Questions have always been asked, over the centuries, about the secret ingredients that make up the pot pourri of political leadership, especially with regards to those who dictate the affairs of men and materials.
While William Shakespeare, the literary icon opined that: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”, the led majority often looks out for certain outstanding character traits in people who epitomize their collective dreams.
They identify more easily with those who have the capacity and capability to articulate enduring solutions to their most nagging and intractable challenges. More so, leaders whose life trajectories have followed the inspiring path of zero-to-hero.
And those who have at one time or the other worn their tattered shoes, know where they pinch them most and are always willing to use their time, money and other resources to assuage their pains.
One man whose legion of friends, fans and political associates, here in Nigeria and beyond our shores, would today doff their hats for, click and raise their glasses to toast to his 65 chequered years in resilience and resourcefulness is none other than Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu.
As they celebrate with the man some love to call ‘the master strategist’ and others ‘the game-changer’, one cannot but take a sober moment to drink from the fountain of his illustrious life.
In so doing, one comes in humility to glean lasting lessons in character, courage, charisma, confidence, candour and compassion (the 6C principles). Others come in a mixed milieu of humility, honesty, integrity, decisiveness, responsibility, passion, reliability and dependability. Does he have all these qualities, or less, or even maybe more?
That remains the testy task for scholars in the political evolution of Nigeria to unravel. But for now, a few examples of the exhibition of these attributes would suffice. One of that is his uncanny ability or knack to identify sterling leadership qualities in people, while others grope in the darkness of doubts and don’ts.
Specifically in 2007 when the gubernatorial market din swirled in Lagos over who would be his successor, he went for his erstwhile Chief of Staff, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).
Though many analysts felt he was then a political neophyte, as the governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC), Tinubu knew that Lagos, with its increasing population and industrial/ environmental challenges needed a man who knew and stood by the rules of law like the wavy lines on his palms. History has since proved him right.
And so it has with the wave-making, Akinwunmi Ambode, the visionary, vibrant and versatile incumbent governor of the Centre of Excellence, Lagos.
When the coast was getting clear for political dreamers, jobbers and adventurers to throw their hats into the gubernatorial ring of the state in 2014 few, if any, looked the way of Ambode.
True, he may have traversed the civil service landscape as an auditor for not less than 13 local councils.
Yes, he may also have risen to the enviable posts of Accountant General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance as part of his 27 years sojourn in the civil service but what has that got to do with the nitty-gritty of riding the wave crests of the murky waters of Nigeria’s brand of power and politics. In fact, the man looked too gentle to equate to the average political aggressor.
Yet, again Tinubu saw in him, the most capable and trusted professional to lift Lagos above the rising tide of the looming economic recession. He knew that Nigeria was on the verge of that, what with the dwindling oil revenue and after the restless run of ravenous locusts of the PDP-led government at the centre.
But few did not. As recent events have proven and considering his remarkable achievements in infrastructural development, transportation, healthcare delivery, education, entertainment and tourism, within a short span of two years even Tinubu’s most critical political opponents are openly asking for the magic wand.
But as the Pidgin English parlance in Nigeria goes, ‘dey no dey buy am for market’. It is an unusual gift from God, given to few men for the benefit of all. Indeed, great political leaders “analyse problems; identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to political party, but rather on what is good and right and in the best interest of the nation as a whole”.
Again, Tinubu’s open endorsement of the then All Peoples Congress (APC) candidateand the current President Muhammadu Buhari will for eons stand him in good stead. And in the South-West, where he hails from, Tinubu has become the respected rallying point, preaching peace, even across political divides.
Little wonder that informed politicians from the wellinformed axis now speak with one voice, on burning national issues. He remains a critical catalyst for the socio-economic integration of the hugely blessed zone.
History therefore, beckons on him to continue to use his unique and uncommon political wisdom and wizardry to seek the best and the brightest, for both state and country. He deserves all the accolades showered on him.
For, anyone or group of people who ignores him as the march begins towards 2019 does so at their own peril. It is 65 big gbosas to Nigeria’s most revered political colossus, still standing tall at 65!
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