First, an erratum: I must make readers aware that there was an oversight in the first series of this article. The year 2019 in the title wrongly went with the publication instead of 2023 which was in use in the first draft. I also observed that similar error also recurred in the last paragraph of the article.
The right year in the title should be 2023 and not 2019 as in the first series. This is because like it or hates it, Tinubu’s hegemony had already been established in Lagos in 2019. It can only take another four years which mark the period of another electoral cycle in Nigeria for it to crash. Thus, the prediction is of 2023 which still remains in the realm of conjecture.
Now to business: It is true that no dynasty can last forever. In the long run, it will crash for a reason or the other. It may be as a result of the death of the face of the dynasty or the consciousness of the people. A man or a family cannot continue to lord it over the people till eternity.
Power is transient. Even the Zhou dynasty that held sway in China for 790 years crashed on a particular day. Libya’s Gaddafi was also sacked not because he was a bad leader, but for the fact that the people wanted a change in government. The fall of political dynasties is, therefore, a natural law.
However, as against the speculations of many that the Tinubu dynasty will follow suit in no time after Saraki’s, I can argue that, barring any unforeseen development, the dynasty is destined to live longer in Lagos beyond 2023. For the moralists, I am not here to say Tinubu is a saint.
In fact, I have reservations for his brand of politics. But you cannot shy away from the fact that Tinubu is a blessing when placed side by side other Nigerian politicians of his ilk.
In the previous series, I chronicled those factors that led to the fall of the Saraki dynasty. All those factors culminated in the rise of the masses’ consciousness in Kwara State. In the case of Lagos however, those factors that can degenerate in the collapse of the Tinubu hegemony have been relatively non-existent.
An average Lagosian is still pleased with the Tinubu dynasty. Developmental strides are on-going in the nooks and crannies of Lagos. Though more efforts can still be made. Nevertheless, when Lagos has placed side by side some other states on a development basis, it will continue to be a champion (local champion if you like).
Tinubu, the face of the Tinubu dynasty, is in many ways the opposite of Saraki. Ace columnist Segun Adeniyi narrated how Saraki continued to look down on everyone in Kwara State until he met his Waterloo. He added that Saraki was said to have been calling those old enough to father him by their names. He disdains everyone in the state.
Not even the governor was exempted. Rumour has it that he once slapped the governor of Kwara State. Tinubu, on the other hand, is humble and never undermines the might of anyone — not even the rank and file.
I was in the company of an elderly to the house of a grassroots politician in Ilasamaja, Lagos during the Ambode-APC tango. While discussing the factors that led to the fall of Ambode, governor of Lagos State, the man underscored that the prime factor was his arrogance and in-your-face demeanour for old party men.
He added that not even Tinubu could disdain those elders Ambode scorned. He then emphasised that a factor that had been lifting Tinubu higher was his humility.
He relayed how some party members had gone to the national leader of the APC to solicit his support to get a new transformer in their community. Tinubu was said to have not even dressed up properly before running down to welcome them. He assured them that their desire would be granted. In less than three days, a brand new transformer landed in that community. This is humility if you ask me.
Tinubu, as opposed to Saraki, engages technocrats and advisors. He also listens to their advice which translates to the array of developmental strides in Lagos. Saraki, on the other hand, doesn’t listen to advice. He is full of himself. The fact that he engages the least qualified people to handle certain political offices added salt to his injury.
All these paved ways for the loopholes in his government and that of his successor which was exploited by the opposition to drive him out of power. The Tinubu dynasty has a roadmap it follows in governing Lagos as opposed to the visionless Saraki dynasty.
In addition, Tinubu is a man of his people. He doesn’t move far away from them. He is always at home to listen to their grudges. In contrast, Saraki is not that kind of politician that moves closer to the people. An account has it that he spent most of his time in Lagos while he was governor of Kwara State. Ditto he spends most of his days in Abuja as a senator than in Kwara. How does he know the grudges of his people then? All politics is local.
In addition, Saraki is an over-ambitious politician. He wants everything to come his way. This is why he is the “governor” of Kwara State and at the same time the PDP state leader, the PDP national leader, the senate president, a presidential aspirant under the platform of the PDP, a senatorial aspirant in the same vein…
You can add to the list. Saraki simply follows the philosophy of what I cannot get with my hand, I will rather use a magnet to attract it. His ascension to the office of the president of the Senate has been his bane. You should learn how to quit when the ovation is loud.
Tinubu, on the other hand, also has ambitions, but was not as ambitious as Saraki. An account has it that he eyed the presidency seat in 2015. But he would later quit when he was told that his ambition may forestall the party’s victory. The Saraki I know will never do that. If he gets his way, he can choose to be the president, senate president, governor of Kwara State, chief judge at a go.
Tinubu creates wealth where Saraki lavishes it. For the whole of 20 years, Saraki spent in politics, no company or business organization is under his control in Kwara State — not a single one. His media company has been operating epileptically in recent times. This is not Tinubu.
If you like say he steals, he has, to the best of my knowledge, about five business organisations in Lagos State that several Lagosians and non-Lagosians are benefitting enormously from. Tell me how such a person will fall in no distant time. Add all these plus the fact that he has the backing of federal might; what you get is that the Tinubu dynasty has come to stay beyond 2023.
Comparing Saraki to Tinubu is analogous to comparing death to life. There is a wide range of differences between the two political actors. While one is greedy, the other is benevolent. While one is pompous and full of himself, the other is humble and respectful.
While one creates wealth, the other destroys it. While one builds friendship, the other ruins it. Thus, predicting the fall of Tinubu using the Saraki parable is unfounded and a hasty generalization. If you ask me, Tinubu’s dynasty, barring any unforeseen development, has come to stay in 2023 and beyond.
By Abdullah Abdulganiy, a public affairs analyst.
Reach him via 08090637356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.