Kunle Oyewumi pays tribute to Bola Tinubu, political strategist and former governor of Lagos, at age 65
During the historic administration of Asiwaju, as Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fondly referred to, as the Governor of Lagos State, many people who were familiar with the managerial acumen and political sagacity of the renowned politician were not surprised with the relentless efforts and visionary leadership he put to play in laying and building a solid foundation for the modern Lagos State.
Against all odds, including the seizure of the federal government allocation and other intervention funds due to the state, the Jagaban Borgu did not give up on his dream and vision as he looked inwards to raise the bar of internally generated revenue (IGR) to implement his lofty and extraordinary development ideas. Today, Lagosians and non-Lagosians alike can bear witness that Tinubu is the brain behind today’s modern Lagos.
the impressive achievements of the Jagaban Borgu are obvious when you look at the state of infrastructure in Lagos today, among others. The ex-governor built roads, constructed and equipped schools and hospitals in all nooks and crannies of Lagos State, ensured timely payment of salaries and pensions to civil servants, serving and retired, attracted private investments and provided an enabling business environment for private businesses to thrive, established many governmental agencies – LASTMA, LAGBUS, KAI – and absorbed people from the streets into these agencies as a way of curbing social vices among other initiatives.
Asiwaju Tinubu is a good manager of people and other resources. It was he who gave Mr. Babatunde Fashola the opportunity of serving as his chief of staff as he saw the need to ensure a succession plan so as to sustain the trend of development in the state. Based on this premise and having discovered Fashola’s talents, the political titan anointed and ensured victory for him at the 2007 governorship poll.
Being a key member of the State Executive Council during Asiwaju’s regime, Mr. Fashola knew the road map his erstwhile boss had set and he did follow suit. The trend continued during Fashola’s administration (2007-2015) as he sustained the feat of his predecessor by completing ongoing projects while executing new ones.
During Fashola’s administration, he never shied away from going back to the master strategist – Asiwaju Tinubu – for guidance, counsel and support. The healthy relationship between Tinubu and Fashola helped the state in many folds as there was no political tension whatsoever. In short, Fashola’s regime was also a huge success like that of his predecessor.
In the build up to the 2015 general elections, the alleged differences between Tinubu and Fashola, occasioned by the choice of the party’s standard bearer for the governorship poll, became pronounced as Asiwaju Tinubu anointed Akinwunmi Ambode, while Fashola was rooting for his preferred choice. Eventually, Asiwaju Tinubu’s choice won the party’s ticket and ultimately became the Governor of Lagos State. After the polls and against all political bickerings among the gladiators, the power brokers displayed a high level of maturity in their relationships and as such maintained self respect for each other. This action soon proved rumour mongers wrong that all was not well between Asiwaju Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode.
I must say that the current administration of Ambode has not deviated from the ideals of Asiwaju Tinubu as the governor continues to implement policies and execute projects with positive impact on the society.
The truth must be told that Asiwaju Tinubu is not just a leader because he enjoys a cult-like political followership, but also for finding the right men to run the affairs of Lagos State after his stint as Governor of Lagos State (1999-2007). Big daddy (as one of my friends- Kabiru fondly calls him), being an advocate of sustainable development, knew the imperative of handing over the state to like-minds that share the same ideology with him and hence the rationale behind passing the baton of leadership to Mr. Fashola and ultimately to Governor Ambode.
One lesson other Nigerian leaders should learn from Asiwaju Tinubu is searching for the best brains regardless of political, religious and tribal sentiments to lead the people. If Asiwaju had reasoned like most other Nigerian politicians, he would have handed over power to an empty brain for selfish reasons – not wanting others to shine or in the name of overbearing loyalty. Asiwaju Tinubu, a well-known dogged fighter for democracy, has demonstrated his love for the masses by throwing his weight behind individuals who will not betray the thrust of the people, while applying their intellectual expertise in leadership positions.
It is a known fact that if you are opportune to pass through Asiwaju’s political school, you will be armed with these qualities: selflessness, political maturity, doggedness, generosity and loyalty. The above tenets underscore the maturity displayed by two members ( Fashola and Governor Ambode) of Asiwjau Tinubu’s political family during the former’s visit to the latter in Lagos a few days ago. Shortly before the minister’s visit, there were celebrated and hyped media reports that all was not well between the duo of Fashola and Ambode, especially due to the outcry of Ambode on the alleged frustration of his efforts on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway by Fashola.
During the visit, the minister commended the new Lagos State chief executive for his outstanding performance thus far. This patriotism displayed by these notable politicians is remarkable and as such this again has proved rumour mongers wrong that all is not well among the trio of Asiwaju Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode. I must also state that the action of these notable figures will be beneficial to Lagosians and non-Lagosians alike who are the ultimate beneficiaries government projects as both parties – the federal government and the Lagos State Government – will work hand in hand to improve the lot of the people through infrastructural regeneration – construction and re-construction of federal roads in Lagos metropolis and environs.
This piece in commemoration of Asiwaju’s Tinubu’s 65th birthday is necessary because the former Governor of Lagos State is not only an astute politician but also a human resource consultant as evidenced in his handing over the mantle of leadership to ex-Governor Fashola and thereafter to Governor Ambode. The list is endless for Asiwaju’s expertise in human deployment, including the new Federal Inland Revenue Service boss, Babatunde Fowler – who has been implementing aggressive policies to boost federal revenue. Take it or leave it, the Jagaban remains a shining light in politics beyond the shores of Nigeria.
While wishing the Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo State – many more fulfilling years ahead in the service of mankind, I would like other leaders to emulate the impeccable qualities of Asiwaju Tinubu in their pursuits in life.
Prince Oyewumi wrote from Lagos