Bola Tinubu and 2023 presidential ambition
Sir: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been one of the prominent names since the soldiers returned to the barracks and handed over power to democratically elected leaders in 1999. He was first and foremost elected a senator to represent Lagos West in 1992 under the banner of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and was among the activists who campaigned for the return of democracy using the platform of the National Democratic Coalition Movement, NADECO.
In the first post-transition Lagos State governorship election in 1999, Tinubu as the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy defeated the Peoples Democratic Party’s Dapo Sarumi and the All Peoples Party’s Architect Nosirudeen Kekere-Ekun. He secured a second term in 2003 and after leaving office in 2007. Tinubu has retained his status as one of Nigeria’s most influential politicians, serving as a kingmaker in Lagos and other states, especially in the South West.
In 2013, he led the bloc of the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) that merged with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP (nPDP), a faction of the then ruling PDP – into the All Progressives Congress (APC), which ousted the PDP from power at the centre after 16 years. Thus, elevating him into the national scene as he is fondly referred to as the national leader of the APC.
His dexterity to have control over Lagos State and extend such influence not only to other states and regions in the country, but also the presidency, has made him the master of the political chess game and the numero uno kingmaker.
The kingmaker never hid his intention to become the king in 2023, despite doomsday prophecies about his imminent downfall. He suffered from mudslinging, betrayed by some prominent beneficiaries of his struggles, and threatened among others in the build up to the APC national convention.
His experience as a kingmaker, who has been involved in many political battles since 1992 will be helpful in the journey to Saturday, February 23, 2023, when Nigerians will elect the successor of President Muhammadu Buhari. Tinubu, a former Mobil oil executive, feels entitled to Nigeria’s presidency. He will surely be banking on his experience in politics and huge influence across the country to win the general election, where he will face stiff competition from former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who is standing for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and a burgeoning campaign by the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who is hugely popular with urban voters.
If Tinubu, known as “Jagaban” by supporters, gets the top job, he would be looking to unify a country divided across regional lines, tackle widespread insecurity, create jobs and bring down rising inflation. Mind you, it is not a job that fazes him. He has pointed to his time as Lagos State governor between 1999 and 2007 to sell his candidacy to party delegates and will be hoping to do the same with Nigerians.
Òrúnbon, journalist and poet, wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun State.
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