BY YEMI FETCH

I don’t like Tinubu. And I’m sure he doesn’t even care what I think of him. However, I admire his understanding of the game of politics. Yes people, it’s just a game. Don’t get mad.

The last time this man held a political office was 2007. Just before 2011 elections, most of his contemporaries slumbered into the unknown and were forgotten. However, he trudged on creating new structures for his party to thrive on.

People keep saying Tinubu is a greedy leader who solely controls Lagos resources, and had greatly influenced the outcome of the just concluded Lagos primaries.

Well, if that’s your opinion, it’s nothing far from the truth.

Just like every APC member in Lagos, Tinubu can only cast a vote once. However, what works for him is influence. Over the years, this man has successfully built his influence in every nook and cranny of the state and beyond.

Yes, politics is a game of numbers. But first, a game of influence. How many people can you influence to agree with you and follow in your direction? If you get that right, there’s certainly no way people would abandon you when you needed them the most.

With every step, Tinubu tested his influence from regional to state and federal levels. Despite some loggerheads, Fashola followed suit by understudying his master to become a man of the people, which would later earn him three ministries after an eight year term as governor of Lagos State.

Power is nothing without influence.

What Tinubu has isn’t power to control Lagosians into doing his bidding; it’s influence built on trust over the years.

This man brought two technocrats from oblivion to limelight and made them perform based on the master template he developed during his tenure. He presented these guys to Lagosians and promised to take responsibility for their failures. Unexpectedly, his immediate successor, Fashola did an awesome job that even surpassed the achievements of Tinubu himself. But guess what, who becomes more powerful and influential when their mentees do well? The kingmaker of course.

Fashola got the credit that made Tinubu more believable and influential.

So it’s no surprise that Lagosians trust his judgement on issues bordering politics and selection of candidates. He’s done it twice. He’s proven himself times and again. It’s even this influence and trust that won Buhari the presidency.

Do not play pranks with a man that owns the heart of the people.

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Politics is also a game of risk. Just like rolling a dice, you don’t know what comes out until you roll it out.

It was a huge risk to present Ambode to Lagosians when the ‘baby boy of Lagos’, Fashola had another candidate in mind. However, Baba took the risk just as he risked his reputation on President Buhari. Now the outcome has people shivering. His party leaders complained about the nonchalant attitude of the governor and requested for direct primaries, Baba, being a man of the people and one who wouldn’t want to jeopardize his influence and trust, respectfully obliged.

“Every candidate should go test their popularity”, he said. And the astounding results showed that the incumbent isn’t so popular with the people. Therefore, he needs to go. He must have been blinded by all the structures springing up all over Lagos to think people loved him, but then, one of the most important rules in politics is being a people person.

The ouster of Ambode has nothing to do with Tinubu, yet it has everything to do with him. Think about it, those who voted Sanwo during the primaries did so under no duress but under the influence of Jagaban.

Let’s be honest, Ambode ran Lagos like a one-man-show. In politics, you have to carry people along, especially people who campaigned and worked endlessly to get you to power. These are people that will get you out when you become arrogant.

Never outshine your master.

How can you openly contest the power that brought you from nothing and hope to gain loyalists? Even those Ambode appointed are afraid of what he would become if given another term in office.

Tinubu has done what he had to do. Just like many, I dislike him for having so much power. But then I ask, what does it cost a man to gain so much influence? Maybe if we have genuine answer to this question, we would know why we shouldn’t blame him for Ambode’s predicament.