‘Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu hit the front page of major newspapers and trended in the social media during the week following his visit on Tuesday, January 7 to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Tinubu has risen to become one of the nation’s biggest political players and a renowned godfather of the politics of the Southwest region.
Given his powerful political network, which could be said to be as natural as nature his views on critical national issues are usually taken seriously, as political players, as well as observers, may ignore it at their peril.
Of course, it was the addition of the Tinubu political machine that gave Buhari a big boost to win his presidential aspiration in 2015, after four failed attempts; so his words and actions carry political weight as a realist and practical strategist.
There is the saying that every epoch in every nation throws up its own heroes and villains. Men and women who in the midst of adversity and uncertainty saw clearly within the mist a vision of a glorious future and with unusual courage and uncommon determination pursued its actualization.
These are men and women who have impacted positively (or negatively too) on the lives of the people within their jurisdiction and who have become change agents that altered the course of the society at a particular point in time; creating and moulding a nation that has essentially their footprints embedded in all of its strata.
One of such human personages in Nigeria today is the Jagaban Borgu, a man who has humbly and practically turned not just the politics of Southwest Nigeria into a robust and vibrant enterprise, but also the politics of Nigeria as a nation.
The Lion of Bourdillon had used the occasion of his visit to address some knotty political issues, particularly the rumoured controversial third term ambition of President Buhari and the 2023 zoning arrangement.
Despite Buhari’s pledge and constant denial not to amend the constitution or seek a third term in office which most Nigerians still believe is a hypocritical stance, it took a strong voice like that of Tinubu to arguably put to rest such claims, making some to now believe that Buhari should be trusted.
On Buhari’s plan to quit in 2023, Tinubu told state House correspondents that “any reasonable politician who had worked with President Muhammadu Buhari will know that he will not (tamper with the Constitution). Distractors are always suspicious and will make accusations, but I was in the trench, in the struggle for democracy.
“I was in the trench and in the opposition with Muhammadu Buhari, till the third term agenda of a former leader of this country failed. I know he will never; he has the courage and the character to refuse such temptation even if offered to him. I believe in him and I believe Nigerians should also believe in him.”
Also speaking on APC and zoning agenda in 2023, Tinubu revealed that: “That time is not now. We have just finished one election and Mr President is busy sorting out the budget, working for the people of this country. Any lover of this country will not talk about the succession plan yet”.
There is ample evidence that the Southwest politics, largely, revolves around the political machine of Tinubu without whose blessing or endorsement any politician’s effort from the zone may be a struggle in futility. Of course, there are a negligible few exceptional, but he stands like a colossus in the determination of who gets what, when and how in Southwest politics.
When he moved against the former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, even the intervention of President Buhari could not save him.
There is no politician that he moved against with all his political might that ever survived the tsunami.
Expectedly, the intimidating political profile of Tinubu has also continued to generate attacks from his Southwest compatriots as he has been accused of having undue dominance in their politics.
For instance, a group, Yoruba Self Determination Advancement Forum during the 2019 governorship election in Lagos State vowed to liaise with other ethnic nationalities in the state to rescue the state from what it described as Asiwaju Tinubu hegemony ahead of the 2019 elections.
The forum’s convener, Kunle Adesokan, said that the forum, a coalition of over 60 self-determination groups, would liaise with other ethnic groups and all categories of people in the state to convince voters to vote for Jimi Agbaje (candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party) and put an end to the dominance of Tinubu in Lagos politics.
Tried as they did the Jagaban still had his way using all the human and material investments he has built over the years.
Many political observers have also accused the former Lagos governor of being selfish, insisting that he spoke on the third term bid of the president because he wants the coast to be clear for him since he is deeply nurturing the ambition to run for the presidency in 2023 when power is expected to return to the South if APC would keep to the zoning principle.
Although power is transient, there is nothing to yet to show that the table may turn any soon against the Tinubu factor.
Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu was born on March 29, 1952 in Lagos.
He attended St. John’s Primary School, Aroloya, Lagos and Children’s Home School in Ibadan, Oyo State. He then went to the United States in 1975, where he studied first at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, Illinois, and then at Chicago State University. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
His political career began in 1992; he became Lagos State governor 1999 and since then his political star has never dimmed.