The Yoruba nation has been bemoaned with recent vain narratives of comparing our sage and the icon of progressive politics, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo with Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I initially loved to title this piece: AWOLOWO VS TINUBU: THE CONTEST OF LEGENDS. but I was shocked at the rage exhibited by some of the respected personalities I contacted as means of gathering opinions about comparing the life, service and leadership of these two leaders of Yoruba extraction.
One of the respected elders said in anger: “Aki i fi iku we orun’, you never compare death with sleep. What on earth could be the ground of comparison? Awolowo with Tinubu? Please don’t go there” he concluded. Another active player in the second republic warned that I am about to offend the real progressives if I dare to proceed on that line of engagement. Having gathered the resentments from people who had experienced the two personalities from close range, I agreed and concluded that to place the highly revered Obafemi Awolowo with Bola Tinubu in legendary contest will be an eternal insult and denigration of the life, service, sacrifice and leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. From the response of my contacts, I settled for the above title.
To look into the progressive politics Awolowo championed and the progressive politics Tinubu represents today, Tinubu and his political hanger-on and fans should be contented with my dignifying his efforts by comparing him with those who are graduates of Awolowo’s School of Politics. These are the schooled progressives Tinubu too clever by half, smart stunts fooled, used and betrayed. He sowed division that decimated and destroyed the then cohesion in Afenifere, all in a bid to foster his own Afenifere, nay ‘Afenifebi’, a system where godfatherism, thugs and moneybags replace all known progressive ethos.
Let’s commence by putting Tinubu side by side Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, the amiable second Republic Governor of Ondo State.
Before Bola Tinubu, politics in the South West was quite interesting. Built upon the bedrock of service to humanity and the wellbeing and welfare of the Yoruba nation. It demands that discipline, equity and justice be the guiding principle of person warming up to have a name among the progressives. These were persons whose principles include: love for others as for self, being morally upright as these are the pillars holding them before the society. And not to forget the golden tag: OMOLUABI, that exalts good name above silver and gold.
Before the orchestrated coup against the Yoruba Afenifere Progressive family headed by late Pa Abraham Adesanya, the group operated a queueing systems that allow interns to have needed training before exposure to power. This way, the progressive political ideology would have been impacted, producing tested, trusted and reliable leaders across the South West Region as seen in Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Chief Bola Ige, Olabisi Onabanjo, Sam Mbakwe and host of others.
It is after due certification of persons who have imbibed thorough moral, political intelligence, emotional maturity, endurance and tolerance, that such tested leaders are released to have their turn of stewardship to the people.
Products of this proven progressive process were bold, courageous and confident to be presented to the public for elective offices not considering the depth of their pockets and the fatness of their Bank accounts, as the system detested or abhorred money bags, whose source of money were questionable or unknown. In the progressive Politics of yesteryears, the party tickets is earned through party loyalty, sacrifices and grassroots acceptability and popularity. It was never a cash and carry or one-man merchandise as it is today in Tinubu’s progressive. Positions and appointments were not for strengthening family ties, nor for renewing and rewarding marital vows. Children of politicians has no hope of inheritance of the State. It was businesses of relevant agencies of Government to put on and put off Street lights that were available at that time. No one among them installed control in their bedrooms and gave the power of State to their kids to toy with. Their friends or their immediate family were contented with the privilege of their association and honour of been their relatives. A good name was everything. No wonder they were incorruptible, disciplined and transparent and enjoyed party supremacy then, compared to the progressive of today; under the watch of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who in his arrogant self delusion, recently screamed; “I am still the Jagaban of Lagos”! The lion need not remind itself that it’s he king of the jungle nor does it have to announce it to other animals. The barking of a dog does not always express boldness, they sometimes bark out of fear. We may need to ask Asiwaju of the fear that necessitate his tail-in-legs barkings. Could it be the sight of ghosts of innocent Nigeria youth murdered for Lagos to remain under his control?
Under the preying politics led by Tinubu, people with questionable character and persons without political value to the electorates easily earn party tickets. All known political and lawful selection processes are subsumed. There is indeed no party today, what we have is an Emperor whose words are laws within his empire. Al Baba sope and the deal is sealed.
In fairness to Bola Tinubu, to pair him side by side Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin in integrity, honour, service and legacy will amount to exposing him morally and politically. Tinubu’s service and leadership misadventure is very pronounced. Chief Ajasin was a Laissez-faire leader while Tinubu is an autocratic leader hiding under the guise of democracy to fester his nest. I will try to do justice and be fair. Chief M.A. Ajasin was an upright, disciplined, decent, truthful, principled, selfless, transparent, and God fearing. His performance as Governor is still unbeatable hitherto in Ondo State, same for all second Republic Governors of old western region. Let me quote Michael Adekunle Ajasin after leaving the office in 1983: “I came into office in October 1979 with a set of my own rich native dresses and left office in December 1983 with same set of dresses, no addition, no subtraction. I had two personal cars at the time I assumed office and left without any, one had ended its serviceable lifespan with its use for shadow election in 1982, while the other was borrowed by a political associate with whom it ended up its lifespan”. Baba Ajasin was never found involved in nepotism, favouritism and discrimination in his appointments and employment policies while in government. There was no single traceable foreign accounts traced to him. He returned to the building he was residing before he became a Governor after he left office as a Governor and till his death that was the only building he owned. He was tried for Corruption charges by several military panels but acquitted and set free by all. Though Chief Ajasin’s political leadership was domiciled in the Southwest Zone all through, but his legacies remained a benchmark for leaders that cares to succeed today.
In Tinubu, we have an unrepentant capitalist who came into politics as an investor. With a short stint in the Senate where he chaired the Appropriation Committee, and eight years as governor, today TINUBU is the Chairman of ‘Asiwaju Private Company’. He is estimated to worth more than half of Lagos in wealth. Like every capitalist investor, to him, profit comes before people. He introduced money politics like never known. Party and government positions and appointments are now for sale. How else can one justify the ticket given to Abiru for the Lagos East Senatorial ticke. His system bypasses ‘old school’ progressive like the Ikorodu Local Government Chairman or any other qualified long serving members in that zone who would have through a fair and transparent processes emerged as the party candidate.
Tinubu has infested politics in the South West. Today we have some governors, ministers and leaders copying him, destroying and eroding our values of justice, fairplay and transparency. The progressives were known in the past as a bedrock of opportunity, where the children of nobody can become somebody in their political struggle as captioned by Mallam Aminu Kano.
It is not out of place, to posit that Tinubu’s appointment of people from other States and region is transaction in preparation for his long time presidential aspiration. It is just a ploy by this political investor to con the other regions. If Tinubu’s benevolence to other tribes by the way of appointment were well intended, how come, he suddenly became threatened by the number of Igbos in Lagos in 2015, that he employed his steward in the Government House to threaten that any Igbo that did not vote for Asiwaju Private Company in Lagos will die in the Lagoon. What a shameful way to treat people who are exercising their right to vote for any candidate of their choice.
For his avaricious propensity, Tinubu selfishly and craftily lured the Yoruba nation into the current ill-fated National politics that promised lots but delivered nothing good. The question on the lips of every omo Oduduwa is: “Kini a mubo Daura”? what did we brought back from our alliance with Daura?
One thing I found magical about this man is the rate and speed at which he turned reasonable people to puppet and bootlickers. Send a professor to his school, you will be marveled at the level of the moral decadence the professor will plunge to in two years or less. Our youth has not been spared either. Watching Desmond Elliot selling the youth and his constituency cheap in order to please Tinubu really took me aback. It was said that the only way to remain useful to Tinubu is not to use your own head or mind. The day you use your mind is the day you are taken out of his first eleven and red carded to head back for the dressing room. How else could one explain the callous and disgraceful discarding of Akinwunmi Ambode? A performing son should be the pride of his political father, Awolowo was proud of Lateef Jakande.
I may not be able to speak of other parts of Lagos, but it’s a shame to my community in Ifako Ijaye that Ambode lost party primaries. No Governor open up that axis the way he did. A cross to the Federal shame called Lagos Abeokuta Express Way that divides Ifako Ijaye from Agbado Oke will make you weep for the system that find an excuse to give the dog a bad name in other to hang it. l grew up in Agege and his suburb, my secondary school was on Old Ota Road, I should have no problem finding my way around Agbado Oke Odo, but not without Ambode’s foot print, the network of road in Agbado Oke is a pride to Lagos. That is the only way to connect to neighbouring Ogun State through Sango Ota, if the pits and gullies that the Federal road has become must be avoided. Does one need to talk about Oshodi interchange, Pen cinema Bridge or the Ikeja Bus Teminus. How about several thousands of BRT buses he made provision for before the serving spoon was taken off his hands for failing to increase the piece of meat in Oga’s meal. Under the old progressive, a political son like Ambode would have had his future secured with such a sterling performance. Placing Bola Tinubu’s feet in the shoe of Adekunle Ajasin is like putting the feet of a toddler in the shoes of a giant. Posterity will not forgive Bola Tinubu for lacking contentment, integrity and democratic values despite his opportunity and positioning at this critical stage of our struggle as a race in the country.
It’s true, you can’t compare death with sleep