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Tinubu’s victory in the 2023 presidential election marks a significant political paradigm shift in many aspects. It is the completion of the political journey that Tinubu himself started in 2015 when he first united the south-west with the north in a political alliance in order to run for and win the presidency of Nigeria. That would have been the requirement if the elections on June 12, 1993 had not been declared invalid. Furthermore, in terms of actual politics, we cannot regard President Obasanjo’s accession to office in 1991 as bringing about a genuine reconciliation between the north and south-west.

At best, it was an effort by the military/political elite of the north to make amends for both the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election in the south-west and the imprisonment of former military president Olusegun Obasanjo by military head of state Sani Abacha on charges of preparing a coup. While the south-west political establishment could not help but appreciate the political arrangement because it was one of their own, Obasanjo had not been a major player politically in the region. But throughout the years that Obasanjo was in office, the south-west viewed it as more of a cover-your-nose political development.

A new political reality that will serve as the foundation for the reconstruction of Nigerian politics was also brought about by Tinubu’s election, making it more than just a personal triumph for him at the pinnacle of his political voyage.

This reality serves as a reminder that Nigerian politics are centered in the north in particular. In Nigerian politics, this is a recurrent decimal that has been confirmed throughout time. The northern political establishment previously occasionally aligned with the south-south and south-east, leaving the south-west to play the opposition out of choice and as a result of the south-south and south-east’s political maneuvering.

We might anticipate a fundamental realignment in the way Nigerian politics are organized with the newly discovered political reconciliation between the north and south-west.

But this brings up important issues that demand attention.

Will Asiwaju Tinubu view his triumph as more of a personal political ascent, one in which he will let his guard down and just preside over a Bourdillon court with all of its attendant temptations to exalt oneself? Will the South-West return to its former place in opposition politics after his term in office? Or will he take advantage of the chance presented by his rise to power to design a new political system for the nation, much as he did in Lagos and a large portion of the southwest by locating and recruiting “young Turks” from all over the nation with fresh perspectives and a genuine desire to alter the course of politics and development in the nation?

I think Nigeria should model its 2023 elections after them in order to achieve the urgently required political paradigm shift.

First of all, Tinubu will be aware by this point that voters outside of his home political district played a significant role in his triumph. In the entire north, he received more votes than in the south. He lost Osun and Lagos, the two states that were politically closest to him, specifically in this sense. Additionally, the difference between the votes he received in the north and south western regions was extremely close.

Another encouraging development is that Tinubu won in four of the country’s six geopolitical zones: north-west, south-west, north-east, and north-central. In mathematical terms, this corresponds to a support base of roughly 70% or 2/3.

In addition, Tinubu can be pleased with the fact that in the south-south, one of the geopolitical regions where he did not perform well, there are already indications that people will change their political allegiance in the not-too-distant future in favor of his political agenda, particularly if he directs his political engineering efforts at courting them. Although they did not support him, the South-South has nonetheless demonstrated that they are eager to do business with him and his administration rather than displaying ambivalence or truculence. The only other geopolitical region now at odds with Tinubu, and in the likely event that it did, the south-east would be forced by political developments to reevaluate their position in relation to new political realities.

In light of this, we may conclude that the upcoming Tinubu administration has a wonderful opportunity to lead Nigeria to a level of political and socioeconomic development that has never before been achieved. All of this is dependent on Tinubu appreciating the enormous chance and potential he has to improve Nigeria.

He can use the results of his rise to power to create the much-needed agreement among the political tendencies in the nation, which may be the first time in Nigeria’s political history. According to the indications, Tinubu is unlikely to cause the same kind of long-lasting dissatisfaction and ambivalence in some parts of the nation as his immediate predecessor President Muhammadu Buhari did, raising doubts about his motives, no matter how noble. He will certainly have the benefit of the doubt, unlike Buhari, and he might use this to further his political goals. He could accomplish this by shrewdly employing political engineering to bring together the key political players and groupings, then leveraging it to establish a strong foundation for the development of the country.

Tinubu, the incoming president, will have his job cut out for him. If he views his rise to power as a time to take it easy and bask in the flow of authority, he would quickly realize that it was a political letdown that would render all he has worked so hard for politically meaningless and would send him to the place reserved for historical villains. But if he views it as a chance to elevate this nation from its current booby traps to the greatness it portends, just as his political journey brought him from the backwaters of Iragbiji in Osun to the summit of his current achievement, then he will have etched his name in gold on the annals of Nigeria’s history.

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