This piece is not about the Presidential ambition of the national leader of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
It is not about whether he is qualified to contest for the seat of president or not. It is not about whether he would be a good leader or not. It is not about whether he is a saint or a serpent.
It is not about whether he is a good man or not. But it is all about how he has managed to remain very relevant since 1999 when he became Governor of Lagos State till date.
All others who were governors along with him have either technically or tactically retired from politics or find themselves in political situations better described as "struggling to be relevant" or to survive. They are either retired by their successors or the system frustrates them out of relevance.
Remember, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai once boasted of how he retired three former political godfathers in Kaduna State.
Truth is that most of Tinubu's classmates of 1999 are not very active or relevant in the present political dispensation, atmosphere or environment. Majority of them have been relegated to the background.
So what is so special about Tinubu that has kept him going very strong since 1999? What is the magic behind the man? What is his secret?What is he doing right that others didn't or couldn't do? Why is he head and shoulders above them all? How was he able to literally install a President and openly picked his Vice?
Truth be told, every politician wants to reign forever. They all want to remain relevant till they die. Politicians and power is like marriage. It is till death do the spouse part. The world witnessed how Barack Obama stood behind his former deputy now president, Joe Biden during the last presidential election in America. Many still argue that without Obama's open support and campaign, Biden wouldn't have won the election.
So, for Tinubu's classmates of 1999 to fizzle out yet he remains so visible, loud, influential, powerful and relevant, he deserves some accolades or respect if not encoumium because there is something he has which they don't.
He has been called different names. Kingmaker, Strategist, Mr. Fix It and Master Planner among others. He means different things and person to different people.
It is not by chance that he finds himself in the present position of seeking or wanting to be president. He laboured for it. He laboured to get to this point. It wasn't by chance. It wasn't by mere wish or desire. It was by thorough planning, hardwork, perseverance and determination.
While his 1999 "classmates" were sleeping and comfortably enjoying whatever they gained from or while in power, Tinubu was busy sowing. He was putting and giving back to the system and society that threw him up. He carried his footsoldiers, cronies and leitenant along.
He invested heavily in grassroots politics and politicians. He didn't ignore the illiterates among them. He pulled the women, youth, baales, royal fathers and technocrats along.
He empowered many. He believes in human capacity building. He has an eye and knack for and to discover potential leaders and sound workers. He identifies real professionals and top notch technocrats and he pulls them to himself. He nurtures them like a good coach and makes them superstars. The record is there.
He carried his boys and men along. He funds them generously to any height....and they will always be loyal. Today, he falls back on them for support, commitment and maximum cooperation. It is a matter of give and take.
The spirit of giving is his strength according to his leitenant and footsoldiers. These were where his classmates failed and woefully too.
They wanted to centralise power. They wanted everything to evolve round them. They never had grassroots backup, appeal or support. They empowered only their siblings and relatives.
They lacked the knowledge and foresight of discovering great leaders to man key positions or sectors...and even when they did, they didn't have the skills to nurture or groom them to stardom for future assignments.
They thought only about the present. They lacked foresight. They didn't plan for tomorrow. They were interested in the gains and profits of their time. The future mattered less to them.
Today, Tinubu is still standing tall....as they (his classmates of 1999) have been dwarfed by his kind of peculiar politics. They seem boxed to a corner. They seem helpless as he (Tinubu) continues to glide like a gazelle. His strides like a champion athlete on the track is phenomenal. His confidence is that of a lion. Indeed, he is the Lion of Bourdillon...roaring real loud.
What else is there to be said about this man who knew where he was headed long before he started his political race? Today he is the torchbearer and leader to many. He is the Asiwaju of his dynasty!!!
Like this writer said earlier, whether Tinubu has used his kind of politics to better the lot of all is a different issue entirely. Whether he is using it for his personal gains or selfish interests is another cup of tea.
We must all agree that if his likes had emerged among his classmates of 1999 in the North East, North West, North Central, South East and South South perhaps, whatever many see as his wrongs would have been avoided.
Please before you cast your stones or start seeing this piece as a campaign for Tinubu please note that this writer did not treat his ambition to be president or if he would make a better president...This piece seeks to answer the question, Where are Tinubu's classmates?