JAGABAN AT 65: BETRAYAL OF PROGRESSIVISM
All leaders whether great or perfidious have a similar attribute: the sighting of opportunities in crisis and the capitalizing of it to advance their political interests.
Adolf Hitler, a tramp who failed twice to make it to the Vienna Arts School and was practically living as a mendicant after his discharge from the army saw the greatest problem of his adopted country, Germany in the unfair terms it suffered from the Treaty of Versailles. He looked inwards and discovered he possessed the gift of the garb and saw the Jews as the greatest obstacle to Germany’s political and economic development. On the invitation of Anton Drexler, the founder of the National Socialist German Workers Party popularly known as the Nazis, he joined the party in 1919, the year after World War 1 and was consistent in the spread of his anti-Semitic message which propelled him to the Chancellorship of Germany in 1933 despite his limited education and the fact that he was originally Austrian.
Vladimir Ilynich Ulyanov otherwise known as V.I. Lenin revived the Marxist ideas as espoused by Karl Marx in his 1848 Communist Manifesto and used it as the ideological basis to establish the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 toppled Czar Nicholas II and abolished the Russian monarchy forever. He spearheaded the ‘Jihad’ that created a parallel ideological bloc which was the remote cause of the cold war from his then base in exile in Switzerland. The success of the revolution encouraged Fidel Castro to take up arms to yank off the corrupt administration of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and battled the United States of America to a standstill surviving numerous assassination attempts and against all odds defeated the military forces of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Lenin’s success also greatly inspired Chairman Mao Zedong who founded the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 after banishing the forces of Chiang Kai-Shek to Taiwan. He spearheaded the Cultural Revolution which set the foundation for the current reality of China being the world’s fastest growing economy.
Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu deftly read the political barometer with keen interest and deciphered that most Nigerians earnestly yearned for the military to return to the Barracks. He took a gargantuan risk by leaving the cozy comforts of his job as the Mobil treasurer to plunge into the unknown by delving headlong and possibly without a life jacket into the murky waters of Nigerian politics.
Heeding the Biblical injunction that a man that puts his hands on the plough and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom, he contested the Lagos West Senatorial District election in December 12, 1991 and won with the highest number of votes in the history of the nation at the time. The Social Democratic Party in which he belonged to had the toga of a leftist party modeled after the British Labour Party and had mass appeal. During the time of the crisis in the Lagos SDP between the Late Professor Femi Agbalajobi and Dapo Sarumi, he pitched his tent with the latter and stuck with him through thick and thin despite his disqualification alongside his arch rival from the party shortly before the gubernatorial primaries. The origin of his philosophy of not cross carpeting started from there as he didn’t quit the party despite the fact that Chief Yomi Edu was later fielded as the gubernatorial flag bearer as the compromise candidate.
When the annulment of the June 12 elections happened in 1993, he was among the most virulent critics of military rule. He suffered greatly for his democratic beliefs. His house was bombed and he was forced to flee on exile to the United Kingdom as his financing of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) put him on a collision course with the then military authorities.
While in exile, he became a mentor to then budding democrats like Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Dele Momodu etc and made many personal sacrifices in the fight for the actualisation of the validation of the June 12 Presidential elections. He was among those that put down the funds for the establishment of Radio Freedom popularly known as Radio Kudirat which was a thorn in the flesh of the military junta. Saw influential was the radio station whose base was largely unknown to the authorities that the deaths of Pa Alfred Rewane and Alhaja Kudirat Abiola occurred as a result of their being linked to the media hub.
The then nemesis of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha kicked the bucket on June 8, 1998 and this gave him the impetus to hurriedly return home and take an active part in the democratic process.
Tragically, the vicious cycle that has been a curse on African liberty fighters became the lot of the future Jagaban. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Sir Dawda Jawara amongst many African leaders failed to metamorphose from freedom fighters to successful leaders.
When the 1998 gubernatorial primaries of the Alliance for Democracy was done, the late Engineer Funsho Williams won the primaries fair and square. The inordinately ambitious Asiwaju lobbied the Afenifere elders whose ‘wisdom’ made them snatch the ticket from Williams fondly known as Captain on the pretext that the former played a key role in Nadeco and his adopted mother was the President-General of the Nigerian Market Women Association. Williams was then given the Lagos East Senatorial Seat in compensation which he gave to his friend, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe.
What did Tinubu really achieve as the Governor of Lagos State? How did his tenure in Alausa espouse the ideals of progressivism which was formulated by the Action Group led by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo whose name the then leaders of the Alliance for Democracy used to sweep the votes in the South-West? How many low cost houses were built in the state when he held sway as the helmsman? How was education massively impacted with his international contacts? What did he do to end the tout menace popularly known as agberos? Why wasn’t a railway built to connect all the parts of the state to reduce the daily gridlock? What did he do for healthcare? What programme did he have on ground to attract some successful members of the diaspora back home taking advantage of the strategic position of Lagos State as the economic nerve centre of West Africa?
The entire country remembers Awolowo for his free education even though I have personal reservations against it and have publicly criticised it, the building of the cocoa house, Liberty Stadium etc. What is Jagaban known for? Historians will forever that his real name is probably Amoda Ogunlere and is probably from Iragbiji in Osun state, we will remember that there is no record of his having classmates who said that they were at Government College Ibadan together, the University of Chicago scandal still hovers round his head like a Sword of Damocles. Who really is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu? That question merely throws open a Pandora’s Box.
The APC coalition was his brainchild and it has brought nothing but pain and misery to the lives of his fellow countrymen. No power, water, low quality education, agony unimaginable has become the lot and new normal of Nigerians. The suicide rates have astronomically increased. The Asiwaju is not known to criticise Buhari’s anti-people policies and is not known to openly or tacitly be on the side of the beleaguered people. When Yahya Jammeh was forced out of power, he was ferried out of The Gambia with Tinubu’s private jet. How did he acquire the funds to make such a highly prized purchase? When you consider the mind boggling allegations made by the True Face of Lagos of his obscene wealth, it is crystal clear that the whole change mantra was nothing short of the ranting of ruthless confidence men.
It is a monumental tragedy that Tinubu has morphed from a pretender liberty fighter to something worse than the Capone of a deadly Mafioso. As he turns 65 in 48 hours, it is high time he reflected on how he can make amends as he is already in the evening of his life.
It was at that same age that Colonel Harlan Sanders sold the recipe that gave birth to the global KFC. It is never too late for Jagaban to turn a new leaf.
I disagree with the assertion that a fool at fourty is a fool forever. You can teach old dog new tricks and can also be left-handed in old age.
Over to you Jagaban!