“Oro Ahmed yi nikan na ni o un ba mi leru”. (It is the issue of Ahmed that is giving me a lot of concern). That was the fear expressed by the late Alhaji Lam Adesina, a former governor of Oyo State, on the chances of the then governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in winning the gubernatorial election in 2003. Out of genuine concern, Alhaji Adesina, a great lover of Tinubu, was bothered that the Lagos State governor might not get a second term because of his repugnance to Obasanjo’s overtures and frolics.
That was at a time when all the other governors in the South-West, Chief Bisi Akande of Osun, Chief Adebayo Adefarati of Ondo, Otunba Niyi Adebayo of Ekiti, Akinrogun Segun Osoba of Ogun and Alhaji Lam Adesina himself were obeying the dictates and dancing to the falsehearted music of the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The governors were not alone in the travesty; they were goaded by the Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere ,under the leadership of late Pa Abraham Adesanya.
Obasanjo had, in the most deceitful manner, cajoled the governors and the Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, in believing that he (Obasanjo) would be “soft” on them and make their victories eas,y insofar as they supported his election for a second term in office. The five governors fell for Obasanjo’s antics and openly worked for his second term in office. In fact, the promotion of Obasanjo’s second term bid took precedence over the campaigns of these governors and the National Assembly candidates in the build up to the general elections of 2003.
Despite the fact that we were in the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the opposition party, we campaigned vigorously for the second term of Olusegun Obasanjo and indirectly his Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates, who eventually defeated us. I was a victim as the AD candidate for House of Representatives in the Oluyole Federal Constituency.
With heavy music and beautiful lyrics, we introduced a new dimension, and new lexicon into our politics: we birthed the splitting of votes between Aremu Oke and Aremu Isale. Vote one for Aremu at the top (Obasanjo for president) and one for Aremu at the bottom (Alhaji Lam Adesina). But at the end of the day, General Obasanjo trounced us, with the deployment of all the tricks and antics you can think of.
But, in Lagos, Tinubu, in his wisdom, refused to follow either his fellow governors or Afenifere in supporting Obasanjo, and instead answered his own father’s name. He campaigned only for his party, the Alliance for Democracy. He asked voters to concentrate all their votes at the top, the space for AD on the ballot papers in all the elections.
As we were rollicking to the lovely melody of Aremu Oke and Aremu Isale in the South-West, from Ibadan to Saki, Ogbomosho, Tede, Idere and so on, particularly in Oyo State, the people of Lagos State were ‘eating to the top’ (won un j’eun s’oke). And in the real sense of it, they actually ate well and this is evident, till today, in the yarning gap in riches and wealth between the people of Lagos and those in other parts of Yoruba land.
Tinubu, using all in him: Wisdom, knowledge, smartness, boldness, exposure, contacts, etcetera, turned Lagos around within eight years. Bola Tinubu grew the economy, politics and sociology of Lagos and the stability being enjoyed in Lagos today is as a result of his right leadership. Lagos has become the model for virtually all developmental projects and ideas in Nigeria today.
From Fashola to Ambode to the incumbent Sanwo-Olu, Lagos has continued to progress steadily, while sadly, other states in the West are grappling to survive. Tinubu has established himself as the best and most dynamic leader and politician of this generation.
Certainly, Tinubu, more than any other Nigerian, is the most suitable for the job of being the next president. It is not about, I can do it. What Nigeria deserves now is I have done it before and I am ready, more mature, more experienced and obviously more prepared to do it again. It is not about I worked or learnt under Tinubu, as it is a well known fact that no one can do it as the original person, especially when the teacher is still alive, strong and willing. You can’t beat experience.
As I wish Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu a happy 70th birthday, it is almost certain that he will celebrate his 71stbirthday as the president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He possesses an uncanny ability to win against all odds as he did contrary to the fear lovingly expressed by the late Alhaji Lam Adesina on his chances of returning to the Lagos State Governor’s Office for a second term in 2003.