With his daily growing popularity rating- criticisms notwithstanding- Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s recent appointment as the chancellor of LadokeAkintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is a significant feather to his already fully decorated socio-political cap, writes OlawaleOlaleye
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and one of the national leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), may as well be some preternatural creature. He strikes the unnatural, often times and always waltzes through the most difficult terrain unscathed. Perhaps, living true to his name- Akanbi- one who is destined to triumph beyond human comprehension, Tinubu has remained one largely incomprehensible character to whom even his excesses are conceded, albeit sometimes not willingly.
That he is one of the biggest if not the biggest political personality in the country today is not in doubt. It may have been tough, rough and challenging, coming this far, for the Jagaban of Borgu, has been a function of class leadership defined more by his character, strong-will and doggedness.
Last week, Tinubu was appointed the Chancellor of LadokeAkintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso. The institution which is jointly owned by the governments of Oyo and Osun States was founded by the old Oyo State in 1988.
Special Adviser to Governor AbiolaAjimobi on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said the decision was taken after extensive deliberation between the governments of the two owner-states. And being an accountant and administrator, it is believed that Tinubu would bring his vast experience in public management to bear on the running of the institution, as well as reposition it to meet the standard of its peers around the world.
That was to signal a rather promising week for Tinubu. Just as the week was closing in, he was reportedly invited to attend the three-day National Convention of the United States Democratic Party that kicked off on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to local media reports in the US, Tinubu who was invited to the convention in his right as the leader of the opposition in Nigeria would be at the ring side as the Democratic Party conduct activities that would culminate in the nomination of President Obama as its candidate for the November 2012 Presidential elections in the USA.
Tinubu who would be accompanied by Governor KayodeFayemi of Ekiti State, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Mr. Dele Alake and Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. AdeyemiIkuforij, was said to have received a gold card invitation with which he would be admitted alongside his entourage.
The former Lagos governor who had enjoyed a similar ring side seat some four years ago when Obama was inaugurated in Washington, had been in the states for what was described as successful one week lecture tour, town hall meeting and book launch, both in Washington and Chicago.
For instance, at the launch of the book jointly written by Tinubu and Brian Browne, in Chicago, the United States (US), the event reportedly became a forum where suggestions were offered on how to rescue Nigeria’s economy. Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, wrote the forward to the book, entitled: “Financialism - Water from an Empty Well”, and co-author by Tinubu.
Tinubu said the idea behind the book was provoked by the injustices of the present economic system and how the contradictions eventually caught up with the players, whom he claimed left the low level income earner and small businesses with the short end of the stick.
“Productive capitalism relies on the discipline of the market place. What now occurs is that powerful actors exploit the license the market place affords them. In doing so, they endanger the very economies from which they unduly profit. In other words, they have emptied the well, yet continue to seek to take water from it. These people practice a speculative brand of economics. My co-author and I have given this mutation of capitalism the name of ‘financialism’. Financialism is capitalism so shorn of all restraint that it cannibalizes itself,” he said.
Tinubu therefore noted that: “Nigeria needs to be put to work. We have a lot of catching up to do. Asian governments support the industrialisation of their economies. Wise European nations are starting to retool their industrial base. Nigeria cannot hope to achieve prosperity simply by exporting exhaustible natural resources. We must follow the historic route that all large nations have followed in reaching national prosperity. We must make, create and export what we make and create.”
Preceding this was a lecture he delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC, entitled: “The Role of the Opposition in Meeting Nigeria’s Challenges.” Tinubu who came down heavily on President Goodluck Jonathan by describing his choice during the 2011 general election as a mistake and disappointment to the Nigerian people, said the country had entered a troubling period and that government meant to address the challenges does the reverse.
“President Jonathan may have won the 2011election. However, since then, his errant policies have awakened the people to the grave mistake they made when they handed him the staff of office. If an election were held today, Jonathan would not win. To all Nigerians, his Administration has been a disappointment. If it continues as is, they will come to see it as a manifold disaster.
“By his policies; political and economic, the people believe he has turned his back on them, that he has broken the contract between the government and the governed. If given a viable alternative, they are more than ready to turn their back on him and his party. The opposition now is ready to provide that alternative,” he said.
Yet, political pundits do not see the sequence of events as sheer happenstance but designed strategies meant to culminate in the current consolidation efforts by the opposition for which Tinubu is an arrowhead. The beliefs that Tinubu is up to some nerve-racking plans by next election is rife, especially that his party had opened up talks with different political parties with a view to wresting power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the national level.
Those who know Tinubu and understand his keenly dynamic politics say he can only be ignored to the detriment of other stakeholders and onlookers alike. Not only does he understand the rudiments of the game as much as the theoretical frameworks, he knows the use of the structure and sub-structure such that his projections are usually near accurate, despite its high risk level.
Thus, with an overtly sharp incursion into the academic environment- a critical sector in any propitious economy- the spread of the gospel according to Saint Tinubu is appreciably viral and with an effective impact, the new chancellor on the block may have secured a permanent place in the nation’s body polity as a character of intense interest.