Bola Tinubu, a Political ‘Godfather’ in Nigeria, Sought the Presidency for Years


The winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, Bola Tinubu, is a divisive determine in Africa’s most populous nation.

Mr. Tinubu is revered by some as a political wizard and the person who turned across the fortunes of Lagos, Nigeria’s labyrinthine megacity. His supporters are hoping he can repeat that efficiency on a nationwide stage.

Others deride Mr. Tinubu, the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress occasion, as “corruption personified” and accuse him of looting state coffers because the governor of Lagos.

And plenty of merely fear that Mr. Tinubu is a possible embarrassment to Nigeria, generally sounding incoherent and showing unwell. He says he’s 70, however his actual age is a matter of dispute.

It is a actual concern in Nigeria, the place a number of leaders have died in office, and the place the present president, Muhammadu Buhari, spent a big chunk of his first time period absent, receiving medical remedy in London, for an illness he refused to debate.

Many Nigerians imagine that their nation, as Africa’s greatest economic system, wants an brisk chief.

Mr. Tinubu ran Lagos as governor for eight years, after which mentored his successors, giving him a repute as a political “godfather,” in a position to make sure that some individuals’s careers took off whereas others’ sank.

He has additionally claimed that with out his affect, Mr. Buhari, who misplaced the presidential elections a number of occasions earlier than successful his first time period in 2015, would by no means have develop into president.

Within the run-up to this election, Mr. Tinubu used the slogan, “It’s my flip” — flaunting his position as kingmaker, but additionally alienating many citizens.

A Muslim from Nigeria’s southwest, Mr. Tinubu might battle to unite Nigeria’s numerous inhabitants. He ran for president with one other Muslim on the ticket — Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno state within the northeast, which has been the epicenter of Boko Haram’s marketing campaign of terrorism for over a decade.

Nigeria’s Christian inhabitants is nearly as huge as its Muslim one, and historically presidential candidates choose working mates of a special faith.

Mr. Tinubu has promised fiscal coverage modifications, and to repair the worsening security situation. An outbreak of kidnappings by armed gangs has affected individuals from all walks of life and elements of the nation. Within the northeast, militants with the extremist teams Boko Haram and a neighborhood affiliate of the Islamic State have killed 1000’s and pushed hundreds of thousands from their houses.

Forward of the election, voters cited insecurity as their essential concern.

He has additionally pledged to enhance Nigeria’s deteriorating infrastructure and to take away a crippling authorities gas subsidy.

Mr. Tinubu has confronted allegations of corruption and questions over the supply of his wealth. The U.S. authorities filed a criticism in 1993 accusing him of banking the proceeds from narcotics trafficking. The case was settled, and Mr. Tinubu has denied any wrongdoing.

Susan Beachy contributed analysis.

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