Sunday, February 10, 2019 4:42 pm
By Albert Oladapo Ogunwusi
Obafemi Awolowo has often been compared to Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I note the capacity to wield the Yoruba political firmament around themselves as a feature they share together. They also both know the value of propaganda as a tool for mobilising the intrinsic capacity of the Yoruba man for enlightened even if self-serving politicking.
Awolowo built the Tribune newspaper in a move that must have completely befuddled his peers. Many decades later, that night in which he sat with his wife and children to watch the one penny per copy newspaper roll out of the press has remained perhaps his finest hour. Seventy years later, the flag still flies over Tribune House, fluttering ever so beautifully in the wind.
BOLA Tinubu learnt his lesson and made massive intrusion into the media world, straddling the information system like an elusive colossus. Scores or radio and TV stations, newspapers and a fearsome battery of internet foot soldiers and he is still counting.
The analogy stops there.
The biggest mistake anybody would make in Nigerian politics is to underrate Ahmed Bola Tinubu. I remember spotting him earlier on around 2001 and writing the Making of a Governor-General. Many of his supporters who were my friends complained bitterly about the innocent scription and I saw clearly the guy was in for the long distance.
Two powerful contrasts come to mind. A struggling friend of Uncle Joe Abiola in Ososami who became one of the most powerful Princes in the land; and the man who rode an American bus as a senator in 1993, who now competes with airlines in the Nigerian airspace. Add to that of course, a man who is about to become the 6th term governor of the most powerful state. A man who could become PRESIDENT.
The capital letters are deliberate.
In 2015, Adamu Muazu, the PDP chairman, suddenly slinkered into the ranks and left the campaign to others. Ayo Fayose raised alarm that he had actualy found Tinubu in a private parsley with the PDP boss. No surprise Muazu is now an APC man. Tinubu understands the power of underground manuevers, a capacity that explains his mysterious influence in Nigerian politics from the coast to the desert. One major flaw of his though is when he allows the awesome battery of academics and media ppl around him to project their personal interests as his interests. He listens too eagerly to their selfish tales.
I was forced out of my editorial chair at the Tribune by Olusegun Obasanjo. I was shocked when working in Tinubu’s National Life, some funny people managed to convince him I was an agent of the government! I concluded there and then the guy did not have time to read newspapers. That was the only way he could believe such a hoopla.
Impossibility is one of those things the White man forgot to put in Tinubu’s version of the English dictionary. He makes most of his conquests in the night and has a knack for using only the finest minds. Lagos stands out today because of Tinubu’s vision and spirit. Nobody ever thought so much money flowed on the streets of Lagos. He knew it did and used it to telling effect.
Apart from the sheer indignation that growls from the bellies of his opponents, nobody has proffered a credible response to Tinubu’s 2023 ambition. Dark rumours and sniggerings are the only weapons confronting his quest for ultimate power. For the fact of his eclectic determination and sublime manuevering, you can make a guess it’s going to be a long day.