The former Lagos governor from 1999 to 2007, and senator from 1992 to 1993, representing Lagos West, during the brief Third Republic in Nigeria has been elected the winner of…
●1st March 2023
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) has been hailed as King Maker by many, and for a long time. He has been given credit for the emergence to prominence of national political figures such as Babatunde Fashola, and the current Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. In fact, in the run up to the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in June 2022, BAT himself famously said that without him, the current president, Muhammadu Buhari, would not have become Nigeria’s leader. Such is the statue of the man that he famously told party supporters in Abeokuta shortly before the APC primaries in 2022 that the presidency was his turn – emi l’okan.
The former Lagos governor from 1999 to 2007, and senator from 1992 to 1993, representing Lagos West, during the brief Third Republic in Nigeria has been elected the winner of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria. With a total vote cast of 8,794,726, BAT, as he’s popularly known, defeated his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by 1,810,206 votes and the third placed Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) by 2,693,193. The election that has produced BAT as the 5th President elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is one of the most keenly contested in the history of the country, with the emergence of a third force in Peter Obi. Hence, against the win margin of close to 4 million votes of Muhammadu Buhari over Atiku Abubakar, this year’s election has been one of the closest. In fact, by states won, all three leading contenders got 12 states each, with Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP winning only Kano.
BAT has been touted as a strategist and being politically skillful. Although this image may be dented in Lagos (his state), and Abuja (the seat of power), where he lost to Obi, he can lay claim to his political sagacity and acceptability with victories in other parts of the country. Haven been a member of the pro-democracy group – National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) in the 1990s, which was pivotal to the ouster of the military in Nigeria – BAT has staked his claim to being part of Nigeria’s democratic journey.
Yet, BAT, as the president elect, has his work cut out for him. The election that has produced BAT as the president elect has shown how deeply divided Nigeria is, with voting patterns for the candidates across the country showing the religious and tribal cleavages of Nigeria. Hence, the president elect as president will have a lot to do in terms of uniting the entire country to his presidency. However, with more interest in the electoral process by young Nigeria, the president elect as president has the opportunity to commit the future of this country to the next generation by rallying the young people to his administration.
The president elect also has the pending issues of insecurity and the economy to deal with. With spiraling inflation, falling foreign direct investment, rising debt profile, and a persistent insecurity crisis, the president elect must live up to his campaign promise to “establish a bold and assertive policy that will create a strong yet adaptive national security architecture and action to obliterate terror, kidnapping, banditry, and all other forms of violent extremism from the face of our nation” and “manufacture, create, and invent more of the goods and services we require. Nigeria shall be known as a nation of creators, not just of consumers”.
BAT may have crossed the finish-line with a same faith presidential ticket in Nigeria, he should be mindful of the religious fault lines in the country and make every effort to unite the people across religious divides. He should remember that over 12 million voters voted against him and be humble in victory, as his supporters should too. With his governance in Lagos, which is multi-ethnic, multi-religious and cosmopolitan, he may be given the benefit of the doubt in terms of redeeming the country from perceived areas of misgovernance by his party.