Bola Ahmed Tinubu, political strategist, relentless fighter for democracy

PDP Will Never Return To Power - Tinubu Boasts

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a two-term former governor of Lagos State and the national leader of Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) has been described as one leader who has demonstrated rare courage and commitment to justice; one who has made personal sacrifices to advance the common good, and who remains unrelenting in the search for good and responsible governance.

He is a rare leader who combines practical political acumen, strategic vision and moral principles.

Asiwaju Tinubu is reputed for his untiring political maneuvers and nationalistic approach to politics which is in tandem with his tradition of selfless sacrifice, political foresight and unequalled commitment to progressive and people oriented politics.

He remains Nigeria’s most relentless fighter for democracy, justice and the rule of law.

No history of modern Nigeria can be complete without giving due regard to his contributions to safeguarding the democratic aspirations of an entire nation and its people, regardless of creed and ethnic background, at a time when those aspirations were deeply threatened.

Bola Tinubu has served the cause of humanity and expanded the frontiers of freedom and democracy in Nigeria and the African Continent. He is one of Nigeria’s foremost nationalists and champions of the current democratic dispensation.

He fought alongside other members of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) to rebuff the repressive military junta of the late Gen. Sanni Abacha.

An irrepressible fighter for democracy and protection of civil liberties, Bola Tinubu endured political persecution, including numerous arrests and detentions, harassment, constant threats to his life and years in political exile.

Tinubu is a political icon that rescued the nation from being turned into a one party state. In 1999, his political party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) as the loyal opposition helped salvage multiparty electoral democracy in Nigeria by winning the governorship seats in the six South-West states.

In a political culture where most members of the political class gravitate towards the ruling party to ease the path towards fulfilment of personal ambition or for pecuniary reward, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s resilience and steadfastness in giving inspirational leadership to the opposition is remarkable.

It is a testimony to the depth of the convictions that have motivated and sustained him in politics over the last two and a half decades.

The virtues of courage, determination, commitment, vision, focus and strong sense of purpose that have characterised Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s politics drove his emergence as one of the country’s most successful governors after Nigeria’s return to democratic governance 20 years ago.

His stewardship of Lagos State for 8 years remains a reference for good governance in Nigeria and across the region.

A first class financial strategist, Bola Tinubu, overhauled and reformed government and revenue collection in the state, taking Lagos from a yearly Internally Generated Revenue of N14.64 billion in 1999 to N60.31 billion in 2006. By March 2007, the state had achieved monthly Internally Generated Revenue of N8.2 billion.

His innovations laid the groundwork necessary for Lagos to have the revenue to improve the state and modernise living conditions of all of its inhabitants.

He was once described as the man who rebuilt Nigerian opposition. Tinubu from the scratch built the Action Congress of Nigeria to a formidable political party that within a short time became the major opposition party in Nigeria.

He deployed his resources, energy, and political acumen to give the ruling party a fight in the political space.

Bola Tinubu’s political sagacity can never be put in doubt. He is today a political symbol that many politicians across party divides look up to in Yorubaland for direction. He is today, seen in the mould of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Bola Ige.

No wonder in 2011 that Tinubu single-handedly decided the political path the people of the South West zone toed when after negotiating with former President Goodluck Jonathan, he led the zone to vote massively for the PDP. This enriched the fortune of the party and helped Jonathan to cruise to victory.

The altering of Nigeria’s political landscape and balance of power that occurred in November 2013 had Tinubu’s imprint all over it. The political merger that produced the All Progressives Congress is Nigeria’s first and Tinubu was its chief architect.

He is a political bridge builder who has admirers and followers in all the regions of the country, an attribute he judiciously used to win the presidency for Buhari in the 2015 election. The APC and Buhari was said to be greatly indebted to Tinubu for massively delivering votes from Yorubaland to the party.

Tinubu today enjoys the undeniable position of the national leader of APC and irrespective of the power play in the party; he has his men in the Buhari government.

A political mentor of repute, Tinubu is one of the very few politicians in Nigeria who has nurtured and built a large army of political followers who have learnt his type of politics and today occupy exemplary leadership positions in the three arms of government.

Majority of those that served in his eight years’ government in Lagos State are now lawmakers in the National Assembly, while he influenced the appointments of some into key executive positions, including board appointments.

The list is though endless, but of worthy of mentioning is the incumbent Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Senators Barehu Gbenga Ashafa, and of course his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

Indeed, majority of past federal lawmakers that represented Lagos State in both chambers of the National Assembly owed their election to this political enigma called Tinubu.

He has his men and women in powerful board positions while others are currently serving in the Presidency as Special Assistants to either the President or his Vice.

Tinubu is said to have the political map of Lagos State in his palm, but some of his loyalists will say that he is in control of the entire South West politics as he has friends and admirers across other political lineage.

Born on March 29, 1952 in Lagos, Tinubu, a trained accountant, graduated in 1979 Sumna cum laude (with First Class Honours) in Business Administration (Accounting and Management) with cumulative weighted average point of 3.54 out of a maximum 4 points) from Chicago State University, Illinois, USA.

He worked with Arthur Anderson, Delliotte, Haskins and Sells (now Delliotte and Touche) and Mobil Producing Nigeria as Senior Auditor and Company Treasurer.

His political sojourn started in 1989. He was elected Senator on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992. He joined the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) opposition to the annulment of the June 12 1993 presidential election, which SDP candidate, Basorun MKO Abiola won.

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Dailytimes Staff