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By: Adémólá Òrúnbon
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, popularly called BAT, is a master strategist, generalissimo, who has dominated the politics of Nigeria’s commercial capital for over two decades, Tinubu, has long been overdue and expected to make a run for the country’s top job–his formidable political network, propensity for deal-making and substantial personal wealth give him a head start over many other contenders. In the 2023 presidential elections, Tinubu has been coquettish. Though, it seems that there were some rumpuses in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), because of the political ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, mind you, he mocked those pundits who purported to know his political intentions, especially after touring and declaration of his interest for the Ogun State traditional rulers.
The schisms in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have led to the formation of at least two different camps: Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport on one side; and Tinubu, the national leader of the APC and deposed Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, on the other. Other factions within the party include senior party people such as Kebbi State governor Atiku Bagudu, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Works Minister Babatunde Fashola. For now they are discreet about their ambitions but many have their eyes on the succession in 2023. Mind you, Tinubu is a former two-time Governor of Lagos State and he retains the mass support till date, with crowds of people gathering outside his mansion on Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, on a daily basis. They credit him with the social and economic progress seen in Lagos over the past two decades. They add that he has also ensured that progressive Governors run the state since he left the post.
Some of Tinubu’s notable achievements as Governor then include; improving the state’s waste management system and better incentives for civil servants (salary increases and better quality of working environments). His successor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, was responsible for the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Lite System, which ferries passengers in high-capacity buses on dedicated bus lanes. Also, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the immediate past Governor, was shutj out.
when he tried to move away from Tinubu and his desires and instead of allowing him to run on the APC ticket for the second term, he was replaced by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Governor Sanwo-Olu, the current Governor, another one of Tinubu’s picks, has been praised for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country’s most densenly populated state
Under Tinubu’s tenure as governor of Lagos State, Alpha Beta Consulting was awarded the contract to collect taxes for the state on the recommendation of a committee whose members included the state’s then Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo SAN (now Vice President), then Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Wale Edun and former Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Yemi Cardoso. But, all attempts by journalists using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to discover the terms of Alpha Beta’s contract with the Lagos government and its beneficial owners have been blocked by the State Government officials, arguing that the freedom of information only applies to the Federal Government. It is imperative to highlight Tinubu’s influence amongst the Area Boys–loosely organized gangs of street youth who roam the streets of Lagos. He is held up as a man of the people, often giving out free food to poorer Lagosians.
But, falling out of the good graces of both the people of Lagos State and the kingmaker of Lagos politics resulted in Ambode’s going from being the Governor of the country’s most thriving State to being hunted down by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in just six months he was replaced on the APC ticket for the gubernatorial elections by another Tinubu loyalist, current Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Tinubu’s current role is the national leader of the APC, a title that, although an honorific, gives him power and influence within the party structures. It is of note that Tinubu holds two chieftaincy titles: Asiwaju of Lagos and Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom