By Tijjani Mohammad
Now we believe not of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves and know..(John 4: 42) Emphasis mine.
The above quoted verse is in reference to a Samaritan woman who had met Jesus Christ, believed, and invited fellow citizens to “come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did.”
The citizens eventually met Jesus Christ, also believed, and confessed to have believed, not only on the strength of the woman’s statements, but on informed self – conviction, having seen and heard Jesus themselves.
While neither Jesus Christ nor religion is the subject of this write up, it is clear from this narrative that nothing can impact the human mind more than a conclusion arrived at from inner self-conviction. This is the main thrust of this write-up.
At the dawn of the 2023 General Elections, among the earliest declarant to vie for the Office of the President was Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This early move was seen by many as strategic, typical of his character as a strategist. Many, unfortunately, were quick to condemn the move, arguing that, as a political king maker who had groomed so many into places of responsibility, Senator Tinubu should not have come into the contest but should have remained a king maker.
His candidacy soon became the dominant issue in the election as the nation witnessed divergent arguments as to his suitability or otherwise.
Most prominent of arguments against Senator Tinubu’s suitability of becoming Nigeria’s 16th president related to his health which became the most virulent and most sustained.
No sooner had he won his party’s primary election than Nigerians were warned of the national calamity that awaited Nigeria should Tinubu win the presidential election.
Without any medical proof, Nigerians were inundated with accounts of how Tinubu’s vital internal organs were in dire condition and why we shouldn’t be quick to forget the late Yar’Adua’s experience or that of the then sitting president whose bouts of health challenges necessitated his absence for many months on account of ill health.
Still, many claimed, without further proof, that Senator Tinubu had Parkinson disease, justifying the alarm with purported images of the then Presidential candidate’s shaky hands as he received the party’s flag at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Not contented that the stories would sway Nigerians from voting for Jagaban, we were told that the APC presidential candidate had some other contrived and unverified diseases with images flying around in the social media, purporting to exhibit and justify the narratives.
To warn Nigerians the more that a Tinubu presidency would only spell a comatose administration and a gloomy economy, we were told that Senator Tinubu had amnesia and hadn’t the strength such an office demanded.
Every effort was made by some people to convince Nigerians not to vote for the ruling party and, by implication, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Counter arguments from Senator Tinubu’s camp dispelling such rumours as unfounded and were being peddled by antagonists and bitter losers, were quickly dismissed as untrue.
Nigerians were advised not to hearken to such arguments defending Senator Tinubu since, according to these groups, Tinubu’s defenders were biased and self-serving.
Senator Tinubu’s supporters vigorously pushed out to the Nigerian public what they termed his sterling and unbeatable records in all spheres of human endeavours, especially, as the Executive Governor of Lagos State.
These, according to Tinubu supporters, include his political sagacity and capacity to identify and aggregate human assets, economic policies that catapulted the Internally Generated Revenue of the state, infrastructural layout and development as well as making Lagos State the fifth largest economy in Africa, among so many other laudable accomplishments.
Such opposing arguments left some of us at a loss as to who to believe, considering the tenacious arguments from the two opposing sides.
To worsen our predicament and that of so many Nigerians who knew little about Senator Tinubu, verifying any side of the arguments seemed beyond contemplation. Consequently, one could only but believe a little from both camps!
However, events since his inauguration on May 29, without prejudice to the judicial challenges arising therefrom, make this writer wonder if President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is still the same character that Nigerians were cautioned not to vote for before the elections, being a disaster, even death, in waiting!
Interestingly, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has, without further debate, proven that after all, he wasn’t a walking corpse as projected by some!
To others who were uncertain of his political sagacity, due mainly to opposing narratives in the media, President Tinubu’s meeting with elected National Assembly legislators, when interest in the leadership of the 10th Assembly was at its peak, must have picked a few tips from the election of principal officers of the National Assembly. This was to further prove that indeed, President Tinubu was a master of the game.
Subsequent events in the polity have indeed, disputed all the virulent attacks and innuendoes in the media concerning his physical and mental status.
Indeed, then President Tinubu’s extremely lucid extempore speech at the meeting with the legislative members so much impressed them that a Labour Party elected member confessed that he was proud of Tinubu’s intellect, wits, spirit and determination to serve. Yet, this was a man we were told had dementia, was fagged out and had nothing more to offer! Certainly, a man with dementia couldn’t have commanded such respect from legislators and even those from opposing camps.
Also, President Tinubu’s bold initiatives, within the few days of his administration, ranging from the epochal ‘Fuel Subsidy is Gone’ to the suspension of the 2023 Finance Act and halting of 5% Excise tax on telecoms, proves him to be a courageous, yet humane leader with a clearly defined chart, desirous of alleviating the woes of the citizens.
By embarking on such policies and programmes, President Tinubu has, in less than sixty days of his inauguration, proven to Nigerians that those who defended and projected him during the campaigns, meant well for the nation. His inauguration has once more revitalized the nation with the international community accentuating his desire to uplift the nation’s stand in the comity of nations.
Events at the Summit on New Global Financing Pact in Paris, his first international trip, highlighted the fact that his early policies were in sync with the international community’s expectations of Nigeria.
Beyond that, President Tinubu’s unanimous election as Chairman at the 63rd ECOWAS Summit in Guinea Bissau in July, where he spoke forcefully against undemocratic change of government in the sub region, signified the confidence fellow West African Heads of State and Government had in President Tinubu and Nigeria.
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Nigerians can bank on this administration for a better and progressive nation. Indications are clear that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has the will, courage, vision, determination and capacity to assemble Nigerians that would help this administration deliver on the Renewed Hope Agenda, the platform upon which he has been elected.
Tijjani write from Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja.