Home » Op-ed: Asiwaju: The cost and consequences of the congratulatory calls

Op-ed: Asiwaju: The cost and consequences of the congratulatory calls

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By Bala Ibrahim

From the early hours of today, Wednesday, 01/03/2023, when the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakub said, “I certify that I am the returning officer for the 2023 presidential election held on the 25th of February 2023. That Tinubu Bola Ahmed of the APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and returned elected”, the status of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has automatically changed. Whatever he does henceforth, would be dictated by the continence of Nigeria’s President-elect, subject to the self-control of the Jagaba. Those with access, would commence calling with congratulatory messages, which would go to him at a cost, that would give way to consequences.

It was the famous boxer Mohammed Ali, who was originally born Christian and named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. that said, He Who is Not Courageous Enough to Take Risks Will Accomplish Nothing in Life. Mohammed Ali took a lot of risks in boxing and activism, the result of which turned him into being regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and ranked the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Until his death in 2016 at the age of 74, Ali’s nickname was, “The Greatest”.

Like Mohammed Ali, President-elect Tinubu has taken a lot of risks and done a lot to de-risk his political venture, by learning as much as he can and testing as much as he can, step by step, including his doggedness in addressing the unjustifiable allegations against his age and educational qualification. He refused to be distracted, but remained calculative and steadfast. That doesn’t mean the Asiwaju has no fears, no, it is just that as the Jagaba, he knows that he is expected to act, in order for him to lead. There is a popular quote that says, Don’t Wait for Opportunity, Create it. Asiwaju is a believer in that that quote, and one that does not worry about how long it takes to get something, provided it’s worth the salt.

In appreciating the trust placed on him by Nigerians, President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu started his acceptance speech thus:

“My fellow Nigerians,

I am profoundly humbled that you have elected me to serve as the 16th president of our beloved republic. This is a shining moment in the life of any man and affirmation of our democratic existence. From my heart, I say thank you. Whether you are Batified, Atikulated, Obidient, Kwankwasiyya, or have any other political affiliation, you voted for a better, more hopeful nation and I thank you for your participation and dedication to our democracy. You decided to place your trust in the democratic vision of a Nigeria, founded on shared prosperity and one nurtured by the ideals of unity, justice, peace and tolerance. Renewed hope has dawned in Nigeria”.

To me, Asiwaju’s recognition of the placement of trust in the democratic vision of a Nigeria, founded on shared prosperity and one nurtured by the ideals of unity, justice, peace and tolerance, seems to be his springboard, or the fundamental principle of the administration he intends to lead. No election, from 1999 to date, has gotten this kind of polarization, with sharply contrasting groups based on ethnicity and religious beliefs. In the end, unity triumphed, because, despite all efforts to put religion and ethnicity over and above national interest, the people voted for peace and prosperity.

As I write this article, he is seated and ready to receive the certificate of return, at the end of which, more calls would come, saying, Congratulations on your well-deserved success! You’re an inspiration! Your hard work and perseverance have paid off! But the leader in the Jagaba, should make him see beyond them as mere messages of congratulations. He should check their costs and consequences to his political future, and the promise he made to the people for a renewed hope.

If the congratulation come in a manner that would compromise the public good, Asiwaju should do the needful, by reflecting on the trust placed in his hands, his conscience, alongside the cost and consequences of his political future, in the event of failure, God forbid.

A particular cliché, which is credited to late Chuba Okadigbo has been circulating in the social media of recent. I can not vouch for its authenticity but it reads:

“The Establishment might not allow us to Rule Now, but be that as it may, on a very good day, at the appointed time, Tinubu will rule Nigeria. What I do not know, is whether I will be around when that happens. But even if am not there, (Chuba turned to Tinubu) please ASIWAJU, move on and fear not! The vultures will gather against you, but you know what we stand for. Be strong and continue for you shall overcome!”

The people have voted last Saturday, wherein they told Asiwaju that, they have given him the mandate to continue until he overcomes the hurdles, that are standing on the way of Nigeria’s progress and prosperity. And in doing that, Tinubu should take into consideration the cost and consequences of the calls that would continue to come, including articles like this one, that is coming from me.

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