Nigeria: Bola Tinubu – the Man. the Moment. the Ultimate Political Guru

Sunday Dare

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The evolution of the All Progressives
Congress (APC) into the governing party
and the emergence of its candidate,
General Muhammad Buhari as the
President- elect prove a fundamental
truth. A single visionary blessed with a
courage equal to his vision is ultimately
more powerful than a vast multitude
that is devoid of sight, courage and
sound counsel.
General Buhari, a personification of
integrity, stalwart patriotism and
decency, was the inevitable candidate
and is the right man to be president this
time. Complementing him as the
necessary strategic catalyst of this great
democratic feat has been Bola Ahmed
Tinubu.

Never in the history of our nation has an
incumbent President lost to his
challenger. For that to happen is a
profound feat. For that feat to come
about through a newly merged political
party is something bordering on the
impossible. Yet, in Nigeria, that is
exactly how our democracy has been
secured and our chance for a better
future revived.
As the primary architect of the All
Progressives Congress and a key
strategist in its drive to become the
government of this nation, Bola Tinubu
has earned history’s verdict as a true
and committed democratic.
At moments when others threatened to
quit or did quit, Tinubu stuck doggedly to
the course. When the Alliance for
Democracy ran into stormy weather and
was hijacked by reactionary elements
funded by the government in power,
Tinubu established a new party, the
Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. From his
solitary redoubt in Lagos, the ACN cast
its progressive message and Tinubu
attracted able and committed people to
the democratic cause and to his course
in it.
The epic turn from governing a single
state to governing a nation had begun.
Few believed, as Asiwaju did, that this
achievement was within reach. The ACN
went on to win six states and secure the
South-West for the progressive cause.
And when the time came to re-shape
Nigerian opposition nationwide into one
body, Tinubu took the lead in sowing
together the different political parties
into a workable whole. In the face of
state-sponsored attacks and spirited
attempts to scuttle the merger, Tinubu
led the team of political fighters to
make APC a reality. The period between
the formation of the party, the
formation of the party executive, to its
convention in Lagos, the national
presidential campaign and now the
elections has been one characterised by
dangerous moves, plots and turns
against him. Tinubu survived them all
and remained standing.
As the intellectual force behind the APC,
Tinubu never wavered. General Buhari
and Chief Bisi Akande were the
strongest and most faithful of allies in
this great effort.
These are statesmen of high caliber who
never shook when the adverse wind blew.
If along the way Tinubu had wavered,
many would have wavered with him. The
story today would have been a
different, inferior one. He remained
standing even when many tried to make
him fall.
Tinubu is brave at heart and large in
vision. He has the fortitude to stand
when times get tough and when doubt
becomes as thick as fog. He forges
ahead while others succumb to fear. He
stands alone when others are tired and
sit down. This rare man chooses to take
risks and stake everything he has for a
just cause. He stands alone when he
makes unbelievable sacrifices in order to
achieve a greater goal. He excels in the
wee lonely hours; when others are
asleep, he pours over Nigeria’s problems
in search of solutions. He stands alone
when he makes the tough, necessary
decisions, not minding how he will be
perceived. He stands alone when he
refuses to join the doubters and holds
on to the believe that it is possible.
For standing against the tide of greater
power and might all these years, Tinubu
has achieved something for all us. He is
truly an architect of modern Nigeria, a
driving force behind a new Nigeria and
one of the fathers of a truly democratic
two party system.
Tinubu has ushered Nigeria into the
meeting hall of democratic nations. By
staying the course, by investing his
intellect, experience and resources in
the struggle for a better country and by
working with people of like minds, Tinubu
has helped lift the nation from its
despair.
APC’s electoral success is not a fluke. It
was earned. It came as a result of great
sacrifices and through the efforts of the
key drivers and other leaders who kept
steadfast even when hope seemed lost.
The long hours on the road and in the
air criss- crossing the nation, spreading
the message of change and urging
others to join the party bore fruit. The
APC ship got many on board. Not even
the attacks from the PDP could sink it.
On the campaign trail, Tinubu was a
firebrand. He easily excited the crowd
whenever he spoke. People were sure to
taste of his wit, his incisive political jabs
and his commanding vision about what
APC can do to change Nigeria. Perhaps
the greatest lines of the 2014/2015
presidential campaign that will never be
forgotten and will remain in the books
for a very long time is that from Tinubu.
Responding to attacks by the PDP that
the APC presidential candidate, General
Buhari was a former general and should
not be trusted, Tinubu had a reply for
them in full measure that shut them up.
Tinubu roared at the Abeokuta
campaign, “When France needed to get
out of political troubles, it tapped
Charles De Gaulle. When America needed
solid political leadership, it called on
Eisenhower. Nigeria needs fixing and the
man for the job is General Muhammadu
Buhari”. This answer and analysis from
Tinubu settled the argument. It won
many over and shut the mouths of the
politicians on the other side. On the
campaign trail from the south to the
north, Tinubu was a delight. Fired up
and in his elements, he was unrelenting.
He saw what many did not see that APC
would form the next government and
restore hope to Nigerians.
Whenever the history of this political era
in Nigeria is written, it will be said that
there was one man, Bola Ahmed Tinubu,
who stood firm in the commitment and
courage to make the difference for
Nigeria. Tinubu is a class act and is in a
class by himself. From the corporate
world, he took the political scene in
Lagos by storm. This was after a
commanding performance in the pro-
democracy struggle to liberate Nigeria
from the clutches of military
dictatorship. He was at the vanguard of
democracy in the days of the NADECO
struggle. Since then, he has never looked
back. As governor of Lagos state, he
excelled in governance. He brought out
the excellence in Lagos through a
combination of pragmatic decisions and
financial and social engineering that
turned it into a model city.
Lagos today is a reference point. He
took over the South-West, reshaping the
political landscape in a positive and
dynamic way. He was instrumental in
identifying 6 men who today remain
some of the best governors this country
has ever known. On the national stage,
he was a constant voice of opposition.
Unwavering, unbowed, unbeatable,
Tinubu was the fulcrum of opposition
politics. His voice rang out loud and
clear against injustice, impunity and
mis-governance.
For his progressive views and opposition
to government, Tinubu suffered. His
businesses suffered. His political
structures came under severe assault.
Enemies sought to ruin his reputation.
They dragged him to court, hoping to
jail him but failed. In all, he survived
and remained standing. Through all of
these, he has remained humble and
self-effacing.
In the explosive celebration that
followed the victory of the APC in the
Presidential election, someone in the
tiny crowd that gathered in his office
said, “Your Excellency Tinubu, this is
your finest hour”. Tinubu shot back, “No.
This is Nigeria’s finest hour and it is the
best birthday gift I can ever wish for”.
He went on to describe the victory of
General Buhari as, “a moment when
hope is re-born, faith is rekindled and
a fresh fire of patriotism is released for
the task ahead”.
That is the measure of a man who sees
ultimate victory in the emancipation of
his people and the triumph of good over
evil. Tinubu has seen it all. Today he
stands tall in humility. He has survived
where others were crushed. He has
achieved what others failed to achieve
for our country politically. He has been
this gneration’s’ most consummate and
strategic political mind. History will
record that.
If anyone ever doubted the veracity of
a sobriquet – last man standing – given
to Tinubu, they should doubt no longer.
The title is more than valid. More
importantly, this last and only man
standing dedicated himself to a great
and selfless task that we all may stand
to feel the morning rays of genuine
democracy shine upon us.

Sunday Dare is Chief of Staff/Special
Adviser media to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed
Tinubu.

views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of blog author.

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