By Tayo Ayinde
The seemingly ingrained tendency for human beings to so easily forget their antecedents, repay evil for good and seek to destroy those God chose to use as their benefactors never ceases to amaze me. As a passionate member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I am saddened at the concerted, coordinated and consistent effort by a caucus within the party to diminish the influence and relevance of one of the prime architects and engineers of the party, namely Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The latest example of this grand conspiracy to undermine the Jagaban and erode his political base is the recent brazen and insulting manipulation and outright rigging of the Ondo State APC governorship primaries that has blatantly exposed the party to huge shame and unbelievable embarrassment just to prevent Asiwaju’s purported candidate from clinching the ticket. There is absolutely nothing wrong or illegitimate about this objective even if it is morally abominable. However, there is everything wrong with the brazen robbery of the Ondo State APC governorship ticket. It makes absolute nonsense of APC’s claim to moral integrity and to being a vehicle of positive change.
What is amazing is that most of those involved in the ‘bring Tinubu down’ project are those who owe their political ascendancy to the Jagaban. The prominent and enviable positions they occupy today is due, apart from God, to Asiwaju who identified their talents, recognized their capacities and decided to back their political careers with his time, energy, intellect and financial resources. Despite the treachery of such people, they are at least living testaments to Asiwaju’s acumen for identifying, hunting for and nurturing leadership materials.
Incidentally, Chief Oyegun himself, who overruled the majority decision of the National Working Committee on the Ondo primaries, became National Chairman of APC principally because of Asiwaju’s strategic and material support. In the process, the Jagaban stepped on several toes. But this kind of betrayal is not limited to Oyegun. Some others who have become leading public office holders across the land courtesy the Jagaban are repaying Tinubu’s benevolence with unbelievable ingratitude. Even President Muhammadu Buhari’s closest advisers and teeming admirers acknowledge Asiwaju’s critical role in the electoral elevation of Buhari to the apex office after three previous failed attempts. Thankfully, the President so far has continued to show his appreciation for the Jagaban’s indispensable and inestimable contribution in collaboration with others to his success. As for those who are today reveling in biting the fingers that fed them, I can only refer them to the book of Proverbs 17:13 in the Bible: Evil will never depart the house of anyone that repays evil for good.
I am in a position to speak authoritatively on Tinubu and his politics as one of his closest aides and associates over the last decade. I can testify to his immense capacity for hard work, capacious memory, integrity, fierce commitment to any cause he believes in and genuine patriotism as well as faith in Nigeria. I only laugh when those who are beneficiaries of his so called ‘imposition’ of candidates for elections accuse Asiwaju of having a ‘domineering attitude’. They do not know the man. Yes, he stands strongly and forcefully by any idea or ideal he believes in. But nothing delights him better than a debate over issues and he is always ready to bow to superior opinion.
The Asiwaju they don’t know takes politics seriously as a vehicle for national reinvention and transformation. Asiwaju prepares with utmost commitment for every election taking every tactical and strategic step to ensure victory. Asiwaju personally sent me to Ondo State to assist Rotimi Akeredolu during the 2012 electioneering campaign for the governorship election. As a genuine and unrepentant democrat , Asiwaju never takes the electorate for granted.
Asiwaju does not enjoy himself. He is not a member of a decadent elite that squander time cruising around the exotic beaches of the world. He is always burning the proverbial midnight oil working every day till the early hours of the morning. The Asiwaju they don’t know genuinely believes in and loves people and this is not for politics. The Asiwaju they don’t know is ever eager to offer a helping hand to the needy, encourage the weak and raise those who are down. The Asiwaju they don’t know is a wizard in the art and science of financial management and economic rejuvenation.
As a trained accountant myself, I am always amazed at the depth of his expertise in this area. It is thus no wonder that, he laid the foundation for the Lagos that has become the cynosure of all eyes today. Surely, this man can be a great asset in our bid to get out of the current economic recession.
For those who have made a vocation of the practice of bashing, insulting, derogating and undermining of Tinubu, I urge them to continue on their path. But they should remember that all those who have done so in the past have lived to regret it. The simple message: Underrate and undermine Asiwaju at your peril. He is what the Yoruba call ‘Akanda Eniyan’ – God’s special creation.
• Ayinde is a security consultant, accountant, businessman and a chieftain of the APC in Lagos State.