Who is afraid of #Tinubu’s ‘war chest, vast network and very effective political structures?’ These are valuable outstanding points that the #All Progressives Congress (#APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has used to achieve results that are being widely applauded today.
In the slimy terrain of #politics, it is possible that insiders can paradoxically play oppositional roles, and the media can be used to carry out a programme to discredit a power player of distinction such as Tinubu. Could this be the case in the developing drama of Tinubu denigration? Whether the stones are being thrown from within his camp or from outside his circle, it is futile because the individual they seek to bring down is up and standing like the Rock of Gibraltar.
Ironically, the renewed smear campaign targeted at Tinubu, following his phenomenal role in the political re-engineering project that produced #president-elect Muhammadu #Buhari, is a blotch on the campaigners themselves.
The timing of the obviously orchestrated hate business suggests that an extreme form of denialism consumes the operators. It is an essentially irrational response to realities that can’t be denied, which are that power has changed hands in the country and Tinubu can’t be discredited by demonization for significantly helping to bring about the CHANGE. This approach is unproductive and useless in the eyes of a discerning public. It is an old trick, and its promoters are obviously ignorant of the wisdom that the best trick is to avoid obsolete tricks.
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The re-launched campaign of calumny against Tinubu may be more properly situated in the context of oppositional vacuity, whether encouraged by insiders or outsiders. Such is devoid of creativity but merely reeks of spite and malice, which could be the hallmark of the hooded promoters of the failed media plot.
The negative labels pinned on the APC National Leader are unpersuasive and betray the frustration of the unscrupulous powerless. It is revealing that the purpose of the labour is to demystify Tinubu by those hidden technocrat turned politicians within the APC fold and outside it that he has turned to somebody in life. But can it work?
Buhari’s acknowledgement of Tinubu’s creative contribution to the APC’s success could be considered predictable. However, when no other person than the #PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu #Muazu, pays an implied tribute to Tinubu, there must be something to his accomplishment.
Muazu was quoted as saying, “I was unable to deliver Bauchi #State; so was everybody unable to deliver because of the tsunami that has happened in the North. There was a political tsunami. But for what has happened we remain thankful. This is not the end of the world. A man may be defeated in a war but we will live to fight another one tomorrow.”
It is no news that Tinubu was a driving force in the events that culminated in the “political tsunami”. And no envious spirits can erase this. It is a testimony to Tinubu’s centrality that he has lately earned the tag “game changer.”
It needs to be understood that to be a game changer, it takes a game player who is a game planner. The scale and scope of the sweeping wind can be grasped from the results of the general elections. Apart from winning the presidential poll, the APC is in the saddle in 22 states, the PDP in 13 and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in one.
The beauty of the mega force forged by an unlikely merger of major parties opposed to the PDP was not immediately clear, and the construction was expected to collapse. At a critical stage, Tinubu demonstrated impressive selflessness by playing down his ambition so that the new party could present more politically correct election candidates.
Those who continue looking for a crevice in his armour are playing blind to this supremely sacrificial factor in the APC’s victory, Tinubu selflessly yield his own interest is in the overriding interest of the party, and by implication, the higher interest of the country.
How Tinubu was able to sell his vision of a mega opposition party unlimited by ethnicity, religion or region must be a subject of wonder in a country where diversity is often exploited for narrow political and unpatriotic advantages. The tsunami is a reflection of the man’s pan-Nigerian imagination and has the potential to improve the country. No one can take that away from Tinubu.
His patriotism and nationalistic vision perhaps date back to his days as a pro-democracy activist during the despotic military era of General Sani Abacha in the 1990s. His steadfast voice was unmistakable, particularly in the epic battle to reverse the unpopular annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election won by Chief MKO Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).
There is no doubt that Tinubu can be numbered among the genuine heroes who fought for the restoration of the democratic space in the country, when others were passive in the face of oppressive military rule. It is on record that, while the anti-dictatorship battle lasted, he lived in exile for safety reasons. In other words, he paid a price.
By the time he was elected governor of #Lagos State in 1999, Tinubu was well positioned to unveil his roadmap for good governance in what is known as the Centre of Excellence. The former federal capital witnessed a positive redefinition during his two terms, which ended in 2007.
It is to Tinubu’s credit that his successor, Babatunde Fashola, whom he solely backed for governorship when nobody wanted that political greenhorn, has taken the megacity to a higher developmental level based on plans that were drawn up in Tinubu’s visionary period in office. The demonstrable progress inspired by Tinubu is expected to continue under the governor-elect Akinwunmi Ambode who will govern on the APC platform.
To his credit, the entire South-west except, Ondo and Ekiti states, are under the firm control of the progressives. Ekiti fell to the conservatives because of the guile of the outvoted APC governor who wasted the efforts, toil and resources of Asiwaju that brought him to power,ab initio.
At the federal level, the stage is set for a possible actualisation of the Lagos developmental model, which is admired by many across the country. One fundamental angle to Tinubu is his relentless advocacy of “true federalism”, which his party now has an opportunity to pursue. With functional federalism, it is easy to see that certain manifestations of dysfunction in the polity would become history to the benefit of the people. This is the big picture that Tinubu represents, and small minds can be pardoned for not catching the view.
The APC tsunami may be regarded as the icing on the cake for Tinubu who turned 63 in the same month that change came. Buhari said at the Seventh Bola Tinubu Colloquium to mark the birthday: “I have great respect for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; he does not consider himself; he is a selfless person who made a lot of sacrifice and commitment to ensure the merger was successful.”
On the same occasion, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, now Vice-President-elect, described Tinubu as “a team player and astute leader”.
While Tinubu continues to grow from a senator to governor and to architect of return to of South-west and #Nigeria into the hands of the progressives to his now elderstatesman status, his envious traducers are out of frustration groaning under suffocating indignation and malice. Ride on Tinubu!
*Hakeem Adisa is a keen observer of Nigeria’s political events.
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