Opinion: Bola Ahmed Tinubu: Metamorphosis From Political Godfather to President – By TONY OGBETERE
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinbu, who won Nigeria’s most contested election since the end of military rule in 1999, will shortly succeed Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s next leader.
Bola Tinubu, who was once sent into exile by military dictator Sani Abacha, understands the significance of freedom and displays it on his distinctive hat in the shape of a broken shackle that resembles a horizontal figure of eight.
The pro-democracy National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), of which he was a part and its actions, drew the trained accountant into Abacha’s sights.
Before going to college in Chicago and eventually enrolling at the Chicago State University for his undergraduate studies, Tinubu received his education in Ibadan, Nigeria. In 1979, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
Before relocating back to Nigeria in 1983, he worked for a variety of accounting firms in the United States. Soon after joining Mobil Oil Nigeria, Bola Tinubu was named the organization’s treasurer.
He entered politics in 1992 through the Social Democratic Party (SDP), running as senator for Lagos West.
After the APC’s creation in 2014, he rose to the position of national leader before the party won the 2015 elections with outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate.
He is regarded as the political “godfather” and most powerful person in the south-west region, deciding how power is divided among his many followers.
When it appeared like Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambitions were waning during his party’s primary, he reminded Nigerians that it was primarily because of him that President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated after the former military ruler had previously failed to gain the office.
Since then, President Buhari’s allies have attempted to minimize the former governor’s impact on the 2015 election, but it is improbable that the current president would have won both elections without the assistance of the previous governor.
President-elect Tinubu must understand that he is assuming leadership of a country in need of a national rebirth if he wants to improve governance and maintain security in Africa’s most populous country.
Although not insurmountable, the work at hand is onerous.
The current elector appears to be aware of this because he said in his acceptance speech:
“Whether you are Batified, Atikulated, Obidient, Kwankwasiyya, or have any other political affiliation, you voted for a better, more hopeful nation and I thank you for your participation and dedication to our democracy. To my fellow candidates, former VP Atiku, former governor Kwankwaso, former governor Obi and all others, I extend the hand of friendship. This was a competitive, high-spirited campaign. You have my utmost respect. Political competition must now give way to political conciliation and inclusive governance. During the election, you may have been my opponent but you were never my enemy. In my heart, you are my brothers.”
Regardless of political background, the next president must continue and intensify efforts to better the lives of Nigerians. He needs to be shown to live up to his encouraging victory speech. Anything less would not inspire fresh optimism.
On May 29, Tinubu will take office as president of the democracy with the largest population in Africa. President Muhammadu Buhari, who is leaving office, established a committee in February to facilitate the transition.
One clear index that counts for Tinubu is his strong will and can-do attitude, which he has demonstrated throughout his life in both private and public duty. These characteristics make him unique.
When Lagos State funds were withheld at the time Tinubu was governor, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he used his experience to establish much-needed public institutions that have since been replicated in all of Nigeria’s States.
His ability to rally intelligent men and women of expertise to action as a formidable team to tackle developmental challenges undoubtedly contributed to the delivery of life-changing public infrastructure in Lagos under difficult financial conditions.
During the electioneering campaigns, the president elect made a number of bold policy commitments, such as his promise to eliminate oil subsidies and use the money saved on infrastructure and social programs.
He made a solemn promise to increase Nigeria’s gas utilization and monetization by focusing on the African and European markets with his plan to continue developing the essential evacuation infrastructure to these markets. Furthermore he also promised to increase local gas utilization and monetization overall.
It is a brave policy declaration from Asiwaju Tinubu to say that he will ensure that Nigerians have the energy they need to succeed in their various efforts. And he plans to carry out the significant investment made in enhancing Nigeria’s transmission lines to ensure that all of the electricity currently generated reaches the end users.
The Buhari government is currently carrying numerous transmission parts to various sites across the nation in accordance with the agreement reached with Germany and Siemens to increase the country’s transmission and distribution capacities.
It is exciting to know that Bola Tinubu has committed to keep up the reforms that are enhancing the power sector. He has pledged that there would be no more estimated billings, which means that Nigerians would only pay for the electricity they use.
Tinubu’s proposed plans to support domestic production of meters, cables, and other essential power delivery components are also significant because they will enable Nigerians to benefit from the opportunities in the power sector and expand both direct and indirect employment opportunities within and outside the sector.
In the Action Plan articulated by the APC and president elect Bola Tinubu there will be reforms and established Frameworks for policy to advance the renewable energy sector. According to the action plan, this will be achieved by looking at alternative sources like solar panels to provide electricity to millions of Nigerians who are not connected to the national grid.
Tinubu has also articulated his desire to revitalize the rural electrification initiatives of the current administration. According to his action plan he intends to achieve this by raising both public and private funding for the provision of power to the rural regions.
Another intrinsic part of Tinubu’s action plan is the desire to reform Nigeria’s financial system, and increase GDP by 10% before the end of 2027, and also reduce unemployment by half in just four years.
In Tinubu’s housing policy the goal is to encourage consumer and mortgage lending while also promoting home ownership among Nigerians. As a result, the president elect has declared that he will take a close look at all of the federal agencies in charge of home ownership and combine them into one organization that is large enough to carry out the mandate to grant low interest rate mortgages directly to the people.
Part of the scheme is to put in place a requirement to guarantee and repurchase mortgages. This guarantee to repurchase mortgages will encourage banks to offer mortgages and expand the secondary mortgage market because banks will be more motivated to do so knowing that they can always sell their mortgage portfolio to a capable federal agency that can afford it.
This will enable the banks to issue more mortgages to Nigerians, thereby maintaining the health of the housing mortgage market. And once the appropriate policy framework is offered, there are securitization tools to make this happen.
The widespread belief in Nigeria is that additional Lands Use Act amendments will encourage home ownership in Nigeria. The housing industry will grow faster and more people will own homes, which will result in cheaper costs, thanks to planned reforms in the Tinubu action plan that will rationalize, streamline, and lower the transaction costs of land transfer processes.
To start and implement these reforms, Tinubu has pledged to work with all the State Governments under his control. One of his other action plan is to offer credits and incentives to real estate developers so that they allocate a sizeable portion of their developments to affordable housing, as is done in other regions of the world.
Tinubu has pledged to make it feasible for the most vulnerable members of our society to climb the housing ladder and to get other parts of our federation to support legislation that would make it possible to do away with paying rent in advance on an annual or multi-year basis.
The social correction tool at the heart of Tinubu’s housing and consumer credit and lending reform is based on the conviction that the practice of buying homes and other consumer goods on a cash-and-carry basis feeds the level of corruption that exists in Nigeria and that the country’s propensity for corruption can only be curbed by fostering a sustainable and inclusive mortgage and consumer lending system.
The safety, freedom, and prosperity of all Nigerians will always be among Tinubu’s top concerns, he has made that clear. His dedication in that area seems to be genuine. His dedication could be said to be a result of his prior knowledge. We know that during his time as Lagos’ governor, he used innovative policies and initiatives to quell violent crimes and sanitize the city’s security condition.
There is a compelling need for Nigeria to reinvent her military doctrines and practices using both kinetic and non-kinetic tools to address the country’s security concerns, and Tinubu has committed to make quite significant changes to Nigeria’s security architecture.
The first is a strategy to strengthen Nigerian security forces that will consider the ratio of security and law enforcement officers to the population.
In this writers opinion, there are not as many military personnel as there are people in our country. It is drastically below the acceptable level around the world, and by hiring more people and improving their benefits and pay, we can not only close the gap but also create additional jobs.
The Tinubu action plan has identified three options to handle the security issues in Nigeria.
First , the Great Green Wall of the North will be finished, according to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in order to lessen the consequences of desertification and deforestation, which exacerbate economic migration and cause instability. The Great Green Wall of Nigeria is a component of a larger African Union-led program to increase food security in the Sahara and Sahel and address issues including desertification and land degradation.
And under the initiative in Nigeria, the focus will be on states like Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara, comprising about 35% of Nigeria’s total land area, with implications for over 50 million people to start developing resilient and adaptation measures, promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for communities and restore over 22,500 sq km of degraded land for agricultural purposes.
These programs will boost the local economy, provide employment prospects, and ultimately help to lessen insecurity there.
Tinubu’s second proposal in his manifesto is to improve the capabilities of Nigerian immigration services to patrol and watch over the country’s borders by employing mobile patrol units, ground-based technology, and aerial and ground-based technology.
Most importantly, is his determination to step up as a regional leader and increase the kind of productive international cooperation with important neighboring nations that will guarantee that the kinds of internal conflicts in those nations that frequently spill over and jeopardize Nigeria’s national security are kept to a minimum.
Bola Tinubu also advocates for taking action against the unauthorized and unreported exploration of mineral resources. There’s no gainsaying that these illicit activities encourage conflict and unrest when non-state entities attempt to seize control of mineral riches through force. The administration of Bola Tinubu intends to establish a far more controlled framework for mining natural resources, collaborating with regional artisans and craftsmen to help them learn new skills and make money.
Solid minerals will be much more strictly regulated, which will lead to additional employment opportunities for locals.
Despite the difficult means by which he won, the president-elect comes to the Aso Rock Villa with a solid record as a governor, party builder, and political operative. This would enhance hopes for Nigeria’s future under his leadership among both Nigerians and others outside of the nation.
~ Prince Tony Ogbetere
Writes from Lagos Nigeria.