Tinubu, Buhari and APC Strange Bedfellows?

Image result for wasiudeen lekanIn response to the recent merger of the opposition parties in Nigeria, where Senator Bola Hammed Tinubu and General Mohammad Buhari are key factors to success of the merger, some online commentators and writers have expressed reservation on the workability of the merger based on the Ideological differences of these men. A particular writer went as far as saying that a ‘pious’ Buhari could never had anything in common with a ‘corrupt’ Tinubu but the later just wanted to ride on the back of the former to get to power. Some observers even worried about the composition of the politicians in the opposition’s APC and how they are different from PDP, as so many of them are disgruntled PDP members.

Let me say I have political admiration for Senator Bola Hammed Tinubu and that is very obvious in my ‘short’ piece. Let me also confess that I am a card carrying member of Action Congress of Nigeria, a party in which Tinubu is a national leader.

My little knowledge of Tinubu, his government and politics give me an insight to what he stands for. He is a man that has shown ability, strength and perseverance in challenging status quo and in fighting for what he believes in. He demonstrated these attributes during the June 12 struggle when he prove to be a die hard democrat. He risked his life and spent his resources for Nigeria to get off the shackle of military rule. He was exiled with so many others just for a democratic Nigeria.


During Obasanjo’s regime, when most governors and states were treated as appendage of the mighty presidency, Bola Hammed Tinubu stood out within his peer as a governor that understood the ‘Federal’ nature of our constitution and he demonstrated that severally when Lagos had to take FG to court when the latter openly breached the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. He did this at the expense of Lagos State financial allocation that was seized by FG. He demonstrated courage and was able to show others, State could run even with withheld Federal Allocation. So many would say it was easy because he was governing Lagos, but the same Lagos was governed by Col Olagunsoye Oyinlola as a military administrator and he could not procure bitumen to patch roads.


Tinubu, also after leaving the office of governor of Lagos State did not try enlisting in the senate like some of ex governors usually do. He assumed the role of freeing states from the shackle of Poverty Development Party. He was successful with states in SouthWest and Edo and I challenge everyone to go see the infrastructure renewal these states are going through. I reside in Ibadan and drove round town these afternoon, I was marveled by the size and level of road reconstruction and expansion that is going on across the state capital. All at once! I then wonder, just like many are wondering, what has been happening to state resources before now. We were made to believe the state was poor and couldn’t build infrastructure as required. Same with Osun state where Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola govern. Before Governor Adams Oshiomole came on-board in Edo State we are all witness to what the story of Edo was. It is same story with infrastructure renewal in Ogun and Ekiti State. The pace and magnitude these ACN governors works gives me hope that with good leadership Nigeria can be better. It is also true that these governors still have a lot to do in real development of the people and thier welfare, but at least they have started. Tinubu’s vision in working with these men wouldn’t have just been coincidence but ability to recognize talents and creating a good environment and structure for the talents to blossom. That to me is hallmark of a good and strategic leadership.


The most successful succession Nigerian political space had ever witnessed is the transition of Bola Tinubu and Mr Raji Fashola. For me, a good leader is that who find a better successor. I do call on anyone that has seen better political transition in Nigeria political history, (save for the transition between Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr. Micheal Okpara as the premier of Eastern Region in the first republic) to please educate me. It is not that their relationship had been without rancour but the political wisdom both sides had used in nurturing the relationship is what fascinate me. Though, so many armchair critics would rather Fashola slug it out, politically, with Tinubu and free himself from the bondage of ‘corrupt’ political god Father. The questions I have for them are; at the expense of what? good leadership? development? or peace? I would rather political scientist study this rare synergy that has worked in building good Institutions and good governance in Nigeria’s most populous states. It should be deployed in freeing the Nation from bondage of bad governance.

Tinubu, just like any mortal has his own faults and can never come close to being called a saint. But he is human and I have never seen a perfect human being. The political virtues have seen him demonstrate and his courage even when he was a lone voice, adhered my young mind to him and he earned my political respect more than so many of his contemporary. He, for example, was one (if not the only one) governor that came out openly during the Obasanjo’s third term brouhaha to state emphatically that he needed no third term as a governor and would not support such for any political executive. He has been consistent in his democratic values. He has stated his believe for a modern and democratic Nigeria and I think that is what he stand for.


I can not say much of democratic values of General Buhari because my only knowledge of him administering was as military head of government. As a young boy, my experience of his government was horrific. But I now see a man that has consistently stayed with the people and has vision of what the nation should be for good. He may not be so articulate outlining his visions (he wasn’t in the last presidential debate) but he has got a great deal of passion for a good and better Nigeria where the masses will live a better and more humane life.


If both men are coming together in political merger, I am strongly of the opinion that they will greatly compliment each other, provided both can put personal interest and ambition asides and put the nation first. And maybe for the very first time Nigeria can have a government for Nigerians.


–Olalekan Wasiudeen contributed this piece

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