On the eve of the All Progressives Congress presidential primaries, predictions and projections abounded. Most analyses suggested that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who shamelessly carried out his campaign across the entire country while repeating the phrase “It’s my turn,” had died politically.
Tinubu’s gestures, speeches, and medical records were dissected on national televisions, radio stations, and social media platforms like students dissecting a cadaver for a medical study. The former governor of Lagos was criticised by some for appearing overly desperate, while others claimed he claimed the presidency as his birthright.
This was worsened with the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari. The APC Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, publicly declared Senate President Ahmed Lawan as the choice of the party and this caused another brouhaha, raising suspicion that President Buhari had something under his sleeve.
Prior to Adamu’s announcement, Buhari had solicited the APC Governors’ blessings to allow him choose his successor.
“We gave governors re-election tickets or opportunity to pick their successors; allow me pick my successor,” he said at a meeting.
So it was not a coincidence that Adamu, Buhari’s loyalist, endorsed a candidate, a few days after. Maybe Lawan was Buhari’s preference, maybe not.
But that action pointed to a scheme to out a man who had sacrificed a lot for the party.
The belief that Tinubu’s house was not in order with the revolt of his godson and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was also gunning for the same position, also complicated issues. It gave way to the perception that the APC National leader is loathed by outsiders and also despised among his kindred.
But the drama climaxed on D-day. Majority of the aspirants stepped down and publicly canvassed votes for Asiwaju.
It was unprecedented in the political history of Nigeria to have over five political heavyweights bow to one aspirant on the election day.
Never in the history of presidential primaries in Nigeria!
Before the rise of a new day, it was obvious that the cat with nine lives had emerged victorious again.
Tinubu swept 1,271 votes to defeat Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Rotimi Amaechi who scored 235 and 316 respectively. As if to make a mockery of the opposition, the total number of votes his opponents garnered, did not come close to the winning figure.
Of course, Tinubu is no stranger to victory at the polls. Following his stint as a financial management guru, Tinubu, in 1992, delved into politics and contested the Lagos West senatorial seat under the banner of the Social Democratic Party. He won.
Even though the military dictator Sani Abacha dissolved the parliament in 1993, Tinubu’s influence did not wane.
He became an activist campaigning for the return of democracy as a part of the National Democratic Coalition movement and was in the process forced into exile.
He did not return to Nigeria until after Abacha’s 1998 death in 1998, which heralded the transition to democratic rule in 1999.
In 1999, he presented himself for the number one office in Lagos state and won by landslide.
He did it twice. He ruffled feathers with many contenders to serve two terms as Lagos state Governor.
Under his watch, Lagos became the commercial hub envied by other Governors.
Despite the obstruction by the Obasanjo-led government that cut Lagos off from the monthly Federal allocation, the state was doing well in all ramifications. Tinubu, with his cerebral team, laid the foundation of the mega status of the present day Lagos.
Interestingly, fifteen years after he had left office, it’s crystal clear that the seeds of leadership Tinubu planted across different zones have germinated.
His tremendous efforts brought about the Action Congress of Nigeria that later merged to become the All Progressives Congress.
His biggest investment, many say, is building people. He groomed a lot of the political figures around today who are now grown enough to hold structure. This makes it difficult to believe that Tinubu, who has never lost an election, will be trumped by any of the candidates.
It will be against the law of nature, considering the enormity of human and financial resources at his disposal.