If there is any yeoman’s job to be done, go for the man who can do it. That in my view is what President Muhammadu Buhari has done by picking Ahmed Bola Tinubu, senator and two-term governor of Lagos State and the widely acclaimed national leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, to undertake the difficult assignment of reconciling members of the party.
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I wager that in this country today, as at this moment, and in the current circumstances, there appears to be nobody better qualified and better suited for this assignment than the Jagaban of Borgu. An astute and street wise politician and a dogged fighter for democracy and human rights, Senator Tinubu, popularly called Asiwaju, was in the trenches in the fight for democracy during the Abacha’s days of infamy. He stood solidly by Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential election to fight for the actualisation of his mandate.
His entry into full time politics in 1993 when he was elected senator was due most probably to the June 12 fight. As a passionate politician and humanist, he has not looked back since then. His greatest political feat aside from the great legacy of sound vision that he left behind and on which Lagos thrives today, is the successful fusion of his party ACN with CNC and ANPP and the break-away factions of PDP, APGA and others to form APC which, in an unprecedented political triumph, uprooted the PDP and sent an incumbent president packing. In his place was installed General Muhammadu Buhari, a confessed born-again democrat, who had tried three times and failed three times to clinch the presidency until divine providence brought these once disparate groups together to form an alliance of progressive forces. The rest, as they say, is history.
Undoubtedly, the Asiwaju would like to give all it takes to succeed. In fact, there is enough motivation for him to do so. A greater impetus for success which is known to only those close to him is the fact that cynics have already dubbed this assignment as a difficult and risky assignment. As a risk taker, the more the risk the more Senator Tinubu is lured into it.
The Asiwaju’s mission in politics may have been informed by the type of nationalistic fervour which fired General Charles De Gaulle to seek the presidency of French Fifth Republic after successfully dismantling the disparate and fractious political parties in the parliamentary system that were pulling France in various directions. De Gaulle wanted power not for what it could do for him but for what he could do with it. Richard Nixon, discussing the leadership qualities of De Gaulle, in his profile of world leaders, put it this way: “What separates the men from the boys in politics is that the boys want high office in order to be somebody, the men want high office in order to do something.” More: