By Rasak Musbau
With over 200 million Nigerians hovering around the edge of an economic precipice, surviving on a bare minimum due to recent leadership decision of confiscating currency for political gains, it simply teaches us one lesson in the choice of a leader: leadership should not just be an aspiration, instead, it should be a consequence of competence, track record, courage and exposure.
Nigerians this time around must go for a President that is open-minded, thoughtful, kind and committed to making the citizens happy. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “To handle yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart. Compassionate leaders lead and manage with both their head and their heart.”
This, therefore brings forth the question. Who should you vote for to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Saturday, 25 February, 2023?
In my view, with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s pedigree and antecedents, he remains the man to beat in the coming election. This position is not only in view of massive show of love he enjoys at campaign rallies – including the Teslim Balogun Stadium overwhelming crowd on Tuesday – but largely due to his exemplary track records.
As a leader, Asiwaju is a realist. He tackles issues and problems head on. He strives to marshal all facts at his disposal before arriving at a realistic decision. He is one leader who does not indulge in planning without facts.
‘The Lion of Bourdillon’, as many chose to call the resolute fighter, is a notable builder of leaders across the country. As an administrator, he has been exemplary in laying the foundation of a progressive Lagos State that has become the envy of many.
Leadership should be creative, courageous, dependable, honest, humble, sensitive and forthright. A leader must have foresight and hindsight. A foresight leader should also possess the ability to identify and proffer solutions to problems as well as the will to battle them to submission. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, no doubt, possess all the above qualities in reasonable quantity. He is visionary leader who sees ahead of his time. It was under his leadership in Lagos State that some of today’s viable agencies of government were created.
These include the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Lagos Area Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA), Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) now Lagos State Environmental Corps, (LAGSEC), Lagos State Advertisement Agency (LASAA), Office of Public Defendants (OPD), and Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), among others.
As governor, Tinubu created the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) to tackle poverty through direct intervention, employment creation and better welfare for the unemployed.
He also laid the foundation for the transformation of the State through programmes and projects that were unprecedented at the time of their introduction. The BRT scheme and corridors, the waste-disposal model as well as bold transformational moves in the judiciary, health and education sectors all elicited skepticism at conception. Today, they are living proofs and testimony to the enduring legacy of a thinking leader.
Asiwaju’s tenure also witnessed renewed and accelerated infrastructure development. For instance, the complete regeneration of the Lagos Island Central Business District happened under his watch. Roads, such as Kudirat Abiola Way, Lawanson-Itire, Ikotun-Ijegun, Ikotun-Igando, and LASU-Iyana-Iba, to mention just a few, were rehabilitated and expanded by the Tinubu administration. The health sector also witnessed indelible reforms.
However, it is in revenue enhancement that Tinubu really demonstrated his ingenuity. By the time he was leaving office in May 2007, Tinubu had increased the State Internal Revenue Generation (IGR) base from a meagre N600 million to over N8 billion.
Based on his record of accomplishments in Lagos State, it is not surprising that Tinubu is aspiring to be President. Even his most vociferous adversaries will agree that he has what it takes to occupy the exalted office.
Tinubu has always been a pacesetter in various facets of life. Before becoming Lagos’ helmsman in 1999, the State’s account had not been audited for seven years. Tinubu started the implementation of the financial strategy agenda, which he defined under four initiatives: a quantum leap in IGR, computerization, using the financial markets and privation as well as Private Sector Participation (PPP).
On social issues, he, a Muslim, gave public schools back to the missions. A visionary step that will continue to shield Lagos from the maelstrom of bigotry that obsesses other part of the country.
Tinubu created the Lekki Free Trade Zone. He did that after reclaiming the land from sea encroachment, using his ingenuity. On that free trade zone is the Dangote Refinery, the deep sea port, the Eko Atlantic mega city, the lekki airport and so many other manufacturing and retail businesses. It is his vision that has engendered job creation for our teeming youth.
Perhaps, more than any other person, Tinubu has redefined Nigeria’s political landscape in the last two decades. This can be attributed to his political sagacity and his inclination toward promoting progressive politics.
Indeed, one does not need to be close to a good man to verify his goodness. What Asiwaju has done to the people he has mentored in his political journey attests to that. Only a few politicians have produced leaders from their followers as Tinubu has done.
- Musbau is of the Lagos State Infrastructure Asset Management Agency, LASIAMA, Ikeja, Lagos.