On Thursday, March 29, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, politician, strategist, bean counter and redoubtable Nationalist would celebrate his 66th birthday. I join millions of progressives, his friends, associates, teeming supporters and patriotic Nigerians to celebrate this rare piece of living Nigerian icon. As is known of the birthday celebration of this great man, several events have been lined up for this year’s celebration. Friends, associates, admirers, supporters, well-wishers as well as foes will have an opportunity once again to reflect on the life of this man who has actively shaped the course of Nigerian politics and history in a way not many other people have.

Asiwaju is a school of perseverance, doggedness, survival, tenacity, purpose and dexterity. In this school, there are many students and acolytes who study the man and his ways so closely and they flock around him like bees would flood on nectar. Since he made his entry into Nigerian politics, Asiwaju has led a colourful and eventful life that has drawn for him so many admirers and followers who deign his imprint as worthy of emulation. On the other hand, he has also made many foes, more from envy and fear, see him as an unconquerable colossus whose presence in the political space, has eclipsed theirs and offered them no opportunity to shine in the Nigerian political space.

However and from whichever angle one looks at it, Asiwaju’s life is not a ready-made piece of article. The man earned everything he has today, including his glorious political life. He worked for everything he has today and never deferred to mother luck to chart his way for him. He went through school to become a chartered accountant and the height of his working career was working as Treasurer for Mobil. He retired from service to go into politics. His first taste of political office was his election as a senator in the ill-fated Third Republic. He was a backbone to the presidential aspiration of Late Chief MKO Abiola. The cancellation of Chief Abiola’s victory saw him off to exile where he played a strategic and very demanding role as the financier, mobiliser and strategist for the then National Democratic Coalition {NADECO} in diaspora.

It was just natural that the return of democracy in 1999 merited him a well-deserved governorship candidacy of the then Alliance for Democracy in Lagos and a resounding electoral victory that saw him elected as the Governor of Lagos in 1999. As Governor, Asiwaju cleared, planted, and watered the seed of modern Lagos with the innovative leadership and ideas he introduced in Lagos, which are bearing great fruits today. Asiwaju initiated very many policies and projects that placed Lagos in the sound footing it has today as the solid driver of Nigeria’s growth and prosperity. Added to that was his leading a gritty and taxing opposition pushback against the obnoxious efforts of the then ruling PDP to vanquish the opposition. Most critically was the fact that the then Obasanjo-led PDP federal government descended on Lagos with a thinly disguised partisan fury and carried out so many illegal acts against the Lagos State government. The most pronounced onslaught was the seizure of allocations due to Lagos local governments because Asiwaju Tinubu’s government created additional local councils to meet the yearning aspirations of Lagos. It is instructive that the Asiwaju government took up all the challenges in the law courts and floored the federal government, which, out of pride and shame still refused to give in till the tenure of the Obasanjo government elapsed.

Asiwaju mapped out and started an infrastructural revolution that targeted education, health, judiciary, roads, transport, environment, youths, sports, job creation, power and many other sectors and this serves as durable progenitors to the modern Lagos we have today.

Perhaps, Asiwaju’s greatest gift to the country is the identification, empowering and promotion of quality human resources that have been trusted to take Lagos up from where he stopped and add values to the state in a way that had never been seen in Nigeria before. Tinubu birthed a school of leaders who followed his imprint and are leading very critical sectors in Nigeria and the various states today. His disciples bestrode the Nigerian political and public sectors like an indelible imprimatur today.

His rich reservoir of leaders is incomparable and shows the quintessential leader in Asiwaju.

In politics, Asiwaju is an incredible strategist who owns the patent of the historical defeat of a ruling party by the opposition in Nigeria. He is political artist that knows very well how to move the aces to get results. He is the famed Logician who has such a mastery of Nigerian politics in a way no one else knows and for this, he draws enormous following all over Nigeria.

Asiwaju is the brain box of Nigerian politics and this has so enriched the Nigerian political lexicon in such a way that in generations to come, his solid imprint will linger for coming generations. This has however drawn him a thick poach of enemies who are cowed by his huge presence in our political space. These are people driven by petty jealousy sparked by his meteoric rise in Nigerian politics.

He has gone through loads of plots, schemes, intrigues and persecutions by those that feel threatened by his political profile but like a survivor, he had survived all these and had rather come out stronger.

He had been betrayed several times but he had emerged from each betrayal stronger and more potent. In surviving and rising above his foes, a factor that has worked for him is his borderless tolerance and large heart. He welcomes back betrayers and foes with such encapsulating forgiving heart that always fires back at his betrayers. He has an expansive understanding of politics beyond the pettiness of other politicians and this has worked so fruitfully in his favour.

At 66, Asiwaju is a political lodestar in the Nigerian firmament. He is a bean counter of unimaginable prodigy who has a Midas touch that is incomparable. He is a veteran leader of men in whom many defer for hard, practical leadership training. He is a politician of immense capacity. He is a Nigerian compass that has not failed the country whenever the country is in need of direction. I salute this great Nigerian as he clocks 66 and than God for immensely blessing our country with such great, detribalized, proven and trusted Leader.

Have a wonderful birthday, Sir and may God continue to endow you with many more years of great leadership for Nigeria.

News Reporter

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