How Tinubu can provide transformational leadership

There are many people who have great dreams and we admire them, and marvel at their determination to pursue their dreams. There are others, however, who have a dream so profound that we are not content to simply watch, we want to be a part of the dream; we want to help achieve that dream and live within it. And in the rarest of cases, some very special people convince us that the dream is more real and vital than anything we have ever touched or experienced.

The story of President Bola Tinubu is about such a real dream. But my father, the late Arinjale of Ise-Ekiti, Oba Opeyemi Adeyeye, was fond of saying back in the day that ‘Bi omode bamo ijakadi, o nila timo ebele, nitori ebele ni baba ijakadi.’ Roughly translated, it means you should be prepared to give your all to whatever you love doing!

Now that Tinubu is the 16th president of the country, he needs to be quickly reminded of what made the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo the most famous, most recognised, and most accomplished politician in Nigerian history. Awolowo declared war against hunger and bettered society with policies such as free education in western region, quality healthcare, rural development. He seized the opportunity of his leadership to pull Nigeria out of the wilderness immediately.

The path to unity in Nigeria

Of course, Tinubu has been getting advice from across the political spectrum urging a moderate start to the new administration. That would be a huge mistake. The problems facing Nigeria today are too big, not small. Therefore, solutions must be big as well. With the present situation in the country, if Asiwaju wants to be a real transformational president, he must first of all address the issues that would help Nigerian families by aggressively getting pro-economic incentives off the ground; and creating market boost for local businesses to enable them to provide employment opportunities for the Nigerian youths. This is the only way to succeed.

Another weighty issue that I think will be critical for the president to act swiftly on is the out-of-control security problem across the country.

Although the promise of continuity is key to the president’s electoral victory, particularly among the Muslims in the North; however, a total change in some areas is also important in a new administration. That is specifically the case of criminal attacks in Nigeria where Tinubu would be wise to not continue issuing blanket amnesty for criminals, including aliens from neighbouring countries. He must let them (the criminals) take responsibility for their actions.

Low-hanging fruit for the incoming administration

For example, next year, Nigeria will celebrate the 25th anniversary of her present democracy. In one way, we will remember the last two decades as the worst in our history; whereas, the founders of this nation created a free society—free people, free market, free elections, freedom of expression, and, of course, freedom of religion. Unfortunately, it has never been important for us, particularly our political leaders, to demonstrate to the rest of Africa, the power of this freedom. Instead, we have created a culture in which appallingly large numbers ignore the opportunities offered by hard work to choose instead the world of crime.

As we consider our difficult problems at home and abroad, some young citizens complain about how hard it is to grow up in Nigeria because of unemployment, hunger, and insecurity. They could not be mistaken. Afterall, much has been given to us as a nation, and it is only right that much will continue to be expected from us. That is why we must get our country back on track before it sails off into the abyss.

Tolu Ogunkoya: Good-natured and gracious

Without doubt, Nigeria has the potential to become a great country again. It has a great culture, a proud history, a deep tradition in the arts, enormous natural resources and strong people capable of great suffering and sacrifice as they have demonstrated so vividly in the eight years of the last administration. Today, there are some who would say that it would be in their interest for Nigeria to become more politically and economically weak. This is not one of our options because Nigeria will inevitably be strong again.

The only question is whether a strong Nigeria will be a friend or an adversary of the 21st century democratic community. That is why Tinubu must do everything in his power to ensure the former rather than the later without acting like a cold, shrewd, tough-minded political operator; and prove to the world that democracy is, really, as Abraham Lincoln described it, the last best hope of man on earth.


  • Gbadebo Adeyeye is the Proprietor, Crown Heights College, Ibadan

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