By Kayode Adeleye
Since the return to democratic governance in 1999, I doubt if anybody has been vilified for being principled or being himself like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has borne the consequences for simply remaining a great politician. Loathe or like him, Tinubu even did not come to the political consciousness of Nigerians at the turn of the fourth republic, but he practically seems to be the only governor elected in 1999, who is still relevant today.
Though some are unaware, Bola Tinubu has been around for almost three decades starting from 1992 when he was elected as a senator to represent Lagos West in the now defunct third republic. Aside having a laudable credential of being an accountant of repute, he has over the years, proved to be more than the regular politician given the travails he suffered while standing by some causes. Prominent amongst the causes were the struggle for the actualisation of June 12 mandate of Chief Moshood MKO Abiola, the headlong collision with the General Sani Abacha junta military government through NADECO and the quest to create additional administrative unit in Lagos State leading to former President Olusegun Obasanjo withholding the allocations accrued to Local Government Areas in Lagos State.
Even when you don’t agree with Asiwaju Tinubu, you can’t help but admire his personality, his political dexterity, and courage. Aside maybe someone of Chief Obafemi Awolowo calibre, I doubt if anybody has had the level of political influence of Tinubu in the recent century given the way and manner in which he deliberately set out to build his team. He was one quoted to have said he uses the best hands, the best brains, the best experience for the job, for any task he needed to deliver.
“The job of a good leader is to assemble the best leaders that will create an enabling environment for the future leaders,” was one of the quotes attributed to him and rightly so. The Jagaban Borgu can be likened to the magnet that pulls enviable resources to himself for the propagation of the greater good. Asiwaju has consistently displayed his leadership and human management skills to nurture successful leaders not only in Lagos State, but across the country at large. Asiwaju Tinubu has built many from the scratch and encouraged them to see greatness in themselves.
There is no gainsaying the obvious that Asiwaju has become a political institution in the firmament of Nigeria’s political and socio-economic development. He has got his hands in many pies, that one is baffled to rationalise how he is able to coordinate and manage his innumerable engagements and interventions. His propensity to discover young and intelligent individuals, nurture and groom them to political stardom is great; this he has displayed since the advent of his emergence as the Lagos State governor in 1999.
For Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, aside the deliberate desire to build people, the uncertainty and nature of Nigeria’s political landscape has tested his will repeatedly forcing him to, like the mystical Phoenix, reinvent himself by coming stronger out of the ashes his political adversaries thought they had buried him in. Because of the people he has been blessed to be surrounded by, people who are worthy, dependable and reliable – men who have imbibed, assimilated and internalised his thought process, vision, dreams and goals, people in Governance, Administration, Civil Service, Academia, Business, Law, Medicine, Legislature, Banking and Finance, Oil & Gas, Politics, Media, Sports, and Entertainment, Tinubu’s secret remains the people.
The secret is in building and utilising capable and efficient people, who understand his complex personality in achieving his mind constructs. Needless to say that Asiwaju is a human architect, who builds men of steel. A leader is defined by his subordinates and lieutenants. The human machinery he deploys in actualising his projections and postulations. The ability to identify, nurture and sustain the right hands and men to achieve set goals is a rare gift and art that is uncommon in many men of means.
Across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s political filament today, you are more likely to find a Tinubu disciple, reminding us of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. At every turn of our national life, Tinubu has been an abiding factor for the propagation of true democratic principles. From the trenches, he mobilised resources for the greater good and on the return to democracy in Nigeria, he stood with the progressives fighting every inch of the way to bequeath to the coming generation a foundation of selfless sacrifices.
In the last few years, Asiwaju has demonstrated uncommon dexterity to issues and ability to listen and give voice to others, thus earning him unalloyed respect. Like a true leader, Tinubu does not only build for today, but posterity. Though he is a master strategist, he has suffered his share of defeat and betrayals, but Asiwaju makes giving people second chance a norm.
* Kayode Adeleye writes from Oshodi Lagos, he can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org