Today, May 29, 2023, President, Muhammadu Buhari passes the baton of leadership to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Nigeria finds itself amid a mixture of anticipation and unease.
With Tinubu assuming the Nigerian presidency, a sense of anticipation, intrigue and anxiety permeates the nation.
The journey to Tinubu’s presidency was not without its challenges and controversies, making his February 25, 2023, victory a significant milestone in the country’s political landscape.
Reports that prior to the June 7, 2022, presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu faced numerous odds against his candidacy.
Nicknamed the “Jagaban of Borgu,” Tinubu’s victory in the party’s primary election defied all odds and automatically set the stage for the transfer of power from President Buhari.
This unexpected turn of events ignited both anxiety and excitement across the nation.
Critics argued that he was too old and might not possess the necessary health and vigour to effectively govern Nigeria.
Also, one of the primary contenders for the APC ticket was Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who enjoyed substantial popularity among party members and the youth.
Some within the party advocated for Osinbajo’s candidacy, seeing him as a worthy successor to President Buhari. However, Tinubu’s widespread influence and adept politicking enabled him to outmanoeuvre his opponents and emerge as the party’s candidate, surpassing prominent contenders such as Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Tunde Bakare, among others.
Bola Tinubu’s path to victory in the presidential election was marked by various campaign strategies and rallying cries that resonated with the Nigerian electorate.
Among these tactics, the utilisation of the term “Emilokan” played a significant role in mobilising support for Tinubu’s candidacy.
During one of his public appearances leading up to the APC presidential primary election, Tinubu emphasised the reasons he should be the next president of Nigeria.
He highlighted his instrumental role in securing the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 election, despite Buhari’s three previous failed attempts.
Tinubu’s claim of having worked tirelessly to support Buhari’s successful campaign formed the basis for his outburst, Emilokan, which translates to “it’s my turn” in Yoruba, asserting that he deserved a chance to lead the nation.
This simple yet potent phrase encapsulated the yearning for Tinubu to assume the presidency, symbolising the belief that his time had come.
The term Emilokan swiftly gained traction as a campaign chant among the Yoruba population and supporters of Tinubu.
Yoruba-speaking Nigerians identified with the sentiment behind Emilokan, as it encapsulated the desire for a fair opportunity for Tinubu to lead the nation.
Several factors no doubt worked in Tinubu’s favour throughout his electioneering campaign. Notably, the strategic choice of Kashim Shettima, a northerner and a fellow Muslim, as his running mate.
This decision, however, stirred controversy among Christians who opposed the idea of a ticket comprising individuals of the same faith.
In the run-up to the February 25 presidential election in Nigeria, political analysts and observers widely predicted the impossibility of Tinubu’s victory.
However, the dynamics of the political landscape took an unexpected turn with the involvement of Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso.
These influential figures evidently played pivotal roles that ultimately contributed to Tinubu’s successful bid for the presidency.
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, created a significant impact on the political scene when he joined the Labour Party from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
His decision resonated with the youth population, igniting a revolutionary movement known as “Obidients.” This movement swiftly gained popularity across the nation, bolstering Obi’s influence and capturing the attention of political observers.
However, Obi, who is now in court, came third in the election.
During the 2019 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged victorious in the entire southeast region of Nigeria. However, the presidential election held in February 2023 saw a significant shift in voting patterns.
Peter Obi, with his newfound appeal and extensive grassroots support, successfully rallied voters in the southeast, south-south, and parts of the north-central away from the PDP.
This wave of support played a crucial role in diverting votes that were traditionally destined for the PDP, ultimately benefiting Tinubu’s All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign.
Another influential figure in the electoral landscape was Rabiu Kwankwaso, who founded the New Nigeria’s Peoples Party (NNPP).
Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, commanded significant support in the region. During the presidential election, the NNPP emerged victorious in Kano, securing an impressive 997,279 votes.
Tinubu of the APC came second with 517,341 votes, while Atiku Abubakar of the PDP polled 131,716 votes. Kwankwaso’s popularity and the success of his party in Kano had a direct impact on the overall outcome of the election, contributing to Tinubu’s victory.
The decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to nominate Atiku, another northerner, as their candidate, played an inadvertent role in Tinubu’s triumph.
Despite being a prominent contender, Atiku’s campaign faced challenges, resulting in a divided support base.
This was due to a political agreement among various factions to shift power to the southern region of Nigeria.
As a result, some of his potential supporters gravitated towards alternative candidates, including Tinubu. This fragmentation of support inadvertently worked in Tinubu’s favour, allowing him to secure a significant number of votes that might have otherwise gone to Atiku.
The emergence of the G5 coalition also impacted the political landscape.
Atiku’s selection of Ifeanyi Okowa as his deputy irked certain governors within the PDP, leading them to break away and form the G5.
Samuel Ortom of Benue, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu were among these governors.
Expectedly, their states experienced defeat in the presidential election held on February 25, weakening their influence.
Tinubu’s alliance with the northern region played a significant role in securing votes. While he lost in Buhari’s home state of Katsina to the PDP, he managed to secure a substantial number of votes, securing the second position. This support from the far north proved crucial in his campaign.
Tinubu garnered a total of 8,794,726 votes, surpassing his closest rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 6,984,520 votes to secure the second position and the youth-favourite, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who came third with 6,101,533 votes.
The three top candidates won 12 states each, leaving Kwankwaso with Kano State.
This outcome marks a significant turning point in Nigeria’s political landscape and underscores the resilience and determination exhibited by Tinubu’s campaign.
As Bola Tinubu prepares to assume the presidency of Nigeria, he faces a series of formidable challenges that demand his attention and strategic decision-making.
While his victory in the 2023 presidential election was a remarkable achievement, it is crucial to acknowledge the obstacles that lie ahead.
One of the immediate challenges facing Tinubu is the legal battles initiated by his opponents. Both Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar, have filed court cases challenging the outcome of the election.
Tinubu must navigate these legal proceedings and ensure that his victory withstands the scrutiny of the judicial system.
While history shows that no Nigerian president has been removed from office by the court, the litigation process can still create political tensions and divert attention from pressing national matters.
Nigeria faces significant economic challenges, including high unemployment rates, inflation, and an overreliance on oil revenues. Tinubu must formulate robust economic policies and strategies to drive sustainable growth, diversify the economy, and create employment opportunities.
Tinubu will inherit the ongoing security challenges plaguing Nigeria, including the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, herdsmen/farmers crisis in north central, particularly Benue State, agitation in the southeast and communal clashes in various regions.
Born on March 29, 1952, in Lagos State, Nigeria, he hails from the Tinubu family, renowned for its historical significance in Lagos politics.
He completed his primary and secondary education in Lagos before pursuing higher studies abroad. Tinubu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Chicago State University, Illinois, United States, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the same institution.
Tinubu’s political journey began in the early 1990s when he became actively involved in the pro-democracy movement that fought against military rule in Nigeria.
As the first elected executive governor of Lagos State under Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, Tinubu served two consecutive terms from 1999 to 2007 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy.
Tinubu’s political influence extends beyond Lagos State. He played a pivotal role in the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a merger of several opposition parties, which eventually led to the historic defeat of the incumbent government in the 2015 presidential election.
The citizens hope for effective governance, economic stability, improved security and progress in addressing pressing issues such as corruption and infrastructure development.
They eagerly await the implementation of Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda and his ability to steer Nigeria toward a brighter future.
With both excitement and concerns lingering in the air, the nation awaits the actions and policies of its new leader, hoping for a positive and transformative era for Nigeria.
Dear Nigerians, it’s Jagaban o’clock