Against all odds, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has continued to enjoy news mention more than any politician in the last 20 years. Since 1999, when he was elected Governor of Lagos State, the maverick politician has remained a man of all seasons. Perhaps more than any individual, he has, since the beginning of the current democratic experience, faced and led many ‘wars’ more than any known politician around and came out unscathed. Few weeks ago, in commemoration of his 68th birthday, his political friends and foes explored many platforms; including hundreds of paid advertorial in the newspapers, radio and television to celebrate his contribution to democracy. The tributes and the encomiums poured in so well that not even the news of the dreaded COVID-19 epidemic could outshine them.
But has that given the strongman of Lagos politics the assurance that all is well? To the best of my understanding, the answer is, ‘No.’ As an experienced politician, Tinubu needs nobody to tell him that he’s enjoying a long honeymoon because he’s still politically relevant. Today, even those who don’t agree with Asiwaju Tinubu, will find it extremely difficult to ignore him. But the truth remains that he needs to be more circumspect and careful especially at this time when everyone seems to be persuading him to vie for the highest office in the land. From all the advertorial that were placed by different individuals and groups, it is safe to conclude that it was not done for altruistic reasons but rather for patronage either from those who have benefited from his political benevolence or those who are still hopeful that one day, the political leader will throw ‘food’ on their table.
Beyond the glamour and attention that annually greet the politician’s birthday colloquium, it is high time the Yoruba nation embraced him as the leader they need at the moment to navigate the testy waters of national politics. I don’t want this piece to give me away as one of those canvassing for Asiwaju Tinubu to throw his hat into the ring in 2023, I want to use it to call on people of the South-west to recognize and appreciate him as the rallying point to negotiate the exalted position. If there is anything that qualifies him for this role, it is his cosmopolitan personality and foresight which has worked for him on many occasions. It is on record that more than any political leader in this part of the world, Asiwaju Tinubu has identified more talents and supported more resourceful individuals to clinch positions either through appointment and election at state and federal levels in the last 20 years. To paraphrase it in Tinubu’s own words; he’s indeed a talent hunter, who uses the best hands, the best brains and the best experience to get jobs done. Over the years, he has fielded best hands, best brains and best experiences into offices nationwide. Another edge the colourful politician has more than anybody is the fact that he has built bridges across different geo-political zones, with many of his political lieutenants scattered in almost all the 36 states of the country.
Since he emerged in the political space, he has grown in the stature of late Moshood Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 election who became the choice of all including the North that has one of their own vying for the same position as at that time. Like an experience politician in the mould of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, his interest is always about the common good. While his contemporaries are thinking of the next election, Tinubu is thinking of the next generation.
Despite his political sagacity, Awolowo’s political foes, especially those outside the Yoruba nation were always quick to dismiss the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria leader as being too connected to his Yoruba root. Unlike Awolowo, even though MKO Abiola was envied by the Igbos and the Hausas, they couldn’t write him off as an ethnic bigot.
This is where a political actor like Tinubu also fits in. He can’t possibly be written on the basis of tribalism. It is easy to conclude that a lot have since changed but one thing still stands him out, Tinubu combines the political wizardry of Awolowo with Abiola’s cosmopolitan outlook. With this, he stands a better chance of successfully taking the Yorubas to their political promised land in 2023 and beyond.
Going by Nigeria political history, any nation in the polity that fails to have a political rallying point in the mood of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is doomed. If for any reason, what became of the Yorubas after the demise of Awolowo, Abraham Adesanya, Adekunle Ajasin and Abiola are enough to convince anyone. The same could also be said of the Igbos, who flew kite with the Great Zik of Africa –Nnamdi Azikwe, Alex Ekwueme, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, and Chief Chuka Okadigbo, who all had the political shrewdness and intellectual capacity to lead their people. In both situations, the only snag that militated against reaching the desired goal came when fifth columnist set up brothers against brothers and things fell apart (apology to Chinua Achebe). Before both nations could realise their mistakes, their political backbone had been broken beyond any surgery operation could be thought of. The rest is history.
From any angle one chooses to look at it, till date, opinion leaders outside Yoruba race still hold Chief Awolowo in awe. Every day, they imagined the height he could have taken his people to if he had his way but his meteoric rise in politics was scuttled with connivance of his own people. For instance, while he held sway, Chief Awolowo was able to transform the South West into an educational and industrial hub in Africa building a robust political climate in the process. As a leader with foresight, Awo appreciated the place of education so much that he made it his priority. Under him as Premier of Western region, education was free and affordable. To further raise the stake, he made available a lot of scholarships to outstanding Yoruba youths to access education within Nigeria and outside the country. But at the end, the same people he toiled day and night to develop were used to kill his ambition of becoming the president of the country on two consecutive occasions.
Between 1951 when the Action Group was formed and 1983 at the twilight of the Unity Party of Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo was the undisputed hero of the Yoruba tribe. It will be recalled that the post-colonial era of Nigerian history was dominated by three actors, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello. But since the trio has been out of the nation’s political space, no tribe has bestridden Nigerian political space like the Hausa-Fulanis, parading top political leaders and retired military heads as replacement for their falling heroes. However, the two major ethnic groups have been quite unlucky in the political equation of the country. They have consistently been eluded in the scheme of things because both the Igbos and the Yorubas have surreptitiously allowed personal aggrandizement to becloud their political vision of having a leader. Sadly, in both cases, selfish leaders from the regions were used to frustrate the political growth of those who could fly their flag.
Perhaps MKO Abiola would have fitted into the role for the Yorubas, the annulment of the June 12 Presidential election of 1993 which was to usher in the much anticipated third republic after ten years of military reign by the Northern military oligarchy frustrated the process. While it could be argued that the fallout of the annulment deepened the cold war that long existed between the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups, it is easy to conclude that Yoruba leaders, including the traditional rulers were used as tools to throw spanner into the agitation to reverse the annulment.
Like the Yorubas, the Igbos have also had opportunity to have a rallying point in many successful leaders, including the late war veteran, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, Alex Ekwueme and the cosmopolitan Chuba Okadigbo, a man with intellectual credentials and exposure but unfortunately, the Igbos were not there for them. Today, the Igbo nation, like their Yoruba counterpart, has no identifiable leaders that can rise above personal quest or material aggrandizement.
For the Yorubas not to suffer the burden of leadership vacuum in Nigeria politics, the time to act is now. Over time, arguments have surfaced as to who is the Yoruba leader between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Tinubu but many of us think the argument is unfounded because the answer is obvious. Though Chief Obasanjo has had the opportunity to occupy the highest political office in the country on three occasions; that hasn’t made him a rallying point because he was like a child of circumstance, who was foisted on the nation by those who saw him as a willing tool. A close study of his political antecedent reveals a man who think only of himself and not his people. One other thing –many analysts, among Yoruba scholars have consistently challenged General Obasanjo on the fact that he was a major actor in the scheme to frustrate the ambitions of both Awolowo and Abiola. Till date, he hasn’t cleared his name of that mess. As the greatest beneficiary of the June 12 saga, it was expected that the former President would use the opportunity to honour Abiola posthumously to pacify the Yorubas. Again, Chief Obasanjo arrogantly ignored the voice of wisdom.
The irony of this was that when Prof. Wole Soyinka stood against Obasanjo when the latter was aspiring to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1991, Abiola took it upon himself to broker peace between the two of them. M.K.O didn’t only beg Soyinka, he mobilised prominent Yoruba leaders, including traditional rulers and their old school mates at Baptist Boys’ High School, Abeokuta, to appeal to the literary giant. To the late business mogul, Obasanjo as Secretary-General would boost Nigeria’s profile on the international scene.
Now that Yoruba appear to be at the crossroads, leaders of thought should rally round Asiwaju Tinubu and call to order, some individuals who knowingly or unknowingly are being used to nail him. For the man himself, he shouldn’t get carried away by the arrays of political folks who are chorusing ‘Hosanna’ today because most of them are but fair-weather friends, who will disappear when the chips are down.
Is Asiwaju Tinubu a perfect man? No. He’s human. He has his strengths and his weaknesses. We all do. But in the interest of the larger picture, this piece is meant to appeal to Yoruba leaders to give this political oracle the opportunity to be the captain of the ship –at least for now. With him as the pathfinder, we can all have glimpse idea of where we are heading.
Now is the time to set yourself up for the future of best practices BY Dr. Ibrahim Abduba
It has been said over and over by a multitude of business systems experts. One of the greatest barriers to digital transformation is not technological. It is human resistance to change. Within an enterprise, a wholesale culture shift is needed for digitalisation to take hold and be used to its full efficiency-boosting potential.
Of course, enterprises are now operating in a context of forced, unprecedented change beyond the scenarios covered in most business continuity plans. Who projected that we would one day be in a situation where essentially everything would close at the same time, crippling supply chains? Or that a company’s workforce would be mandated to stay home, with no access to on-premise systems? Businesses need new solutions to ensure business continuity in the current economic climate, recover quickly and ensure operational resilience in the “next normal” beyond COVID-19.
The time is ripe for change, but it demands a greater embrace of new perspectives. These newer attitudes have been slowly taking root in Africa. First, there was the move from manual to automated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) (https://bit.ly/3cohBuI) applications. This led to the realisation over the past decade that cloud-based systems drive greater operational agility than their on-premise equivalent, allowing enterprises to operate efficiently and securely, even across borders.
As an example, Bank of Kigali Plc in Rwanda has leveraged cloud-based functionality such as end-to-end process automation to reduce costs, improve scalability and innovate customer offerings.
Despite such success stories, many companies continue to cling to the mindset of “I have my own customised ERP, and it works for me; I’m not giving it up.” That attitude is understandable, but current challenges prove traditional ERPs lack the flexibility to overcome them efficiently. Rigidity is simply not contemporary best practice.
Even before the current crisis, Steve Cox, Oracle’s Group Vice President for ERP EPM Product Marketing, referred to the future of best practices as being one of less work, more automation and better outcomes. The wider business context has, of course, shifted, but evolving technology remains key to unlocking business benefits, such as greater speed and cost savings.
Best practice is also continually being disrupted and redefined by emerging technologies. We see artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) well entrenched in Oracle Cloud applications now, producing insights from big data, automatically maintaining systems and underpinning chatbots. Becoming similarly commonplace in enhancing everyday work processes are the likes of blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR), with the first two having special advantages for supply chain management (SCM).
Even with expensive IT upgrade cycles, old on-premise platforms may battle to integrate with such new solutions. By contrast, through cloud, enterprises can instantly leverage the latest best-in-class technologies, which connect seamlessly because of already considered integration capabilities. The cost of continual upgrades goes away, and it becomes easier to predict spend and calculate budgets.
With continual cycles of disruption the new business “normal,” the ability to accurately predict and prepare has become the best practice for enterprises. Cloud ERP offers users the ability to effortlessly pull together data sets across a business for better insights that drive scenario planning and optimisation strategies. At the same time, an organisation’s human talent is liberated to focus on innovation instead of losing their workdays to mundane manual tasks like report generation and transaction processing.
Leveraging these capabilities, and more, does not require reinventing the wheel. To make an enterprise truly future-ready, and minimise unpredictable risk, starts with overcoming attitude barriers.
Dr. Ibrahim Abduba, ERPM Strategy and Business Development Leader – East & West Africa at Oracle
Simi, the ‘Tiff’ that stole the show
Popular Nigerian Musician, Simisola Ogunleye professionally known as “Simi” since breaking onto the Nigerian music scene in 2008 has had a smooth ride and an impressive and enviable career run.
The 32 years old songstress started her career as a gospel singer, releasing her debut studio album in 2008, titled “Ogaju”, produced entirely by Samklef.
Simi then had her breakthrough in 2014 with her amazing singles, “Tiff”.
Born in Ojuelegba, Lagos, She is the last born child of the Ogunleye family. Although her parents separated when she was 9, Simi graduated from Convenant University, where she studied Mass Communication.
The amazing and talented star grew up dancing and singing as a member of her local church’s choir. She wrote her first song at age 10.
In 2014, Simi released an EP she titled Restless. The EP earned her a record deal with X3M Music, but she left the label in 2014 following the expiration of her contract.
At present, Simi is arguably one of the best female musicians in Nigeria. Simi is also enjoying the smash success of her recent music release, “Duduke” which has virally taken over the social media space.
The single, Duduke was inspired by her pregnancy, as the lyrics of the song depicts the expectant mother singing for her unborn baby.
Surprisingly, Simi isn’t just a singer and songwriter, the expectant mother is also a sound engineer as she is credited for mixing and mastering her husband, Adekunle Gold’s debut album, “Godl”, released in 2016.
Simisola has released three studio albums and has featured in one movie. She made her acting debut in “Mokalik”, a movie directed by Kunle Afolayan.
Simi has won over 10 awards including; Headies’ Best vocal performance (Female), Best Recording of the year, NEA’s Most Promising act to watch and many others.
She is indeed the “Tiff” that stole the show
Dangiwa’s Letter: my two cents BY Femi Fani-Kayode
“At this time and in the light of all that have happened since you took office, any conversation with you Mr. President cannot gloss over the chaos that has overtaken appointments into government offices in your administration. All those who wish you and the country well must mince no words in warning you that Nigeria has become dangerously polarized and risk sliding into crisis on account of your administration’s lopsided appointments which continues to give undue preference to some sections of the country over others. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the leadership cadre of our security services. Mr. President, I regret that there are no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the offices of the federal government, favouring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to this nation”- Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd.)
Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar is a former military Governor of Kaduna state and a Fulani Prince from the ruling house of the Gwandu Emirate who has had the courage to speak out against Buhari’s “Fulanisation”, “Islamisation” and “northernisation” policy.
He is one of the heroes of the June 12th struggle and he lost his Commission in the Nigerian Army for insisting that President-elect MKO Abiola should be given his mandate and allowed to lead Nigeria after winning a free and fair election in 1993.
He is an old friend of mine who used to be my Polo captain at the Lagos Polo Club many years ago and who I have known and admired since 1983. He openly opposed Buhari’s military regime as a young Major at the Lagos Polo Club between 1983 and 1985 and he often spoke against him whilst Buhari was military Head of State.
This was a very dangerous thing to do at that time because Buhari’s military Government was the most vicious and repressive that Nigeria has ever known. I used to listen to him with fascination in those days and I marvelled at his courage and his willingness to give up his life for his beliefs.
I read his polite, well-crafted and well-researched letter to the President which was released yesterday and I was touched and moved that he had the decency, patriotic zeal and presence of mind to say the things that some of us have been screaming for the last 5 years about Buhari’s dangerous policies and divisive politics.
I called our mutual friend and brother Bashorun Akin Osuntokun, who is presently doing a stint at Oxford University, to express my deep appreciation for the efforts of a man that we have both come to love and learnt to respect over the years.
Akin was equally impressed with his letter and we expressed satisfaction at the fact that he had once again lifted our spirits and gave us cause for hope.
May God bless this gallant soldier known as Dangiwa for being fearless and consistent over the years and may he continue to be the light and inspiration that he has always been to those in our generation.
We have not always agreed on everything but his timely interventions, courage and consistency is as remarkable as it is uplifting. I urge him not to relent in his noble efforts to make Nigeria a better place for all regardless of tribe, ethnic group or faith. We need more of him.
To those that are too young to know I will add the following. During the coup d’etat against Buhari’s vicious, murderous and bestial military regime in 1985, it was Dangiwa Umar who effected his arrest in Dodan Barracks and took him into custody.
He is one of those that brought an end to that hideous and cruel nightmare which plagued our beleaguered nation for two long years and which led to the destruction of many lives and the death of many people.
Dangiwa is a very tough and decisive man indeed both on the polo field and off it and just as he stood up to tyranny, injustice, wickedness, racism, nepotism and ethnic and religious bigotry in both in 1985 and 1993, he is standing up to it again today. That is the measure of the man and I am not in the least but surprised.
Yesterday I tweeted the following:
“When Col. Abubakar ‘Dangiwa’ Umar speaks the Government would do well to listen. He is a man of deep wisdom, profound knowledge and extraordinary courage. Like yours truly, he fears no man and bows before no mortal. He speaks truth to power and he makes tyrants tremble”.
I stand by these words and I stand shoulder to shoulder with Dangiwa Umar and millions of other Nigerians who have had enough of Buhari’s evil, injustice and tyranny and who are deeply concerned about the destructive course that he has set our nation on.
May God deliver our nation from this evil man and those that are supporting him and egging him on. May God raise more Dangiwa Umar’s to help us in this noble quest to save our nation.
Permit me to conclude this contribution with the following.
In his letter to Buhari Dangiwa Umar quoted the words of Sheik Usman Danfodio, the father and founder of the Fulani Caliphate, when he wrote the following:
“One of the swiftest ways of destroying a Kingdom is to give preference of one particular tribe over another or show favour to one group of people rather than another. And to draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near”.
If Buhari will not listen to anyone else let us hope that he will at least listen to and learn from the words of his esteemed forefather and let us hope that he taps into the wisdom and draws from the counsel of the greatest and most revered leader of his Fulani race.
More importantly let us hope that it is not too late. I will end with the following counsel.
President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was betrayed by General Zia Ul Haq. General Yakubu Gowon was betrayed by Colonel Joe Garba.
President Mohamed Morsi was betrayed by General Abdel Fatah El Sisi. Captain Thomas Sankara was betrayed by Captain Blaise Compaore.
Chairman Josef Stalin was betrayed by Marshall Lavrentiy Beria. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was betrayed by Finance Minister Geoffrey Howe. Gaius Julius Caesar was betrayed by Marcus Junius Brutus.
President Robert Mugabe was betrayed by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
I could go on and on. History is replete with such examples.
A leader’s greatest and most dangerous enemies are not those who speak out against him and oppose him publicly but rather those that are close to him and thet are plotting against him secretly.
They are those that are in his inner circle, Government or family that refuses to tell him the bitter truth, that desists from setting him on the right path when he has derailed, that decline to advise him when he is wrong and that egg him on in his manifest and unrelenting cruelty and injustice and encourage him to continue to perpetuate wickedness and to do evil.
Worse still it is those same people that will eventually discredit him, betray him and facilitate his fall from grace and removal from power.
I advise President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of his ‘trusted’ friends and allies, to be careful of the cheerleaders around him, to change his ways, to watch his back, to do the right thing and to listen to selfless, honest and forthright men like Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar who truly have the nation’s interest at heart!
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