Tribute To Tinubu At 62 By The Nation Newspaper

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, otherwise known as BAT or simply as Asiwaju, has been involved in Nigerian politics for just about 25 years. He was not part of the First Republic when he was still a child; nor was he part of the political arrangement of the Second Republic. He came into the picture in the still-born Third Republic. Since then, there has been no looking back for the man who has now become a phenomenon and rallying point for progressive politics.
The full essence of the man probably came to the fore in 2012 when he marked his 60th birthday. There was no one on the political stage that did not have a word about the man some now prefer to affectionately describe as the ‘Lion of Bourdillon’. True, Bourdillon Street, Ikoyi Lagos, his residence, is now a Mecca of sorts for all manner of men. Some are there during the day to discuss business; others are traditional rulers who want just a word from the man whose words are now laws for those who trust in his leadership.
There are politicians from different parts of the country who desire a wink in their direction in a bid to make success in their political careers. There are governors who are now dubbed Tinubu’s men; senators and party officials who merely know the man as the archetypal leader.
So, who is Tinubu? The man has come a long way. He got prepared for high office with good education at Chicago State University in the United States of America, followed by a thriving career at Mobil where he was Treasurer. As an accountant, he knew his onions and was well respected. Hardworking and dogged, he caught the attention of his bosses who saw his huge potentials and were willing to do anything to groom and keep him.
However, when the lid imposed on partisan politics was lifted in the Third Republic, one of those who caught the aroma in the air was Tinubu. He saw in the late Tafidan Katsina, Major- General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a leader that could turn around the fortunes of Nigeria. He pitched his tent in the Progressive Front of Nigeria in 1989 despite protestations from friends and colleagues at Mobil who could not believe that a man holding such a treasured position would willy-nilly leave such a sure ground for the slippery political terrain.
But, from that point, Tinubu could not be persuaded to turn his back on partisan politics and public affairs. His PFN merged with the Progressive Solidarity Party (PSP) into the military decreed Social Democratic Party (SDP). The PFN’s tactical superiority was demonstrated when the political association, regarded as the junior partner, outwitted the PSP by producing the national chairman and most of the officers of the SDP. It was the learning curve for Tinubu, who was later elected to the Senate to represent Lagos West.
The strength of a man’s character is borne out in times of adversity. A hero is made by his contribution to his society at defining moments. One of the turning points in Nigerian history was the democratic struggle to overthrow the yoke of military despotism between 1993 and 1999. Tinubu’s voice was strident as he joined the league of those who resisted the tyranny of the Abacha regime.
In Nigeria and in exile, he was hounded around by the goons, but Tinubu was unrelenting and consistent. This might have accounted for the decision by the more progressive wing of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) that insisted he deserved to be the governor of Lagos State in 1999.
The return to civil rule in 1999 was another turning point in the life, struggles and political career of the Asiwaju of Lagos. Today, following the success he made of his charge from 1999 to 2007, many do not even remember that he is the Asiwaju of Lagos. He is rather believed to be the Asiwaju of Nigerian politics. Those who are more cautious would refer to him as the Asiwaju of Yoruba politics.
In Lagos, he remains the most successful governor and leader, so far. He re-engineered the finances of the state and that became the nursery for all the development that the state has witnessed since the inception of the Fourth Republic. He also produced his successor despite stiff opposition from entrenched interests in the Action Congress of Nigeria. The choice of Babatunde Fashola was unpopular and threatened the dominance of the ruling party. But, as a true leader, Tinubu was blessed with insight and foresight. He saw in the young Senior Advocate of Nigeria what many could not. Fashola has since built on the Asiwaju foundation.
The success of ACN in Lagos provided the springboard for the foray into other states of the region. First, the principled stance of Tinubu in 2003 when he refused to jump on the train that got derailed at the polls that year saved the party from extinction and established the man as a strategist and tactician of note. He held his territory, while his colleagues in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo fell by the wayside. He, therefore, became the natural leader of a resurgent progressive movement in the West.
In 2007, he warded off the threat posed by a desperate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State. He also provided logistics support for the bid for power in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti States. As a tactical move, he was instrumental to the adoption of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as candidate of the progressives in Ondo. His tactics proved superior in Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and even Edo State. The ACN won and when the mandates freely given by the people was snatched by the PDP, Tinubu lent his weight to the retrieval bid.
The General led his men to battle. State after state, the PDP cookie crumbled. In Edo, Oshiomhole was installed; in Ondo, Mimiko assumed power, displacing another Olusegun (Agagu). In Ekiti, John Kayode Fayemi became the political king and, in Osun, the apple of Tinubu’s eye, Rauf Aregbesola, laughed last. A year later, it was time for another general election. So, the political kingdoms of Oyo and Ogun were reclaimed by men backed by Asiwaju Tinubu.
There is no doubt any more that Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emerged a modern version of Awo and Abiola. Like Awo, he has a fanatica support from the people in all the nooks and crannies of the West. But, like Abiola, he has taken the light to other parts of the country. The progressive movement that had dwindled so badly to having only one state in 2003, has bounced back with the control of 16 states and a strong bid for power at the centre.
While it cannot be said that Asiwaju Tinubu owns the All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition party that has been giving the ruling party the jitters, he is certainly a critical shareholder. His word may not be law in the new progressive movement, but he stands out of the crowd; he may not be The Only One, as Mourinho of the Chelsea Football Club of England once ascribed to himself, but the man whose wife represents Lagos Central in the Senate is The Critical factor in the party.
At 62, the journey might just have begun.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria


  1. I salute and rejoice wit u sir on ur golden birthday,I pay tribute to an intelligent man specially crave by almighty Allah,u are d voice of d masses in dis part of d world,ur position among d people is more quality than d seat of Nigerian president in which d likes of Olusegun Obasanjo,IBB,Sheu Shagari,Sanni Abacha,Ebele Jonathan has polluted and turn to a mere seats wit their corruption and insensible decisions especially towards d masses,Tinubu u are not only an hero but also a legend in Africa and beyond,u shall always be remembered 4 ur generousity and love 4 mankind and ur insight and ur senses of reasoning which is very rare to found even d head of states of Nigeria bow to ur wisdom and knowledge,d likes of Obasanjo,late Yar adua and Jonathan himself can attest to dis and ur bold and braveness among many good things God has endowed u,I love u and adore u bcause u are good person and leader.Once again I salute u Jagaban of Africa,Asiwaju of Nigeria,Afi oba je of Yoruba land,may ur days be long as igi ope,igba odun;odun kan lo mama je fun yin;happy birthday to a small god endowed by almighty God to rule His people.

  2. Raphael an agent of boko haram \tinubu party.we know ur name is nt raphael,keep on disguising.tinubu a failure and d problm of 9ja 2day.we need revolution 2 sack d likes of tinubu ,d cohorts out of nigerian political system 4 a btter 2morrow

  3. Anonymous 11:29am,I m an honest guy and nobody sponsors me to write all I do write neither did Tinubu or any of those people knows me in person but I write according to my conscience and am not hiding my identity,if u want to send asassin after me my life is in Gods hand do

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