By Seyi Gesinde
You will soon get to see the coming together of two attractive and simpatico first-rate Nigerians! This is a marriage of the century, a very rare one about to happen, like the first of its kind in Nigeria’s history! It is not an ordinary one or the usual type of conjugal affair — this is a marriage of two known titans in the country’s political class. After the nuptial day, the Groom is Tinubu and the Bride is Osinbajo.
They are popular Nigerians, influential and of gargantuan personalities. They are both intelligent and charismatically superb. Both are crowd pullers and are loved by their people. One is a kingmaker, while the other is a king. One is a top-notch strategist and the other is a first-class administrator.
Who am I talking about? I’m still referring to our two national leaders, who are the cynosure of all eyes in today’s Nigeria — truly, they shape the public opinions nowadays. They are the most talked-about Nigerians at present.
Though well-liked, in demand and are sought after, it is still good to properly introduce them, let me touch on their résumé to make a short descriptive summary of their achievements.
Who is the Groom Tinubu?
The Groom, born March 29, 1952, clocked 70 years days back. Fondly called Jagaban or Asiwaju, but formally known as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, simply BAT. He was a Senator and former Lagos State governor, an advocate of democracy, true federalism, and a nationalist, who alongside others formed a pro-democracy group, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), to restore democracy to Nigeria after the annulment of the popular June 12, 1993, presidential election.
A stouthearted Lagosian, Tinubu, is a bridge-builder, though not occupying any political position since he left office as a governor in 2007, he had since established a formidable political structure producing successive governors after him in Lagos, and across South-West states, most especially. From this same political empire, countless Senators, House of Representatives members, Local Government chairmen/women, party executives from the local to national levels, and even councillors have emerged.
A United States-trained accounting expert, Tinubu, for many years, worked with Mobil Nigeria, coupled with being an astute businessman, the same industrious spirit that made him excel as a technocrat, he brought in as a politician, to now being known as the National Leader of the ruling APC, the Asiwaju of Lagos and the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom, Niger State. He is a committed Muslim, married to Oluremi Tinubu, the current Senator representing Lagos Central Constituency at the red chamber, likewise a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
Who is the Bride Osinbajo?
The Bride, born March 8 1957, now 65 years, Osinbajo, from Ogun State, is an astute academic, a celebrated one of global repute, he is a Barrister and Solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court, who bagged his Master of Law degree from London School of Economics and Political Science, after completing his undergraduate Law degree at University of Lagos (UNILAG), and rose to become a Professor of Law, likewise a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and has since been decorated with a national award of the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).
Osinbajo found his better half and helpmeet in Dolapo Osinbajo, a humanist, soft-spoken lawyer, and daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a former Yoruba leader and Premier of defunct Nigeria’s Western Region. Known as a valorous public servant, Osinbajo is social justice and civil rights crusader, coupled with being a politician and pastor with the Redeemed Christian of God (RCCG). Likewise, with a modest lifestyle, Osinbajo carries honorary traditional titles like Madagun Jihar Nasarawa, Jagaban of Adamawa, Ebikakubowei 1 of Bayelsa, and Obong Emem of Akwa Ibom, among others.
Osinbajo was formerly the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, under the Tinubu governorship, at a time he was credited for undertaking far-reaching significant judicial reforms which addressed critical areas such as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training, discipline and more. Earlier, he had served as a Member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN, and with Peacekeeping Personnel around the globe.
Pre-2015 elections, Osinbajo, now popularly known in political circles as “PYO” or “Star Boy,” played a leading role with others saddled with the responsibility of developing a manifesto for APC, then, in 2013, emerging as a new party, which they did, from where a document presented as the “Roadmap to a New Nigeria” came from, after which in 2014, born-again Democrat Muhammadu Buhari, the APC standard-bearer presented Osinbajo as his running mate, and on May 29, 2015, he was sworn-in as a Vice President alongside President Buhari.
As we can see, these estimable duos are solid with profound social, academic and political backgrounds, no wonder they are distinguished and currently pulling so many crowds of admirers for this anticipated marriage. These ground forces of adorers are so long in a row that millions of them are not able to keep the same company again, but have now separated into two rows of the bridesmaids on one side and the groomsmen on the other side. But fortunately, they are to still be united as one family to form the wedding procession in a row on D-day.
As things now stand, the formation of their boosters is a good sight to behold, queuing behind Tinubu and Osinbajo separately, not even minding both are of the same Yoruba clan from South-West Nigeria, their influence cut across all the 774 Local Governments in Nigeria broken down into 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, which formed the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
From these zones came the Igbo, Hausa, Ijaw, Fulani, Itsekiri, and several other tribal formations who joined their Yoruba compatriots to relish the Tinubu and Osinbajo fame and bask in their glory. They now daily add up to their fanbase everywhere, to the extent that if you see people gathering in twos or threes or more today in Nigeria, they are most likely talking about Tinubu and Osinbajo.
What are the people talking about? They are wondering what becomes of this twosome whose relationship began to the public view as if a godparent to a godchild. They want to see the formation of the union of these pair whose influence has grown nationwide to now becoming confrère in our res publica already enlarged than where they first met. More so now that Tinubu has put forth his proposal, millions of Nigerians who daily plead for Osinbajo’s consent are earnestly waiting for his acceptance — their concern being how will the turnout of events be if Osinbajo eventually gives his consent to the popular proposal placed before him.
People are now curious, while some with mixed feelings are speculating, won’t it raise many discontent faces around town assuming the declared proposal of Tinubu is turned down against the perceived possible consent of Osinbajo to demands! More so as it is believed a proposal can either be accepted or rejected.
Another angle from the pessimists saying a groom is the head, asking, and are equally bothered if Osinbajo will ever be given a chance as a bride in her house, to say the least. Others are saying, after all, marriage is meant to be enjoyed, beginning with the honeymoon, and irrespective of any marital argufy that may follow, said to be normal, later on, the feeling is, there still has to be conjugal bliss amid challenges that go with it. It is believed that no matter how handsome a groom is or how beautiful the bride is, just like every marriage, this one too being awaited will experience its trying times.
Even, as the optimists are concluding that, don’t let us anticipate furious hoo-hah before the couple gets to the seventh heaven in their marriage they believe will stand, come to think of it, those not too comfortable with the arrangement said, after Asiwaju Tinubu had since made his intention known, the contending issue to these conservatives from another perspective is, why would a kingmaker, Tinubu, present a proposal before someone close to his chest as a godchild seeing through where it all began? Should this person who can hardly say no to a godparent’s request be this intimidated?
It was these mixed feelings that prompted the supportive tipsters to attempt to foretell the outcome of this awaiting union, during an unasked-for prenuptial dialogue. But amid the confusion arose a clear-sighted perceiver blessed with the wisdom of Solomon, who dropped profound insights in which was this sapiential clue. It was this one who prefigured what baffled the understanding of many interested spectators to be a proverbial marriage of interests between the two political giants, concluding, that this presumably historical event is the way forward needed to forge ahead from a seemingly political morass.
Simply put, concerned Nigerian progressives expect to see what will turn out to be a political performance of hymeneal rites between Tinubu and Osinbajo to formalise the marriage of both their declared and undeclared ambitions for the 2023 presidential run — moving forward.
True to his person being the biggest drawing card around who brings leaders to power exercising political influence, looking back to 22 years ago this 4th Republic began, it was only Tinubu as one of the pioneer governors in the South-West that completed his constitutional two terms in office. His colleagues from the same party, then, Alliance for Democracy (AD), lost out in the election to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Afterwards, Tinubu did not seek political office, rather, he safeguarded his territory, such that in Lagos State, only the APC has produced the governors under his watch and supervision from 1999 till date, the opposition PDP has never had a feeling of what it feels like staying in Alausa State House, even in a micro-second. Undoubtedly, Tinubu is a kingmaker known to enthrone kings, the best in the saddle as far as political leadership is concerned.
It was he who brought up Babatunde Fashola, Akinwunmi Ambode and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his protégés at Alausa, Ikeja, Government House being the past and incumbent Lagos State governors. Same with Osinbajo, a former Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, whose achievements, it is still being said to date, surpassed that of his predecessors in the same office. The quartet is the product of Tinubu’s sagacity. Asiwaju, keep making these kings and be happy to see your sons and daughters excel as we learned from the Yoruba culture that every parent prays for their children to be greater than them.
In short, knowing Tinubu to be a pure democrat, who places the national interests above personal ambition, and from past experiences, he is equally known to often weigh popular public views to decide on the best way forward, there is a likelihood of him surrendering to the need for continuity of this current APC national leadership under the Osinbajo 2023 Presidency, already a co-pilot in the present Buhari-led administration. Osinbajo knows where they started, where they are, and where they are still going to consolidate on the far-reaching achievements of the APC government.
Since the consensus arrangement worked for the APC in its recently held National Convention, which produced Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the party’s new National Chairman out of like six other strongmen who aspired for the office, it will work in the choice of the party’s standard-bearer too, reckoning Asiwaju Tinubu as a game-changer we know he can make it happen in this game-changing plan.
Let’s see a Tinubu working for an Osinbajo. We don’t want the South-West to jeopardise its slot? And why should this even be? Everyone should play their role. Let’s close every ember of separation, and regroup to be one again. Fans of these two great men should unite for progress. It is still one APC, nothing, in the end, will be lost, and nothing will be missing. We won’t sleep over this. Instead, we are walking on air till we reach cloud nine to behold this historical marriage of interest of Tinubu stepping down for Osinbajo as the latter consents to Nigerians’ call for him to declare his interest in the 2023 Presidency.
Asiwaju Tinubu’s once said this about Vice President Osinbajo, precisely on his 62nd birthday: “Since I knew him (Osinbajo), he has not changed one bit in brilliance, commitment to causes he believes in, selflessness and loyalty to the nation. He remains an erudite legal luminary and worthy ally. Together with Osinbajo and other technocrats we helped to lay a solid foundation for an egalitarian and prosperous Lagos that is blind to ethnicity and religion. Most of the landmark cases Lagos won at the Supreme Court bore his imprint. He is a champion of restructuring and true federalism of sort because he used the instrumentality of the law to advance the course of restructuring. One of such landmark cases won by Lagos is the one on the creation of Local Governments where the Supreme Court held that the state has the power to create additional councils and complied with the extant constitutional provisions. That judgment helped in expanding the centres of development which has changed the Lagos political landscape forever.”
In essence, Tinubu knows why Osinbajo should do it. He also knows why this house must not fall over avoidable conflicts of interest. The progressives know too that Tinubu is best at making the kings, and why Osinbajo, the executioner per excellence should be made the king come 2023. This progressives house is not meant to fall, and it must not fall. Marriage is honourable, let’s have its bliss.
We hope for the best, it is in the overall interests of the over 200 million Nigerians who look forward to Osinbajo as the hope of a new Nigeria that matters, not even Osinbajo’s aspiration for the office. Not only this, it is about the continuity by the one who jointly laid the foundation, who, we, including Asiwaju, had joined in applauding for his good performance as an Acting President under this same administration. Tinubu had personally attested to Osinbajo’s loyalty and commitment to nation-building. He should endeavour to join his teeming supporters. Tinubu knows Osinbajo to be someone ready for this progressive work of having and realizing the “Nigerian Dream.” And this is not in undermining Asiwaju, his profundity and ingeniousness contributory to Nigeria’s development had been established. It is in putting Jagaban in his place of honour as the “kingmaker,” even as the Jagaban title in itself means “the boss of bosses.” Marital bliss!
• Gesinde is a digital content editor, analyst and aggregator.