He is a man of strong conviction yet willing to engage on issues and admit to the superior argument.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is an enigma, a visionary leader and fisher of great men. The successful stint he had with the oil giant, Mobil equipped him for success in politics.
Asiwaju deployed a hybrid of corporate principles of giving primacy to competence and delegation of authorities to political lieutenants to thrive within their spheres of authority.
He poached men that can help him succeed. Their tribe and faith is immaterial; what matters is competence and the ability to break new frontiers and consolidate on the gains of the progressives.
Asiwaju Tinubu, as a visionary leader worked assiduously to redeem Lagos which was almost rendered comatose under the military junta.
From the near ruins, he laid a solid foundation and built a sustainable regime in Revenue Generation, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Public Transport, Reform of the Judiciary and Waste Management for his successors to leverage.
The builder of modern Lagos knows that best hands must be sourced to translate the vision into enviable realities. He wooed a Law Lecturer at the University of Lagos, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to public service.
He assembled a world-class team of elite stars who were doing well in their chosen fields. He was not pretentious of what he wanted to achieve, he was deliberate all the way.
He gathered stars like Mr Wale Edun , Dele Alake, Rauf Aregbesola, Yemi Cardoso, Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF), Dr Tola Kasali among other core professionals.
He recruited me to serve as Finance Commissioner, under BRF. Asiwaju, a pan-Nigerian of first-order looks beyond primordial ethnic consideration at critical times of decision making.
Ben Akabueze, an astute banker of Igbo extraction was considered for a prime position of Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos, a position which made him eminently qualified for the current assignment at the Federal level as Director-General of Budget Office
Asiwaju Tinubu, a master administrator and strategist knew a success without a successor is a successful failure. So, he groomed boys into capable men who will continue on the trajectory of growth and massive developments he envisioned in the Lagos Master plan.
When it was time to pass the baton in 2007 after serving a transformational two-term as governor of Lagos State, he brought a superstar from the clan of technocrats he had nurtured and mentored over the years. BRF was his Chief of Staff.
Many railed at the decision of bringing an ‘unknown and untested’ technocrat to succeed him. He saw what they didn’t see and stuck to his gun.
He deployed his robust political assets and structures to enthrone BRF against all gang-up and machinations. He was vindicated as BRF performed exceptionally to the admiration of ordinary Lagosians.
BRF brought renewed drive and elevated the bar of governance across the country. BRF became a yardstick for measurement of excellence and performance.
What many thought was impossible, Tinubu’s preferred successor made possible. He completed the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT scheme started by Tinubu. He opened the hinterlands with infrastructure. He revitalised the Public Health facilities especially the General Hospitals across Lagos.
BRF’s sterling performance turned Tinubu into a modern-day Nostradamus, with unequalled clairvoyance. The choice of the incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu further validates the ability of Asiwaju Tinubu to make the best decision for Lagos.
Today, not a few of those illustrious proteges are holding sensitive positions at the Federal and some states outside Lagos. My humble self is a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN is Nigeria’s Vice President, Babatunde Fashola is a ranking minister in the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency among many others.
Asiwaju Tinubu is a living legend whose legacies will continue to endure even after this temporal world. Happy 69th Birthday Sir, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu, the Jagaban Borgu.
Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru, FCA writes from Lagos