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Bola Ahmed Tinubu: The kingmaker is now Nigeria’s president-elect

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Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Nigeria, has been declared winner of the nation’s keenly contested presidential election.

The 70-year-old former governor of Lagos State and Nigeria’s political kingmaker will inherit a Nigeria that’s confronted with a fractured polity, national security threats and financial challenges together with skyrocketing cost of living.

Tinubu polled 36% of the 24,965,218 votes forged within the 25 February presidential election whose consequence is being disputed by his closest rivals.

To emerge as Nigeria’s President, Section 134 of the structure states {that a} presidential candidate should rating the very best variety of votes forged on the election. As well as, the candidate should additionally rating at the very least 1 / 4 of the votes forged in every of at the very least 25 states within the Federation together with the Federal Capital Territory. Tinubu met this requirement.

His closest rivals Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Get together obtained 29% and the Labour Get together’s Peter Obi obtained 25% of the votes forged. Each events had earlier described the ballot as a sham and demanded a cancellation.

The PDP and Labour Get together protested the lack of the Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee, INEC, to add the Presidential election outcomes, from every of the 176,606 polling models, on an digital portal accessible to all residents as earlier promised.

The electoral fee blamed its failure to add the outcomes on failing web community throughout the nation.

Tinubu’s marketing campaign was largely based mostly on his report as governor of Lagos state, Nigeria’s business capital. He was, nonetheless, defeated in Lagos by Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, southeast Nigeria.

Obi’s comparatively unknown Labour Party galvanised the curiosity of younger, city dwellers and took the nation’s two-party system to process within the 2023 presidential election.

Nigeria has the biggest population of youth on this planet, with a median age of 18.1 years. About 70% of the inhabitants are below 30, and 42% are below the age of 15. The youth are sometimes left with the shorter finish of the stick in relation to governance and financial indices.

Exterior of Lagos, Tinubu gained most different states in his house area of the south-west. He additionally secured the constitutional requirement of scoring at the very least 25% of votes forged in 24 states of the federation.

Broadly believed to be the political kingmaker answerable for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, Tinubu is liked and loathed in nearly equal measures.

His admirers describe him as Nigeria’s primary political strategist, a technocrat, an astute administrator, a expertise spotter and nurturer. They offer him credit score for the latest improvement of Lagos, Nigeria’s business capital.

Critics see a distinct Tinubu. They level to controversies surrounding his age, parental ancestry, instructional background and well being. Allegations of corruption have lingered although he has been tried and acquitted.

As a tutorial and journalist who has reported Nigeria’s politics for greater than three many years, I provide my evaluation right here of Tinubu.

Tinubu’s political rise

Tinubu got here into nationwide prominence throughout Nigeria’s ill-fated Third Republic (1985-1992), when a Nationwide Meeting existed together with a army president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

Below the quasi-democratic association of that point, Tinubu was a member of the Nigerian Senate when Babangida annulled the outcomes of the 1993 presidential election. The winner was believed to be the charismatic enterprise mogul Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

Tinubu’s battle to re-validate that election was what introduced him into nationwide political consciousness. He openly opposed the annulment and labored to revive democracy in Nigeria.

He and others turned targets of army elimination and he needed to flee abroad. Tinubu coordinated and largely funded the marketing campaign for democracy in Nigeria from exile.

On the daybreak of the return to democracy in 1999, Tinubu emerged because the governor of Lagos State, the nation’s business capital.

Governor of Lagos

In his eight years as governor (1999-2007), Lagos State launched reforms in revenue generation, the judiciary, security, infrastructural development and different sectors.

However his time in workplace was dominated by a protracted battle with the federal authorities over his resolution to create new local governments in Lagos. This angered the President Olusegun Obasanjo led federal authorities which took the choice to withhold the month-to-month federal allocation that was as a result of state.

Till then, no state within the nation was regarded as able to surviving with out month-to-month federal allocations. Tinubu was in a position to raise the state’s inside income, which sustained it by means of that interval. Since then, Lagos has stored growing its capability to fund itself. In 2022, solely six of Nigeria’s 36 states had been able to surviving independently.

Tinubu was the one governor, out of six, within the south-west area of Nigeria who gained re-election in 2003 on the platform of the then opposition get together, Alliance for Democracy. The opposite 5 governors all misplaced their second time period bid to opponents fielded by the ruling Peoples Democratic Get together below then president Olusegun Obasanjo. Tinubu is believed to have gained attributable to his recognition amongst Lagos voters.

He has remained influential within the state and is popularly described because the godfather of Lagos politics, having performed a considerable position within the emergence of his successors as Lagos governor.

Bridge builder and nurturer of expertise

Tinubu is usually described by his admirers as a political bridge builder. He’s reputed to have the ability to spot and nurture expertise. Lots of these he has noticed have change into excessive performers in Nigeria’s politics and governance.

As an illustration, he appointed Nigeria’s present vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, a regulation tutorial, as lawyer basic and commissioner for justice in Lagos State. In 2015, he nominated Osinbajo as vice-president to Buhari.

Tinubu has additionally been instrumental within the emergence of many ministers and particular advisers within the Buhari’s cupboard, former and present members of the Nationwide Meeting, and former and present state governors who had been his aides and political followers.

The controversial Tinubu

Controversies round Tinubu’s parental origin and academic credentials had been obstacles to his bid for votes.

In Nigerian politics, identity issues reminiscent of household and ancestral lineage typically play a key position in how candidates are assessed.

The late Alhaja Abibat Mogaji, the highly effective chief of the affiliation of market merchants who had the title of Iyaloja Normal of Lagos and Nigeria, was broadly acknowledged as Tinubu’s mom. She died in 2013, aged 96.

However critics insist that she couldn’t have been his organic mom. They argue that Tinubu has a distinct id from what’s within the public area. His household has countered such rumours.

His age is one other supply of dispute. Tinubu says he’s 70. His critics say he’s probably older than that. His critics additionally insist that he’s unhealthy and unfit to be president, a declare he and his supporters have refuted.

Allegations of corruption have clung to him over time. He has by no means been convicted. Below former president Goodluck Jonathan, he was charged earlier than the Code of Conduct Tribunal however acquitted. This was a lift for his picture. His supporters argue that if he was actually corrupt, he would have been convicted, particularly since he was an opposition politician.

The kingmaker is President-elect

In 2015, Tinubu led a political motion that gave delivery to the All Progressives Congress get together, a coalition of opposition events that finally defeated the Peoples Democratic Get together on the presidential ballot.

It was the primary time since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, {that a} ruling get together and sitting president had misplaced an election.

Tinubu is broadly believed to be the political kingmaker answerable for Buhari’s success in 2015. He’s additionally believed to have supported Buhari in his second time period bid in 2019.

Now, he has emerged as President-elect and successor to President Buhari whose tenure formally ends on 29 Might.

This text has been revised to mirror the election outcomes