By now, you must be familiar with the “Tinubu anthem“. If not, here it goes:
“On your mandate, we shall stand”.
It is not some self-conferred anthem; rather, it is the slogan of those who believe in the political prowess of the legendary politician, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to lead Nigerians.
The clamour for Tinubu to become Nigeria’s President in 2023 might come as a surprise to some because he is yet to indicate his interest in running for the position and has continued to remain silent despite the rumours and the different support groups throwing their weight behind him. However, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise because Bola Tinubu has proven to be an insightful, effective and successful leader over the years.
Tinubu’s involvement in office started in 1992 when, as one of the founding members of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), he was elected as the Senator representing Lagos West constituency. This was short-lived by the annulment of the 1993 democratic elections which saw the country return to military rule under the late Gen. Sani Abacha. Tinubu joined the popular National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a pro-democracy group that engaged the military government for the return of democracy. As a result of this, he faced many threats, persecution and was arrested and detained on different occasions. Eventually, he fled the country for safety but continued to support NADECO’s mission abroad.
Tinubu returned to Nigeria in 1998, after the death of Sani Abacha. In 1999, he was elected Governor of Lagos State under the Alliance for Democracy Party (AD). He held this position for eight years and successfully led the state despite a fall-out with the Obasanjo-led government which unconstitutionally stopped the state’s monthly federal allocation. However, he was still able to achieve a lot in those years. Some of his achievements include the establishment of five additional general hospitals in Lagos State; the establishment of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA); pioneering the creation of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system and LAGBUS — an initiative that has helped to cater to the transportation needs of the teeming Lagos population; and many more.
Even as the current National Leader of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), he serves the public through job creation, poverty alleviation schemes, scholarships and rehabilitation of cultural heritage sites; the most recent being the Arewa House Library. He has proven himself as one of the most patriotic and successful politicians in Nigeria today.
But Tinubu is not just a shrewd politician. He is also a man who grooms leaders; a mentor with an eye for unique human talents that can achieve the best results in business and politics. He is often called the ‘Godfather of Lagos‘. While his detractors may give this title a negative meaning, it is an apt description of his magnanimous endorsement, support, and guidance of the Lagos State Governors who have succeeded him. Tinubu has been able to attain this level of reverence by grooming great leaders; notably, he groomed Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) who led one of the best administrations Lagos State has ever witnessed, following in the footsteps of his immediate predecessor. Likewise, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila who is one of Tinubu’s proteges. The masterful competence displayed by both men is only a reflection of Tinubu’s abilities as a leader and a mentor.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is an inclusive leader, just like his mentors, India’s Mahatma Gandhi and our very own Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He neither believes nor engages in do-or-die politics. He opens not just his heart but his home to everyone no matter the tribe, religion, status and even political affiliation. He strongly believes in the unity and comfort of Nigerians and has made sacrifices, tolerated and endured hardships to make his dreams of a better nation come to life.
With his evergreen achievements, it won’t be flattery to attribute the success of APC in Nigeria to Tinubu’s dexterity. He was the key player in the merger between the Action Congress (AC), the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) that led to the birth of the ruling party, APC. Over and again, Tinubu has demonstrated his ability to lead people and substantial political systems; a group of people — SWAGA’23 — have caught up on this.
These people are not just believing; they are acting on their belief in Bola Tinubu as the right candidate for President in 2023 and are spearheading the campaign on his behalf. SWAGA’23, the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023, is led by former Minister of Works and Media Adviser to the late M.K.O Abiola, Prince Dayo Adeyeye. Prince Adeyeye is SWAGA’23 National Chairman, while former Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi is the Vice National Chairman. On the 15th of December, 2020, SWAGA’23 was inaugurated in Ibadan, where its regional chapter is located. Since then, SWAGA’23 has established more chapters in other western states like Lagos, Osun, Ogun and Ekiti States.
SWAGA’23 has been aggressively meeting and consulting with stakeholders to ensure the endorsement of Bola Tinubu for President come 2023. They are currently on a state tour in Lagos and have visited monarchs and traditional leaders in Lagos to solicit endorsements and backing for him. Their efforts have not been in vain; so far, some prominent monarchs and leaders, notably from the Badagry Division, have endorsed Bola Ahmed Tinubu and given him and the group their blessings.
Of course, as in every political race, there are critics and strong opposers who are against his candidacy. However, there is no doubt that Tinubu has the experience, knowledge, predigree and foresight to be Nigeria’s President, come 2023.
The 2023 presidential elections will be a remarkable one should Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu run for President. When he wins, it will be considered a glorious tribute to his late friend and former party member, M.K.O Abiola, who was denied the presidency after a free and fair election in 1993 by the Ibrahim Babangida-led regime. While we wait for Jagaban to declare his interest in running for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we will be standing on the frontline ,singing the anthem “On Your Mandate We Shall Stand ” to cheer him on.