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See Reasons Why Tinubu May Never Get To Aso Rock As Nigeria’s President
Although Nigeria only just returned Muhammadu Buhari as President for another term months ago in an election that was contested by the opposition up to the Supreme Court, the race for the next election in 2023 has already begun.
Political figures are starting to roll the dice, coordinate media projection of self and attacks on perceived opponents, in addition to consultations across the country to forge new ties and strengthen old ones.
Ahead of this pack, and generally regarded as the most likely candidate to emerge on the platform of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state.
Tinubu, often called Jagaban by his followers, is a household name in Nigerian politics with a vast political structure and network across the country. He was rumored to have backed President Muhammadu Buhari for another term – after years in the wilderness – in exchange for support in 2023 when the incumbent, by law, is unable to continue in office and a successor is needed.
Perhaps, Tinubu’s greatest asset is his access to power and funds, a fact demonstrated by the number of loyalists he has reportedly positioned in public and private offices over the years.
However, despite these clear advantages, and the gentleman agreement amongst the country’s power-brokers that a candidate from the Southern region of the country should replace President Buhari, there remain great hurdles that may wobble the journey of Tinubu and prevent him from attaining a position he has eyed for years.
The Lagos masterplan
Bola Tinubu rose to prominence as the governor of Lagos state, particularly with his management of the state’s finances when a long-drawn political with then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, meant that allocated funds were denied the state and alternative means had to be sought to provide crucial services. Since then, the Jagaban has held the administrative and political machinery of Lagos in a firm grip, unilaterally anointing governors and removing them at will, as seen recently in the case of Akinwunmi Ambode.
His complete control, though providing unparalleled access to a lot of ‘opportunities’, has also tied him to the failures of his godsons who since have failed to implement the much talked about ‘masterplan’. For instance, the 2019 Global LivabilityIndex by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Lagos as one of the worst cities to live in.
Recently, Tinubu’s latest favorite son and governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwoolu, dubbed the ‘pointing governor’ by internet users, endured scathing criticism for his perceived loose management of the state – with many of those criticism directed at the godfather himself.
If Tinubu has failed to translate the huge revenue of Lagos into a sustainable development despite decades of calling the shots, how can he do so with the country if elected, especially in light of oil decline and dwindling revenue? This is certainly a question his opponents would ask, and one Tinubu might fail to answer satisfactorily.
President Buhari campaigned on a simple agenda of three key things: reviving the economy, tackling insecurity and curbing corruption. These points, particularly the last one, resonated well with Nigerians who have grown tired of watching government officials divert funds meant for developmental projects. Unfortunately for Tinubu, he is widely perceived as non-transparent by many, especially with his overbearing influence on Lagos, a state that refuses to publish details of its annual budget.
Without any supporting fact or data, it is common to see Nigerians bestowing ownership of several firms on Tinubu due to his perceived astounding – and inexplicable – wealth. He recently came under fire after a clip of two bullion vans ferrying cash into his residence during the elections made it to the internet. Worse still, in response to the bullion van controversy, Tinubu gave a pedestrian speech where he reprimanded journalists and other curious observers for daring to question the unusual event – asking whether it was their business how he moves or spends “his money”.
With such tainted image, it would be hard, if not impossible, to convince Nigerians or counter expected mud-sling from his opponents.
The birth certificate of Tinubu says he is 67, but he has been around since ‘forever’. He first won election into the Senate in 1993 in the short-lived third republic. His enduring stay in Nigeria’s politics and the loud proclamations for ‘fresh faces’ on the ballot could do significant damage to his Presidency bid, depending on the cards played by his opponent.
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