His thoughts are deep, his steps are long. Only those who have had the opportunity to work and walk with him had learnt little of his original thoughts.
For those who want to learn more, they follow him and listen. Two of them are Mr. Wale Edun, the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy and his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Those who thought they had “seen Tinubu finish” they contested against him and he showed them that they knew nothing about his strategy and vision. They lost woefully.
Most visionary leaders are eccentric. They do not choose to be, but their visions, which most times are blurred to those working with them.
Long before the feud between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, a brother in Osun State told me that some closest allies of the president would betray him as soon as they get to Abuja. The brother is not a prophet, but a grassroots politician.
He knows little about Tinubu except that the man’s original thoughts will be too difficult for some of his allies to understand.
He said, “Egbon, hmmm, when these people you think are loyal to Tinubu taste President Muhammadu Buhari’s style of leadership, they will forget where they were coming from.”
To him, Buhari doesn’t supervise his aides. Buhari gives them free-hand, unlike Tinubu who will work with them and also dictate how he wants things to be done. He is a workaholic.
He said that Aregbesola and a few others got to where they are because somebody gave them a push, not because they have their own individual vision or inner push to realise anything.
“They only have missions and as soon as they get another person who can give them a push to realise that missions, they will forget about Tinubu,” he said.
My brother’s assertion sounded foolish to me and I tried to lecture him, but he refused to change his position. Of course, he has since been vindicated. He is right, I’m damn wrong.
When the events of Osun later began to unfold, my brother called to tell me that Aregbesola had seen a new leadership style somewhere and that Tinubu’s idea is now obsolete to him.
He asked me not to blame Aregbe’s personality, but his shallow understanding of Tinubu’s thoughts since he left the BAT’s inner circle.
I learnt a lot from grassroots politicians. They may not have money, they understand politics and easily see the bigger picture of what a leader is envisioning for the society.
I respect men who stood by Tinubu when the sky looked so cloudy and the foes and betrayers were waiting to see him drenched in shame.
They had the opportunity to hide from the rains, but they stood because they breathed the thoughts of their mentor. Tinubu’s original thoughts are complex and too deep for the ordinary to understand.
His walks are so long and require men who are ready to go a long distance with him, even when the destination is unknown.
Sometimes, Tinubu invests in some things and some men that one has to query it, but because we hardly understand his vision, we just keep quiet and watch.
One should not blame men who have fallen by the way side. That is how far their beliefs can take them in the search to actualise a leader’s thoughts, but Tinubu’s wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu stood. There is no doubt that she breathes this vision.
Tinubu’s Chief of Staff stood not for what he would gain, but for a pure understanding of the vision. His Special Adviser on Special Duties, Strategy and Communication, Dele Alake had been so silent over the years, but when his boss roared, Alake showed up. He must have been breathing the vision.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) is one of the most diplomatic politicians of this era. He sees what his former boss can do, he understands the vision and may still do something to help Tinubu in actualising it, despite his service under Buhari.
But to some others, their ambitions beclouded the vision that Tinubu had initially positioned them for. Some of them are Senator Babafemi Ojudu, former vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Adeyeye, Aregbesola and a few others.
We do not blame them, it is about their faith and strength to carry on with a man they did not actually understand his vision or perhaps because they saw a clearer vision in themselves or another person.
While speaking to a group of Nigerians in France a few days ago, Tinubu said that he assembled his friends to harmonise his thoughts and policies, but reading through it, he found out that they had omitted the “Oil subsidy removal’.
He said he summoned courage to say it loud on his inauguration day that subsidy is gone. While those who put his thoughts on paper refused to insert oil subsidy removal, the owner of the vision put it by himself and set to face the consequence.
He spoke about the rottenness of the Central Bank of Nigeria ,CBN,under Godwin Emefiele and why the country must now embrace single FOREX.
To him, Nigerians in the diaspora could not send money back home to take care of their aged parents because of the FOREX disparity, which his government had come to stop.
Those who never met him had since sat to listen to him and one of them, an Igbo lawmaker from Abia State, Amobi Ogah said, “Seeing my president talking, I never knew he is so intelligent. Today is my happiest day. Tinubu has really prepared for this nation and I think we have to give him all the support.’
Ogah is of Labour, a party that is still battling the election of Tinubu at the tribunal, but to the lawmaker, the president is the best for now.