Bola Ahmed Tinubu at 70.

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Bola Tinubu

He holds the chieftaincy title of Asiwaju of Lagos after the late Oba Adeyinka Oyekan so honoured him when he was serving as the governor of the state.

 

But last week, at the opening ceremony of Dangote Fertilizer Plant at Lekki, Africa’s biggest industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote elevated the title to the Asiwaju of Nigeria.

Bola Tinubu

Asiwaju means a worthy leader and exactly that is who Tinubu is.

Tinubu led others in academics at Chicago State University, Illinois, Chicago, United States of America. He is the second most notable student the university has produced. That’s a university that has been in existence since 1867.

 

Tinubu left for Nigeria and became an Auditor at Mobil Oil Producing Unlimited. He wandered why a big oil company as Mobil was operating its headquarters in a rented apartment and so he set out to establish a befitting head office for the company and in record time, he got it done and the company moved to its own building at Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

Tinubu brought a lot of innovation into the financial operations of the international oil company that he was elevated to the exalted office of the Treasurer.

That is a worthy leader, you would all agree with me.

Tinubu and Wife, Oluremi Tinubu

Tinubu left this well paid job to venture into politics because he was convinced that he has to use his God given abilities to develop the general society. The pressure from his bosses and colleagues was enormous but a worthy leader must be decisive.

 

He joined politics and became the youngest elected Senator and one with the highest number of votes all over Nigeria under the defunct Social Democratic Party.

 

Tinubu was primed to be crowned the President of the Senate until late MKO Abiola became a possible choice to fly the party’s presidential ticket.

 

Tinubu knew that a worthy leader must be ready to make sacrifice and so, he stepped down so that Abiola’s chance of winning the party’s ticket would not be jeopardized since both are from South West. Rather than insist on becoming the Senate President, he followed Abiola loyally so that his aspiration could be fulfilled.

 

When the military annulled Abiola’s electoral victory, Mobil Oil wanted Tinubu back but Asiwaju wanted to lead the fight against the injustice with other leaders mostly the older ones. He put his life on the line.

 

He was a target of the military because he was a major financier of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, a group that had become a bone it the narrow throat of the military junta.

Bola Tinubu

And as they say, a good warrior must know when to launch an attack and when to withdraw. Tinubu knew this and he knew that he would only be able continue the struggle if he remained alive. He left his comfort zone and found his way to neighbouring Benin Republic from where he later moved to America.

If that’s not an attribute of a worthy leader, then what is?

When the military eventually left, Tinubu contested and won the Lagos state gubernatorial election defeating Dapo Sarumi of PDP. Asiwaju was the candidate of Alliance for Democracy, AD.

Tinubu wasted no time in turning around the fortunes of Lagos state by forming a cabinet of very capable hands and brains.

The finances of the state took a leap unprecedented in any part of this country when he moved the internally generated revenue from around N600m a month to N8b.

Tinubu did not hide from the fact that development of the state had to be catalyzed and so he created new local government adminstrative centres across the length and breadth of the state.

From 20 local government areas, he created 37 new local council development areas to bring government closer to the people and to hasten it.

Federal government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo would not hear anything of such. Allocations meant for the local government were withheld. The state government instead of crying all over the place, took the right and legitimate step by approaching the court.

Lagos state government won at the Supreme Court but the funds were still not released.

What would a worthy leader do?

Tinubu was already making money for the state and so he was able to continue his developmental projects without owing civil servants salaries.

Again, while most other second term governors were struggling to become Senators, Tinubu was again ready to sacrifice for the continued growth and development of the state by supporting the candidacy of Fashola by putting aside his own ambition.

In 2014, Nigerians were tired of PDP misrule but there was no viable opposition with the national spread enough to wrestle power from them.

Tinubu approached General Muhammadu Buhari, a man who had earlier contested three times but failed to win and who had vowed not to run again.

Tinubu ensured that no ACN elements in the new APC contested the party’s ticket with GMB.

Today, the rest is history.

Give me a definition of a worthy leader and I will present to you today’s celebrant, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban Borgu and Asiwaju of Nigeria.

(c) Tinubu Support Group Diaspora