You are currently viewing The Asiwaju Tinubu I know, by Dr Finnih
Share this story

Dr Abayomi Finnih, a distinguished obstetrician and gynaecologist, who turned 80 yesterday, is a member of the Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) Governance Advisory Council (GAC). In this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf, the Ba’Segun of Lagos, shares fond memories of his comradeship with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He also speaks about his presidential ambition, prospects and chances. Excerpts:

You are one of the close associates of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has known him for years, dating back to the NADECO years, the June 12 1993 struggle and all. How would you describe him?

The Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that I know has always been a very resolute fighter. When he believes in a cause, he stands up to you to see his own viewpoint and to that extent, I have a lot of respect for him. Most of us at some point in time did not even understand him in the sense that his kind resoluteness you may misunderstand as dictatorial. Because on many occasions when we have had cause to argue about some issues, he will come out to try and convince us why he thinks his own argument is better and not just to tell you to take or leave it. He won’t force anything on you except persuading you to see his own reasons on why certain things must be done in a certain way. That’s the kind of person he is.

As you are aware, Asiwaju has formally informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to run for the presidency in 2023. Do you think he is eminently qualified to seek the highest office in the land?

Of course, I think he is eminently qualified. The truth is, if you look at what he has done in terms of development for Lagos, you will be amazed what he has achieved. The important at this point in time is that if he has achieved so much socioeconomically, infrastructure, you will find that the foundation he laid in 1999, has been the strongest. In fact, the growth of that foundation has really emerged as the best in the country today. For instance, the number of schools you have in Lagos Island alone is probably more than what you have in three or four states combined. I don’t want to mention them because I don’t want to embarrass anybody. If you look at how things are developing all over the place till date you know that his foundation is truly strong. I know that successive governors are doing their best, but I believe that he has a hand in it. Of course, Asiwaju has been instrumental to the choice of the governors and it has been very positive all through judging by the activities and traces of development all over the place. So, to that extent, I think he is copiously qualified to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I hope with the kind of rich experience that he has in terms of socio-economic development, infrastructural growth and many other things, he would be able to help us grow faster than we are doing right now.

Can you share some fond memories and personal experiences with Asiwaju, especially when you were both in the trenches during the struggle for the actualization of the June 12, 1993, botched elections?

Well, we did not really work together. From a career point of view, he was a Treasurer in Mobil, while I was at the Island Maternity working as medical personnel. But socially, we were together. I remember at some point, he said he was going to leave Mobil and join politics and some of us like people used to think that politics is a dirty game. We wondered why he would dump a very successful career working in Mobil to go and join the murky waters of politics. That is why I said earlier on that he is a very determined person. He became a senator in his first attempt in politics and he moreorless dazzled everybody. After that time, he went on exile and then he returned and contested as Lagos governor and also won. Yes, of course, we have had meetings together like when we were going for Afenifere meeting.


He is not somebody who is given to long and windy meetings. No. he would rather we have a brief discussion instead of a meeting going on and on, Asiwaju would be like that let’s take a decision, let’s take action. You must give it to Asiwaju, he would always want action to be taken instead of prolonging a matter. And then thereafter, when we started the Alliance for Democracy (AD), we became closer. And in 1999 during the return to democratic rule, he took off very pretty smartly when he became a governor of Lagos state. Everything started going on and quite a number of us were interested in making sure that there was progress.

Personally, I was the Chairman of the Lagos State Hospital Management Board. I remember I went to meet him in the office one certain time because I felt it was an opportunity to get things in place. He was surprised when he saw me. I said, ‘Governor, I have come to see you.’ He calls me egbon. Definitely, for him, he felt for me to have asked to see him officially, he knew that there was something serious to talk about. I went to him and I said, the Island Maternity hospital needed some facelift. Because as at that time, they had closed half of the wing facing the General Hospital. St. Nicolas was not serviceable. The Lagos Island Maternity was the only major hospital in the whole of West Africa. He was surprised and he said what can we do now? This hospital was built in 1960, just about the same time Nigeria gained independence. At that point in time, Dr. Moses Majekodunmi was the Minister for Health.


So he said I should let him have a position paper that would bring out the problems and how to get it back on track to its lost glory. I called the Commissioner for Health and we put up a proposal. He was so excited about it and almost immediately, he put funds on the table and we started working to bring the place back to normal. And that trend of development has continued since then. In fact, if you go to the Island Maternity now, you will see that it has completely changed. And these are some of the things that I see while looking back and can say we have achieved something. I was so thankful that the day we were going to reopen the place while making a speech, I had to single out Asiwaju as the one responsible for the turnaround we are seeing at the Island Maternity because the project had been long abandoned. So this is as far as our relationship has been over the years.

Do you think Asiwaju has the clout to sway popular votes to his favour?


Well, if you talk about clout, talk about resources or even heavy-duty campaigns, he has it in abundance. And in terms of the depth of his personality, he is very relevant, much more relevant than the other people you have mentioned. Now, I’m not saying that others don’t matter. But, I’m saying that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has more quality, in terms of resoluteness and the desire and the fact that he held a mini position before like that as governor. Frankly speaking, I don’t have anything against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Fayemi or Aregbesola. We are all members of the same progressive family at the end of the day. Of course, when the chips are down, you have to take a stand. And that’s what I have just done by queuing behind Asiwaju as a better choice for the presidency come 2023.

Do you have an important success story, news, or opinion article to share with with us? Get in touch with us at or Whatsapp +1 317 665 2180

Join our WhatsApp Group to receive news and other valuable information alerts on WhatsApp.

Share this story

Leave a Reply