The political genius in Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) manifested in 2003 before the general election when he warned his counterparts on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Southwest region to be wary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
That political Tsunami swept away the AD governors of the Southwest except Lagos where Tinubu govern. To keep himself firm, he did not only throw the obsolete formula of the AD into dustbin, he created a new model and formed a new party.
He came up with his own political idea, he envisioned his own future and tested the new model with the less popular gubernatorial candidate, his chief of staff, Babatunde Fashola and won in grand style.
He extended the formula to other Southwest states, winning some via elections and reclaiming some stolen mandates via court. He is the owner of the party and the vision. He bankrolled the polls, making others to look more like networkers and organisers, even though they now see themselves as visionaries too.
Ask them, where is their templates, they will refer you to Tinubu. Some of these networkers won elections because somebody had created a formula to make their ambition to work out.
It is a privilege that one has reported elections at some sensitive areas and on one occasion one was very close to BAT to observe his reactions to feelers at some polling units within and outside Lagos.
What I observed was that BAT knew how to win election. He can change failure to success, using his sophisticated networks and money, which only but a few politicians possess in this country.
Some politicians have made money but they are so afraid to spend it on another election. This is the difference between “alakada politician” and career politician.
In 2007, while almost all his cabinet members had deserted him for choosing Fashola, he sat in a chair alone in Marina with no slippers in his feet or cap on his head making calls to know the outcome of the polls.
For me, that was his most difficult gamble not the one he helped President Muhammadu Buhari to win after Baba had tried three times and failed.
Tinubu may be preparing for another turbulent election in which he will be standing for himself. If he is able to scale the APC primary hurdle, Tinubu may become the next Nigerian president. His logic will work in the north and Southwest against any PDP candidate. And APC will rule.
But if the gang up against him by some of his party chieftains work out, then APC should say bye bye to Aso Rock seat because the party would have lost its playmaker and game changer. PDP will fill a good economist who is statistically savvy or a businessman against a professor of law and win. PDP will rule.
I do not see any aspirant in APC now that knows how to win election. Many of them lost their polling units at the last general election, including the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at VGC. Since 1999, Tinubu never lost his polling unit and constituency. In fact he never lost Lagos.
I know his adversaries will easily argue that “Lagos no be Naija” but they must remember that he used the same Lagos formula to bring in Buhari. One thing is to be a politician, another thing is to know how to win election.
And for Tinubu, if you know how to win election, he makes you his friend quickly. He does not kiss your lips for speaking good English. He wants to see performance.
Nigeria democracy is bigger than grammar and oratory capability, it is bigger than theory of law and economics, it is about knowing how to speak and when to speak the language that the voters understand. I pray that we get to that level when our campaign will be issue based but not now.
The noise at political rallies alone will not attract an intellectual to the place. Yes, the elite sit to watch television and clamour for debate among candidates, many of them don’t vote. The social media platforms won’t give votes neither but the illiterates in the villages of Kano, Oyo, Anambra and Sokoto who have been hearing about Tinubu.
The gangs in APC who do not want Tinubu to get the ticket know these and are working tirelessly to stop it not because they hate Tinubu but because they love themselves more.
They will be politically surplus after Buhari and the hardest way to fight it now is stopping the man that can kill their political future. This is the best opportunity for somebody like PYO to contest and rule this country but can he win election for himself? He will need the help of Tinubu and all his allies.
These Tinubu’s allies are ward councillors, local govt chairmen, state lawmakers, governors, federal lawmakers, ministers, head of agencies that BAT bad built over the years. They are too many and hard for Osinbajo to break without Tinubu’s nod.
KUNLE AWOSIYAN is a journalist based in Lagos