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With details about his life shrouded in ungodly secrecy, his source of stupendous wealth undetermined, and several question marks hanging around his troubled face, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State and Presidential candidate of Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has easily assumed the unceremonious position of the most crooked human being to run for the number one seat in Africa’s most populous country.
Perhaps, one tool that he has smartly used to his advantage over the years is the media. He has managed to conceal his crooked personality, de-emphasise his shortcomings and ascribe a larger-than-life image to himself over the last three decades. From a short stint in politics as a Senator during the funny days of Ibrahim Babangida’s rule, Tinubu managed to metamorphose into a diety after an eight-year tenure as Governor of Lagos State. He now sits on top of a fiefdom deciding people’s destinies and sealing political fates while gaining accolades for every move.
There is absolutely nothing about Tinubu that is not crooked and buried in mystery – not even his name. His Wikipedia page shows that his name as ‘Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu’, but his name is actually Amoda Lamidi Sangodele. He often claims to be indigenous to Lagos State, but then, Tinubu is actually from a town in Osun State called Iragbiji, which is the headquarters of Boripe Local Government Area.
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His age is not even spared. Last year, during the celebration of his ’69th’ birthday, popular search engine, Google offered him a timely gift by locking him out of his profile page over what was alleged to be ‘persistent vandalism’ after his date of birth was reportedly tampered with 84 times in less than 48 hours. There is nothing about him that has managed to escape controversy. Not parentage. Not primary and secondary schools attended. Absolutely nothing! Everything in him is shrouded either in secrecy or alleged criminality. Yet, the same man wants to become the number one citizen of the country.
Many Nigerians would easily dismiss these things as ‘mundane’ but regardless of how one chooses to look at it, it is surely an indictment on the much-avowed character deficit of a man that is running for the office of the Nigerian President today. How can Tinubu offer transparent leadership when transparency is alien to him? How can he be accountable when accountability would come off as blasphemy to him? How would he be able to restore sanity in the Nigerian polity when he stopped being sane years ago?
Tinubu lived most of his heydays abroad and the stories are not different. At some point, he was involved in drug trafficking and had to forfeit money to law enforcement agents. In the early 90’s he was fingered in high-level crimes relating to cocaine and heroin peddling and he had to forfeit a whopping $460,000 to US authorities. This is why even till date, he hasn’t quite become a free man in the United States, this is because due to the suspicion by countries such as the United States, once you have a criminal record, you must be carefully monitored properly just to be sure you won’t commit the crime again. The stench of Tinubu’s sordid past has remained with him and yet, rather than quietly prepare to face nature’s punishments, he is gallivanting and hoping that Nigerians give him their mandate to sink in his conduit pipes into Nigeria’s badly depleted treasury.
Tinubu often times prefers to liken himself to Chief Obafemi Awolowo ignoring the fact that he clearly lacks the intellectual and developmental accomplishments of Awo to his revered Yoruba ancestry. Unlike Awo, he neither possesses the rare gift of oratory nor the charm of charisma. He has zero capacity to collaspe long and complicated narratives into short and inspiring messages to stir people out of slumber like the former premier. The only factor Tinubu identified early was the power of money in Nigerian politics. Tinubu simply splashed out the resources of Lagos State to build bridges of favours and massive political leverage that is the only thing that has sustained him and his political empire which is thoroughly riddled with allegations of state capture and suffocative and manipulative ‘godfatherism’.
His minions have always been caught insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians but keeping the social media awash with pictures of various locations in Lagos most of which were either built by previous Governments or private individuals who were drawn to Lagos simply because successive Nigerian Governments have for some reason refused to break down the Lagos hegemony by building seaports in other parts of the country, particularly the Southeast. Even if Tinubu helped Lagos State in any way, it is safe to posit that he helped the State just to corner it and convert it to a personal estate.
Despite leaving office 15 years ago, Tinubu has become a God who must be obeyed regardless of any objection or dissenting views as far as administration and politics are concerned in the so-called ‘Centre of Excellence’. He is the only person saddled with the responsibility of taking decisions on all the candidates for every available elective position and to a large extent, almost all appointive positions in the Lagos state Government. Over the years, he has managed to spread his tentacles to other South-West states and it is only logical that he goes after the bigger Nigeria since he now has more disgruntled politicians to appease.
To underscore the enormous power he presently wields, many of his trained sycophants refer to him ‘as the governor emeritus of Lagos State’, while the legitimately elected governor, – Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is derogatorily referred to as ‘the other governor’ by the same people. Tinubu at every point in time goes all out to undermine democracy while claiming that he is a democrat. Such hypocrisy! His arbitrary appointment of his daughter, Sade as the Mogaji Iyaloja of market women and traders in Lagos following the demise of his mother, Alhaja Abibat was one that left many people surprised, by his brazen ruthlessness, he didn’t allow the traders the opportunity of electing a leader from amongst themselves or even afford them the courtesy of lobbying them. He simply pronounced his grossly incompetent daughter who is not even a trader, the President General of market women and traders in Lagos, practically making the position hereditary.
In conclusion, it is amusing to see someone who singlehandedly sold half of Lagos to himself through cronies, privatised people’s properties using funny state laws, and turned them to his personal use and someone who made a first-class degree in treasury looting now aspiring to become Nigeria’s President. May this affliction be confined to Lagos State!!!