A documentary photography exhibition entitled The Last Man Standing will showcase a different perspective and never-before-seen images of former Lagos State Governor and presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Curated by veteran Nigerian landscape and documentary photographer, Dayo Adedayo, the exhibition is not only his first collaborative work in Nigeria, but a pictorial documentary comprising 15 videos exhibit and 101 framed images of quotations drawn from Tinubu’s speeches over the years.
The over 152 images, 101 quotes and 15 videos to be displayed, will provide Nigerians a complete image of the man he describes as the “fourth greatest Yoruba leader after Oduduwa, Obafemi Awolowo and M.K.O Abiola”.
Prior to the #ENDSARS protest tragedy and beyond that, public opinion of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has him pegged as the godfather of APC, and the shadowy figure who calls the shot of what happens in Lagos.
The Last Man Standing, with its never before seen images of Tinubu – his childhood years, as a newlywed, in national politics, and his achievements in Lagos state, including his drafted master plan of metropolitan city, Adedayo said places him twenty years ahead of his political peers, and thereby a hero worth celebrating in his lifetime.
Speaking on the metaphorical title of the exhibition, Adedayo said the image of the weathered yet deep-rooted tree gracing the exhibition invite reminds him of his subject, and his achievement in 2003, as the sole returning governor of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) when five AD southwestern governors lost to PDP at the elections.
With the exception of zero prison record, Tinubu, he said shared similar qualities with the three Yoruba leaders, who at certain political periods did not enjoy the support of all Yorubas, and lived in exile.
“Same thing is playing out now with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I am a student of history and politics. When you look at the trajectory of contemporary Nigeria politics from 1999 till date, there is nobody, I repeat, nobody who has his political capacity.”
Held in commemoration of Tinubu’s 7oth birthday, The Last Man Standing, may appear a strategy to pull empathetic votes for the political aspirant, but Adedayo said the exhibition is no commissioned piece, rather has been in the works for some time.
“There is a time and place for everything. I was supported by the Lagos State government, but the work has been done before now. I wasn’t commissioned to do the project. These were all pictures taken twenty years ago.”
The exhibition comprises works of Adedayo and five other photographers including Tinubu’s personal photographer of some twenty years, Taiwo Folawon, the photographic contributions of the personal photographer of current Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the personal photographers of ex-Lagos State governors, Akinwunmi Ambode and Olatunde Raji Fashola.
He likewise scoured the subject’s personal library for some never before seen images, and images of other Nigerian photographers who contributed with regards to the visuals of Lagos.
“There are images of some of the roads in Lagos, the way they were then, and the contemporary pictures of the development of Lagos. They were all done by him (Tinubu), including the masterplan of Lagos.”
“It was a crazy two weeks of searching and sifting through millions of images, videos and negatives to arrive at the documentary exhibition.
In the process, Adedayo made a discovery that has set him in another trajectory in 2023 – pictorial archiving system.
“The images used for this exhibition should have been a finger click away. In the absence of that, I saw an opportunity in this process. I have over four million images in my archives on Nigeria, and I can boldly say that what I have in archives, in terms of pictorial value, are much more than what is in the federal government’s archive. So, I am finding a solution, a pictorial solution to our archival system problem. By next year, if anyone needs any pictures on Nigeria, they can call me,” he said.
Besides a free book comprising 100 images and several of Tinubu quotes culled from the exhibition, visitors, Dayo said, should expect to gain “a different opinion of Bola Ahmed Tinubu; a Yoruba, a Nigerian and an asset to the world.”
The exhibition opens March 28 till to the 29th, at the Grand Ballroom of the Eko Hotels, in Victoria Island, Lagos.