By Babajide Fadoju
Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu is a Nigerian politician and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is popularly referred to as “JAGABAN”. He was born on March 29, 1952, in Lagos State, Nigeria. In the mid-1970s he moved to the United States, took on many odd jobs while he finished his college education. Transcripts show that Tinubu attended Southwest College (now Richard J. Daley College) in Chicago and then transferred to Chicago State University, where he bagged a B.S. in Business and Administration degree in 1979 with honours.
Before going into politics, he worked as an executive in the accounting department of Mobil Oil Nigeria in the 1980s where he gained experience in corporate management and finance. This gave him the skills and experience necessary for his political career. After his job at Mobil Oil Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu established his own businesses before going into politics. The first was a consulting firm that provided financial management and advisory services to various clients. Apart from these businesses, Tinubu is also known for his philanthropic activities which is a basic reason for the establishment of the Tinubu Foundation known for its poverty alleviation programs, education and healthcare support services in Nigeria.
Having excelled in education and professional career, his political journey started far back in the 1990s when he became a member of Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) led by the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. The Yar’adua later became a formidable bloc within the then Social Democratic Party (SDP). The presidential candidate for his party, SDP, in person of business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola emerged the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election but was never declared the winner because the Military head at the time, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida annulled the elections. An Election that was supposed to be a true definition of democracy and transition to civilian rule resulted in a quasi-military coup d’etat.
After the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Tinubu joined forces with pro-democracy activists to form National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) to fight for the deannulment of the election that was won by the late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola. Tinubu’s pro-democracy activities annoyed the Late General Sani Abacha and he was forced into exile along with his comrades at arms. After five years in exile, Tinubu returned to Nigeria in 1998 following the sudden and unexpected death of General Abacha.
On his journey to ensure democratic leadership in Nigeria, Tinubu had contested for a position in the Nigerian Senate in 1992, where he represented the Lagos West Senatorial District. During his tenure as a senator, he was the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance, and Appropriation. Having gained experience within Nigeria’s political structure, he took a step to make Lagos a better place. In 1999, Tinubu contested for the post of the Governor of Lagos State under the banner of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) party. He won and served two terms as Governor of Lagos State between the years 1999 to 2007.
On his assumption of office as Lagos Governor, Tinubu created a team that worked together to implement policies that helped improve the state’s economy and infrastructure, such as the introduction of the Lagos State Revenue Administration Law and the creation of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, the Lagos State Revenue Law and the Land Use Charge. All of these developments helped to significantly increase the state’s revenue. He implemented a number of infrastructural projects in the state. These projects include the construction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Ojota interchange bridge, and the redevelopment of the Lagos Island Central Business District. He established the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to manage the state’s traffic congestion. The creation of LASTMA has greatly reduced the regular frustration that comes with traffic congestion thereby efficiently reducing the stress that comes with movement around the state.
Tinubu’s government also introduced reforms in the education sector. These reforms helped in the establishment of new primary and secondary schools, the rehabilitation of existing schools, and the introduction of the EKO Project, which aimed to improve the quality of education in the state.
The Health sector was not left out. His tenure implemented reforms in the health sector, which saw the establishment of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and the construction of new health centres across the state.
With full understanding that a government with a high unemployment rate is an aimless government, he created job opportunities through the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority (LSADA) to promote entrepreneurship and job creation. He also took serious measures against the high level of insecurity across the state. A number of measures to improve security in the state were created, including the establishment of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) and the introduction of a Neighbourhood Watch system to complement the efforts of the police. These great achievements as Governor of Lagos State contributed significantly to the development of the state and earned him recognition as one of the most successful governors in Nigeria’s history.
Following his dreams to ensure better governance, economic growth and development, Poverty eradication, good security and improved general living standards of people across states in Nigeria, he endorsed several trusted and capable hands as political leaders in Nigeria at different levels of government.
Some of the notable political leaders that have received Tinubu’s endorsement include: Babatunde Raji Fashola. Tinubu endorsed Fashola’s candidacy for Governor of Lagos State in 2007 and played a significant role in his victory at the polls. Fashola served two terms as governor and later became a Minister of Power, Works and Housing under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akinwunmi Ambode: Tinubu endorsed Ambode’s candidacy for Governor of Lagos State in 2015, and he went on to win the election. Ambode served one term as governor and was succeeded by Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Abiola Ajimobi: He endorsed the candidacy of Abiola Ajimobi for Governor of Oyo State having convinced the latter to ditch private practice to become a Senator hitherto.
Kayode Fayemi: He also endorsed Fayemi’s candidacy for Governor of Ekiti State in 2018, and he won the election. Fayemi had previously served as Minister of Solid Minerals under President Buhari.
Rotimi Akeredolu: Tinubu endorsed Akeredolu’s candidacy for Governor of Ondo State in 2016, and also endorsed Akeredolu’s re-election bid in 2020, which he won.
Dapo Abiodun: He endorsed the current Governor of Ogun state.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu: Tinubu also endorsed the current governor of Lagos State.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo: Yemi Osinbajo is one of Tinubu’s achievements in leadership production. He is one of the best Vice Presidents Nigeria has ever had in years. Osinbajo’s selection as Buhari’s running mate was widely praised, as he was viewed as a competent and experienced administrator with a background in law and academia. During his tenure as Vice President, Osinbajo has played a key role in the Buhari administration, particularly in the areas of economic reform, anti-corruption, and social intervention programs.
President Muhammadu Buhari: In 2015, Tinubu endorsed Muhammadu Buhari as the president of Nigeria under the APC.
It is worth noting that Tinubu’s endorsements have in time past been regarded as significant in Nigerian politics, as he is a powerful and influential figure in the country’s political landscape. However, it is ultimately up to the voters to decide whom they elect into office.
In the 2022 presidential primaries, Tinubu made his interest in being the next president of Nigeria known to the masses with a 10-point agenda which offered Nigerians a new and restructured society based on shared prosperity, tolerance, compassion, and the unwavering commitment to treating each citizen with equal respect and due regard. Everyone expected the primaries to be a race between Yemi Osinbajo and Tinubu. Tinubu however showed his political genius as he won the majority vote and then became the presidential flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The battle for the presidential seat was a tough one as there were other prominent participants from other political parties. This came at a time when the majority of the citizens were tired of the ruling party (APC) and also the rule of the older generation. Tinubu, alongside the flagbearer of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar at this time were regarded as one of the older generations as he was 70 years old at the time he contested. There were the likes of Peter Obi, a former Governor of Anambra state from the Labour Party, and other candidates that were deemed much younger and vibrant.
Due to the incessant need for change, an interesting struggle between youths and the older generation surfaced and at a point it looked like the Almighty “JAGABAN” was going to lose the election to a younger generation. As the collation process was ongoing, he lost even his own state. However, by sheer dint of fate, he got higher votes in Ekiti, Kwara, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, in the West, Jigawa, Niger, Kano, Kogi, Niger, Zamfara, Borno, Benue in the North.
In the South East and South South he got Rivers and did very well in Imo, Ebonyi and Edo States. With a clear pan-Nigeria mandate and spread, Tinubu won the presidential election with a total vote of 8,794,726.
On the 25th of February 2023, a great decision was made by Nigerians. A chance for hope was chosen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared elected as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on March 1, 2023 by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Looking back at his efforts in good governance and democracy from 1999 till date, it will be right to say that Tinubu will not only ensure that all programmes in his development agenda are met, but will also work fervently to bring about the rebirth of Nigeria thereby making Nigeria a HOME for all citizens.
Our hope is Renewed and a better nation is assured.
° Fadoju is a political analyst