Steve Osuji's Pitiable Self - Immolation - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Steve Osuji's Pitiable Self - Immolation

By Rotimi Adebayo

As an editor and columnist, Steve Osuji understandably writes good prose.

Yet, when bitter resentments and sentiments get in his way, he misrepresents, mangles and distorts facts while also engaging in brazen illogic.

Thus, his write up on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s purported presidential ambition titled ‘2023: WHO isY LEADING TINUBU TO SLAUGHTER ?’, was nothing but an act of professional self-immolation for a supposedly senior journalist.

For one, he does not admit anywhere in his diatribe that Asiwaju has publicly declared any presidential ambition.

At best, writers like Osuji only engage in speculative guesses and preemptive assumptions of the motives behind any action Asiwaju takes. But Osuji should at least be intellectually honest enough to state this fact.

Again, Osuji asserts that Tinubu cannot win a presidential election even if he contests against himself and that he is unelectable. At the same time he admits that the purported presidential ambition, which, according to him, was once a crude joke is “taking on a life of its own”. If it is so obvious that the Jagaban is unelectable, why would Osuji waste close to 1000 words to cast aspersions on the man’s person, character and attainments?

Osuji is cocksure and asserts magisterially that Tinubu is not in good health. Is he a medical doctor to comment competently on a man’s health perhaps based on extra sensory perception or advanced witchcraft ?

Does he have access to Tinubu’s medical records ? 

There is serious need for Osuji to be very careful. For, when a mere mortal man plays God by pronouncing deity-like on another man’s perceived life and health, he presumes divine knowledge of when his own span of life will terminate and this may anger God Almighty.

Osuji was a one time editor and banker and confidently asserts that Tinubu  left no landmark achievements as governor.

This does grave damage to his image and reputation as a professional journalist, who must respect facts.

For him, Tinubu did absolutely nothing in eight years especially given the huge IGR of Lagos state. He forgets that the humongous IGR of Lagos did not come about by magic or happenstance.

The Lagos IGR was N600 million monthly when Tinubu  assumed office in 1999. Through his ingenious financial engineering, the IGR of the state had risen to about N8 billion Naira monthly as at 2007 when he left office. His successors have built on this solid foundation and the IGR of Lagos is today the envy of every other state in Nigeria.

As far as Osuji is concerned, Babatunde Fashola was the one who actualized the transformation of Lagos.

He did not inherit any foundation from the preceding Tinubu  administration. For one, Fashola himself has publicly stated several times that he built on a solid foundation built under Tinubu. His comments are in the public domain.

Again, Fashola had been COS and Commissioner In the governor’s office under Tinubu since 2002. He was part and parcel of Tinubu’s success story.

For example, take the revolutionary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme. Work on this project started in Y2000 with the establishment of the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (LAMATA) with financial support from the World Bank. LAMATA came up with a 25-year multimodal transportation plan for Lagos, encompassing rapid bus transit, rail and water transportation for Lagos. The implementation started under Tinubu and has been systematically built upon and even improved by succeeding administrations in Lagos. The BRT route from Mile 12 through Ikorodu road to CMS had been completed under Tinubu and buses acquired for the route.

However, in the spirit of continuity, Tinubu refrained from commissioning the project allowing Fashola to use it as the launch pad for his administration. Work is going on the blue and red light rail lines which will link Mile 2 through Okokomaiko to CMS and Iju through Agege linking Oshodi to Yaba and Marina respectively. But we thank God that Osuji admits that TINUBU was at least wise in his choice of BRF as his successor. So BRF did not drop from sky. He was spotted by Tinubu, the gifted talent hunter, and given an opportunity to soar.

Kaduna state governor, Nasir el’Rufai has never pretended to be an admirer of Tinubu. Yet, as a guest speaker at this year’s Ehingbeti Economic Summit, a private-public-sector brainstorming policy platform established by TINUBU in Y2000 and sustained by succeeding administrations, el’Rufai publicly stated that Lagos is the governance model followed by Kaduna.

He commended the fact that Tinubu in Lagos laid a solid foundation which his successors in the state have been systematically building on. One only wished there had been this kind of policy continuity at the centre since 1999. For Osuji’s Information, states like Edo and Ogun came to understudy LASTMA established by the Tinubu administration in 2000 as a model for their traffic management and control agencies.

This frontline journalist’s attempt to compare Tinubu with Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, winner of the annulled 1993 Presidential election,  and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is utterly baseless and needless.

Asiwaju Tinubub has never compared himself to the two giants as he is evidently comfortable in his own shoes. Suffice it to say that Tinubu  was critical to the formation of the APC, through which the progressive mainstream of the Southwest is participating actively in governance at the Centre for the first time in Nigeria’s post-independence history. AWO and MKO must be smiling in the great beyond.

It would appear that Osuji’s beef is that he believes that in the interest of fairness and equity, the presidency in 2023 should be conceded to the Igbo. As an Igbo man, it is a legitimate position for him to hold. But the way to achieve that aspiration is through dialogue, negotiation and bargaining rather than throwing tantrums, hurling insults and seeking to de-market an Asiwaju who has not even declared any presidential ambition.

-Rotimi Adebayo, a former Chairman, Daily Times Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ,  is a Lagos based Publisher and Social Media Influencer.

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