Asiwaju’s Presidency; And An Overwhelming Majority of Nigerians Say Yes!
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is Nigeria’s leading presidential candidate today. He is a clear favorite in a crowded field of contestants that promises to make the real contest in February an exciting affair. In the pack, we have the serious, the unserious, jesters, and comic contestants that have different motivations that goad them in the contest.
But given all the parameters for the presidential election, Asiwaju is the most serious, the most credible, the most competent, the most structured, the most grounded, the most experienced progressive party leader, and the most accepted amongst the motley crowd of contestants. Predictably, he draws the attention, focus, applause, criticism, and reactions of Nigerians more than any other candidate because he is the leading candidate. He is the main contender. He is the candidate to beat, and all other candidates struggle to shoot him down. They measure themselves from his height. They want to be like him though this is impossible. They desire to exchange places with him, but that is a futile desire.
What makes Asiwaju the foremost and leading contender, the candidate to beat, and the popular choice amongst Nigerians? Asiwaju proved himself to Nigerians through his private and public lives. He demonstrated competence in public office. He showed brilliance in corporate positions. He exhumed rare courage, bravery, and leadership in the fight against military governance. He proved himself an unconquerable political leader in the country’s murky politics. Above all, he showed himself a well-heeled, competent, and proven administrator in his epoch-making era as Governor of Lagos. These and many more feats made him the popular choice of Nigerians when he threw his hat in the ring and staked a claim for the Nigerian presidency. It was indeed a resounding YES from an overwhelming Nigerian majority. It was an emphatic approval from the majority of Nigerians.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on the occasion of the 67th birthday celebration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on March 29, 2019, hailed Asiwaju as “one of the strong pillars of Nigerian democracy.”
President Buhari affirmed that “Asiwaju’s uncompromising posture in the face of injustice and refusal to follow the path of least resistance for personal gains stand him out today as a rare breed and one of the cornerstones of Nigeria’s democracy, especially with his track record of persistence, consistency and effective leadership.”
The statement added: “As the father of modern Lagos State, Asiwaju provided visionary and inclusive leadership style for the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria for eight years, laying the foundation for a modern and technologically driven city and ensuring that every successive leader in the state sticks with the masterplan of a greater Lagos.”
Also, during Asiwaju’s 68th birthday on March 29, 2020, President Buhari stated that “his greatest strength lies in his ability to look beyond religious, ethnic and political stereotyping, embracing the reality of Nigeria as one entity, and extending his warmth, acumen, and experience to other parts of the country, particularly in difficult times like the current struggle against COVID-19”.
At the 11th edition of the Bola Tinubu Colloquium at the International Conference Center, Abuja, to mark Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s 67th birthday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the forum was to honour a “man who has spent the last thirty years of his life in creative and catalytic public service. He has, from his days as Governor of Lagos State, providing clarity of thought and pioneering vision in all aspects of governance”.
Continued the Vice President: “He is not a lawyer, but there are few Nigerians who have provoked so many legal controversies and constitutional challenges, resulting in several landmark judicial rulings, especially in the area of federalism, and what today is loosely described today as restructuring.
“Many of us know, of course, that he is not an engineer, but a lot of his vision is what is responsible for what we see today in Lagos. The BRT, the Lekki Industrial Zone, even the Eko Atlantic Project, a private project which he initiated as governor of Lagos state, and of course, the reform in the tax system in Lagos.
“Today, Lagos earns more in Internally Generated Revenue than 31 States of Nigeria put together. That reform began in 2001 with the very innovative way in which he reformed the tax system and created an independent system – the Lagos Inland Revenue Service. Several African countries and States of Nigeria have engaged the LIRS as consultants for their own reform efforts”.
These are just glimpses from the personality and record of Asiwaju that made his presidential aspiration such an attractive pan-Nigerian project today.
These sparkling testimonials from the nation’s first two citizens sum the hallowed light Nigerians view Asiwaju and point to why his interest in the presidency receives such overwhelming approval from the North, South, East, and West of the country. It shows Asiwaju as a leader who has proven his mettle in leadership and, unlike the many others in the race with him for the presidency, has proven himself worthy, fit, and competent for the exalted and tasking office of the Nigerian presidency.
Now, let us see how other eminent Nigerians see Asiwaju.
At the 4th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held at Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyoku said; “Bola Tinubu was an effective advocate and a dedicated activist for the return of democracy and restitution of Chief M.K.O Abiola’s election in Nigeria,”
Even politicians from the opposition PDP cannot shy away from the enigma and enviable record of Asiwaju. In a recent statement, Chimaraoke Nnamani, former governor of Enugu State and current PDP senator, said, “Many years have passed, and people now have all of their memories entwined into one. From health to education to the economy to security, Lagos state and many other states were in turmoil as a result of years of military rule, but Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu made the most progress out of all of us in reforms of various sectors, with Enugu State coming in second.
“This large progress came as a result of assembling the 23 best brains in Lagos state to examine each sector of Lagos and provide a workable solution to its unique challenges.”
These are just a few reasons why Nigerians are returning a resounding YES to the presidential aspiration of Asiwaju. These account for why the Asiwaju candidacy resounds with a national thud and why a pan-Nigerian approval is fast weaving around the Asiwaju candidacy.
Nigerians know Asiwaju is the best. He has shown it before. He established and continues to offer, even in the current campaign, his pan-country commitment when he chose good brains from all over the country to run the affairs of Lagos. He had produced results that today stand Lagos apart as an impregnable fortress of growth in Africa. He had churned out fantastic results from near-dead opportunities. He has built an incredible number of men in his highly productive life. He has turned the affairs of so many from nothing to prosperity. He has built men, structures, institutions, and capacities more than any other in the history of Nigeria.
None of those contesting the 2023 presidency with Asiwaju has any record of performance that nears his. None of them has any verifiable imprint from their years in power to boast of, as Asiwaju is flaunting his excellent records. None of them has made any person while in power. None of them has changed any situation for the better, as Asiwaju has done. None of them has left a trace of excellence as Asiwaju has done. They are just hawking outlandish promises to recreate the eldorado on earth while they have nothing to show for their years in various political offices. This is an indelible factor that stands Asiwaju apart from the motley crowd, the reason why Nigerians massively approve of him for the job, far above the other contestants. That is why Asiwaju continues to gather unending approval ratings en route to the presidency. He has been tested, and he spectacularly excelled against the others who have equally been tested but who flunked so severely that they have nothing, absolutely nothing, to show for their years in public office.
Asiwaju is a first-grade and distinctive visionary who sees several ways where others see none. He is a courageous administrator who has the critical courage to make decisions and implement them to strike great results where others fidget in the throes of lack of vision, dearth of courage, and sheer incompetence.
It is quite instructive that none of the other candidates dispute Asiwaju’s brilliance, vision, and competence. No one can deny the prominent—none contests with him on resourceful and innovative governance. Asiwaju has enough to show for his years in politics and government. They have practically nothing to show for theirs. Asiwaju has a battalion of mentees to flaunt while they have no one to show. Asiwaju has a flourishing Lagos to show, while their ramshackle states and enclaves are a perpetual reproach to their years in public office.
So 2023 is a no-contest. The choices are distinct, clear, precise, and cadent enough. No sane Nigerian would choose those that have emphatically failed in previous governance but who are hawking superfluous and outlandish utopia over an Asiwaju that has proved that governance is a tool for rapid human capital development, transformational catalyst, and measurable rapid social and economic development. An Asiwaju that employed governance as a tool of economic, political, and social expansion is not in the same league as those who egregiously failed in governance as to leave no footprints but who are today, hawking highfalutin promises as if they are going extinct.
So it is a clear choice, and even in the mix of political confusion and desperate misinformation that is hugely present in the present electioneering, Nigerians still identify with the desired choice they must make to take the country several notches high in the comity of nations. That is why they mince no words in returning a resounding YES to Asiwaju’s candidacy. That is why they identify with the Asiwaju candidacy in their numbers. That is why Nigerians flock around the Tinubu/Shettima ticket with tremendous faith that it is the ticket that holds the key to Nigeria’s growth and geometric progress, just as it did for Lagos.
Prof. Ojo Emmanuel Ademola