If it is true that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, is nursing a presidential ambition, as speculated, he will have to take some important steps to make it a reality.
Charity, they say, begins at home. Tinubu has to start working on the collective aspirations of the Yoruba for a start. Like the late Bashorun Moshood Abiola, he should reach out to the people through objective philanthropism. I call it objective because Abiola, in those days, had research fellows who did the subtle underground job for him.
The fact that Tinubu is a cheerful giver, who takes great delight in helping other people in need, has never been in doubt, but the truth is that he funnels lots of money through channels that are mostly beyond the reach of the people.
Any distribution mechanism adopted by a political campaign organisation must be pragmatic, driven and assertive. He should reach out to the ordinary and voiceless people and find a way to restore their confidence in government, as well as to address their frustrations.
To make the journey to the presidency easier, Tinubu must ensure that he has the unalloyed support of a united and stronger South-West. As a true Asiwaju of Yorubaland, he has to reconcile warring political groups within the geo-political zone without necessarily relying on his familiar, but not-so-effective approach. The former governor needs image makers and people who can help him to make decisions that will be hard to fault. Nevertheless, he is reputed to be a visionary and master planner who is capable of doing amazing things. As the Chief Executive of Lagos State for eight years, he didn’t construct or commission bridges or stadia while his tenure lasted, but he laid the foundation for a new, secure, prosperous and vibrant Lagos.
Tinubu’s party, the APC, beat the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, with a margin of just 51 per cent in the 2019 general elections in the South-West. This shows that he has a lot of work to do in the South-West before going to other zones. In order to make any meaningful impact in the 2023, the APC must embark on a sincere internal cleansing. It must ‘conquer itself from itself’ in order to accommodate today’s realities and dynamics.
That the ruling party currently behaves as if it has exclusive rights over Nigeria and as if it is the only party that has the solutions to the country’s leadership-inflicted problems is no longer news. This is not only troubling, but also it is capable of threatening this once-in-a-lifetime dream. Yes, Nigeria might have had leaders who became presidents without home support. However, with a man like Tinubu and what he has done for humanity within and outside the South-West, a loss at home will not only demean his status, but also it will cast a negative political slur on the collective negotiating capacity of the Yoruba.
The truth of the matter is that all politics is local and political practice in this part of the world is a game for the highest bidder. The ruling party must rise above the challenges facing the country at present, with a view to becoming focused, cohesive and well-integrated. It is then that it can speak with one voice from the South-West and negotiate with other regions on its choice of candidate. Otherwise, the party will not do well because structural problems and internal frictions within it could ruin everything.
Tinubu should also have a firm grip on a few trusted confidants, who must be willing and ready to work for him and in his interest. A system that carelessly empowers the wrong hands and cronies, who only end up as political liabilities and traitors, is not only politically counterproductive, it is also suicidal. Incidentally, those who knew nothing about the struggle or opposed the progressives when the struggle for the soul of Nigeria was hot, have, like a chameleon, worn the garment of the progressives and are now using our hard-earned democracy as identity vehicles to traumatise, even demonise, the real progressives
All said, Tinubu’s rumoured presidential bid, if there is any substance to it, requires tact and diligent planning. It also requires the ability to do things right and in the right way. It demands efficiency and effectiveness. In this wise, the Jagaban of Borgu must consider an urgent need for a comprehensive research centre of international standard. Nigerians will no longer tolerate leaders who are bereft of ideas and credible facts.
In this digital age, our president can no longer afford to continue moving around with Nigerian Television Authority, National Bureau of Statistic or aged, jaded, third-party statistics that have no bearing on current trends. That is why most times the projections of our policies are wrong because they are from a faulty premise. It is the same reason why a Nigerian President will have to get to Chatham House in London before making policy pronouncements on his own country. Of course, that is why a man, who will probably lose an election tomorrow, will keep fantasising on how he would be inaugurated as President.