When at a Public event, I described Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a Logistician, I probably was not aware that many People took notice. How wrong I was.
The Letter written by Sam Omatseye asking me to make a contribution to a Book to be written to commemorate Governor Tinubu’s 60th Birthday Anniversary in which he wrote “the topic we have chosen for you is Asiwaju as a Logistician” was proof not only that somebody had filled away the definition, but also a warning that we must all be careful about what we say.
In this instance very thankfully, I have no cause to fear as I intend to justify my appellation of Asiwaju as a Logistician.
Let me start by stating that in describing Asiwaju as a Logistician, I took the literal meaning of the word and that was the context in which I spoke.
A Logistician is “someone who is skilled in the practical organization that is required to make a complicated plan successful when a lot of People and equipment is involved”.
In this context I will explain my estimation of Asiwaju as a Man who fits this definition by a case study of few real life situations and leave the Readers to make up their minds about this Man whom it will take some time for our inks to dry as his Story is written and re-written.
Let me say generally about his Public Image that I do not remember one Public contest where he has lost the war.
I speak to many battle fronts from Oyo, to Borgu, Ife, Ibadan, Lagos and Anambra to mention but a few.
Of course he bears many battle scars and these attests to his tactical ability to surrender battles in order to win wars.
I have never told him this before, but I think his looks are perhaps his biggest Weapon.
He wears a placid face that masks his intellect and quick thinking and probing mind.
By the time I started working with him, I realized how much advantage his looks gave him against his Adversaries.
It was always tempting to underestimate him, but many of his Opponents have found out too often too late that they have been outwitted by a Man of razor-sharp mind and quick wit.
My very first contact with him was a visit that Wale Tinubu, his Nephew and I undertook to his Office when he was Treasurer of Mobil at Bookshop House in Lagos a day after Eid el Kabir Festival in 1990.
What struck me was that in his Suit as a Senior Executive, he had the time not only to have arranged fried Sallah Ram meat for his Staff who were less privileged, he was actually
supervising the distribution of the fried Meat neatly packaged in Polythene Wrappers among the Staff from floor to floor in Bookshop House.
He could have asked somebody to simply go and distribute them as many of us would have done.
Our interactions were fewer and far between until August 16, 2002 when I assumed duty as his Chief of Staff.
One of the first assignments I had to deal with in the early months of my tenure was the Voters’ Registration exercise in preparation for the 2003 general election and a Presidential visit to Lagos in 2002.
Of course as we all know, Voters’ Registration is a Federal Government responsibility carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC]
It is not important to dwell on the ineffectiveness that characterized that effort.
Suffice to mention that many should recall that what should normally be a continuous painless exercise in better organized jurisdiction who appreciate the value of planning, was rushed exercise of a few days that produced stampede, emotional stress and anguish for the Citizens who were to benefit. Many ultimately were left out.
What did Bola Ahmed Tinubu do ?
As usual, the Federal Government got the full length of his critical tongue, but he is not only aTalker, the Logistician set to work.
We printed Forms, we organized the Court and Local Government and got all the People who were excluded to complete Forms and swear an Oath to the fact of their exclusion.
The same foresight and organizational ability was brought to bear during the last Census exercise.
It is to his organisational credit and ability that Lagos must remain grateful during this exercise, first that he declared a work-free day which saved the loss of many lives that would have been lost on the Broad Street during the Census exercise when the Bank of Industry Building Partially collapsed.