Last week, a vicious tale went viral in the much-abused social media that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had defected to the vanishing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) simply because he took an innocuous airport picture with some PDP members. The malicious mischief is unimaginable!
In a country where all the tiers of government are bereft of ideas on youth employment, job creation, human capital and natural resources management, how many former governors, serving state chief executives and public office holders have addressed the country’s unemployment superfluity as much as Asiwaju Tinubu? All that we get to read in the newspapers and hear on the electronic media are primitive acquisition of onshore and offshore property and money-laundering irrefutable facts in safe places like Switzerland, South Africa, USA and lately Dubai involving the above categories of thievish Nigerians!
On a declarative note, if all former governors had invested half of their wealth here, instead of overseas, this country would not have been in a currency of stagnation. With the exception of just a few of the former governors, who were already opulent before assuming the reins of government because of their robust professional and entrepreneurial antecedents, most of them were paupers as at 1999. The eminent like of Tinubu, as you will read presently, had “touched” (excuse the parlance) money in all its thresholds. So, Asiwaju Tinubu’s famed financial comfort in all its critics’ inflation has a verifiable pedigree of nobility.
All the fables about Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu recanting on Asiwaju Tinubu are balderdash to this writer and signpost idiocy because Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (retd.) abused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in dealing with his political opponents, former friends and erstwhile military colleagues, especially those who did not support his third term tomfoolery! It is unfortunate that Ribadu associated with Baba and allowed himself to be used to execute vendetta and domestication of leadership.
Even Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., a supranational investor and global financial prodigy, was among those recklessly harassed because of Dr. Adenuga’s long-standing friendship with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (the rest of the story is being documented about now by historians) and their stout rejection of the third term misadventure. Punitive leadership is aberrational, retrogressive and hallmarks incivility.
Of all the well-deserved accolades and titular bestowals that have so far come the way of this messianic enigma that was celebrated today, especially, and for the rest of this month, Asiwaju Tinubu, a man dogged by moronic misconceptions and erroneous classifications that are drunkenly spun to discredit and diminish his person, the one I like most is “the Asiwaju (Leader) of South West Politics” and, by extrapolation, contemporary Nigeria—as the National Leader of the ruling party..
When Prof. Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African to achieve that global feat, the late Prof. Chinua Achebe, in his reaction, declared that the award did not make him the Asiwaju of Nigerian Literature! The contextual application of that title made me to take morphological and historical note of that prefix ever since.
But, in the matter of Asiwaju Tinubu, I think there should be a lexical reversal of that leadership circumstance as perceived by the master story teller. There is no doubt that in the case of Asiwaju Tinubu, the title is quite befitting in the light of recent political developments in the South West geopolitical zone with the former governor of Lagos State playing a critical role in virtually all the transformative manifestations—even far more than he did as an executive governor for eight years and his inspired evolution of a revolutionary successor.
Of course, there are tepid controversies and chimerical allegations maliciously woven around this celebrator. This writer holds the view that no politician of Tinubu’s status and clout (and, indeed, all politicians for that matter) will function in this warped arena without attracting all manner of opprobrious references in rascally contextualization. The issue is, what is the veracity of some of these moonlight tales and how do they impact on societal re-engineering and the country’s overall human development index? Or, are they just for purposes of witch-hunt and travesty of democracy? And why is Asiwaju Tinubu the biggest symbol of character assassination in the country today?
As a member of the National Media Tour Team under the distinguished leadership of the then Information and National Orientation Minister Prof. Jerry Gana in the first term of the Obasanjo second presidency, I had the rare privilege of going round the entire country on an assessment of the delivery of political dividends in the Second Republic. With all sense of responsibility, I honestly reaffirm here that some contemporaries of Asiwaju Tinubu in sane climes would have been shot dead for brazen incompetency, unquantifiable and indescribable graft and gross underdevelopment of their states. Comparatively, most of his peers at the time had state headquarters that resembled Lagos Ajegunle or Maroko of yore. Even the governor of one of the oil-rich states in the South South with all its mind-boggling revenue ran away on the arrival of our inspection team in his state capital because of his mismanagement of the huge resources that had accrued to the state running into billions of naira!
Asiwaju Tinubu may not be a saint, just as he may not be a sinner, too. I take solace in the scriptural realm that says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The essence of our existence is the impact we make on society and the level of atonement we make, ultimately. The matter is not about canonization or holier-than-thou attitudinal disposition. And the question of martyrdom does not arise in this clime.
I know full well that the fading clan of hypercritics of Asiwaju Tinubu will call for my head for doing this unusual defensive piece. I am, however, satisfied by the fact that we do not know each other, have not met before and do not share anything in common remotely or visibly. The only time I saw him from a distance was at the presentation of a book by master-satirist and senior friend of mine, Dr. Olatunji Dare, at the Agip Recital Hall of Muson Centre a long time ago.
As long as you are in the public space, it is impossible to carry on without pugilistic criticisms, wild allegations, baseless rumours, sundry suspicions and outright malice. Innuendos, tantrums, vilification, diatribes and vituperation, et al, must inevitably come your way. Some people will just hate your guts for no plausible reason except for the mirage of corruption and oppressive potentialities! So, Asiwaju should understand this public-life matrix and its concomitant jaundice and ignore them or respond sparingly when there is absolute need. In this breath, it does not make sense exchanging vitriolic statements with men of straw. Foul communication tarnishes a leader’s reputation. Public outbursts are for minions. We all have our foibles.
It gets to a stage in one’s life when his works speak volumes of his person and contributions to societal development. That, gladly, is the irreversible point that this Asiwaju of South West and Nigerian politics has astoundingly arrived at, against all PDP-induced odds.
To be concluded next week