The 2023 presidential election debate began earlier than expected and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emerged as one of the leading contenders in the power tussle. It was claimed that the APC stalwart’s prominence in the race rode on his previous roles in Nigeria’s political history. It was opined that Tinubu couldn’t be distanced from the achievement of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a formidable pro-democracy movement which fought for Nigeria’s return to democratic rule. The welfarist legacy introduced to meet the needs of the fast-growing population and economy of Lagos state is legendary amidst stiff frustration from the federal might during his tenure as governor. The erstwhile governor also received encomiums for building political leaders across the nation.
In other purview, Bola Tinubu’s role in Nigeria’s democracy restoration struggle and remarkably rated administrative performance has been considered as historical inaccuracy. It was argued that Tinubu played unspectacular roles in June 12, 1993 struggle for democracy. Tinubu’s highly administrative performance was described as a facade. Asiwaju’s white elephant project, diversion of public property and funds for personal aggrandizement were covered up due to Lagos state’s viable commercial centre. The political personality built across board was described a political empire to foster his personal interest.
Criticism has been a major tool to promote both national and egoist political agenda under democratic dispensation. Besides, Tinubu is a bigwig in Nigeria’s political landscape and can’t be freed from criticism. Therefore, a painstaking approach is required at the criticism levied against him. Virtually all the survivors of June 12, 1993 struggle testified to Tinubu’s immense impact. The corruption allegations leveled against him remain unsubstantiated as no law court pronounced guilty verdict. While the political empire allegation is watery, every Nigerian has the constitutional right to throw their weight behind any political contestant.
Generally, Nigeria’s current state is deplorable. The shadow of greatness appears towards the election and disappears immediately after. The typical calibre of political leaders has been recycling the seat of power for two decades under different political platforms. Asiwaju belongs to this circle. The country needs a president out of this circle to salvage her long-lasting predicaments. The loyalty of successive Nigerian presidents belonged to the political elite including President Muhammadu Buhari whose national policies are favourable to the few. The country deserves a president whose utmost loyalty belongs to the people. Can Tinubu presidency prioritise the people’s interest ahead of his political circle’s interest?
Faculty of Law,
Obafemi Awolowo University,