In a few hours from now, former governor of Lagos State and the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will be sworn-in as Nigeria’s 16th president. As the man fondly called by his followers as JAGABAN takes over the baton of leadership from President Muhammadu Buhari, several questions are being asked about him.
The questions include: At what point did Tinubu begin his journey to the Presidency? To what extent did his stint at the Senate in 1991/92 and eventual tenure as governor of Lagos State help to shape his political views and perspectives?
Much of what is known about Tinubu and his politics spans his exploits during the short-lived General Ibrahim Babangida transition to civil rule in 1991, the annulment of the 1993 presidential election, which was believed to have been won by Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
That Tinubu returned from exile, which was necessitated by his role in the agitation for reclaiming Abiola’s mandate from the military, to become the governor of Lagos State spoke about his staying power on democratic ideals. He was a notable member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which served as the rallying point for the restoration of democracy after the military junta demolished the remaining civil political structures in the country.
No doubt, his membership of NADECO and efforts to throw up a civilian governor for the state in 1991 coalesced to catapult him to the top row of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the lead-up to the 1999 governorship race of Lagos State.
As a prime mover of the PRIMROSE Group within the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Tinubu expanded his political capital, not only in Lagos, but also across the federation. SDP, which was one of the two political parties decreed into existence by the Babangida regime, paraded heavyweight progressive politicians, notably the leader of the Peoples Front (PF), General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.
The other party – the National Republican Convention (NRC), being populated by the contractor class – was seen as part of the military establishment. As such, SDP captured the imagination and appeal of the masses of Nigerians desiring a positive change.
It was therefore a combination of the experience and exposure from the SDP and AD days that established what could be described as the Tinubu political brand. The constant mutation within the AD, which led to the formation of Action Congress (AC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and cumulated in the merger of otherwise fringe national political parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) had the imprint of Tinubu’s political strategy of widening the sphere of progressive influence.
Consequently, on June 8, 2022, when he won the APC presidential primary election to clinch the party’s ticket, the challenge was how to make his rich fund of political goodwill redound to his victory. As an experienced politician, Tinubu discovered that the battle for the 2023 presidency would be fought majorly around media as the turf for campaign messaging.
How did he communicate his ideas to capture voter preference? Simple, he went for experienced hands in the media, said Bayo Onanuga, who served as the Head of the Media Directorate of the Tinubu Presidential Campaign Council.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Onanuga explained that the kernel of the Tinubu campaign was to present him to Nigerians as “a man who has a lot of ideas, who has been governor of Lagos State and who did very wonderfully well in Lagos State.”
Onanuga said of Tinubu: “He is a man of deep knowledge, a man of very great ideas. He has profound ideas about a lot of things. When you talk to him, what people will call the native intelligence, he has it..”
He maintained that the way the president-elect can solve problems, makes people wonder where the man is coming from.
According to Onanuga, some of the innovative solutions that Tinubu brought to the table as the chief executive of Lagos State, include the development of road networks in the expansive Lekki peninsula, reclamation of the lagoon, and the establishment of a development masterplan for the mega city.
Having known the former Lagos State governor for a long time, Onanugua, who also served as publicity secretary when Tinubu contested the governorship in 1999, disclosed: “I think I was asked to lead the Media and Publicity Directorate because Asiwaju wanted me to be there. We’ve come a long way since 1992 or so. So, I knew him and he also knows me very well.
“For me, it was not difficult to sell him as a man who has a lot of ideas, as a man who can help this country to attain our dreams of a prosperous country. That was why I said, his campaign was easy for me. I knew who he was, I knew where he was coming from and I knew he could do a lot to help this country.”
Further, Onanuga described Tinubu as a courageous politician that is not afraid to take risks. For instance, on the issue of deficit budgeting, he said Tinubu has a different idea.
He stated; “There is a book he co-wrote, called Financialism: Water from an Empty Well. Anyone who wants to understand Bola Tinubu, will need to read it to know his worldview. He told them at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) early this year that he doesn’t subscribe to the idea that deficit budget is bad. He said it can be good if it is used for productive things. If you are using it to consume then it is a compound negative, he said.”
Tinubu fell back on his peoples-politics to carve a pathway into the North, where he deployed old allies to capture the winning ballots. Another member of the Media and Publicity Directorate and famous broadcast journalist, Danladi Bako, said that the president-elect was able to build a formidable team of committed leaders.
Bako stated: “He located in every state people who could deliver the state. In Jigawa, you had all the big shots, but Alhaji Abubakar Badaru, the governor delivered. In Sokoto, (Senator Maigatakarda) Wamakko delivered. In Niger, 313 (Senator Sani) Musa, delivered, and in Kogi, Governor Yahaya Bello delivered.
“In Benue, George Akume turned the apple-cart, because he was a mentor to (Senator Gabriel) Suswam, and to (Governor Samuel) Ortom, so the godfather influence came to the fore in Benue. The vice presidential candidate was coming from the North East, he tidied up his home, he knew that Borno was done…”
“Considering that North West remained the battleground,” Bako remarked, “Asiwaju was kind enough to draft strong North West people, my humble self inclusive, and I know the work we did in the media, within the youth group, and within the women group.
“As far back as 1973, I was a kid celebrity on the radio as a young boy. So, everybody grew up to know me as their own. So, I was a marketing tool for Asiwaju in the North West, whether it was Kaduna or it was Sokoto.”
He said the Tinubu train dragged along other notable persons to ensure total victory, including, Zamfara State governor, Dr. Bello Matawalle; Governor of Kebbi, Senator Atiku Bagudu.
“All of us worked intensely along with Badaru, and to a large extent, along with (Mallam Nasir) El-Rufai, to make sure that the seven states in the North West were delivered to Asiwaju and the APC. And, the moment you pick up, a sizeable amount of those 22 million votes in the North West, you were home and dry. That was the strategy and of course, we did not leave any stone unturned.”
He noted that the mere indication of the quality of the Presidential Campaign Council, the admixture of reliable, comfortable political heavyeights, Simon Lalong and Abdullahi Adamu in the Middle Belt, 313 (Senator Musa); guaranteed that the Middle Belt was going to deliver.
“At least, five out of six states, and that was what happened,” he added, stressing that it was the same for the Presidential Campaign Council Media Directorate.
“When a man will look out to bring a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Festus Keyamu; former mnister, Fani Kayode; former Editor/Publisher of TheNews and Tempo, and former MD of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga; then the former Director General (DG) of NBC, 20 years ago, Danladi Bako, in the midst, then he now tops it with Dele Alake, who was Commissioner for Information in Lagos State for eight years, no other party, apart from APC, has that arsenal, that armada of people.
“Then look at the second level, Ali M. Ali, Hanatu Musa, and so many other people. So, in terms of grading, there was a lot that the Media and Publicity could do and did deliver and it showed the difference because you had people who were in other parties just beating around the bush.”
Bako said of Tinubu: “He is humble, he understands how to make compromises. He understands how to wait for his time. He understands what to do when at crossroads. He understands that he cannot win all the time.
“For somebody who was a Senator in 1991 and waited till 1999 to become governor, even after his eight years, he followed up by allowing Nuhu Ribadu to be the presidential candidate of ACN, followed up by allowing Atiku Abubakar to be candidate, followed up by allowing Buhari to be a candidate in 2014. If he was a greedy, over-ambitious person, he would have taken it for himself all this period, but he waited strategically, and made quality northerners the candidate in 2007, 2011, and 2015. He made sure that he allowed them the space, so it was easy for him to come back and say, I have tried my best, for you.
“And if they didn’t win, that wasn’t his fault, but he had allowed and remembered that for a long time, the kind of strategy in politics in Nigeria was a synergy between the North and East, or North and Rivers.”
As Renewed Hope berths, all eyes would be on both the ship and the horizon to see how and whether the pilot, Tinubu and Shettima, could paddle the ship stably through the rough seas of political uncertainty and inclement economic weather to a safe harbour of peace and prosperity.
CULLED FROM THE GUARDIAN
President is not a magician, says Remi Tinubu
The first lady, Oluremi Tinubu, says her husband, President Bola Tinubu, would not wave a magic wand and solve all of the country’s problems in a flash.
The first lady said this on Sunday during an inter-denominational church service to commemorate Nigeria’s Independence Day.
She said her husband inherited the current challenges in the country, adding that the president is determined to fix them rather than blame past leaders.
“All we inherited are things that had happened many years ago. We are not here to put blame on any administration but to fix what has been damaged,” she said.
“My husband is not a magician. He is going to work and I believe and hope that we will have peace in this country. The best is yet to come to us.
“Good governance can only be impactful if the people follow the example of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who embodied the fruit of the spirit, including love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance and forgiveness.
“A Nigeria of abundance has begun, and to be part of the greatness that God has started in the nation, Nigerians must look beyond their current realities and embrace hope anew.”
Also speaking at the event, George Akume, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), urged Nigerians to remain patient, adding that measures are being put in place to provide solutions to the problems bedevilling the country.
“Solutions to Nigeria’s complex problems can never be as instant as expected. It will take some time, but measures are already being put in place to address them,” Akume said.
Lagos to clampdown on illegal dredging operation, reads riot act
Determined to end illegal dredging activities in the state, the Lagos State government has vowed to stop all illegal dredging operations and flush out those operating without a government’s permit in the dredging sector from the state.
The Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Dayo Bush-Alebiosu disclosed this during a meeting with the members of the executive council of the Dredgers’ Association of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter.
The meeting was called to seek the cooperation of the association in enforcing guidelines regulating dredging activities and to declare Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration’s zero tolerance for illegal dredging operations in the state.
According to the Commissioner, though the meeting is a familiarization forum to interact with members of the association and get first-hand information on how dredging activities could be improved upon with the view to maintaining the state’s waterfronts and prevent environmental degradation.
While soliciting their support in sanitizing dredging activities in the state, Bush-Alebiosu disclosed that the state would not condone the spate of illegal dredging activities being carried out in every nooks and crannies of the state.
Bush-Alebiosu also expressed the readiness of government officials to begin enforcement activities soon and that anybody caught violating dredging laws and regulations of the state would be prosecuted.
He therefore urged them to obtain all necessary permits and regularize their operations immediately.
He assured them of the government’s readiness to stand by the association in carrying out their lawful activities and also support them in all they do to ensure good waterfronts in Lagos State.
UN appeals to Lagos to allocate certain percentage of contracts to women-owned businesses
In his remarks, Mr Kehinde Gbajumo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry expressed his delight that the state executive members of the association were present at the meeting, saying this would go a long way in conveying the views of the state government to their members.
Gbajumo noted that dredging activities in the state are “no longer business as usual,” adding that the ministry is now all out to enforce the laws regulating dredging activities, he also enjoined them to comply with the guidelines.
In his response, the President of the Dredgers Association of Nigeria, Mr Bature Akpomejero pledged their support and cooperation to the state government in getting rid of illegal dredgers in the state.
He solicited the support of the ministry for proper regularization of dredging activities to curb the activities of illegal dredgers and their impact on the environment.
Akpomejero also urged the ministry to look into the issue of overloading of trucks by dredgers and those moving wet sand on the roads, which cause a lot of damage to our roads.
The secretary general of the association, Richard Ntan, also lent his voice; assuring the ministry of maximum cooperation and collaboration of the association, noting that they are ready to cooperate with the government.
Ntan called for more such meetings with the ministry to be able to iron out grey areas affecting their operations while fashioning out areas of mutual benefit between dredgers and the state government.
The dredging operation terms and conditions were later distributed to the members of the association to further enlighten them on their obligations to the state.
Nigeria@63: God will heal our land – Pastor Adeboye
Pastor Enoch Adeboye has prayed to God to heal Nigeria, asking citizens to also pray for the betterment of the nation.
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) said this on Sunday during the church’s October Thanksgiving Service and Nigeria’s 63rd Independent Day celebration.
Pastor Adeboye spoke on the topic ‘Freedom Indeed’ during the service.
“I pray in the name that is above every other name that God will heal our nation,” the preacher said.
“Independence is talking about freedom, that is why we would be talking about freedom indeed. You may be enjoying independence from the colonial master and still be a slave to sickness, poverty, terror, and forces of darkness,” he added.
“I am wishing you a very good celebration but more than anything else, I wish all of you who are in Christ freedom and freedom indeed.”
In many churches across the nation, the Christians marked Independence Day with praises and prayers for the country.
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