Only a democratic era such as ours could have produced Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Yet convincing Nigerians to ignore the controversies of his past, his wealth and his choice of running mate will be the crowning achievement of Tinubu’s career—not becoming president.
Editor's note: This essay is available in our print issue, The Road to 2023. Buy the issue here.
The 2019 elections marked several important milestones in Nigeria’s political history. It was the twentieth anniversary of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. It was also the second time a president was re-elected to a second term and a reaffirmation of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s emergence as Nigeria’s ruling party. But above all, by 2019, Nigeria had officially spent more time under democratically elected leaders than under military rule.
In the different eras of democratic rule (1960-1966 and 1979-1983) before the current uninterrupted period, Nigeria’s leaders have sought power by appealing to followers to support their ambitions. However, their chances of success have historically been rooted in their ability to place their ambitions within the context of the demands of that moment in Nigerian history. The different stages of Nigeria’s democratic evolution have shown the strengths, and occasional limitations, of some of the country’s most storied political actors. But, like the authenticity that comes with tracing the source of a hadith to the prophet, tracing one’s political lineage to formidable forebears is a stamp of legitimacy.
The 2023 presidential election comes with the opportunity for APC’s presidential nominee, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to lay claim to a throne that has eluded many on the political lineage he seeks to follow...
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