Tinubu: The political generalissimo at 66
A s popular saying goes; “ Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some love greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu seems to belong to both categories of the idiomatic expression culled from book “Longs Fellow”. In the history of contemporary politics of Nigeria today, one name which easily has made itself well pronounced is Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu, a political strategist, reformer of political structures, generalissimo, Awolowo of our time, a man of calibre which no other people can contend with; a former Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a firm nationalist of undisputable patristic enthusiasm, a diplomat of no mean feat and a former Executive Governor of Lagos state. As inspiring leader and handler of men, a loving husband and father, a charming and tactful friend, if his contribution for the welfare of his own followers brought him the reward of victories, his mercy and courtesy towards his oppositions are the gratuitous expressions of the men’s own character. A man who grew up in Lagos but rose through the ranks as a focused disciplined and Jagaban of Borgu, never left anyone in doubt that he is created to positively influence the lives of many people in virtually all areas of human experience; politics, careers, professions, leadership and self-development. A political stalwart, Tinubu insisted from youth that he is that light which must shine bright in the lives of men and charge their fortunes for good.
During the period of Nigeria’s history when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the strongest and biggest party in Africa, Action Congress grew from a tiny settlement to form a mighty party, All Progressives Congress (APC), only once was the mighty and destiny of the most powerful party in Africa PDP seriously threatened, and that threat was conveyed by the patriotism, courage and genius of the former Lagos State Governor. As one who schemed in Canada and emerged with distinction, he has sincere turned to his fatherland to build a natural of social, political disciplineship which today had much influence on the socio-political development of Nigeria. Leader, and even when some people do not think along with him in his brave efforts, they have since understood that this is one African who cannot be shoved aside. He alone braved the strongest party and outwitted them by his cunning, he put down, stamped out all who opposed him and APC snatched the mantle of leadership from the PDP government with the watchword, “Change”.
A democratic engineer, he included a lot of young, energetic fellows in governances when he was a governor of Lagos state, among whom have today emerged as formidable governors, lawmakers, party leaders and International diplomats. At first, if it is easy to say such influence is only limited to the South West of Nigeria, but as one of the originators of the main opposition political parties in the land then, All Progressive Congress (APC), such influence has extended to other parts of the federation. Millions of people…young and old, men and women… belong to the APC doing what they are supposed to do best. Greatness has often been claimed for victorious leader, disputed by some political leader to be considered the greatest progressive leader the nation has seen.
In the truest sense he is the “Lion king of the Country”.Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was born in Lagos on March 29, 1952 to the illustrious Tinubu family of Lagos State. He attended St. John’s Primary School, Lagos and Children Home School Ibadan, he travelled to the United States of America in 1975 in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece with a heart brimming with unrelenting determination to achieve his vision. Getting to United States and with the support of an ever-adoring mother, this courageous youth faced with an unflinching zeal to succeed took on such menial jobs as dish-washing, night guard work and cab driving to see himself through the initial difficulties of school at the Richard Daley College, Chicago, Illinois. He subsequently transferred to Chicago State University, Illinois, graduating with Honours in 1979 and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Accounting Management).Tinubu worked for America Companies Arthur Anderson, Deloitte, Haskins and sells, where he participated in the auditing, management and consultancy services of General Motors, First National Bank of Chicago, Procter and Gamble, International Harvester and GEC. He also worked at GTE services Corporation.
After returning to Nigeria in 1983, Bola Tinubu worked as a Senior Auditor at Mobile Producing Nigeria, where he retired as the company Treasurer. In the year 1993 just before the military take-over in December 1993, he won a Senatorial seat under Lagos West Constituency. He was a founding member of the famous pro-democracy group, the National Democratic Coalition(NADECO), which fought for Nigeria’s return to democratic rule. An irrepressible fighter for democracy and protection of civil liberties, Bola Tinubu endured political persecution, including numerous arrests, detentions, harassment, constant threats to his life and years in political exile. When the Military handed over to civilian in 1999, he was elected as Governor of Lagos State, holding that office from 29th of May 1999 to 29th of May 2007. When he assumed office in May 1999, the virtues of courage, determination, commitment, vision, focus and a strong sense of purpose characterized Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s politics, and drove his emergence as one of the country’s most successful Governors. His years remain a reference for good governance in Nigeria and across the region. He was the National Leader of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Nigeria’s leading opposition party. Tinubu’s rare courage and foresight abolished the determined efforts of the erstwhile ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to turn Nigeria into a one-party State.
Bola Tinubu promised 10, 000 Housing units for the poor, during his eight years in office, he made large Investments in education in the State. He also initiated new road construction required to meet the needs of the fast-growing population and economy of the state. He won re-election to office as Governor in April 2003, while other states in the south-west fell to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was involved in a struggle with the Federal Government over whether Lagos State had the right to create additional Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to meet the needs of its large population of Lagos State. The controversy led to the Federal Government seizure of funds and withheld the money meant for local councils in the state. He was engaged in continuous clashes with PDP powerful stalwart such as Minister of Works and South-West Chairman of the PDP during his tenure.
Following the victory by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the April 2001 elections, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was active in negotiations to bring together the fragmented opposition parties into a “Mega Party” capable of challenging the PDP in 2011. In July 2009, he called for implementation of electoral reforms spelled out in the UWAIS Report to ensure that 2011 elections would be free and fair as the election of 1993 had been. More than any other person since the return of civilian rule in 1999, Bola Tinubu’s actions in maintaining his political party as the loyal opposition helped salvage multi-party electoral. With his contributions alone, he has helped Nigeria keep on the path leading toward good governance, human rights and prosperity for all. He is one of the major actors who brokered the merger of various opposition parties the ACN, ANPP, CPC, APGA to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), retaining the ACN logo as the symbol to stand as a much needed alternative to the ruling party during the 2015 general elections.
General Muhammadu Buhari was also picked as the Presidential candidate of APC. On the 29th of May 2015, power changed hands for the first time in 16 years of civilian rule, PDP handed over power to APC in person of President Muhammadu Buhari who won the election on landslide victory, rustling power from PDP’s government of tyranny and cabals. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is an influential member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party. He also holds both the Chieftaincy of the Asiwaju of Lagos and that of the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom in the Northern Niger state of Nigeria, Aare of Ile-Oluji and Agba-Akin Adinni of Ijesha land. He is also a patron of many professional and social organizations. He is married to Senator Oluremi Tinubu, the Senator representing Central Lagos State. His youngest daughter, Abibat Tinubu graduated from Music College in Boston, Massachusetts, US in the year 2013. Happy Birthday Asiwaju, Generalissimo and Awolowo of our time!
Orunbon, wrote from Oke-Posun, Epe, Lagos.
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