I got a call to be on standby. I had sent in an intention of penning a serious biography of the APC Leader. Together with my partner, Segun Akande, we had conceptualized the plan and hatched it with a beautifully crafted synopsis sent into the lair of the Lion of Bourdilon.
Segun and I have for sometime now been mulling the idea. The reason is simple. Bola Tinubu is simply the most important and influential Nigerian politician in the last 10 years. Emerging from the governorship of Lagos state to the leadership of the South west to marshaling a monumental defeat of an incumbent in a democratic election and still holding and wielding tremendous power ever since makes him someone of importance to us. The plan is to just take the period of the formation of the Aalliance which brought together major opposition parties and end the book the moment the new president was sworn in that cold morning in Abuja.
We are of the firm believe that Nigerians and indeed future generations deserve to know what is going on in the mind of this genius, the challenges he faced on the way, how he beat those challenges and how he almost single handedly installed a candidate who was deemed unelectable some few years ago.
The call took us into his lair and there I observed first hand the continuous grinding of the machinery. It was like I found myself in a bee hive. Everybody was busy, there was no hanging around or lashing around. All those who came in came for something. There was no loitering. The compound in itself was expansive, construction work was going on at the back and security was almost lax. We even at some point thought he was not at home with the way the security men were relaxed and were very courteous to us even as strangers.
As we descended into his living room, we began to feel a sense of power. This was the core, this was where it is all happening. This was the inner kitchen. Mr Demola Oshodi who is an aide to the Asiwaju was the first to greet us. I hadn’t seen him in years. He was so busy that he looked through me as we hugged and shook hands. We were introduced to Tunde Rahman. Tunde Rahman used to edit Thisday, a paper I have a strong affinity to and which I write a regular column for. He was warm and very courteous. We discussed our project and he listened intently.
As Segun was speaking, curiosity was killing me. I was looking around the room, identifying key political gladiators as they came and went. Mr. Wale Edun was very conspicuous in his presence. You could see that he was a very influential member of the clan. I would not be surprised especially if you look at his pedigree as a two term Commissioner of Finance under the Asiwaju. He looked real good. Senator Solomon walked in and the Lagos State Secretary to Government, Tunji Bello, was also within.
Asiwaju’s son, Seyi, was also present. We had met sometime ago in Lagos and had made acquaintance. He was obviously within the thick and thin of activities that late afternoon. As we discussed, I began to ponder if I would meet the great man and just at that moment, he sauntered in.
Walking briskly, with a dedicated steward carrying his food around, the Asiwaju appeared not to really have time for the food as he walked in and out othe various rooms within the larger room. Rooms that were filled with powerful dignitaries. I watched him at close quarters and was struck by his eyes. They were so engaging like they could see through you, but you could see the intelligence in them.
His was not an authority that was enforced by legalistic power, his was authority you earned out of meritorious leadership. His followers, the ones I saw there all looked like they could lay down their lives at any moment for the Asiwaju. This kind of loyalty could not be bought by all the Naira in the world .
I greeted him and he responded as he walked like three times back and forth where we ere standing. He was comfortable by our presence in his private living room, maybe because he had hosted thousands and did not really bother as to who came or who didn’t come.
As we rounded up, we began to feel a warmth, an acceptance and a camaraderie between us and his people. They liked us and did not really mind us writing this book we sensed.
That evening, the call came. We had the go ahead. The book can be written.
I slept well that night. The first time in a long while.
Ripples Nigeria…without borders, without fears
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