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Who is Jagaban?

By Yahaya Balogun
07 June 2023   |   3:01 am
I wrote a piece about Tinubu a long time ago, on July 27, 2015, at 2:41 am, titled: “Who is Bola Ahmed Tinubu?” The article in The Guardian is still very relevant to our nation’s state. Nigeria is a complex country with so many contradictions. Nigeria needs a rogue political leader to deal with our blissful ignorance, collective arrogance, and moral mischief

President Tinubu

Yorubas are known to make the worst the best in others, while others make the worst in the best of Yorubas — Yahaya Balogun.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty —Winston Churchill.
I wrote a piece about Tinubu a long time ago, on July 27, 2015, at 2:41 am, titled: “Who is Bola Ahmed Tinubu?” The article in The Guardian is still very relevant to our nation’s state. Nigeria is a complex country with so many contradictions. Nigeria needs a rogue political leader to deal with our blissful ignorance, collective arrogance, and moral mischief.

Sometimes, you need to be blunt and not give a damn. “Yoruba ó ní ìrònú ni? Unfortunately, this is not the time to play with the strongman in our household who can lead us to victory. Yorubas make the worst the best in others, while others make the worst in the best of Yorubas.

You all want restructuring without a strongman to deal with the intractable political situation in Nigeria. Jagaban is a political rogue, which Nigeria needs now, not a pushover or push-around persona for the Oligarchs’ mission. There are too many Ọlọọ̀tẹ́ in Yorùbáland with no sense of imagination for possibilities! I have been sitting on the fence before, but we can’t do that anymore. Ọmọ wa ò lè burú burú ká le fún ẹkùn jẹ (We cannot because our child misbehaves and make him prey for lion’s consumption).

In a nutshell, Nigeria has gone beyond sanctimonious preachments where “prayers and fastings” are old-fashioned to nation-building. Nigeria needs a benevolent leader to reset our collective brains to defaults. We all need to go back to the basics and work to earn a living legitimately. We need visionary leaders with a sense of imagination to create enduring job opportunities and security for all Nigerians.

Historically, have we forgotten how BAT transformed Lagos’s economic fortune from N600 million to more than N750 billion in two decades? Have we forgotten how the operation “Taxpayer money in action” worked to rehabilitate significant roads in Lagos? How quickly have we forgotten the “Rapid Response Squad (RRS)” that morphed into “Operation Sweep,” a security architecture that dealt with the state of insecurity in Lagos State?

With rueful nostalgia, we overwhelmingly supported PMB to change Nigeria, he meant well for Nigeria, but his ethnic jingoism beclouded his nicety and hyped integrity. As a master political strategist, I don’t see that repeating itself in Jagaban’s roguish political strategies. BAT is a more apolitical Nigerian and liberal believer than his place of origin and religion in our geopolitics.

However, Jagaban has no iota of ethnic chauvinism in him. He’s all-inclusive and all-involved in all that involves statecraft. But people (especially Yoruba) are very emotional when the issues of the tribe, religion, and other nuances of bitter democracy come to the fore. Hausa people will never throw away their babies with the bathwater. Yorùbá and Igbo are good at dishing and shooting themselves on foot.

“Tinubu is a thief” and “Jagaban has amazing wealth through state commonwealth,” the peddlers of these insinuations have not asked themselves where BAT is investing (his wealth) the money they accused him of stealing. No court in Nigeria or elsewhere has accused Jagaban of embezzlement or mismanagement of state resources. Yet, the master strategist has created millions of jobs for all Nigerians.

Though human beings are untrustworthy but indispensable, Tinubu is never a political saint, just like other humans. The mistake that usually launches Yorubaland into political chaos is our “too-know,” tẹ̀mbẹ̀lẹ̀kun, ọ̀tẹ̀, and other toxic gingers that poison our collective well-being to greatness.

Osinbajo is a good and God-fearing man without any equivocation, but he was used to harvesting a mission for the Oligarchs. Osinbajo’s meekness and (un)roguish personality mismatch the current dystopian state of the nation. If Osinbajo becomes the nominee for APC, the northern oligarchs and sociopath enablers in our geopolitical puzzle will be very happy to maintain the status quo. Ruefully, Atiku may be effortlessly elected at the expense of the restructuring we yearn to achieve.

Nigerian people do not want more of the same in Osinbajo’s hypothetical administration. The Ijebuman will be used as a surrogate to perpetuate the ruling class and the mission accomplished by the oligarchs in Nigeria.

Sarcastically, Tinubu will be a “glorified thief” and rogue to transform the country for good. He knows and has nothing to lose to make history. Unlike Buhari, who refused to make history, Jagaban is an intelligent politician who understands the arts of politics and legacy. BAT knows how to de-entrench (de-establish) the trenches of his political adversaries.

Tinubu wouldn’t be found wanting to rewrite history. I didn’t want to support anyone, including BAT, based on my bitter experience with President Muhammadu Buhari. But in the absence of our sleeping giant–the youths, we can’t allow Atiku to be there to preserve the culture of corruption in Nigeria. Tinubu is a tested leader with the knowledge of bringing resourceful youths together to harness and unearth the untapped resources of a potentially great country.

To quote Mr Jide Ayobolu’s in-depth description of BAT: “Asiwaju Tinubu remains one of the most influential, courageous, and principled politicians and statesmen in contemporary Nigeria. In a political culture where most political class members gravitate towards the ruling party for financial reward, Tinubu’s resilience and steadfastness in giving inspirational leadership to the opposition are remarkable. Moreover, it is a testimony to the depth of the convictions that have motivated and sustained him in politics over the last two and a half decades.”

In all ramifications, what Nigeria needs now is strategic leadership to redirect in the right direction the socio-economic and political nuances of a nation on the famished road to nowhere!

Note: this piece was written during APC’s presidential campaign primary.
Balogun writes from Arizona, USA.