New Telegraph

Bola Tinubu: The rock of Nigeria’s democracy

In my tribute to Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his 70th birthday exactly one year ago, I asserted that he would celebrate his next birthday, the 71st as the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I concluded, despite the prevailing political situation then and irrespective of the strength of the opposition, sun- dry challenges, landmines, and obstacles on his path, that the former Governor of Lagos State would win the contest and succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in office. Relying on the exceptional wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage, expo- sure, connections, and resources that have fortified him, coupled with an uncommon ability to perform extraordinarily, resist and conquer as he did as the Governor of Lagos State, I posited that Tinubu possessed all the credentials, ingredients and instruments required to triumph in the presidential race. In the piece titled: What Alhaji Lam Adesina Told Me about Tinubu and His Ability to Win Against All Odds many were not comfortable with my submission that Tinubu would win the presidential election.

They felt the write-up was against the subsisting political tide. Many of my friends including newspapers editors did not publish the article out of concern that it would pitch me against the man of the moment: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other aspirants they felt had greater chances than Tinubu. They were of thought that Tinubu would not make it and as such advised me to drop the article in order not to shoot myself in the foot as a politician. While I expressed my gratitude to those friends and editors for their genuine interest, I still went ahead and got the piece published in some media out of my strong conviction of the merits of its content and my desire for a better Nigeria under the leadership of a man I believed had genuine interest, competence, and capacity to truly move the country forward. With my knowledge of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Nigeria, I knew he was the best among those that showed interest in the race. Rather than abandoning the write-up as advised by my friends, I got it published to lend my support and propel the Jagaban in trudging on.

I undertook a similar adventure in 1999 shortly after the presidential election when I convinced the late Alhaji Lam Adesina the governor-elect of Oyo State then to broker peace between the just elected President- elect, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and the Yoruba Social Cultural Group, Afenifere. The Abraham Adesanya-led Afenifere had wanted to put spanners in the works to fore- stall the inauguration of Obasanjo as the civilian president of the country. With his power of oration and credibility amongst the Afenifere, Alhaji Lam Adesina successfully brokered the much-needed peace and Obasanjo was eventually sworn in as the president without their case getting to the Supreme Court.

Today, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is celebrating his 71st birthday as the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against all odds, characterized by the challenges, intrigues, and unfathomable obstacles put in his way. From the Emilokan lexicon in Abeokuta to the Muslim-Muslim ticket that almost ruined the aspiration, Tinubu’s prepared- ness and ability to manage the crisis turned negatives into positives, resulting in his huge victory at the All Progressives Congress Presidential Primary on the 8th of June, 2022.

The outcry and condemnation that followed the declaration of emilokan from the seat of power and the national headquarters of APC were initially seen as the end of the presidential aspiration of Bola Tinubu. However, as a shrewd politician,

well equipped for the race and surrounded by eminent loyalists, the situation was not just brought under control, Emilokan has become a mantra for succession as recently deployed by Senator Uzor Orji Kalu in his latest quest for Senate Presidency.

The Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima deserves commendation for staying with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when it mattered most. If it were not for Shettima’s quick and effective intervention in the Abeokuta episode, the aspiration would have kissed the dust. The likes of Babachir and cotravelers found their superior in the Vice President-elect with his effective handling of the situation.

The strong defense of emilokan by Senator Kashim Shettima was credible. Most profoundly, Senator Shettima acting an unprepared PR script went around all the major media houses local and international and was able to convince all that the then APC presidential aspirant meant well for President Muhammadu Buhari.

The best public relations firm in the world would have struggled to accomplish Shettima’s great feat in that record time. From that moment, I knew that the vice presidential slot would be given to him. I said it in many fora. Bola Ahmed Tinubu appreciates and reciprocates good gestures. He knows his onions and surroundings pretty well. May 29, the day for the inauguration of the new president is about 60 days away, but the battle is not over as Tinubu’s path to Aso Rock is still laid with landmines of various sorts.

As much as one is not bothered about the cases filed in the court of law by the other parties, the antics of the anti-democracy elements masquerading as democrats call for concern. Buoyed by the support of fellow demo- crats from the days of the National Democratic Coalition NADECO and his unceasing advancement in politics and power game, Tinubu has transmuted himself into the Rock of Nigeria’s democracy.

From 1993 to 1998, Tinubu and his fellow NADECO leaders fought for our democracy, and the ever-respected last Military Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdusalami Abubakar crowned their efforts with the inauguration of the present democratic government in 1999.

Thence, Bola Tinubu has continued to nurture our democracy and develop new leaders capable of achieving greatness for our dear country. As the Rock of Democracy in Nigeria, Bola Tinubu’s contributions to the evolution of democracy is unmatched by any living Nigerian.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is to- day the symbol of stability, permanence, strength, dependability, steadfastness, and growth of our democracy.

Within eight years, Tinubu revolutionized governance, leadership, politics, and revenue generation in the most complex state in Nigeria, Lagos; preserved continuity through purposeful, meaningful, and pragmatic leadership and eventually made Lagos the model for the remaining 35 states in Nigeria on development.

In what now appears as a source of pain to some people, Tinubu, the fulfilled maker of governors, ministers, and presidents would be magnificently inaugurated as the 16th President of Nigeria on the 29th of May, 2023. Subsequently, by this time next year, when he will be marking his 72nd birthday, we shall be glad to celebrate him as the President we are all proud of.

For the anti-democracy elements still smarting to scuttle the inauguration, their case is just like eggs wanting to have a duel with the rock. On whatever turf they met, the rock would always, effortlessly, crush them.

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