By Kunle Oyatomi
If there is much that has been said about the Jabagan of Borgu, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, I solemnly affirm that there is still much more that has not been said about this National leader of our great party, All Progressives Congress, APC. There are avoidable political prejudices and human indiscretions in the Nigerian milieu that have constructed themselves into a wall, preventing an open comprehension of the man’s politics. But it is only if you properly understand the man’s politics that you can be ready to know him. After all, one of the founders of modern philosophy, Aristotle, declares that, ‘Man is a political animal’.
To understand Tinubu, therefore, as we celebrate him at 68, is to know him from the point of view of his political relationships. I think he is of the Nkrumahist school: seek first the political kingdom and all other powers shall be added unto you. That was the rallying cry Kwame Nkrumah employed to snatch his country, Ghana from Britain, the colonial lords in 1957. Nkrumah gained the ascendancy. Thereafter his country and indeed the continent of Africa weren’t the same again.
Our own Tinubu has also leveraged on political power to achieve much for himself, his people and his political associates and associations. But, as I said earlier, many of his critics care little about the productive angles of his politics; they look only at the drama and process, that is the unfounded media hearsay and the narrative of the person of Tinubu. They fail to ask: what is the outcome of the drama and the process they accuse Tinubu of? At the end of every political activity, there must be consequences. It is when you diligently ask such questions about Jagaban that you would inevitably come face to face with the real Tinubu, not the one wrongly called the ambitious power monger.
Yes, he works hard to win elections. But what does he do with it? What is the purpose of the power in the context of redressing the ills of society? Now, don’t say I’m heading for the Machiavellian principle of the end justifying the means. No, please.
Instead, what I’m saying is that as a result of the shrewd politics of Tinubu, something happened in Nigeria in 2015 which hadn’t been experienced before in the history of the world’s biggest black nation: the powerful government at the centre was displaced to make way for the opposition. Tinubu is famously credited with the formation of the opposition coalition. The strategy that enabled that fledgling opposition to go ahead to win the federal poll, again, was brewed in the Tinubu school. The APC he formed with others replicated the winning spree in some states considered arch enemies of the party. So, Tinubu has always used the political power in his kitty to advance the quality of our politics.
But many superficial analysts appear confused as to where to place Tinubu in the politics of 2023. Will he stop being a godfather? Will he drop the toga of a kingmaker and be the king himself in 2023? And because these commentators don’t exhaust the facts of the matter they conclude that Tinubu is power-greedy and should be ‘evicted’ for fresh blood and ideas to come into politics.
No. Nigeria needs Tinubu more than ever to join other compatriots to steer us through the treacherous waters gathering for 2023. The southwest in particular should support him in any role fate thrusts on him in the years ahead.
As we celebrate Bola Tinubu on his 68th birthday, we in the family of All Progressives Congress in the state of Osun, urge him to be focused for the delivery of progressive governance, not only at the federal plane, but also in all the states of the federation so that majority of Nigerians can count among those truly enjoying the dividends of democracy.
Oyatomi is the spokesperson of APC, State of Osun .
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