Growing up, there were many people that had a remarkable influence on us as children. Our parents, teachers at school, Sunday school teachers in church and most certainly the school headmaster, headmistress or principal. These set of people fit perfectly into the MENTOR and ROLE MODEL picture.
A mentor will easily convince you to take a particular line of thought or action even when you are not 100% convinced. You just respect his opinion because you assume his / her opinion will most likely be better.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a powerful man. He was the last man standing from all the governors that came under the Alliance for Democracy (AD) political party in 1999. He survived the tsunami that swept all the other AD governors in 2003. I learned there was intense pressure on him to decamp from AD to the ruling party then; the PDP. However, he chose to remain in AD and later became the rallying force for the party in the South West. He grew the party again and saw them metamorphose to ACN and later merged with other political parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC).
One can only imagine what would have gone through the minds of Bola Tinubu then when he was the only AD governor who later had to battle the Gen Obasanjo led federal government over non-remittance of local govt funds accruable to the state. One could also imagine the fate of all other AD faithful who had lost out in their different states and the attendant expectation from the only AD governor. That may have contributed to the resolve for him to show might and live or chicken out and die.
Tinubu started building his empire and got many people on board. He trusted and empowered traditional rulers, pastors, road transport workers, market men and woman etc setting the stage for his political dynasty. He did not relent to recruit anyone he thought could contribute his quota to the development of Lagos state. He even appointed several non-indigenes into his cabinet. By stretching his arms very wide and giving many people opportunities, he grew his pool of loyalists.
It was remarkable that Nigeria’s vice-president; Prof Yemi Osinbajo said he did not meet Tinubu before Tinubu appointed him commissioner in Lagos state. That means he did not only favour people he knew, but he also empowered people based on referrals as well. Before long many people started referring to him as Oga, Boss, Mentor, Principal, Leader.
Interesting, many people he groomed also started grooming others and then the chain of loyal people became longer. Little wonder it was easy to sway the minds of many people.
I can’t claim to know all the internal workings that may have exalted him to a stealthy untouchable realm, but one thing is sure, his cards keep falling in pleasant places.
The recent APC gubernatorial primary election in Lagos state is a pointer that you stay relevant when you empower, groom or mentor many people that think they owe you back. Many people know the man referred to as the Jagaban is powerful. Perhaps some underrated how powerful he was.
Just a few weeks to the primaries, rumours filtered in the air that the Jagaban won’t be supporting the current governor’s bid for re-election as governor. Rumour is all that was needed to start a campaign against the governor. I did not realise that Ambode had many haters until the rumours of his rejection fettered around. It is instructive to state that the Jagaban did not even make any pronouncement until a few days to the primaries.
Well, for many people it was a pleasant surprise but actually was needed to clear any doubt. One would have thought that governor Ambode too would have garnered some followers that will give the so-called Lion of Bourdillon a good fight. For where? For the singular fact that Ambode was not able to get up to 10% of the votes cast in the primaries, which was done by direct primaries meaning every member of the party is eligible to vote their choice made it a clear confirmation who is in charge and whose opinion is respected more. Almost all the people that voted for Sanwo-olu do not know him personally. They voted for him because their oga, leader, mentor, role model has indicated he is supporting him.
Even when unconfirmed reports trickled in before the APC gubernatorial primaries that the Presidency has opted to support the ambition of the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, it did nothing to affect the results which eventually saw the emergence of Babatunde Sanwo-olu who had the blessing of the Jagaban. Many people did not pay attention to the rumours of the presidency. Even the presidency is swarmed with many of Tinubu’s boys whom he has empowered or given an opportunity at one time or the other. How dem wan do am? Even the president of the country was a beneficiary of Tinubu’s largesse and goodwill.
Funny enough, while it is commonplace to find the names of politicians being abused or ridiculed in the media, it is difficult to find the name of the Jagaban in the news for the wrong reasons. The only derogatory comments you hear about him are perhaps the ones heard on the streets by some resentful individuals, especially about how powerful he presumably is and that he has pocketed the fortunes of the state. Well, there is no verifiable proof of him being complicit in any fraudulent venture.
Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Ahmed Tinubu was arraigned before the Code of Code tribunal a few years ago and was found not guilty. There have also been several talks of the ownership of the Lekki Tollgate as well as the consultancy services for the collection of internally generated revenue for Lagos state. Some individuals have tried to institute sentiments against this gentle, yet not so gentleman. However, all seem not to get the desired effect of dethroning this highly exalted Lion of Bourdillon.
Truth be told, you remain relevant when you reach out to many people and many people in return think they owe you back. Tinubu grew to be a powerful man because he invested in many people. Like him or not, Tinubu is powerful and will be relevant in the scheme of things for a long time to come.
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