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Tinubu’s Trajectory Towards 2023: Who’s Afraid of Asiwaju?

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By John Ekundayo


“You can measure a man by the opposition it takes to discourage him.” – Robert C. Savage
Ab initio, it is instructive to state succinctly and saliently that the opinion of the columnist in the Followership Challenge of this week is neither solicited nor a hatchet job like some analysts or critics would make readers to believe.

It is borne out of a belief that in a polity, especially a nascent democracy, like Nigeria’s, any individual should feel free to voice his or her opinion whether there is a cacophony of opposition or congruence of opinion to that person’s stand and stake.

Moreover, the opinion expressed here are as viewed by the lens of a followership scholar with minimal bias devoid of myopic or partisan view.

The race to 2023 presidency has started even though many of the supposed aspirants for the coveted seat are seemingly silent on their ambition. Indeed, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who celebrated his birthday recently is rumored to be a leading contender. It is very vociferous in the grapevine that Tinubu adroitly is plotting his way through the stormy water of Nigeria’s politics to be a leading candidate of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Asiwaju Tinubu has stoically been silent which many keen political analysts, pundits and observers are not comfortable with knowing Tinubu to be savvy, smart and strategic especially in his trajectory as a political colossus.

The hullabaloo created as a result of the rumoured ambition of Tinubu is turning the former Lagos State Governor to becoming another stormy petrel of Nigeria’s politics after Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Owelle Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sardauna Ahmadu Bello.

However, it is worrisome to some political analysts for such a seemingly maverick and mercurial man, of ‘timber and caliber’ (apology to late Dr Kingsley Mbadiwe) to keep mum over a monumental matter of this magnitude. Time is ticking!

Is Tinubu Dreaming of the Presidency?

It is both interesting and intriguing to say that many in the opposition are the ones putting words into the mouth of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and not even the core Tinubu’s fans and followers. It may be noteworthy to inquire at this juncture:

Can I or anyone else dream of becoming a minister, governor or president of his country as a citizen? In the Bible, one man that was referred to as a dreamer, Joseph, dreamt of reigning over his brethren and even his parents.

He was sorely hated by his brethren resulting in selling him into slavery. Unknown to them, they were packaging him into his palace where his rulership will extend beyond human reasoning and rationalization! However, this is Nigeria, and it is a digital age, where any voice could be so vociferously loud even when peddling fake news. All said and done, since anyone could dream, why not allow a Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) to dream? If BAT will be sagaciously and strategically covert in his trajectory towards the 2023 presidency, there is a palpable phobia, though unspoken, that this seemingly maverick strategist may sail through lending credence to the word of the highly referred Nelson Mandela that “a winner is dreamer who never give up.”

To many in the opposition, this man must be marched, marked and manacled such that his political engine ground to a halt not minding his political pedigree after all, it was Mo Dao Zu Shi who once declared that “hatred could blind a person’s eyes, making him unable to admit anything in favor of his enemy.” BAT is definitely in the eye of the storm.

Is it a sin to aspire to lead?

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Tinubu was a Senator and two term Governor who has paid his due in the political arena of Nigeria. Not laundering his image, for that is not the purpose of this treatise, one can pointedly and poignantly ask some salient questions: Is a sin to aspire to lead one’s country after supporting some candidates in time past? Does BAT possess the pedigree to emerge as his party’s flag bearer? Having been a kingmaker, why does he now want to be a king? Will BAT allow himself to be checkmated, corrupted and crippled by any cabal if he is eventually offered the party’s ticket? This columnist will want many readers who are against his aspiring to run attempt answering these questions objectively.

Who is really afraid of Tinubu?

This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that I have personally perceived strident opposition to a man’s candidacy to the highest office in the land. In the past, all manner of people have aspired to the plum position of the president, some of them had no political pedigree.

There was no fuss! Suddenly, Tinubu was rumoured to be interested and cacophony of voices want to douse it. Personally, I perceive, the mention of the name, Tinubu, is already sending shivers down the spines of some politicians, even within his party. Who is really afraid of Tinubu? My response to them is simple. Personally, as a follower, and in my own perception, knowing that like the Yoruba talking drum (gangan), when it faces me, another may likely be viewing the backside, I will opine that BAT should be allowed to run. In politics, there is nothing stopping a kingmaker from becoming a king – much depends on the followers! If you doubt, ask Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the 4th and 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, who was recalled out of retirement to rescue a scandal – sinking nation.

In his second coming, aged 92, he returned as the king – Prime Minister. The man, Tinubu, should be allowed to test the waters, after all, he has been supporting others for the No. 1 position. Why should this cacophony of voices cow him into submission? Who knows whether in the words of Constance Friday, “resistance is a sign that shows you’re going the right way.”

In concluding this article, as a keen follower of Nigeria’s politicking, politics and polity, no one should be disenfranchised from aspiring, contesting or voting in a true democracy. If BAT wants to throw his hat into the ring with all his resources possibly going down the drain, so be it! However, in the words of Winston Churchill, his kite may fly against the wind, not with it (sic), then he has his way against all seeming odds. If the latter occurs, then, Tinubu’s stand and stake would be in sync and synergy with Matshona Dhliwayo, who opined:

When they judge you, yawn.

When they misunderstand you, smile.

When they underestimate you, laugh.

When they condemn you, ignore

When they envy you, rejoice.

When they oppose you, prevail.”

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Dr. Ekundayo, J. M. O., can be reached via 08155262360 (SMS only) and drjmoekundayo@hotmail.com

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