Jimi Agbaje has always been Bola Tinubu’s worst nightmare. Agbaje’s emergence as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has made the prospect of that nightmare becoming real a distinct probability and Tinubu is now scared, very scared. That explains why he has gone on a paranoid offensive in a futile attempt to prevent Lagosians from voting for a man of honour, pedigree, integrity and courage, virtues which stand Jimi Agbaje in stark contrast with his traducers.
In 1999, both Jimi Agbaje and Bola Tinubu were members of the Alliance for Democracy. Unlike the AC, ACN and APC, which were/are Tinubu’s projects designed to supplant it, AD was not owned by any individual. It was a political platform floated by the honourable leaders of Afenifere after the death of Abacha. Of course, it is a general knowledge that these leaders of Afenifere – Chief Abraham Adesanya, Otuba Solanke Onasanya, Chief Olanihun Ajayi, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and others gave Tinubu the governorship ticket in 1999 against the real winner of the party primaries as compensation for his supposed role in NADECO.
Tinubu’s reward for these elders has of course been to denigrate them at every opportunity and seek to destroy them and the legacy of Afenifere which was instituted by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Michael Ajasin, Adesanya and other proud Yoruba leaders. Tinubu has done his best since then to render these men of integrity and true service irrelevant in Yoruba politics substituting new straw men for those real leaders and trading off the Yorubas into national alliances solely negotiated by him for his interest alone. That is the quality of people who now seek to arrogate to themselves the leadership of the Yoruba people; the lifelong “ownership” of Lagos State; and through surrogates the proxy ownership of other South West states; and is now making a big gambit for the rest of Nigeria using Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to occupy Nigeria’s presidency once again before he leaves the stage.
Tinubu recognizes in Jimi Agbaje an individual with the charisma, knowledge of the intricacies of South West politics; strong connections with the authentic leadership of the region and relationships with professionals across other regions in the South and North; strong pedigree and goodwill in high and low places, to obstruct his carefully laid-out agenda for expropriating the common heritage of Lagos, its indigenes and residents.
When Jimi Agbaje ran for governorship of Lagos State in 2007, he gave a very strong showing in spite of the fact that he was candidate of a small, largely insignificant party, the DPA. Tinubu has done everything to frustrate Jimi Agbaje’s political career to no avail, and is deeply worried by the fact that Agbaje has retained huge goodwill and indeed expanded same in spite of not occupying any public office. Tinubu fears that Jimi Agbaje is one of the few people who can disrupt his elaborately executed plans since 1999 to transform Lagos into his personal fiefdom and to secure a “majority shareholding” and “Board Chairmanship” in what he conceives to be his “Nigeria Plc” with a dispensable Buhari as nominal CEO and his surrogate as Deputy CEO.
If Jimi Agbaje wins in Lagos, all that Tinubu believes he has “worked” for will be undermined. Fortunately most citizens and residents of Lagos increasingly recognize that Bola Tinubu’s permanent hegemony is not in their interest. They know that Tinubu has ruled Lagos directly and through proxies for sixteen years and that his design to now install an absolute puppet as stand-in governor for what he envisages as his defacto fifth term, should be prevented if their freedom and welfare is to be protected. They know that Lagos should not become the personal property of one individual and that Jimi Agbaje is the only one who can prevent that evil design.