Sunday, May 4, 2008

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

reat disservice it is to the soul of the departed Yoruba leader, Senator Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya that hardly had his demise been announced that discussions started on a successor; it only exposed the hypocrisy of many sympathisers.

The late Yoruba leader withdrew from active partisan politics shortly after ex-president Obasanjo ignited a political Tsunami that swept out virtually the political powers from the old man's political stronghold, the South West. Only Lagos State survived the political earthquake of the time.

It does not matter if we have hypocrites and traitors around us, what matters most is for us to have a decisive victory over them when it is all over. Late Chief Awolowo won that victory at death, Papa Ajasin won his own life battle and the same thing is happening to Chief Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya. Perfidious hatchet men who assailed the heart and the soul of these great individuals are usually the very first who praise them to high heavens when they are no more. Shame on them collectively, and sympathy for them individually, as they wrestle with their conscience. We pray and hope history will be kind to them as it has been to our great men of honour, when it is their own time to translate to the great beyond.

Not all church goers are true Christians and not all Muslims are believers in Allah. The fact of the matter is that God exalted his prophets to overcome all perfidies and treacheries.

To acquire the status of a hero, an individual has to pay a price, a big price for that matter; he would suffer indignities, deprivations, betrayals, frustrations, desertions, denials, bereavements, incarcerations, among others. But a hero has an advantage over all these setbacks. He has courage and faith, principled and consistent and he perseveres. Nelson Mandela paid all the prices and possesses all the virtues hence he is a living legend. This is true of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana and a couple of others. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Late Bola Ige and Pa Abraham Aderibigbe Adesanya, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Mallam Aminu Kano all paid a price and possessed the virtues hence they will remain a reference point at every point in history.

But for the Tsunami unleashed in 2003, Yoruba race to a great extent had a unanimous voice in their political voice ably represented by Afenifere, its freedom fighters emerged through the OPC which became vehement and forceful after the injustice done to the collective aspirations of Nigerians as expressed through the political power contracted to MKO Abiola. Had Obasanjo not succeeded in completing the job started by Babangida, continued by Abacha through Oladipo Diya, in creating a new power block in the South West, perhaps we would have continued the unwritten smooth succession plan that had always been the pattern in the political power house of Oduduwa progeny.

The qualities required of a Yoruba leader are the universal attributes expected of a leader; courage, conviction, honesty, consistency, intellectual capacity, foresight, charisma, principle, reliability, trustworthiness and to a reasonable extent spiritualism and metapsychology.

The two factional leaders of Afenifere Pa Rueben Fasoranti and Pa Ayo Fasanmi possessed these qualities too but the benign bile unleashed by Obasanjo will not make it possible for either of the leaders to use the demise of Pa Adesanya to unify the crumbled house of Afenifere.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu came to the limelight in the aborted third republic when he was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When perfidy enveloped our political landscape, Asiwaju and few other Senators did not waiver; they stood on the side of the truth; demonstrated courage and conviction and he especially put his all to see to it that tyranny, perfidy and darkness did not envelope Nigeria. He and his few colleagues represented the serving political class in the fight against a fascist, Ibrahim Babangida. Late Pa Ajasin, Pa Enahoro, late Bola Ige and others represented out of office politicians that confronted evil and awful dictators. Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana, late Chima Ubani and the numerous activists from the tertiary institutions represented the activists groups. And of course we must acknowledge the labour unions especially Chief Kokori's PENGASSAN and Edo Governor in waiting Adams Oshiomole. These evergreen heroes fought to a standstill, recalcitrant tyrants and dictators in whatever guise. They fought IBB until he was forced to step aside; they confronted Abacha until he kissed the dust; Abdul salami Abubakar found the seat too hot to perpetuate himself and had to organize a return to civil rule. The master of grand deception, ex President Olusegun Obasanjo, found all the tricks he built into a house with dew consumed by termites and was forced to eat the humble pie.

When Obasanjo started to test waters in his bid to unleash full blown civilian dictatorship, he almost succeeded among lily- livered political office holders of the fourth republic. Alameseigha was one of the early mandate holders to surrender his two arms for Obasanjo's rope when he allowed the pummelling of the Odi community without dissent. Obasanjo saw that and was elated, he sent a letter warning Asiwaju Tinubu that he would declare a state of emergency in his constituency if the persistent trouble of the OPC did not stop but Asiwaju Tinubu replied Obasanjo's threat with the courage of a man of steel and since then the battle line was drawn. But for Tinubu and Orji Uzor Kalu, Obasanjo almost succeeded in redefining the feeble state of our federalism to total unitary State. Both were the two governors who demystified this behemoth anti-democrat; and the more he fought them, the more he inadvertently fell into opprobrium that has finally stripped him of all his bogus Statesman stature.

The PDP was very keen and desperate on capturing Lagos but at every attempt and with all evil schemes, Tinubu was able to push them to defeat and disgrace. If he had been granted respite during his eight years tenure, perhaps we would be seeing a totally different Lagos. Funds meant for his State were seized and despite court's order directing otherwise, an individual who was acting God refused to tow the path of honour. Asiwaju remained undaunted and unbowed and he put to shame his oppressors.

Wars were launched in other areas through a Lagosian, Adeseye Kingsley Ogunlewe who organized thugs to disrupt the good works of LASTMA. Asiwaju weathered all storms and at the end of the day, he has emerged a hero and a true leader worthy of being followed. But for him, all the gains of past leaders like Awolowo would have been totally reversed. One was once a governor in Oyo State, of all the things in need of attention, his greatest achievement was the demolition of the statue of Obafemi Awolowo. Yoruba race do not support evil and is not in our character to promote perfidy, but the PDP south west governors were neck deep in promoting OBJ's third term plot. These governors got so carried away with Obasanjo's toxic leadership that they would be so glad to open their hands to receive Obasanjo's phlegm if he chooses to spit on them. None of these Yes men is close to any qualification to lead a sophisticated race like ours. Yoruba people cannot rely on a leader who does not know his left hand from his right hand and who will eat breakfast with party A, have lunch with party B and keep a dinner date with party C on the same day just for crumbs from the table.

Asiwaju Tinubu also commands respect outside of South West and he is a bridge builder who can reach out through consensus but without compromising the pedestal on which the values of Yoruba race lies. Unknown to many, Yoruba political values are indeed the Nigerian issues. True federalism, equitable fiscal policy, freedom of speech, association, religion, good health, education for all, shelter and clothing and right to life are desirable for all human beings.

Whenever the time comes to choose another leader, may God grant us the wisdom, so that we can re-pound the 'pounded yam' and re-cook the stew and let a new era of great opportunities emerge for the Yoruba race and Nigeria in general. But first thing first, let us give a befitting burial to Pa Adesanya and let us all resolve that his sacrifice and that of others before him guide us to foster a great unity in Yoruba land.