There are leaders across the world who have made impact on the sands of time. Of the lot, some tower above others but as some have said, leaving marks on the sands of time is often not enough as waves can wash away the footprints of men. There is some sense in that saying and when one looks at the life of the highly esteemed National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it can be seen that his legacy isn’t just of the “footprints on the sands of time” variety but that it also includes towering monuments of greatness and concrete realities that many can attest to from afar.
It is such that has brought the man yet another honour and drawn commendations from across Nigeria, and indeed outside the country. This past weekend, the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University conferred a honorary doctorate degree on Bola Tinubu during its 3rd Combined Convocation in Lapai, Niger State. As the acclaimed political leader and proven kingmaker received the truly deserved honour, in his remarks he called on all Nigerians “board the train of progress or it would pass us by”. He went on to say that, “All of us must continue to do all within our capacities, individually and collectively, so that we direct the ship of state with a steady helm and hand over a vibrant and strengthened nation to these young leaders assembled before us. Our young people deserve the best of what we can give them”.
True words and sagely counsel are a constant feature of Bola Tinubu’s mind and as he made those remarks, he also commended one of Nigeria’s vibrant young leaders, the Governor of Niger State, His Excellency Abubakar Sani Bello. The Governor was present at the investiture and not merely because the IBB University which was honouring Tinubu is sited in the state he governs. The Niger State Governor is an outlier amongst his peers and has without much fanfare been setting his state on the right path towards progress in the 21st century. Indeed, when the National Leader of the APC spoke of handing over a vibrant and strengthened nation to the young leaders present that day, many keen observers of governance noted that the Niger State governor epitomized the kind of young leader that should be empowered to lead Nigeria into the future. Abubakar Sani Bello is galvanizing action towards bettering the lot of his people and just a few weeks ago was with Bill Gates in the USA and Aliko Dangote to seek ways to improve healthcare in his state and bring development to his people. Stemming from that meeting, Niger State is in the process of receiving foreign direct investments and is well on its way to emerging from the rot and systemic decay that years of misrule by the PDP plunged it into.
In a somewhat related development, political analysts and pundits have been pointing to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello as a man who should be given a shot at being President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor should power remain in the North in 2023. What began as whispers in the corridors of power amongst kingmakers and power brokers is becoming the subject of open conversations to the effect that the Niger State governor should be the Vice President in 2023, should power rotate to the South of Nigeria in 2023. He is liked by many including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who is rumoured to be nursing the ambition of running for President in 2023. Should he pick Abubakar Sani Bello as his running mate, it would be a wise decision, and it would be the same for whoever gets the APC’s presidential ticket in the next general elections cycle.
2023 may still be about three years away but it appears certain strategic decisions are already being taken towards that time. May Bola Tinubu’s call for Nigerians to board the train of progress be heeded and may Nigeria join the comity of nations that are vibrant, strengthened and blessed with young, able leaders at its helm.