By Mazi Okey Kanu
Even his most trenchant critic knows this as gospel truth: Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s presidential candidate in next year’s election is the main issue and the candidate to beat in that exercise.
However, naysayers who would rather deny the evidence of their eyes than accept the reality of Asiwaju’s unstoppable victory in the polls, like slave riders of the old, are on the prowl, warring against the truth and trying to take it captive.
But theirs is a futile attempt at stifling a sure pregnancy that will inevitably be birthed for in the words of Miguel de Cervantes,
“the truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water”
Like oil rises above water, all the lies told against the person of Asiwaju cannot stand against the tide of truth.
This piece is directed against such falsehoods.
Clinically demolishing such a mountain of mendacity as peddled by reactionary elements and hired goons has become very imperative in the face of the burning need to enthrone as president next year, a progressive, people-oriented person as exemplified by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
One of the time-worn, puerile and twisted narratives by traducers against Asiwaju’s presidency is age. But come to think of it, what has age got to do with quality leadership?
Absolutely nothing! For the records, Asiwaju is younger than many current world leaders.
Many former presidents around the world were equally much older than him at the time they mounted the leadership saddles of their respective countries.
Examples abound. United States President, Joe Biden, for example, was 78 years and 61 days old when he was sworn in on January 20, 2021
He is America’s oldest president ever to have been elected.
In Malaysia, age did not diminish the ability of that country’s 95-year-old Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad to skillfully steer the ship of his country to infrastructural and economic growth.
President Michel Aoun of Lebanon is 85 and Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian National Authority, is nearly 85.
Note that President Aoun took office at 81 while Abbas succeeded the late Yasser Arafat at 70.
It is also worth noting that Congo-Brazzaville’s President is 77 and that Beji Caid Essebsi served as the President of Tunisia from 2014 until his death in 2019 at the age of 92.
In the same vein, Shimon Peres was the ninth president of Israel from 2007 to 2014. Before his time as Israel’s President, he served two terms as a Prime Minister and three terms as Foreign Minister of Israel. At the time of his retirement, Peres was the world’s oldest head of state at 90 years old.
Let us also recall that Karolos Papoulias was the President of Greece for 10 years, from 2005 – 2015. When Papoulias retired, he was over 85 years old and is one of the oldest European presidents to ever serve.
Urbane, cerebral, cosmopolitan and detribalised, such primordial cleavage as entho-centrism,Igbophobia and religious bigotry are completely alien to Asiwaju’s character- trait, yet political jobbers are fruitlessly tarring him with an inelegant brush.
Asiwaju is a Muslim who married not just a Christian but an ordained Pastor of one of the world’s largest Christian denominations, the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Besides, Asiwaju who is not a stranger to Christian events have children who are Christians. How then can any sane person say that a liberal Muslim like him is a religious bigot simply because he picked a Muslim running mate for the strategic reason of winning an election?
And those who allege Igbo hate are perhaps not in this country when Asiwaju as Lagos state Governor appointed Igbo sons into his cabinet.
Divisive elements who shamelessly trumpet Igbo hate need to be reminded that Asiwaju as governor ran an inclusive government, a somewhat Government of National Unity which saw him appointing Nigerians irrespective of tribe or religion into his cabinet.
He is talent hunter, one who hunts and mentors bright minds irrespective of tribe and religion.
This was why and how Ben Akabueze from Anambra state, under Governor Tinubu, become Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, one of the strategic ministries in the state.
Akabueze was Tinubu’s Commissioner for eight years,1999-2007 and would also be nominated by the same man for his current position in the Buhari administration, Director-General of the Budget Office.
Tinubu equally brought another Igbo son, Joe Igbokwe into government, appointing him in 2006 as the pioneer General Manager of Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance & Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), a position Joe combined with a strategic party position, the Publicity Secretary of the then the ruling party in Lagos, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
Tinubu is phenomenal. His persona is an asset to Nigeria. A brilliant administrator and a knowledgeable political leader who understands the deep complexities of a difficult country like Nigeria.
He is what the country urgently needs now to fix that which has broken.
His eyes are set on the tasks ahead and no amount of naysayers’ toxic campaign can distract him.
Mazi Kanu writes from Arochukwu, Abia State.