By Prof. Ojo Emmanuel Ademola
In my weekly discourse about the suitability of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the Nigerian presidency, I won’t ignore the fact that the man is endowed with the Midas Touch that has seen him thrive and excel in anything he decides to put his hands to do. Asiwaju is blessed with that touch of success that he excels where others fail. He leaves positive imprimaturs in any forte he deigns to forage into and always excels in trending. He is one of those few men that hardly strike failure in anything they invest in with the apt of succeeding excellently. With Asiwaju, and for him, leadership should be a more brilliant plan of successful management rather than a mere rigid approach to fruitlessness.
We all know the story of how Asiwaju was such a corporate success in multi-national, blue-chip companies like Deloitte and Mobil. The height of his success in the corporate world was when he became the Treasurer of Mobil and indeed oversaw the building of Mobil’s corporate head office in Lagos, thus making Mobil the first oil multinational to build its own corporate office in Nigeria. That was vintage Asiwaju, a man blessed with rare foresight to see opportunities where others don’t see such. With Asiwaju, and for him, leadership is all about delivering timely positive results.
We knew that Mobil was so reluctant to leave Tinubu when he offered to resign to start his political career. The resignation was converted to a leave of absence in case he later changed his mind and decided to return to the corporate sector. What’s more, a leadership takeaway is that a service story becomes a reality and that you can be a unique person through your leadership methodology.
We knew how Asiwaju breathed life into the pro-democracy struggle when he took over its financing after the cruel annulment of the June 12, 1993, election. His financial muscle thrived the activities of NADECO in those days, and his financing of Radio Kudirat was a game changer that positively redirected the activities of that pro-democracy movement and tailspinned into the eventual handover of power to civilians in 1999. Asiwaju always sees leadership as professional selflessness, which must focus on the evergreen values for the coming generations to adopt as a constant paradigm, even when uncertainty speaks against authentic leadership.
Nigerians are aware of the history of The Nation. The reputable national daily was a struggling Comet that was tottering on the brink of collapse before Asiwaju took it over. Even with the uncertainty and tempestuousness afflicting the newspaper business in Nigeria, The Nation has become a hugely successful, reputable and respected national daily with many publications in its stable and employing thousands of Nigerians. Asiwaju appropriated the leadership of separating performance from results, even when hope is not a proper leadership strategy, yet he won’t allow success to go wrong.
The story of TVC is another case that shows Asiwaju’s endowment with Midas Touch. He founded TVC as a leading national television at the time the television industry was stuffed. He was not deterred by the vast number of television stations then determined to establish a reputable station with broad niches in objectivity and non-partisan news dissemination. He achieved that, and in record time, TVC stamped its authority as one of the most reputable television stations in Nigeria, which is what it is today. Asiwaju knows how best to get the good out of the worst; better out of the good, best out of the better, and most incredible out of the best.
The story of Radio Continental and later Max Radio is equally similar. Thus, Asiwaju launched into the troublous Nigeria media industry, and today, his media empire is one of the most elaborate and successful in Nigeria today.
Contrast this with the case of the PDP presidential candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who obtained a license to run a television Station, Gotel television, five years before Asiwaju got his TVC license. Today, Gotel has long gone extinct, while TVC has become a global brand and leader in the television sector.
Asiwaju leveraged his training as a first-grade accountant to make solid stock investments in leading international and local companies, even during his days as a corporate player. He has a first-class business brain enhanced by reputable training in world-class institutions. He has a solid reputation for good, sound and impeccable business judgments that had benefitted the various concerns he worked for before he moved into politics. It was such a sound and priceless decision that made Mobil migrate from a tenant at Bookshop House Marina to a landlord in a choice part of Lekki today.
A veritable bean counter, Asiwaju brought his business acumen into governing a critical state like Lagos. Raising the internally generated revenue from N500 million monthly when he assumed office in 1999 to N10billion monthly when he left office in 2007 is a script that. could only be lifted from the most astute finance books. He set the modal that ensures the monthly revenue continued to rise and is presently at a whopping rate of N50 billion monthly and it is still rising.
Tinubu is endowed to turn opportunities into fortunes, to turn potentials into growth. He is invested with that acumen to squeeze water from the stone and create boundless fortunes from yearning chances. He neither inherited nor stumbled on his Midas Touch. He simply nurtured the knowledge and art of melding several possibilities and churning out fantastic results. He is a self-made man, one who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and did it so princely that success trails him like a recalcitrant shadow. Through honing, education and exposure, he acquired the requisite ability to turn the fortunes of men and entities around. He has, over the years, built up the courage and will to make impacts where others see no way. He has the demonstrable willpower to improve the situation he finds himself in; to the benefit of himself and others. He has the inbuilt desire to endow any situation and leave it better than he met it. His penchant for success knows no bound.
Asiwaju is a detailed, careful and meticulous manager of men and resources. With a combination of these rare attributes, he has scored strings of successes in any pie he puts his fingers on. His resounding success in Lagos stands out for so many reasons. First, this was in the area of governance. Lagos governorship was the first executive governance position Tinubu held. As an executive governor, he was in charge of things and took responsibility for the successes or failures of his government. He demonstrated, by the beautiful results he got, that he had the capacity and depth to do things that could positively change the lives of the fortunes of not only Lagosians but Nigerians. What’s more, he installed a lasting legacy that continues to enrich and thrive in Lagos today. Secondly, Lagos was a microcosm of Nigeria where Nigerians with their prospects and problems converge so that he positively impacted on Lagosians and their fortunes even when other governors of other states made no such impact, shows that he understands the larger Nigerian problems and has the magic wand to change the fortunes of the country for the better.
So, what Nigeria and Nigerians need badly today is the Asiwaju Midas touch. They need Asiwaju in the country’s leadership position to provide an orderly, planned, meticulous and resourceful leadership needed to take the country up the scale of progress and enhance the fortunes of Nigerians. Having recorded great infrastructural lift in the seven years of Buhari ruler ship, Nigeria now needs a veteran human resources manager, the foremost talent hunter, the adroit financial engineer, and the proven goal-oriented leader gifted with the touch of Midas to translate our national resources and potentials to economic and developmental growth for Nigeria and Nigerians. That was what Tinubu did in Lagos, which no other candidate neared in the period of their own reign in various leadership positions.
Most importantly, Nigerians need Tinubu to establish the same culture of growth he established in Lagos, for which Lagos has become an impregnable success story with only one possibility: growing more substantial and expanding wider. This can only come through the same orderly, planned and meticulous template as contained in the Lagos master plan Tinubu produced and exemplarily executed in Lagos. This was what enhanced his Midas touch in governance. Nigeria needs it badly.
An essential factor that helped the Tinubu Midas Touch is his capability to come prepared for any task he embarks on. Tinubu studies any opportunity so well before venturing into it. He had never gone into any venture unprepared, setting him apart from other candidates now seeking the country’s presidency. Preparedness has been an attribute that has, over the years, honed his skills and given him the cutting edge in every sphere he has veered into. He is a good student of success, which shows in anything he has gone into; politics, business, work, leadership and governance.
In politics, Asiwaju is more than prepared and has come through a long history of tutelage that has seen him a senator, a fighter for democracy and governor of Nigeria’s most important and most influential state. Asiwaju is an expert leading in a volatile digital world. Asiwaju’s thematic approach to leadership will continue to win the way to escalating economic, technological and democratic development of Nigeria.
Asiwaju can always: make sense of the turbulent digital environment, implement a scorched Nigeria strategy review, excise the legacy structures and management thinking that stifle innovation, and break free from past cultural norms. Unleash the creative potential of his people and high-performing team; leverage the full potential of existing and emerging technologies; and reimagine leadership for a great Nigeria.
Pleasingly, Asiwaju wants to deploy his rich, enviable, illustrious leadership skills and of course, his mythical Midas Touch on Nigeria and Nigerians. He did this for Lagos and Lagos is today one of Africa’s best success stories and has grown to the fifth largest African economy that is growing at an astronomical rate after Tinubu’s Midas Touch. Nigerians have no option than to vote Tinubu if they desire a huge change in the fortunes of the country from 2023.
Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola