President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s journey to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was never an enviable one as there were several obstacles he fought to actualize his long time ambition.
Those conversant with Tinubu’s political career had said that the former Lagos State governor who served between 1999 and 2007 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, prepared for the arduous walk to the Presidency long ago.
While his contemporaries were content to retire to the Senate or to a mansion in the United States, US, or a luxury villa in a Caribbean paradise after their tenures as governors, the Jagaban was building political alliances across the country.
The Asiwaju of Lagos as he is popularly known was rumoured to have contributed to the election of many state governors who returned the favour by supporting his presidential ambition in 2023.
Osinbajo’s alleged betrayal
In the run-up to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC presidential primary election in June 2022, Tinubu cried out over what he felt was an attempt by some elements to edge him out of the presidential race.
A few days to the primary election, Tinubu while addressing delegates in Abeokuta, Ogun State, declared that it is his turn to become Nigerian president.
Tinubu who ascribed Buhari’s victory in 2015 to his efforts, blurted out his now famous quote, “emilokan”, (It’s my turn), stressing that he has been making kings and it is his turn to wear the crown.
“It is my time. I’m educated. I’m experienced. I have been serving people for a long time. Bring me the presidency, it is my turn”, he added.
Tinubu’s outburst caused a stir in the political space as some stakeholders who believed that the nation’s top job does not belong to a singular person, faulted his claim.
DAILY POST reports that the outburst was not unconnected to the ambition of the outgoing vice president, Yemi Osinbajo who also joined the race to succeed his principal, Buhari.
Osinbajo’s ambition had prior to the APC primary election, divided the Yoruba Nation and members of the ruling party as efforts to persuade him into stepping down for the Jagaban failed.
Osinbajo who was reportedly nominated for the VP office by Tinubu, was in 2022 alleged to have betrayed trust reposed on him by the former Lagos governor, his former boss.
Amid speculations that President Buhari may have picked Osinbajo or a former Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi as his preferred candidate, the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu announced the outgoing Senate President Ahmed Lawan as the consensus candidate.
While Adamu’s move continued to generate reactions, Governors elected on the platform of the APC rejected Lawan as the consensus candidate, and insisted on a Southern presidency.
The party later resolved to allow all aspirants to go to the poll, where Tinubu beat his opponents overwhelmingly.
Tinubu clinched the party’s ticket after garnering over 1,271 votes to defeat his closest rivals, Amaechi and Osinbajo who scored 316 and 235 respectively.
Naira scarcity/cabals in Aso Rock
Tinubu and his loyalists within the party had alleged that the cashless policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in January 2023 was orchestrated to frustrate his presidential ambition.
While reacting to the new naira scarcity and fuel shortage which provoked riots across the country, Tinubu accused unnamed powerful persons of masterminding the crisis to shoot down his aspirations.
This propelled the notion that there were some elements in the Aso Rock villa who were working vehemently against the ambition of the Asiwaju.
DAILY POST recalls that Tinubu’s ally, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State also affirmed that some Presidency officials, including the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, were working against Asiwaju.
But Buhari, who demonstrated his support for the APC candidate, not only campaigned for him in some states, but he obviously violated the Electoral Act by displaying his ballot paper after voting.
Rumoured health crisis
One of the dangerous rumours peddled against Tinubu to discredit him was his alleged ill health.
DAILY POST recalls that Reno Omokri, a former media aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2022, alleged that Tinubu was suffering from a medical condition called Enuresis.
Omokri and other social media commentators who were of the opinion that Asiwaju was unwell, cited a video clip showing Tinubu looking wet after he stood up to address some of his loyalists at the palace of the Awujale of Ijebuland in Ijebu Ode.
Tinubu’s constant trip to France and the United Kingdom was also one of the factors that triggered the rumour.
It was alleged that the President-elect has been battling with an undisclosed ailment which according to some of his critics was the reason for his trips.
However, recall that in an effort to dismiss the speculation, Tinubu on 22 October, 2022, said he is hail and hearty, stressing that the presidency job isn’t wrestling.
“I am not competing in WWE wrestling. Even if I go out there and they say sick oo, I am standing before you, do I look like a sick man?
“Vote me out of their reach. Vote for me 100%. They will stop complaining because I am smarter than they are”, he said.
After the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Tinubu winner of the February 25 election, there was relative chaos in many parts of the country as opposition politicians accused Tinubu of manipulating the outcome.
Supporters of Peter Obi of the Labour Party and that of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, staged protest in the Federal Capital Territory calling for the cancellation of the results.
Tension was doused when the angry candidates used legal means to truncate Tinubu’s victory.
Subsequently, Atiku, Obi and other candidates who were unsatisfied with the outcome approached the Presidential Election Tribunal court to seek redress.
Call for an Interim Government
In a move to scuttle the presidential inauguration taking place today, some opposition party members and supporters had called for an interim government, insisting that Tinubu must not be sworn-in.
DAILY POST recalls that the Department of State Services, DSS, on March 30, 2023, said it has identified some key political actors plotting to install an Interim Government in the country and frustrate Tinubu’s inauguration.
According to the secret police, the plot includes embarking on violent protests nationwide to engineer the declaration of a state of emergency as well as securing frivolous court injunctions to halt the inauguration.
The Service said the move being pursued by those it called entrenched interests was not only an aberration but a mischievous way to set aside the constitution and undermine civil rule as well as plunge the country into an avoidable crisis.
Despite all the obstacles, the Asiwaju of Lagos is set to take over the mantle of leadership from the outgoing President today.
A member of the Labour Party in the FCT, and staunch supporter of Peter Obi, Mr Andrew Anyebe told DAILY POST on Sunday that Tinubu “paid his dues to be where he is today”.
He said, “Sometimes we should just keep politics aside and tell the truth. I don’t support him and I don’t think I can ever see him as my president for personal reasons but Tinubu paid his dues.
“He invested in people and those ones spoke very loud during the election. I believe that the election was rigged but the question is, did Tinubu rig the election by himself? No.
“He has helped a lot of people and the people he helped reciprocated it. Who you help determines who helps you”.