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Asiwaju Bola Tinubu At Sixty And The Lessons.

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Last week, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the foremost opposition leader in the Nigeria at present, the National Leader of the ACN, former Governor of Lagos, former distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, famed NADECO leader, the

 Logician extraordinaire, strategic planner, great thinker, celebrated his sixtieth birthday. The sheer volume of encomiums, tributes, eulogies and the unprecedented support he garnered from all nooks and crannies of the federation on this occasion, the felicitations of friends, associates, well wishers, admirers, and even political foes was a study in the worthwhile life of a man that has staked all for the freedom of the country. In our search for true nationhood and the deft search for significant personages that serve as uniting balms for such envisaged nationhood, this widespread national outpouring of love and affection is worth re-visiting for us to establish the umbilical cord that should bind our nation together and drive its quest for true nationhood. It is a given that leadership in Nigeria is such a horrible mess. It is a given that Nigeria is afflicted with worrying leadership deficit that has arrested the progress and development of the country. It is a given that Nigeria is going through a dire strait occasioned by bad leadership. But the kind of universal acclaim Asiwaju Tinubu received on his recent birthday celebration raises great hope for a desirable and broadly accepted leadership to start the quest for Nigerian regeneration. The general we feeling that attended Asiwaju's birthday is a pointer that all is not lost for Nigeria, that we still have windows of hope on our sore and raped country, that we have a great opportunity to salvage our country from the paths of ruination and doom.

When one recalls that Nigerians are not in the habit to celebrate their brightest and bests, that Nigerians are lethargic in identifying and celebrating their real heroes while alive, we will have enormous opportunity to see the countrywide encomiums that came to Tinubu during his recent birthday celebration as pointing the road to a proper identification of the natural leaders and acceptable icons that can lead our quest fir nationhood. That Tinubu was to draw the low and mighty to one national celebration shows he has the potentates of a rallying figure, broadly accepted and well admired to break the rising cleavage to sectional and tribal irredentism.

The cliché that a prophet is not without honour except in his homeland was roundly debunked by the mix of native and pan national celebration of a man that spares nothing to fight for the extension of the frontiers of individual freedom and egalitarianism. The huge gathering and commitment of associates, friends and political foes to celebrate the envious life of the Asiwaju says a lot on the possibilities that still exist with the wobbly and dithering state that Nigeria has turned out to be. It points a way that leadership is possible and that something could still be redeemed from the parlous state of affairs in Nigeria presently.

One wants to point out that the universal celebration of Tinubu at sixty leaves an indelible lesson that leadership is not a given. It has to be worked for. It has to be earned. It has to be cultivated. It has to be maintained and sustained for it to endure. Leadership is not self conferred. While leadership draws a lot of envy and petty jealousy, it can survive any situation when it is deeply rooted and well structured. It has to be built on people and must take the people's factor as its cornerstone for it to prevail. Asiwaju Tinubu has gone through tribulation, witch-hunting and persecution to get to this day. He has been assailed by those who feel rightly threatened by his rising profile. He has gone through the willful slander who see his burgeoning profile as marking the death of their own lowly profiles but he had been survived because his years in the fight against the military and his later years as a scourge to budding civilian autocrats and anti democratic demons has stood him in good stead to do the needed battles to remain firm and unyielding for the darts trained against him.

In the process of this battle that widens the frontiers of human freedom, Tinubu has been able to garner the admiration of his friends and associates whose fidelity to the cause he had to trust in the course of his many battles. He has also been able to earn the fear and trepidation of his foes who are left in awe as to how he had been able to get this far with the risky quest he has undertaken over the years. His perseverance and endless strings of victories are just rewards for his tenacity of purpose and his doggedness. They are veritable pointers that leadership comes with reward and that with proper investment; leadership could be made to yield proper dividends for the people. The South West is presently reaping the dividends of Tinubu's sagacity and despite the antics of nay sayers, this bodes well for the entire region, as we have seen the tenacious way the region is achieving regional integration through the vision that could only flow from the visionary in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

One believes there is a whole lot of lessons to be drawn by the East, North and indeed the entire country draw from the kind of national we-feeling that attended the Asiwaju's recent birthday celebration. The most important lesson is that we need to invest in leadership by which I mean the country should look for leaders that are not easily influenced or bought over, a leadership that knows the heartbeat and pulse of the people and is ever ready to sacrifice to let the people have their way. All parts of Nigeria must search for, discover and raise for themselves leaders, with national outlook that understands the issues concerning their people as well as how to go about these issues and harness them for the greater benefit for their people and the nation as a whole. In all these however, one fact that became obvious is that Nigerians still know their genuine leaders and can identify with them when the need arises. With this in mind, let us focus on the next level of national integration, with such leaders leading the march. That is what we should draw from the pan-national celebration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu's birthday.

Joe Igbokwe.