South West Agenda 23 (SWAGA 23), a political support and campaign group, has picked the National Leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the most suitable candidate to hold the highest office in the country come 2023. This is a commendable feat, seeing as SWAGA 23 boasts of a membership of seasoned political leaders, sterling industry leaders, and energetic youth organisations.
No doubt, if Tinubu wins at the poll, it will be the beginning of a new era in the history of the Yoruba nation and the starting point for the realisation of the dreams of a better Nigeria.
Even so, we must ask why the realisation of a dream is zoned to a region. Why can’t the Nigerian dream be recognised as a National Agenda, rather than the bracketed dreams of separate regions?
Various South Western groups are springing up with a similar agenda to that of SWAGA 23. They claim their goal is to ensure the succession of a Yoruba man to the seat of Nigerias presidency, and surprisingly, they affirm SWAGA23’s position that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the most outstanding and acceptable candidate despite rumours that they are private individuals acting independent of Tinubu.
Notwithstanding, the elected APC candidate should represent the national agenda, not just a regional agenda. As Senator Dayo Adeyeye, chairman of the Southwest Agenda, said in a recent interview, if the ruling party, APC, works in agreement and zones the presidency to the southwest in 2023, the APC national leader should be supported by the southeast and the south-south. This should be a given, since Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been established as the man for the job.
As a matter of competence and political clout, Bola Ahmed Tinubu should be the man who represents the NAGA agenda.
What is Swaga 23?
SWAGA 23, as mentioned previously, represents the South West Agenda 23. It is the alleged presidential campaign platform for Tinubu’s bid as the successor to the Buhari Government in 2023.
SWAGA 23 comprises loyalists and staunch supporters of Tinubu who have won the votes of majority in southwestern states. SWAGA 23 prides itself on its vision, mission, and passion, and does not seek to establish itself as a political rally. Rather, it positions itself as a sensitisation campaign ahead of the 2023 election, mobilising strong support for Tinubu across all six southwestern states.
As lofty as its aims are, one cannot help but ask why it is targeted only at the six southwestern states when Tinubu can use the support of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. In my opinion, insinuating that Tinubu has only gathered goodwill in southwestern states is akin to disparaging the impact of his tenure as governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.
As state governor, Tinubu reformed Lagos State Civil Service, improving incentives for Lagos State civil servants who are one of the countrys most compensated public workers. He improved the state infrastructure and reduced corruption, effectively setting the standard of good governance for his successors and colleagues in government.
Again, I ask, why is SWAGAs campaign targeted at winning only people in the southwest when his influence cuts across other parts of the country? Why is SWAGAs agenda not a national one, more so since governance impacts the nation and not just people within a region?
Through firsthand experience in political office and his active contribution in bettering Nigerias governance, Tinubu has reaffirmed over the years that he has what it takes to lead a nation as complex and diverse as Nigeria. Not only is he widely accomplished in governance initiating various social impact projects with numerous beneficiaries, he is also gifted with the intellectual capacity to transform Nigeria.
Without a doubt, SWAGA 23’s aims are noble. Yet, limiting its campaign of Tinubu to the southwest is restricting his political genius. In doing so, SWAGA 23 is not taking into account the fact that for Nigerians to buy into the man, Tinubu, they—the people outside southwestern states need to become familiar with, not only Tinubus past achievements, but his ideas and plan of action for the future.
Tinubu transcended the southwest to take a hallowed position on the centre stage of Nigerias political theatre in February 2013 when he joined other political leaders to champion the historic merger of Nigerias three biggest opposition parties: All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). With that one event, Tinubu distinguished himself as a progressive leader, changing the narrative of Nigerias politics forever.
Tinubu championed social and economic progress in Lagos, a leading economic hub in Africa. As state governor, he worked tirelessly to redefine the reputation of Lagos State and even after has influenced Nigerias politics greatly.
From his years as a prominent member of NADECO during the military junta, he fiercely advocated for a return to civilian rule, fighting for true federalism in the country. He fought to restore democracy in Nigeria, spoke up against military dictatorship, and stood for justice. Without a doubt, Tinubu’s politics cuts across regional and ethnic parochialism. Instead, he has assumed a national and progressive approach to politics.
The Road to the Presidency
From all indication, Tinubu is equipped with the character and competencies that are required to deliver Nigeria from apathy, cynicism, and the complacency that has plagued its socio-economic and political systems. Therefore, it would be myopic to build his campaign around southwestern states alone, when his leadership clout can be utilised at the national level to achieve a collective national agenda.
Although Tinubu has not come out to state his intentions to run for the 2023 presidential election, the support he has received across the nation since 2020 has been impressive. This further demonstrates his political clout and acceptance. The truth is, Tinubu cannot be held down. He cannot be boxed into an overnight sensation with fleeting value. The man holds a lot of value that our nation, Nigeria, needs.
Hence, he deserves to be promoted for his ability to push the NAGA agenda. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one of the pillars of the nation’s democracy; as such, the leaders behind SWAGA must head back to their drawing board now and begin to re-organise Tinubu’s campaign beyond zonal level to national coverage and even to Nigerians as President Buhari recently revealed that he has first cousins there and all vote must count in 2023.
NAGA To The World…