Tinubu and the burden of leadership - DE-REPORTORIAL

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Monday, May 29, 2023

Tinubu and the burden of leadership


Mr Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, today, Monday, May 29, marks the beginning of the actualisation of his lifelong ambition. Yes, it has been a tortuous journey, but God has also crowned his effort of becoming the 16th president of the most populous black nation in the world. This isn’t a small feat.


However, the burden is also a huge one. Let me say it for the records that his consistency in the political milieu is never in doubt.


He had played major roles in determining the political equation of this country. He had also succeeded in pushing his political ideology through with courage and determination.


Whether we like him or not, the truth is: Tinubu’s political trajectory is evidently influenced by the conscious disposition of a man that is very determined to fulfil his dreams. Over the years, he had rigorously built a political network beyond the South West region, which eventually gave him the edge across Nigeria.



It will be very difficult to talk about the history of modern Nigerian politics without a prominent mention of Tinubu’s exploits. Nigeria is a peculiar nation and the Jagaban knows that.


He had also said severally before contesting at the primary level of his party – All Progressives Congress – that he was ready to fight dirty for him to achieve his lifelong ambition. And in the course of achieving his ambition, he fought dirty, like a pig.


He even got more than he had bargained for from Nigerians, most especially the Nigerian youth. He was vilified and called several names, yet the man remained resolute.


I remembered how the Jagaban was called the Emilokan, Ba lar Blu, drug baron, a sick man that is using diaper like a baby, a blood-sucking ritualist, murderer of innocent Nigerians, most wanted criminal that couldn’t travel to the US, the godfather of Agberos, an addicted smoker, money bag, political mafia and father of corrupt politicians and corruption itself, Tinubu-Thiefnubu and many more names.


Mind you, I did not write this piece to applaud or celebrate the political dexterity of the former Lagos State Governor, but I wrote the piece to tell Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that as the journey begins in a few hours’ time, there is a huge burden ahead of him as he assumes office today. It is an irony of fate that Tinubu’s adversaries are his greatest strengths. And this is the best that could happen to a man.


When people abhor, criticise or malign you, they surely put you on your toes and you are damned to succeed. But when people pamper, applaud and shower you with unnecessary accolades, you are bound to fail.


That’s what actually makes the difference between the outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the incoming president. In 2015 when Buhari took over from former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, our expectations were high. We thought Buhari would turn the country around and make Nigeria better than he met it. But today, Buhari claimed he was fulfilled leaving Nigeria better than he met it. And in truth, Nigerians can see the “appalling difference” in their lives between 2015 and 2023.


Last Thursday, when Buhari handed the “baton” of leadership to Tinubu, I felt bad that the outgoing president was handing over the huge burden to him. I saw a booby trap set in form of huge foreign debts. I saw how Buhari was relieved from the various burden of leadership.


As far as Nigerians are concerned, with the various challenges that the Buhari administration handed over to Tinubu, he has no excuse to fail. Tinubu had been in the corridor of  power since 1999. He was a product of the system and the rot we call politics in this part of the world.


He had toed the path of leadership for close to three decades. He surely knows the extent of the tasks ahead of him as Nigerian president and can understand the terrain of leadership.


Tinubu needs to hit the ground running and save the nation from impending collapse. Beyond that, he should refrain from jumping into the trap of power and lucre. Getting it right at the outset is no joke. It is about being determined to make difficult decisions


Tinubu knew what he wanted, the skills as well as exposure required to achieve it. That is why he fought the fight of his life to get to where he is today.


In the inaugural Lecture held last Thursday, the President-elect spoke on the significance of democracy in driving Nigeria’s sustainable development. He highlighted the indispensable role of democracy as the cornerstone for the nation’s progress and prosperity.


He emphasised the vital nature of democracy in advancing the nation’s interests. He also gave insights into the extent of tasks ahead of him and spoke about his plans on security, economy, jobs, agriculture, education, health and power and in all other sectors. He knows that as the president of this nation, he must surely make headway, knowing fully well that Nigerians deserve no less.


Finally, as the journey begins today, the quality of the seriousness of his administration to rescue the nation will show in the service he plans to deliver to Nigeria and Nigerians. And God-willing, we are watching as his time starts now and for the next four years.


. Aderemi writes from Lagos.

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