LAST weekend, the former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, was given an honorary degree by the Kano State University of Technology in Wudil. The university was established during Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s first tenure, between 1999 and 2003.
The occasion brought to Wudil many politicians from the southern part of Nigeria, who probably were visiting that part of Northern Nigeria for the first time! I have always had a very ambiguous view of Bola Tinubu’s politics.
But in recent times, I have come to view more favourably, the work he has done together with other politicians from around the country, in trying to build a new platform for politics in our country. I do have reservations about the APC contraption being cobbled together, but there is no gainsaying the fact that Nigerians want a new platform that can challenge the hegemony of the PDP. In APC, an effort has been made to bring together political tendencies that one would have argued in the past, can never come together.
But the imperative of the day in Nigeria is to think outside of divisive prejudices which have kept us divided for a very long time. In that effort at building new alliances across regions; across political traditions and tendencies, Bola Tinubu has played a very central role.
Although wedded to the regionalism that had strong secessionist proclivities for a long time, I believe that Tinubu’s politics now has a more pan-Nigerian, content today and is more in tune, with the needs of contemporary Nigeria. It is this backdrop, which made Governor Kwankwaso to host Bola Tinubu’s honorary degree.
It was a timely gesture that speaks to the yearnings of Nigerians to defeat the divisive politics that was embedded in the exploitation of the ethno-religious fault lines of Nigeria.
The frustrations of the years since 1999, have not left out the mass of the Nigerian people, North or South, Muslim or Christian; it is this background which is driving people towards a new definition of politics. Politicians like Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Bola Tinubu are now responding to the challenges of the times in Nigeria. But they will do well to stay the course!