Political “godfather” Bola Tinubu, known for his sway and strategic acumen, has never been secretive about his desire to lead Nigeria.
When Tinubu indicated last year that he would support the All Progressives Congress APC party in this weekend’s election, he claimed that he would be achieving a “lifelong” objective.
Afterwards, he addressed his crowd in Yoruba, saying, “It’s my time,” upsetting APC opponents with a line that has since become his campaign anthem.
Now that President Muhammadu Buhari, a man Tinubu boasts he helped bring into office, is on the ballot to follow him, the 70-year-old gets to prove his mettle against two other leading contenders.
Atiku Abubakar of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and unexpected third-party contender Peter Obi of the Labour Party will be his opponents.
Often referred to as “Jagaban,” a chieftain’s title, Tinubu has invested years in expanding his Lagos power base into a national network of allies, including political chieftains, transport unions, and cooperatives for the Lagos market.
He is regarded as a tenacious survivor as well as an astute and powerful political strategist.
He helped create the All Progressives Congress by co-founding and funding the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which eventually changed its name to the Action Congress of Nigeria (APC).
He was credited with playing a key role in uniting the APC’s divisions in order to propel Buhari to victory in 2015 and put an end to the opposing PDP’s 16-year rule of the country.
Tinubu was fast to position himself as the candidate to oppose fellow lifelong political veteran Abubakar when the PDP announced that he would be their candidate for the election in the following year.
In the next election, “I look forward to squaring off with him as a worthy opponent,” he stated.
– Resilience –
Muslim-born in the Yoruba-speaking southwest of Nigeria, Tinubu received his accounting training in the US and worked for numerous American businesses, notably as treasurer for the multinational oil company ExxonMobil.
Prior to serving as a senator and later governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007, he originally worked as a political activist.
He and a large number of other activists were pursued into exile by military ruler Sani Abacha as they advocated for a restoration to democratic administration in 1999.
Buhari’s election, the first triumph for the opposition in the nation, and his reelection in 2019 were partially credited to Tinubu’s political clout.