Opinion: Bola Tinubu and the speech that may be his ‘Barack Obama 2004’ moment

Tinubu Buhari
Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, Sen. Bola Tinubu, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and Sen. Ibikunle Amosun

by Mayowa Salami

I must start by confessing that I am a sucker for good speeches. The fact that we don’t have many speeches that can be considered good, deep, and propelled by deep thinking and vision in Nigeria is a sad commentary on the conviction of our leaders to inspire citizens.

As a U.S Illinois Senator, Barack Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Boston remains my favourite in terms of depth, clarity and substance.

The speech delivered by the leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on Thursday, April 19, at the National Convention of the party is nothing short of remarkable; it conveyed its message in a sharp, visionary and compendious  manner.

For those who have doubted the leadership qualities of the Asiwaju, as he is fondly called, they need not doubt anymore.

For those who have wondered if people like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu are in touch with the base necessities of their political followers, and ordinary Nigerians in general, it’s time for a change of perspective.

The convention speech touched on every aspect of national life from youth unemployment to corruption, food production, economy, transportation, power, energy, leadership and style of politics.

As a leader should, Tinubu, just like Moses of the Old Testament books, identified the challenges facing the country and rightly deduced that “the first step in changing Nigeria for the better is to change government for the better.”

There is no truer statement.

While noting the challenges, Tinubu is also mindful of the anticipated inertia which the party leadership is likely to face – that is if it is not facing this already – from its supporters in the transition from the ACN, a well entrenched party in the South West of the country, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party where tents are yet unmarked.

According to him, “We are here to answer to a greater, higher calling. That calling is the love of Nigeria… This, and only this, offers the best chance for Nigeria at this stage. We dare not miss this chance because we cannot be sure of another.”

He was quick to project to the ACN supporters the Canaan Land that lies ahead of them knowing their propensity to remain unmoved unless the vision is clear and rewarding. He did this by describing the proposed APC as “your house of political fulfilment.”

For those who would rather settle for the comfort of the ACN and continue to look back like Lot’s family did at the damned city of Sodom and Gomorrah, Tinubu assured that the merger is not a sad ending, but rather “a beginning of a great beginning.”

With an eye for spotting exceptional talent, a vision that is uncommon among his peers, a willingness and capacity to compromise and sacrifice when the situation demands, his keen sense recognising the signs of the times like he did during the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) hurricane-like incursion into the South West during the Olusegun Obasanjo years; Tinubu has shown himself to be a leader — and an uncommon one at that.

With the likes of Tinubu standing up to be counted, that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel might just be inching a little bit closer. The Asiwaju is right – A storm is brewing, a positive storm with a positive wind.


Mayowa Salami writes from Lagos.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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