The Bola Tinubu Documentary
“Out of the socio-economic and political fog that 2010 represented, at least three great themes emerged: the struggle between the search for democratic legitimacy and subsisting electoral injustices; the tenacious resolve of courageous characters who dared hypocritical authority to prove points of principle; and a pervasive sense of self-doubt as the nation marked its 50th anniversary of independence.
“Within this context, the year spawned a welter of heroes and villains from various arenas of human endeavour. But while some forces remained apostles of socio-political stagnation and retrogression, others represented untiring catalysts for progressive change. It is from this puzzling canvass that we must make our choices as to which personality impacted Nigeria most, for good or bad, in 2010.
“As it were, justice still remains the country’s most powerful idea, but the struggle is far from over. After almost twelve years of unbroken democracy, impunity at various levels of governance remains a defining feature of our national life. The successful reversal of some of the subsisting injustices, within the period of this assessment, through the influence of some courageous individuals, in the face of dangers to life and limb, sets Bola Ahmed Tinubu apart as a leader of note. Through his tenacity and uncommon focus in guiding the reversal of electoral impunity across a wide swath of the nation’s political landscape, he reaffirmed the enduring fact that, indeed, justice is the first condition of democracy.”
Those are the words of one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers, LEADERSHIP, based in Abuja, the country’s Federal Capital Territory, on the publication’s choice of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the person of the Year 2010. The newspaper stressed the widely acknowledged role of this relentless fighter for democracy, justice and the rule of law in the reversal of electoral impunity and the restoration through the judicial process of stolen electoral mandates in such states as Edo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Coming three years after he had left office in Y2007 as two-term Governor of Lagos State, the award by this credible medium demonstrates that Asiwaju Tinubu remains one of the most influential, courageous and principled politicians and statesmen in contemporary Nigeria. In a political culture where most members of the political class tend to gravitate towards the ruling party for pecuniary reward, Tinubu’s resilience and steadfastness in giving inspirational leadership to the opposition is remarkable. It is a testimony to the depth of the convictions that have motivated and sustained him in politics over the last two and a half decades.
The virtues of courage, determination, commitment, vision, focus and strong sense of purpose that have characterised Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s politics were no doubt responsible for this extraordinary politician’s emergence as one of the country’s most successful governors since Nigeria’s return to democratic governance 12 years ago. On his assumption of office as Governor of Lagos State in 1999, Asiwaju Tinubu inherited a state that was practically bankrupt. The country’s commercial nerve centre was one of the worst victims of the previous one and a half decades of military dictatorship and neglect.
Public infrastructure had disintegrated abysmally. Delivery of social services had collapsed in virtually all sectors. The environment was in chaos as Lagos was routinely described as one of the dirtiest cities in the world. The state was largely dependent on insufficient financial allocations from the centre as she lacked the capacity to generate adequate revenue internally to meet her numerous challenges.
The public sector was demoralized and ill-equipped, psychologically and logistically, to effectively perform its functions and achieve set objectives. While the citizenry was alienated from the state and thus demotivated from paying taxes or the ones they paid being stolen making the state technically bankrupt, the organized private sector had little or no incentive to partner with the government in meeting the immense developmental challenges of the Mega City.
Assembling a team of accomplished technocrats, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration drew up a Ten-Point Agenda, which it began to systematically implement for the re-vitalization and re-invention of the state. The total budget size of Lagos State at the inception of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration in 1999 was a little over N14 billion while the state’s Internally Generated Revenue was approximately N600 million monthly. Yet, the monthly public sector wage bill was N800 million. The implication was that Lagos state was entirely dependent on allocation from the centre, which was grossly insufficient to meet the huge challenge of re-building a state that had been neglected and allowed to decay for over two decades.
Eight years later under Asiwaju’s astute guidance, Lagos had become financially viable and autonomous of the federal government; lives and property had become more secure; public infrastructure was being aggressively modernized and expanded; there had been a dramatic improvement in the quality and efficiency of public health care, education, the environment, water supply and public transportation; Lagos was attracting new investment in diverse sectors on a daily basis despite the depressing national economic climate.
The Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration from inception drew up a clear and focussed Action Plan for the state in conjunction with critical stake holders including the Organized Private Sector, civil society groups and the public service. The result was the evolution of the Ten-Point Agenda focussing on Education, Health care, Job creation/poverty alleviation, Power and water supply, Public transportation/Traffic management, Physical Planning/Environmental renewal, Infrastructure renewal, Justice/Law and order, Food security and public sector reforms.
Tinubu’s visionary adminisration re-structured the machinery of government creating new ministries such as Housing, Physical Planning Sports and Youth Development as well as Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for more effective policy implementation. Asiwaju Tinubu brought seasoned and accomplished technocrats into government as Commissioners and Special Advisers in their areas of expertise. Through meticulous planning and disciplined implementation, the Asiwaju Tinubu Administration grew the budget size of Lagos State from N14.200 billion in 1999 to N240.866 billion in 2007. It is significant that at no time under Tinubu’s stewardship did budget implementation performance fall below 60%. In a similar vein, the Tinubu Administration consistently maintained an annual budgetary ratio of at least 60-40% in favour of Capital over Recurrent expenditure to ensure rapid infrastructure development.
A first class financial strategist, Asiwaju Tinubu, through creative and innovative financial engineering, took Lagos from a yearly Internally Generated Revenue of N14.64 billion in 1999 to N60.31 billion in 2006. By March 2007, the state had achieved a monthly Internally Generated Revenue of N8.2 billion.
This impressive revenue performance achieved by the Tinubu Administration in Lagos State did not happen by chance or luck. It was due to carefully thought out and effectively implemented policies such as the introduction of the Electronic Banking System/Revenue Collecting Monitoring Project, computerization of the revenue collection process, introduction of Electronic Tax Receipts, re-organization and professionalization of the former Board of Internal Revenue now the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, tax administration reforms and the creation of robust data base of tax payers.
Lagos State under Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu became a pace setter in sound and innovative public sector financial management. In September, 2002, for instance, Lagos State was the first government in Nigeria to raise funds from the Capital Market for infrastructure development. This was in recognition of the fact that long-term funds were necessary for long-term projects. The state raised a N15 billion Floating Rate Redeemable to prosecute such development projects as roads construction, millennium housing, water works, construction and rehabilitation of courts, waste management projects and millennium class rooms among others.
The bond has since been fully redeemed and other states and even the federal government have copied the Lagos State model. Again, in 2003, the Tinubu Administration invested N3.84 billion in Celtel (now Airtel) and by the time the state divested from the company in 2006, a surplus of N19 billion had been reaped, which was invested in the provision of infrastructure. As a result of its financial ingenuity, prudence and discipline as well as extensive public sector reforms for improved service delivery, the lasting legacy of the Tinubu Administration in Lagos State between 1999 and 2007 are still there for all to see.
- Massive roads construction, dualization and modernization across Lagos State such as Kudirat Abiola road, Oregun; Awolowo road, Ikoyi; Akin Adesola road, Victoria Island, Adeola Odeku road, Victoria Island; Agege Motor road; Ikotun-Igando road; Yaba-Itire-Lawanson-Ojuelegba road; LASU-Iba road, Ojo; Ajah- Badore road, Eti-Osa; Oba Sekumade road, Ikorodu; Adetokunbo Ademola road, Victoria Island and the ongoing expansion and modernization of the Lagos-Epe Expressway as the largest concessioneering project of its size and compexity in Africa among several others.
- Reconstruction and upgrading of the Lagos Island Central Business District including the modernization of 16 roads in the area and the historic Tinubu square.
- Upgrading of the buildings and facilities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to world class grade; expansion and rehabilitation of old General Hospitals in Lagos, Gbagada, Epe, Isolo, Ikorodu, Badagry, Agege and the Island Maternity; building of new General Hospitals at Mushin, Shomolu, Ibeju-Lekki and Isheri-Iba as well as upgrading of existing health centres to full fledged hospitals at Ijede, Ketu, Agbowa and Agege among others.
- Provision of free health services for children under 12, the aged above 60 and free ante-natal care for women; Free eye screening, eye treatment, eye surgery and provision of free eye glasses popularly known as ‘jigi Bola’, free treatment for maleria, tuberculosis and leprosy, free Limb Deformity Corrective Surgery, free Cleft-Lip Corrective Surgery and the introduction of the Quarterly Eko Health Missions that provides free medical services including free heart surgeries to local communities.
- Elimination of mountains of refuse that used to deface and disgrace Lagos through the introduction of community-based Private Sector Participation (PSP) in refuse collection and disposal, expansion and modernization of land –fill sites, construction of Transfer Loading Stations, establishment of waste-to-wealth facilities in Ikorodu as well as re-organization, modernization and re-equipping of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
- Massive construction of new drainage channels as well as the creation of Drain Ducks as well as the Emergency Flood Abatement (EFAG) to clear existing drains and respond to flooding.
- Rehabilitation of primary and secondary schools in all Divisions of the state through the Schools Rehabilitation Programme, massive construction of school furniture and equipping of laboratories; provision of free education in all public primary and secondary schools including payment of WAEC/NECO fees as well as all internal examination fees to ensure that indigent children do not drop out of school.
- Construction of 6,000 housing units such as Abraham Adesanya Estate, Ajah, Ibeshe low income housing scheme, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan Estate, Lekki, Ayangburen Phase II, Ikorodu, Gbagada Medium Housing Scheme, Amuwo-Odofin Housing Scheme, Abraham Adesanya Estate, Phase II, Ojokoro Millennium Housing Scheme, Alaagba low income housing scheme as well as the Oke Eletu and Oko Oba low income housing schemes among others.
- Massive construction of rural roads as well as rural electrification and water supply schemes; construction of micro water works at Onikan, Ikeja, Iwaya, Igando, Oworonsoki, Atan, Bariga, Isolo, Shomolu and Iponri among others to improve water supply in Lagos state.
- Construction and equipping of new High Courts, computerization of court registries, enhanced welfare for judicial officers to stregthen the rule of law, establishment of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) to provide free legal services to indigent persons and the establishment of the Citizen Mediation Centre as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
- Establishment of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) for enhanced traffic management; establishment of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to plan and manage an integrated transportation master plan for Lagos; initiation of the revolutionary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme that has transformed the face of public transportation in Lagos State; construction of 55 bus stop shelters; construction of 25.9km of median barriers to enforce lane discipline and improve travel time on major high ways; fabrication and installation of 50,000 units various types of traffic signs to improve road safety; installation of at least 63 functional traffic lights at major road intersections among others in the transportation sector.
- Initiation despite stiff opposition by the federal government of the first successful Independent Power Project (IPP) by any state government generating 260MW of electricity from Ikorodu to the National Grid.
- Completion of such abandoned projects as Teslim Balogun Stadium and the new Government House at Alausa as well as finding a permanent solution to the erosion and perennial flooding of the Bar Beach by constructing an enduring shoreline defensive barrier.
- Creation of 37 new Local Development Council Areas bringing the total number of Local Government Areas in the state to 57 in order to accelerate grassroots development. He successfully sustained and nurtured them to maturity despite the fierce opposition of the Federal Government that illegally withheld N24 billion of the state’s Local Government Statutory Allocation for two years despite a Supreme Court directive to the contrary.
In 2007, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu successfully handed over the mantle of the state’s leadership to Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) who has continued to build on the firm foundation laid by his predecessor. In the just concluded general elections, Asiwaju Tinubu’s influence was a critical factor not only in his party’s retention of power in Lagos State but also its success in recovering the states it had earlier lost in the South West in the 2003 and 2007 elections.
For his excellent performance as the Executive Governor of Lagos State of Nigeria (1999 – 2007), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu received several awards.
- Best Governor in Nigeria for Y2000 by the Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce;
- Y2002 Best Practices Prize in improving the living environment, awarded by the Federal Ministry of Works and the UN Habitat Group;
- Y2000 Best Computerized Government in Nigeria Award by the Computer Association of Nigeria.
- Citation by the New York based World Trade Association on June 12, 2002, as the symbol of progress in Nigria. The only other recipient in Africa was President Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
- Y2003 Green Crystal Award for enhancing the value of the environment by Clean Up Nigeria
- Winner of the Health Care Award for Y2002 as the producer of the best health service in Nigeria
- Presidential Merit Award for technological development by the Nigerian Society of Engineers
- Y2001 National Literacy Award for outstanding contribution to mass literacy in Nigeria
- Y2005 and Y2006 World City Awards for exemplary performances in health care delivery, environmental renewal and youth development.
- Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has won several awards for exemplary leadership qualities and commitment to humanity. Among these are:
- One of the ten winners of Y2002 Outstanding Alumnus Award of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC); He was the first African outside North America to be accorded this honour
- 2001 distinguished Alumnai Award by his Alma Mata, Chicago State University
- Distinguished Service Award for exemplary leadership by the Lagos State Economic Summit Group (LASEC)
- Recognition for distinguished service to Nigerian women by the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS)
- Lagos State University MBA Y2001 Merit Award for contribution to academic excellence in Lagos State
- Certificate of commendation by the National Conference of Black Mayors
- Award of Excellence by the Nigerian Society of Engineers
- Silver Jubilee special award by the University of Jos for his commitment to the growth of the university
- Exempary award for thoughtful leadership and outstanding public service by the Lagosians Club of Chicago
- Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by the Abia State University in recognition of his immense contribution to democracy, good governance and development of Nigeria.
Some it is said are born great, some have greatness thrust on them and some attain greatness. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu picked the gauntlet and battled the challenges of his rather traumatic and difficult youth with courage only attributable to the lion-hearted.
Born in Lagos on March 29, 1952, to the illustrious Tinubu family of Lagos State, youthful Bola left Nigeria for the United States of America in 1975 in search of the proverbial Golden Fleece with a heart brimming with unrelenting determination to achieve his visions.
On his arrival in the U.S. in 1975 and with the support of an ever-adoring mother, this courageous youth, faced with an unflinching zeal to succeed, took on such menial jobs as dishwashing, night-guard and cab-driving to see himself through the initial difficulties of school at the Richard Daley College, Chicago, Illinois.
The brilliance of this young Nigerian showed in his ability to make the honours’ list of Richard Daley College. He subsequently transferred to the Chicago State University, Illinois, graduating with honours in 1979 and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Accounting and Management). During his first year in Chicago State University, young Bola was given the rare privilege to partly teach other students of his Faculty remedial tutorial classes. Most of his colleagues and contemporaries at the university attributed their improved grades to his tutorial lectures.
Throughout his undergraduate years, young Bola was on the Dean’s List and was honoured with the Outstanding Student’s Award, the University Scholar’s Award and the Certificate of Merit in Accounting and Finance. He was also awarded the prestigious Sumna cum laude for scoring 3.54 out of possible 4.0 GP.
With his successful academic profile, young Bola contested and won his first political election as the President of the Accounting Society of the institution in his final year at the University.
Upon graduation with honours and several awards, Bola Tinubu cut his professional teeth at the American-based Arthur Anderson, Deloitte Haskins and Sells (now called Deloitte Haskins and Touche) and GTE Service Corporation – the largest Communication and Utility Company in the United States of America.
Meanwhile, at Deloitte Haskins and Sells, the young and professional Bola broadened his experience by participating in the auditing and management consultancy services of General Motors, First National Bank of Chicago, Procter and Gamble, International Harvester, GEC and other Fortune 500 firms.
On his return to Nigeria and with his international experience in Financial Management, young Bola joined Mobil Producing Nigeria as a Senior Auditor before he retired as the company’s Treasurer.
As pragmatic, charitable, grassroots’ person, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu saw communal service as a veritable tool for social development. He never hesitated to serve his community spearheading several financial contributions and fund-raising for community development programmes in Lagos State. He was an active member of Primrose Group, a political action organization pushing for fundamental changes in the politics of Lagos State.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu opted fully for public service in exchange for his lucrative job at Mobil. His first foray into active politics was as a founding member of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP). In 1992, he was elected as an Honourable Senator of the Federal Republic Nigeria to represent Lagos West Senatorial District. At the National Assembly, he distinguished himself as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance, Appropriation and Currency – a foremost committee of the Senate.
With the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Nigerian Presidential Election and the consequent fresh militarization of Nigerian politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu became a founding member of the famous pro-democracy group, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which, for several years, engaged the military for the very soul of Nigeria.
Subsequently, Bola Tinubu suffered many arrests and detention, harassments and constant threats to his life forcing him to flee Nigeria for his personal safety. He, however, did not give up the struggle as he joined NADECO abroad to continue the agitation for a restoration of democratic governance and the rule in the country.
In 1998, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu returned to Nigeria to heed a call for all Nigerians to join in the National Reconciliation and Development.
Today, the great legacy of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is built on by his successor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), who served as his Chief of Staff. Continuation of Tinubu’s outstanding policies makes the present administration of Lagos State an exceptional and the foremost Government in Nigeria.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is also the Akinrogun of Lagos, the Agba-Akin of Ikorodu and the Jagaban Borgu. He is married to the equally vibrant and indefatigable Yeye Oluremi Tinubu who has just been elected as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and they are blessed with children.