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Bola Tinubu @ 68: The Navigator Carries His Cross

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By Augustine Adah

The former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Tinubu’s journey to political greatness has been dotted with doggedness and sacrifice. It was especially so during the struggle to restore democratic rule.

Born on March 29, 1952, Tinubu’s political dexterity started when he joined as a founding member of the defunct Social Democratic Party, (SDP) having earlier belonged to the to Peoples Front, PF a movement  led by Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. He was at that time an associate of the once prominent politician, Chief Dapo Sarumi.

It was on the basis of that relationship that he was elected to the Third Republic Senate where he weaved life long relationships with the likes of Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso, Senator Abu Ibrahim and the late Senator Haliru Dantoro.

The late emir is believed to have been the one who bridged whatever differences between Tinubu and Buhari and made them see the futility of pursuing different political courses.

Senator Dantoro who eventually became the emir of Borgu, and turbaned Tinubu as the Jagaban Borgu, is also believed to have been a close associate of Muhammadu Buhari. The late emir is believed to have been the one who bridged whatever differences between Tinubu and Buhari and made them see the futility of pursuing different political courses.

Few Nigerians would have noted that both Tinubu and Buhari put aside their schedules when Senator Dantoro died to be physically present at his burial on October 30, 2015 when the government that he helped to push through had barely settled down.

Before his emergence as the national leader of the government in power, Tinubu had carved a reputation first as one of Nigeria’s most notable oppositionists.

The struggle for the reaslisation of the June12, 1993 presidential election mandate won by Chief Moshood Abiola made him and some influential politicians especially from South-West to launch National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a group which mobilized support for the restoration of democracy and recognition of the results of the 12th of June.

He and some NADECO leaders went into exile in 1994 and returned to the country in 1998 after the death of the military dictator Sani Abacha, which ushered in a transition to civilian rule.

In the run-up to the 1999 elections, Bola Tinubu was seen as protégé of Alliance for Democracy, (AD), leaders Abraham Adesanya and Ayo Adebanjo.

He won the AD primaries for the Lagos State gubernatorial elections in competition with Funsho Williams and Wahab Dosumu, a former Minister of Works and Housing.

His career as a NADECO oppositionist apparently helped him to survive the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s blitzkrieg of the Southwest in 2003.

Before his emergence as the national leader of the government in power, Tinubu had carved a reputation first as one of Nigeria’s most notable oppositionists.

It was that survival streak that helped him evade all the landmines against him till he was transformed from oppositionist to ruling party chieftain in 2015.

Since his transformation, Tinubu has oscillated between a scorned lover and an apologist of the Muhammadu Buhari regime.

The pattern of governance and seeming ineptitude of the government he helped to throw up has been a cross Tinubu has had to carry.

With his eyes set on the ultimate prize for himself the gist is that Tinubu would not see any evil on the part of the government. However, deep down in his heart and among his supporters they all know that the man hailed as the pathfinder who set Lagos on the part of excellence would have preferred things to be better.

At 68, Tinubu’s success is not just underpinned by his moderate achievements in his two terms as governor, but even more, the success in finding good leadership for the state and where not as in the case of Akinwunmi Ambode, in shoving such aside!

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