Asiwaju: A Lifetime Of Ambition | Muftau Gbadegesin

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    Today is historic. Symbolic. Another smooth transfer of transient power from one administration to another. We saw it eight years ago. Goodluck Jonathan handling the baton to Muhammadu Buhari. It was a watershed. Epochal. Defining. In 2007 when Olusegun Obasanjo passed the notes to Umar Musa Yar’adua, we witnessed it, too. That refreshingly cherished moment paved the way for the significance of today’s event. To a screeching end, the various military interregnum had to return to the barracks. We saw it when the white-bearded, easy-going, and smooth-talking General Abdulsalami Abubakar walked his talk in 1999.

    But handing over the reigns of power is only guaranteed in democracy. We saw what men in khakis could do when they have their excesses run amok: Abacha mocking democracy, Babangida dribbling dreams, and so on. We all know this system of government is a work in progress, and that is why we must always be eternally vigilant to see the trees in the forest and uphold various democratic norms, values, and ideals without batting an eye.

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    Of course, that’s not to say there have not been sit-tight leaders who got frightened by what life would turn out to be once they are out of the perks of offices and privileges of power. In far and near, history is repleted with leaders who have tweaked their laws, tinkered with their people’s choices, and trudged the road leading to infamy. Once, our country had a horrible experiment in the years past, in this same fourth republic. But for the vigilance of Nigerians, that experiment got discarded with the biting voices of democrats.

    Today, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed and Senator Kashim Shettima will take their oaths of office and assume their biggest leadership responsibilities. The road leading to this day is full of turns, traps, and thorns. It wasn’t an easy one. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Both men knew what lay ahead. The bitter pill that must be swallowed. The tough decisions that must be taken. Under their watch, Nigeria’s mess must be turned into a message. The ailing economy must be revived. The roads must be tarred. The power that must be restored. Trust that must be returned. Hope that must be renewed. Outside looking in, the country is reeling. The system is bleeding. People are dying. Hope is hanging. But Asiwaju and Kashim Shettima are no strangers to defining moments like this. It was on account of their track records of excellence that they come out to test the water in the first instance.

    Neither the opportunists who think they can ride on the tidal waves of anger, displeasure, and dissatisfaction against the government nor the serial hopeful who think people will buy into his divisive rhetoric; Asiwaju and Kashim Shettima had their plans mapped out. First, before others, we saw how a man faced his obstacles and dismantle them with tact, tactics, superior thinking, and strategies. He didn’t ask us to pity him on account of the expectations hanging on his head. He signed up for this daunting job and only needed our support. We are witnesses to the realization of this long and lofty dream.

    That we can all dream and watch as our imagination boomed into transformative reality. That we can hope and not just survive but thrive in ways never imagined. Today is about dreams. It’s about hope. It’s about a strong pact. It’s about rewriting the history of commitment to personal fulfillment and the upliftment of a people. We are here as bearers of these epochal moments. Two men who have promised to work in the interest of the people. Two men who have demonstrated what stood them out. Two men who will be the poster boys of our country in years to come.

    A lifetime of ambition is upon us. The world is gathered to witness this day. The breathtaking event of today is symbolically significant. It is a day. It is a date. It is today.

    Muftau Gbadegesin

    Oyo, Oyo state

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