O To Ge In Lagos: A Charade of Envy Towards Tinubu’s Political Astuteness – By Abiodun Somoye

If Tinubu eats and breads on envy, he would be the fattest man on earth. Being exposed to and surviving the worst form of hatred over a 20 year span without equivalent payback from him is educative and worth embracing. In reality, the worst form of hatred is one built on no just reason and envythere’s no clue on what sacrifice could suffice. Surprisingly as a person, at some points, he appears too strong for his political competitors…and at some other, he appears too weak in repelling their gimmicks; obviously demonstrating what fighting intellectually practically means.

If there are anything Jagaban as fondly called has done wrong, they’ll surely be; getting his succession plans right and being around to give much needed professional and mentor advise to his successors. The singular act of getting his succession plans right has evoked wholesome envy from political class, as every politician has either dreamt of or attempted to but failed. For those who dreamt but failed, former president Olusegun Obasanjo comes to mind; for those who attempted to but had their efforts short-lived by greed and pride, outgoing senate president Bukola Saraki comes to mind. To expect supporters, fans and political apologists of this set of people to humbly appreciate the political artillery of Jagaban will be similar to expecting to harvest maize when beans was planted—basic impossibility.

Keeping one’s home tight and metamorphosing into a national icon is a trademark of legends…calling Jagaban a political legend won’t be too much of a compliment.

Aside political sagacity, he has demonstrated times without number how intellectual sophisticated he is. From coordinating arguably the best cabinet the country has ever witnessed post 1999 to surviving federal government supervised financial starvation through home grown reformed tax system, and several recorded successes in private businesses even before political odyssey, he has indeed  demonstrated that beyond political games, he can also  muster enough energy to stay alive in intellectual domains. This is possibly a rare characteristic among his peers; and may be why majority are envious.

While there is no man worthy of deification—which I won’t be a proponent of any inane act as such, there are people who deserve respect and in that cycle Tinubu belongs.

We must have been used to political season and its accompanying balderdash, but the peculiarity in Lagos is; every gubernatorial election has always been painted towards Tinubu, leaving one to wonder whether Tinubu’s face or name is on the ballot. But as expected of those without plans, it’s easier for them leave the main issues and go after frivolities.

The recent outright copy and paste, intellectual assassination and fraudulent adoption of “O to ge” movement by some political vegetables qualifies perfectly to be clustered alongside past frivolities. The main issue up for grab as far as Lagos politic is concerned is quest for someone with personal intellectual capacity to drive the state forward, mutatis mutandis, presence of community of intellectuals readily available to chip in advises for the growth of the state. If some are leaving this behind only to channel their mojo on demeaning personalities and tarnishing profiles built off their heroes’ sheer wickedness, it’s only sane for their intellectual capacity and readiness at large be put to question.

“O to ge” literally translated to “Enough is Enough” and one wonders what is enough in Lagos state…is being 5th largest economy in Africa and potential for, what enough is? Is being the centre of excellence and driving force of national growth what enough is? I’ve tried to wrap my head off the point of convergence of present Lagos with underlying concept of “O to ge”, but I’m finding it difficult. Yes, it’s in citizens’ capacity to demand for more dividends of democracy, especially when they carry out their own share of the process—of which Lagosians are—but what we should be wary about is never to seek help from those who need help. Those who need help come with sweet words and sugarcoated mouths, it’s the receivers’ responsibility to scrutinise the shaft from the rice. Those propagating freedom and their agents must first free themselves from obsession with personality who think and worry less of them.

Those who can’t orchestrate a political campaign strategy to reach out to the people without discrediting their traditional institutions, de-marketing their inheritance and cheaply selling their heritage, do not have social, political and economic wherewithal to preside over a complex and multi ethnic cosmopolitan city like Lagos. Even with their choice of divisive campaign, the incessant need to intermittently drag Tinubu into their miscarriage of politic suggests nothing other than negative political romance; they want him but can’t get him and instead of giving up, they have turned his name into their local anthem to remain politically relevant, I hope seasonal demonstration of that alone is okay to address their histrionic personality disorder.

I have seen several criticism of Tinubu and his progressive political empire—of which some are incredible criticisms—but I haven’t seen any as inane as the recent renewed effort to drag him into gutter of ethnic jingoism. The proponents of “Tinubu hates Igbo” are apparently bad students of history and to some extent, they can be forgiven. Going hard on them in a country that pays less attention to history will be too harsh and may distract attention from helping them out with free insight into history. May it be worth noting to them that Lagos isn’t the only metropolitan city in Nigeria, but it has been first in harmonising differences; first in political appointments, first in providing equal benefits to all regardless of ethnic affiliation, and may I add first in providing level playing ground for all to contest electable political offices without hindrances to anyone’s aspiration. In fact, Lagos is the bedrock of “One Nigeria” everyone craves for…all these began under one man, Tinubu. To now refer to such man as an ethnic fanatic is detrimental to history and unjust to his person.

I laugh hard as much I can whenever the usual “he’s enriching himself with Lagos money” comes up, these evangelists with specialty in hearsays must be having it so bad with this man’s financial successes…even when it has nothing to do with politics. To them, after his tenure as governor, he should be in political and economic oblivion. His growing profile in businesses hunts them and the only way to discredit him is to link his business successes to political paybacks, such logic isn’t only fallacious but also share boundary with proponents of “every successful person is a beneficiary of corruption”, both are intellectually less privilege.

Tinubu is human and expectedly bound to err and we are all free to criticise, and as a matter of fact he isn’t close to being a political god, but we shouldn’t ostracise objectivity, then place envy and subtle hatred above it. Hence, I haven’t written this piece to paint Tinubu above criticisms but criticisms around a man who has paid his dues both towards fighting for democracy and protecting democracy as Tinubu as done and still does, must be done in the corridor of objectivity. Such criticism should devoid hatred, envy and any other negative feeling of similar form and magnitude.

Eko oni baje o…!

Itesiwaju eko di ajumose…!

Abiodun Shomoye, Twitter: @Omodekunrin


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