does and majority of Lagosians no this and we are most grateful for this most illustrious Lagosian

      • Voke P

        You have spoken well, Mr. Olu. May the good lord continue to bless our motherland with more Asiwajus. Surely his enemies, along with those lackadaisical Jonathanians/PDPirians suffering from PEMD (post-election mental disorders), can continue making a complete fool of themselves, as is their M.O. The Jagaban shall forever remain on top. Yes, his name shall be like the sweet berries a child places behind the tongue to sweeten the passage of food. Our democratic world will never spit it out. We are ever so grateful to have him.

        It is a shame however that we still have thieves and secret enemies of democracy amongst us, in this nascent house of Change. I believe our heavenly Father will see us through. For fondly do we hope, and fervently we pray still, that this mighty scourge of corruption may speedily pass away. Amen.

  • okechukwu

    Not to reduce this discuss to making claims and counter claims, the reality is that Lagos is far far far behind in expectation of Nigerians both in infrastructure and ‘urbanization’. I am definitely not talking about people who have gone no where else or who expects to go nowhere else in their life time. These are the people that are satisfied by the mediocrity in Lagos state. The projects you mentioned are financed with loans to be paid by Generations unborn – where is our money?. Lagosians even have to pay tolls to drive on the so-called mega roads. Most parts of Lagos state do not have access to water supply (even dirty ones). No right thinking person sends his child to government school in Lagos – why? Educational and moral standards in Lagos schools are so down that teachers routinely demand each pupil to ‘settle’ so as to be ‘well tutored’ during exams. All these iniquities are routinely exported first to nearest western states, then to the rest of the country. Is this the spirit of EXCELLENCE our fathers dreamed of? Life is so insecure in Lagos as miscreants are financed and sustained by those who should be weeding them off our roads. Even criminality of all sorts are entrenched and actively supported by powers that be. A good example is the Omonile Syndrome which Lagos has exported to other parts of the country like Ebola disease. All these are done directly or indirectly to sustain the statuesque. When these issues boil over, some myopic individuals start talking about Lagos being theirs or ours. Look my friend, Lagos is a city in which Nigerians have invested so so so much and it is time it starts competing with other mega cities in the world! No country develops mega cities in all parts of it so that it belongs to some people!! Lagos should rise and become OUR pride as Nigerians. Bet me the resources are here – both financial, human, materials, but we need desperately to liberate the state form those whose major tactics to hold on to power by balkanization of Lagosians.

  • Olu

    It’s rather unfortunate that the very same innovator of developmental ideas that can propel Lagos to where others would like to leave is the same very person that the very exposed would like to pull down reminds me of the crab in the basket syndrome. I don’t known of any advanced country in the world most especially the ones whose embassies are filled with applicants for visas that don’t have tolled roads.

    Now in real terms and for the record, there are only 2 government tolled roads in Lagos state relative to the number of roads not tolled, also for the record the tolled roads all have free alternatives some freshly built. Now the budget of Lagos state in dollar terms today is less than 4 billion. Please goggle a list of all the mega cities the size of Lagos in the world and rank Lagos side by side. Also in relative terms the best state in Nigeria and the destination of choice for business and job seekers is Lagos. In my opinion except Lagos build more tolled roads 4 billion dollars just can’t get lagos to the same level as those places people rush to.

    The best roads in Lagos in my opinion are the redeveloped roads of Ikorodu and Mile 2 axis which for the record are not tolled. Now talk about conscious and deliberate redistribution of income and public goods, talk about Tinubu/fans hola administration. The not tolled roads are in low/ middle income areas and the tolled once are where folks are relatively well off.

    Yes Lagos, suffer from all the problems and imperfections so very typical of many other places. For the status and size of Lagos though Tinubu can’t take all the blames. I can mention a whole lot of examples but please how is Tinubu responsible for the deplore able condition of Muritala Muhammad airport road the very gateway to Lagos 16 years of the sole owners PDP administration including a Lagosian former federal works minister. I say please let Jagaban build and toll it

  • Fuzio

    Tinubu is now paying sycophants to launder his image. It will not work. We are living with his criminal legacy. Google “Nigerian Pres’ Svengali”.

  • JomiJoke

    Jagaban, when the pile of “criminal cards” you have dealt Lagosians come tumbling down, not even your paid, “lettered,” hired goons will be able to save you from being consumed. Let them continue calling red, black as if we are color-blind, and evil, good as if we lack conscience. They have, in doing your bidding to launder your stained garment of corruption, greed and unbridled acquisition, failed to answer the only gnawing question on the mind of every sane and fair-minded descendant of Odua, Lagosian and Nigerian: How did you in the world so become so stupendously rich to the level that you are now the biggest landlord in Lagos? You have never come out to refute or accept any of “accusations” leveled against you and none of your hatchet men has ever disputed your long list of crimes. All we are being told is how you saved Lagos state from Obasanjo and prevented it from being taken over by PDP for sixteen years, how you developed Lagos and installed Fashola, you are a “true democrat” blah, blah,blah. Give me a break! There is an appointed time for everything–even for judgment! Lord, have mercy.