By Hashim Suleiman
I have repeatedly believed and said Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the most progressive politician in Nigeria alive because he has demonstrated it with Lagos even though people argue that the level of the development is not commensurate with the revenue but they forget that even the revenue itself they are discussing is the handiwork of the man and they should equally remember that no other state has utilized as much as he has albeit selflessly for the development of the state and the people. For these and more, I have immense admiration and respect for the man.
I was moved to write today’s piece after waking up to barrages of photographs to the effect that Asiwaju is back from his medical sojourn and it has become a trending topic in the country and beyond and I’m aware only critical people get this much free advertisement and for the positive for that matter because all I see is some sort of celebration by so many. Another video of the launch of SWAGA 2023 is also trending alongside the return photographs. If these don’t attract an attention for a write up, what will do more.
Let me go a little deeper to analyze how Tinubu has been a man of very few words since the advent of this administration and that left him out of the mainstream media for most of the time but regardless of that you cannot erase or not come across his footprints everywhere through his mentees and the work they do regardless of whether some of them have chosen to be snitches or not. Regardless of his being quiet and respecting himself to a large extent, people have refused to let him drink some water and drop the cup without attempting to dig dip and make a meaning out of a simple personal medical trip for example, when did it become a crime to get ill and seek attention. However, that is the price of leadership and one that is consequential so one can understand.
For those who do not know, Tinubu had been in politics for practically all his life, even his little stint at the private sector was all about his efforts at expanding his network and forging a democratic front that he wanted to see Nigeria key into also. That left him in so many controversial circumstances including exile and so on. They persevered until they finally succeeded and Obasanjo rode on the sympathy of their activities to become the president while Asiwaju became the governor of Lagos state and the rest is now history.
Fast forward to today and check the empire that Tinubu has been able to build around the south west and Nigeria at large, some people misconstrue him to be a regional leader but I see those people as not critical enough to understand that people are free to maintain their identity while pursuing whatever, so yes Tinubu is a Yoruba man but for all the time his political party the ACN has produced northern presidential candidates in Ribadu and Atiku Abubakar other than the AD which produced Olu Falae in 1999 for obvious reasons. You cannot erase a jew’s identity regardless of his being an American and loving America to death. Asiwaju has demonstrated maturity and a sense of love for Nigeria while maintaining his identity and this is what any reasonable persona should do, in fact it should be a virtue that should demonstrate people who can be trusted, people who are not hypocrites.
Having said all these, I thought it was only fair for politics to pay back such an individual in whatever capacity. There are those who argue within the APC that Asiwaju must be cut to size and I ask for what crime? For working together to provide a platform for them to come to a position they would have only dreamt of in their lifetime? This must be the highest form of treachery if indeed there are people who discuss that sort of narrative in the party. Some of them were not born when Tinubu started to contribute to this venture and his own type is not theirs because he has been committed to ensuring the provision of mentorship and development of people who came across him. Is it because of all these qualities that they hate him or because they are intimidated and envious that they have not amassed as much goodwill. APC must be truthful to itself and engage Asiwaju appropriately for whatever outcome the 2023 would bring. At the last count before his return to Nigeria last night, 58 top politicians have visited Tinubu at his London home including President Muhammad Buhari. Asiwaju is also firmly in charge of Lagos State, one of the top economies in Africa. He has his network built over years and you would only want to toil with such a politician at your own peril. Growing up, they always told us that politics always pays those who worship her.
I wish all the APC elites the wisdom needed to act appropriately towards 2023.