Between Bola Tinubu and Yemi Osinbajo
One issue that is gradually graduating into a serious controversy is who should succeed the incumbent president. Already some people have begun to show interest although most of such aspirations are still shrouded in so much secrecy and it appears everyone is waiting for the appropriate time to make a proper appearance on the Nigerian political space. While different regions are laying claims to the office, those in the south west are also not leaving any stone unturned as they seem to think it is actually their turn to produce the next president, either rightly so or otherwise.
In line with such aspiration, there seems to be a growing discussion about who actually should fly the Yoruba flag between Tinubu and Osinbajo if it is eventually zoned to the south west by the APC. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu was the former governor of Lagos state while Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a onetime attorney General of Lagos is also the incumbent Vice president of Nigeria. Tinubu holds the record of being behind the victory of the incumbent President Buhari in 2015 election. A school of thought believes that there must have been a secret pact between Buhari and Tinubu to the effect that the latter would succeed the former at the expiration of his tenure in 2023. However, a lot of events have taken place ever since the commencement of the present administration which may tend to alter early agreement even if there was any. The president’s ill-health and medical tourism have not gone down well with majority of the citizens who believe he ought to have invested massively into the nation’s health sector and save the foreign exchange continually lost to taking treatment abroad. His state of health was linked to old age, and Nigerians have since been counseled about opting for a younger candidate in future elections if the nation is ever to move forward. Nigeria as a very complex country is said to be in dire need of a young leader who apart from being hale and hearty must possess all leadership qualities, and understand very clearly the twenty-first century economics so as to lead a troubled Nigeria out of the woods.
There are also those who continue to argue that the number one seat should be zoned to the South East, the explanation being that since the end of the civil war, there seems to be a hidden animosity against the easterners so much so that none of them has been deemed fit enough to lead the country till date. While all these are on, some people have also started to urge the incumbent vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to contest for the number one seat, an action which is likely to create a clash or disaffection between him and his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Also known as Jagaban, Tinubu, a chieftain and leader of the All Peoples Congress (APC) was the first executive governor of Lagos in the wake of the ongoing democratic dispensation. He, it is believed, drew the new Lagos masterplan which others after him have continued to follow and since he left office in 2007, he has shifted his attention to his private investment while also ensuring that nothing alters or tampers with the original Lagos masterplan. As a seasoned administrator and a visionary leader, it is on record that Tinubu transformed Lagos into a place where almost all Nigerians want to live. He opened up so many channels of increasing the state’s internally generated revenues and created employment opportunities for many hitherto unemployed youth by forming parastatals such as LAWMA and LASTMA among others.
It was one thing that Tinubu was a former governor with a lot of ground-breaking, landmark projects to point at as achievements but another fact nobody can take away from him is that he also single-handedly installed some other governors in the days when efforts were geared towards making Nigeria a one-party state by those who felt that election should be a do or die affair. Going by his very high track records, it may be said without any fear of contradiction that Tinubu is a sure candidate for the number one seat.
The other suggested candidate, Yemi Osinbajo is a product of Tinubu’s foresight and government of inclusiveness. Again, if it is agreed that Tinubu spearheaded Buhari’s victory in the election that brought him back to power, it could also be conjectured that the position Osinbajo occupies today could not have been outside Tinubu’s recommendation. It is true that Osinbajo himself holds one of the most intimidating credentials anyone can parade anywhere in the entire world but as it is always the case with Africa, no matter whatever quality anyone has, there is still that need for necessary connections to get the desirable recognition and recommendations especially as far as politics is concerned. Going by Osinbajo’s credentials, it may be argued that he can hold on his own and that the fact that he served under Tinubu does not necessarily translate to equating that to mean that Tinubu made him what he is.
However, whoever has followed the trend in the Nigeria politics will agree that without the land, there can never be any tree. The million dollar question then is who between the two of them should contest in the forthcoming election? If as it is insinuated, there had been a secret agreement between the incumbent president and Tinubu, and the latter having played his own role well with proven positive result, it behoves the president to also honour that agreement and work as hard as he can for the success of the candidate as an evidence of good conscience and reliability.
But even at that, two factors are not likely to work in Tinubu’s favour. With the recent clamour for a youthful candidate for the highest position, he may not receive the much-needed endorsement from a cross-section of the society. Besides, the fact he has also been on medical vacation which may be seen as an evidence of old age and ill-health can also be used to campaign against his candidature. Another strong factor that may be used against Tinubu is that he has been out of government for too long and could have lost touch with the current accouterments of governance. Again, some section of the country have continued to hold him responsible for installing a regime labeled as unleashing untold hardship on Nigerians.
On the contrary, having served meritoriously for many years in Lagos, Osinbajo has moved to the centre and has been at the corridor of power since the inception of the present regime. It may be believed therefore that he must have seen where all the national problems lie and a possible solution to each of them. Another factor that may likely work to Osinbajo’s advantage is his age and the fact that he has never shown any traits of illness. But remember that all the arguments stressed here are mere suppositions which may not hold any water at the end of the day. Only time will tell.
Oyewusi the coordinator of Ethics Watch International wrote from Lagos.