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Bola Tinubu: Nigeria’s kingmaker who desires to be king

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Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Nigeria, holds two conventional titles: Asiwaju of Lagos and Jagaban of the Borgu kingdom in Niger State, north-central Nigeria. The titles have comparable meanings: chief and chief of warriors.

Although he has held these titles for some years, they now bear extra significance within the lifetime of Tinubu, a former two-term governor of Lagos State, as he runs for president.

Broadly believed to be the political kingmaker chargeable for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, Tinubu is cherished 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 provide 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, academic background and well being. Allegations of corruption have lingered although he has been tried and acquitted.

As an educational and journalist who has reported Nigeria’s politics for greater than three many years, I provide my evaluation right here of Tinubu and his possibilities within the presidential election.

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 an extended battle with the federal authorities over his choice 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 capable of raise the state’s inside income, which sustained it via 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 received re-election in 2003 on the platform of the then opposition social gathering, Alliance for Democracy. The opposite 5 governors all misplaced their second time period bid to opponents fielded by the ruling Peoples Democratic Social gathering underneath then president Olusegun Obasanjo. Tinubu is believed to have received resulting from his reputation amongst Lagos voters.

He has remained influential within the state and is popularly described because the godfather of Lagos politics, having performed a considerable function 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 common 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 are obstacles to his bid for votes.

In Nigerian politics, identity issues similar to household and ancestral lineage typically play a key function 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 Common 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 through the years. 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.

Can the kingmaker change into a king?

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

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

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

Now, he believes it’s his flip to steer Nigeria.