When the lion, the king of the forest is not around, all kinds of animals will be seen parading themselves in that position. But, once the king returns, they all go into hidden. A leader will always remain a leader. His place cannot be taken whether he is around or not.
When the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT), left the country for a well-deserved rest in London, the mainstream and social media was abuzz with all sorts of stories. They said he went abroad on medical tourism. Even, if that was true, what is wrong in going out to take care of one’s health, if one has the means?
Many go abroad to take care of themselves. But when it is Asiwaju, it becomes a sin. Why? At the risk of being tagged a Tinubu boy, I will say it is because he is a man destined for great things; a man chosen to affect his generation. Whatever such people do, always causes a buzz.
He was the subject of discussions for the two weeks that he was away and since his return on October 6, they have not ceased talking about him. To borrow a popular street lingo: E shock them, with his return. While he was away, they said he was ill and too old to stand for next year’s presidential election because of his failing health. There was nothing they did not say or write about him.
Those that do not know him would think they were talking about a man so feeble that he could no longer move. But, lo and behold! Here was Tinubu emerging from inside the aircraft looking radiant and regal in a wine turtle-neck, striped brown jacket and trousers, with a Kangol cap to match. He was looking hale and hearty. He came down the stairway unaided.
At the foot of the stairway were his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, director-general of his campaign council, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, the deputy director-general, Adams Oshiomhole, and many others. Tinubu embraced and shook hands with everyone of them, bouncing, turning on his heels and smiling as he did so. He looked refreshed, rejuvenated, and well rested.
Tinubu did not look 70, at all. He looked more like a 55-year-old, swinging from one end to the other, exchanging banters here and there, backslapping and laughing heartily. Tinubu looked extremely fine, composed and cool. The outing was impressive and it would go down as one of his best ever. He did everything right. I was amazed ed watching him on television.
Since his arrival, he has been busy, working on his campaign plan. First, was the inauguration of the women’s wing chaired by the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari. Tinubu was in his element at the event. You could see the benefit of going on vacation on him. He looked relaxed as he spoke on the occasion, with the women hailing him: ‘Jagaban’! ‘Jagaban’!!… Then suddenly, they switched to: ‘City Boy’! ‘City Boy’!! ‘City Boy’!!! With all in the hall rising for Tinubu, who was on stage, delivering his message.
He described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a party of ‘termites’, which destroy a structure slowly and steadily, as the Yoruba will say, warning against returning the party to power in 2023. Tinubu has shamed his detractors by returning home stronger, bigger, better and much more ready for the 2023 election. He has always been ready. His readiness manifested during the battle for his party’s presidential ticket last June. He visited no fewer than 20 states then.
He will visit more states than that as candidate. Asiwaju, a reformer and tested leader, is battle ready. The women have already lined up behind him. They have assured the Lion of Bourdillon, the Jagaban Borgu, the Asiwaju of Lagos and ‘City Boy’ of their support through rallies in Lagos, Owerri (Imo) and Abuja. There is more to come, they told him, asking him to keep going that they are behind him.
Asiwaju’s state of health is not and will never be an issue except for those who cannot see beyond their nose. They think that they can make him unelectable by saying that he is unhealthy. He has silenced them with his refreshing looks following his return. His eyes are on the ball, no matter what people say in social media. He is looking at the larger picture of making Nigeria the great nation it was created to be.
His detractors have nothing to say again now that he has proved them wrong over his health. They will do well to listen to what he said at the women’s event on Monday: “Never again shall they come back. Who are they? They are looters. Who are they? They are squanderers. Go out there and tell them, a new hope is here. Tell them, you are following the man who knows the way; tell them you are following the builder”.
Indeed, who will follow a destroyer or a man who does not know the way?