Bola Tinubu, give it a shot
The Nigerian nation is seriously palpitating on who will be the next occupier of the exalted presidential seat in 2023. No thanks to the tensed and restive environment created by poverty, ignorance, distrust and unnecessary rivalry between the various components and ethnic nationalities in the country. There are many candidates but some are clearly and obviously more qualified to occupy the position if the Nigerian nation is to remove the jinx that has plagued it in the last sixty-one years. It is in this regard that this article beams its searchlight on one of the most distinguished political colossus of our time. That is, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The legs of the contestants are firmly on the starting blocks and therefore, it is time to stop the anxiety and the waiting game.
The Yoruba of South West Nigeria says “Eniti yio pegan Ajanaku, a so wipe “mo ri nkan firi”. Ti a ba ri Erin, ki a so wipe a ri Erin’. Literally meaning “It is clear that a man who claims to have seen something in a jiffy is either not referring to an elephant or he is trying to ridicule the size of the gigantic creature.” What is obvious is that Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu possesses the pedigree and an enviable credential to lead this nation. One can examine man from a three-dimensional perspective. One angle is his political career, maneuvering abilities and skillful strategies on the political chessboard of our nation. Apart from carving a niche for himself, Bola Tinubu stood and strode the political landscape of the Nigerian Nation like a colossus since 1999. His worst critic will acknowledge this fact, except those who are ready to argue against reasons. This is followed by his administrative mien and dexterity and third is his clear vision about what he desires for Nigeria and his leadership attributes that make him stand clear as a great team player amongst his peers.
Apart from his known NADECO activities, Tinubu has since 1999, fought and won several battles in defense of democracy. His unrelenting legal battle to secure the subvention accruable to Lagos that was ceased by the regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will forever remain a reference point in the annals of law libraries of Nigeria in particular and the world in general. This is the quality of a man who does his homework before plunging into the arena of litigation wrestling. His ability to build human capital is unparalleled and there are clear empirical evidences of his mentees scattered all over the Nigerian nation knowing that the greatest hallmark of a leader is the ability to mentor and leave successors and succession plans. From Vice President Yemi Osibajo to Babajide Olusola Sanwolu, the Governor of Lagos State to Ogbeni Aregbesola, the Minister for Internal Affairs to Babatunde Raji Fashola, the Minister for Works and Housing and numerous other enviable human resources in the six Geo-Political Zones of the nation. Tinubu has an almost “supernatural” ability and gift to transform raw human material to a marketable high quality product. While other politicians may be sleeping, Bola Tinubu is at the table to construct and design the map for the future and that is the main reason for the remarkable successes that he has achieved in the past twenty one years.
The score card of the landlord of Bourdillon that history may not forget in a hurry is the Lagos project and his ability to monitor his dreams through proxies until it manifests to reality. From an almost sleepy urban junk yard, Tinubu embarked on and created deliberate policies that turned Lagos to the envy of the world. He was able to create a connection between the private sector and the state, a move that turned Lagos into the most productive and most dynamic economic hub of the Nigerian nation.
Those who were there in 1999 will agree that Lagos was already taking the shape of one of the worst urban agglomeration in the world. From a sleepy economy with a big hole in its pocket, the administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu liberalized the environment of business thereby allowing the private sector to invest its resources in the economy to the extent that by 2015, the gross domestic products of Lagos State was $131 billion, which makes it the fifth-largest economy in Africa and this is between 20 and 25 per cent of the GDP of Nigeria and about 46 per cent of the GDP of South Africa ($280.367). It is more than the GDP of Morocco ($104.908b) and more than four times the GDP of Cameroon ($30.810b). It is two times the GDP of twenty African Countries combined, namely; Niger ($7.566), Guinea (6.754), Malawi ( $5.474), Eritrea ($5.352), Mauritania ($4.714),Togo($4.520),Sierra-Leone ($4.289), Swaziland ($3.430), Burundi ($2.742), South-Sudan ($2.628), Liberia ($2.168), Djibouti ($1.894), Lesotho ($1.806), Central African Republic (1.782), Cape Verde ($1.684), Seychelles ($1.419), Guinea Bissau ($1.168), Gambia ($0.886) and Comoros ($0.622). Lagos GDP is about 5.76 percent of the total GDP of Africa ($2,273.059 billion). Today, Lagos is quoted to contribute a quarter of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.
The 2023 Presidential Election debate and campaign will be unique because it is coming at a time that the entire country is restive with threats and counter-threats across ethnic, communal and social divides. There is nothing unusual in all these in a plural and diverse environment that thrives on mutual suspicion and almost institutionalized disagreement and controversies. However, the nation, if it must weather through the storms must get it right this time around. In over six decades we have made a wrong pick at the polls. This is because our choices are based largely on petty sentiments, ethnic jingoism, innocent reliance on falsehood and the blackmailing mentality of the political class to which the masses subscribe gullibly and naively. Didn’t the Nigerian nation miss the attributes and quality of services that would have been provided and which would have propelled our country to the peak of the world leadership by the likes of Dr, Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe and Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo? Did we appreciate the benefits that would have been accruable from the services of the Talakawa posture of Aminu Kano? Yet we prefer to selfishly deny ourselves the best on the altar of pettiness, ethnicity, religious bigotry and weak intellectual calculations and yet we expect a country where manna will fall from the celestials and uninterrupted flow with flourishing of milk and honey. Of course, the input will always justify the output.
The next two years will require a lot of responsibility from us if we must overcome the challenges bestowed on ourselves by our usual lack of discretion about political choices. We should vote right.
It is in this regard that Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu must give it a shot. The nation needs his services now.
Professor Ojikutu is of the Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Lagos.