Politics: Tinubus aping Clintons Daily Parrot


It was celebration time for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, last week, as the latter turned 62 on Wednesday. In an emotion-laden tribute, Asiwaju paid glowing tribute to the love of his life, affirming that each time her birthday turns up, nothing else matters. Not even the pursuit of his ambition of becoming the president of Nigeria, nor serenading his teaming followers and supporters who throng wherever he goes.

Of course, everywoman who is a good wife deserves to be celebrated especially during her birthday. As the book of Proverbs 18:22 (NLT) proclaims: “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favour from the Lord.” The sagacious Asiwaju knows how a treasure is treasured, for as the Book of Matthew 13:44 (NIV) said: “The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

As Asiwaju affirmed in his eulogy, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, a serving senator, is one such treasure. There are so many who attest that Senator Tinubu is a treasure, for her generous support to charitable causes. But beyond being a treasure tome of a wife and charity, could it be that Senator Oluremi Tinubu is to presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, what Senator Hilary Clinton is to former President Bill Clinton, in their respective political odyssey?

Perhaps there has not been enough interrogation of the influence Senator Oluremi Tinubu brings to the table for the nationally acclaimed political strategy of Asiwaju Tinubu. Could it be that her influence and power in the political rise and rise of Asiwaju Tinubu has been subjugated under the effusive patriarchal system that is predominant in our political environment?  If Asiwaju makes the presidency, would it be apropos to say that Nigeria will have two-in-one president, as was said of Bill and Hilary Clinton, when Bill was the president?

With the presidential campaign for the 2023 general election kicking off tomorrow, perhaps it is appropriate in comparing the Tinubus with the Clintons to examine the chances of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose success at the polls would further make the comparison even more exciting. No doubt, Asiwaju Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is the frontline presidential candidate, and unless there is a tectonic movement in the political landscape, he has the best chance of winning the 2023 presidential election.

Among other reasons, Asiwaju Tinubu, fairly regarded as a master political strategist, started plotting his presidential ambition many years ago, and as he boasted, would not throw his hat into the ring if he had no chance. This writer had the privilege of hearing directly from Asiwaju about his presidential ambition, four years ago, and while he stated clearly that he was not desperate to run, he expressed his determination to give it his best shot. And as a master strategist, he must have been plotting the contest for much longer time.

Strategy wise, Asiwaju’s game plan is unimpeachable. Since 1999, he has deliberately built a political coalition of surrogates, associates, friends and partners, which is unmatchable by any of the other contenders. Today, he can legitimately lay claim to helping the incumbent president and his vice ascend the throne. He can also train his political proboscis to the senate present, speaker House of Representatives, and of course, many serving and past governors, legislators, local government chairmen, and hundreds of other political leaders across the country. And such network of collaborators would have far-reaching impact in the election.

Experience wise, Asiwaju can legitimately claim to have performed outstandingly as governor of Lagos State. There is no doubt that amongst his peers, he stands tall, and can beat his chest that he performed well as governor. As a governor he was very innovative. Apart from raising the state internally generated revenue to a record high, he reinvigorated the judiciary, and initiated new programs like LASMA, LAMATA, BRT, and laid a solid development plan which his successors have built on.

As a political leader, Asiwaju has unmatched record. Love him or hate him, he successfully put in place a succession mechanism that even while some condemn it as god-fatherism, has gifted Lagos political stability and high performing governors and power elite that has made the state the envy of others. Even while some commentators complain bitterly about being left out in the scheme of things, the recruitment and preferment process he instituted in Lagos, with all its shortcomings has survived three political transitions and is alive and kicking.

Again Asiwaju has proved his mettle as a development strategist. Apart from his audacious human capital development strides, he has with his lieutenants turned Lagos State into the 6th biggest economy in Africa. Such audacious projects as Eko Atlantic City deserve all the accolades his campaign team are milking from it. The story of Eko Hotels and what it has become with his invitation of private capital is perhaps what is lacking in the management of wasting national assets across the country. The same can be said about the Lagos State Independent Power Projects, sabotaged by the federal government.

As the political campaign kicks off tomorrow, Asiwaju would need to calm the political nerves of those stringently opposed to his choice of Senator Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim as vice presidential candidate. Also, he has to tactfully deal with the anti-establishment discontentment that is driving the rise of Peter Obi of the Labour Party. As a political strategist, instead of abusing those angered by the choice of Shettima or enchanted by the promises of Obi, he has to wear the garb of an ingenious salesman.

There is no doubt that Nigeria needs a president who is a political and development strategist. A political strategist to mend the broken fault lines exacerbated by the Fulani hegemonic regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, and a development strategist to stem the haemorrhaging national economy and lay the plan to sustainable economic development. Amongst the three major gladiators, Asiwaju Tinubu undoubtedly has the best combination of the requirements. The job of his campaigners is to sell the right message to the electorate.

Expectedly, Tinubu would campaign as hard as any of the other gladiators, if not even harder. And at his tow would be his jewel of inestimable value, Senator Oluremi Tinubu. If the Tinubus make the presidency, they would once again be aping the Clintons in their political odyssey, when a list of the offices held by the couple are listed. Away from presidential politics, I join Asiwaju Tinubu to celebrate Senator Oluremi Tinubu, a dutiful wife and political titan in her own right.

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