Otunba Ahmed Bola Tinubu is now being described as Nigeria’s Machiavelli? It says ‘How a political godfather helped bring down a president’. The Internationally renowned publication, Financial Times, has likened former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu to Machiavelli.
Here is an excerpt from the FT article, titled Man Who Helped Topple Nigerian President Displays Svengali Touch:
From his redoubt on Bourdillon Road in upmarket Lagos, a man popularly known as the Jagaban cemented his reputation this week as a political Svengali with the role he played in helping to orchestrate the downfall of Nigeria’s sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose name comes from the Jagaban chieftaincy title bestowed on him by the northern town of Borgu,was from 1999 to 2007 governor of the nation’s economic engine, the coastal state and mega city of Lagos. The political godfather now of southwest Nigeria, Mr Tinubu’s unlikely alliance with Muhammadu Buhari, the austere former military ruler and now president-elect,made possible the first opposition victory in the country’s electoral history.
“There needed to be an alignment for us to be able to stare down the government in power,” said one of Mr Tinubu’s lieutenants. “There needed to be a catalyst for that alignment.He was the most prepared for that.” The manner in which that alignment evolves is now among the big questions Nigerians are asking when considering the likely character of the incoming administration. Described as “deeply Machiavellian”and a “master strategist” by one of his party peers, the Jagaban cannily built a political empire among ethnic Yorubas in Lagos and the southwest, as formidable, according to allied politicians, as that of Obafemi Awolowo, who led Nigeria’s second-largest ethnic block at independence.
He did so over the past 15 or so years, having survived a string of bruising turf wars with the ruling People’s Democratic party, which was forged from political networks across Nigeria during the 1998 transition from military rule. PDP barons had become so adept at oiling the electoral machine that they sometimes boasted the party would still be in power in 100years.
It was the merger of the Jagaban’s Action Congress last yearwith the party of the president-elect — strong in the
north but weak elsewhere—that made it possible for the opposition to challenge and ultimately defeat the PDP.