With over 50% youthful population, Africa is not just blessed with rich natural resources, it is also blessed with an energetic and graceful population. While this youthful population is bustling with exuberance and grace, the key factors of resilience and endurance were also identified as germane.
This formed the crux of the World Press Conference heralding the book, ‘The Iconic Bola Ahmed Tinubu: An Inspiration to African Youths’ authored by multi-award winning Journalist and Publisher of Trek Africa Newspaper, Oki Olatunji Samson and co-authored by Abayomi Oyelami.
The mentorship book profiles the life of a living African icon and President-elect, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a reference of inspiration for African youths. The authors noted with chagrin ‘As Africans, we cannot continue to live without profiling great leadership, homegrown, here in Africa. It is common in Africa to let legends die before we acknowledge them for who they are. We choose not to allow that fate befall ASIWAJU, hence the painstaking efforts for almost eight (8) years at drawing parallels between his lifestyle and that of youths in the book.’
Therefore, the 26-chapter book slated for official launch on Wednesday 12th April 2023 at the prestigious Oriental hotel in Lagos ‘is about mentorship. It is not possible for everyone to meet the man, ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU, albeit we can learn from him’, the authors informed. ‘Throughout the period of writing this book, the authors dedicated the years conducting one on one interviews, researching and studying The Iconic. However, by observing carefully, reading copiously, and listening intently, we began to glean valuable lessons which helped us to arrive at the contents of this book. This book is therefore mentoring youths from a distance. We plead with youths to read it with a learning posture rather than from a biased perspective.’
The coauthors, however, pleaded with the dramatis persona, the Jagaban of Borgu and Aare Ago of Yorubaland, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to bequeath the world with his express autobiography. They noted: ‘we also use this opportunity to join voices with one of Asiwaju’s biggest successes, the Minister of Works and Housing and former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN to humbly request that once ASIWAJU can get a time out of his very busy schedule, he should kindly bequeath our generation with his autobiography. It will be a classic!’
The World Press Conference had in attendance; Convener of Asiwaju Distinguished Ambassadors Movement (ADAM) and the Vice Chairman of Ikorodu LGA, Aarebinrin Hon. Folashade Olabanji-Oba; ECOWAS Youth Peace Ambassador, Amb. Tosin Sanusi and many grassroots leaders from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
On how the idea of the book was birthed, author Oki Samson recalled how he was standing very close to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential campaign in Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos in 2015 for President Buhari. ‘Asiwaju was at the forefront of the campaign. He came in with President Buhari, Aisha Buhari, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Chief John Oyegun, Babatunde Fashola, Sen. Solomon Adebola Olamilekan Yayi, Sen. Bukola Saraki, and others to the stage. He looked very engaging, someone came with 2 cans of drinks and he sipped it all at once, he needed energy. With his age, he was going about, he led that campaign for President Buhari, going to about 2 states per day, attending strategic meetings, and was all out to ensure that Muhammadu Buhari became President.
At that moment, it came to me that if an average Nigerian youth can put in energy like this, resilience into their life goal, they can get it. It was the close observation of 30th January 2015 that birthed this book.’
When asked by journalists if they got opportunity to meet Asiwaju before writing the book, Oki said: ‘We go to Bourdillon for special events, interviews, and programmes as journalists. We have had privilege to be with him. Thank God for Mama Senator Oluremi Tinubu OON. We call her our matron. She has done so much for youths; she remains a great ray of hope and inspiration to African women and the girl-child.
Further, author Abayomi Oyelami remarked: ‘Many of our youths today were still young when Asiwaju was Governor of Lagos state, many were not born when he was Senator. This is a proper book to introduce the man to them so that whatever misconceptions and misperceptions they may have about him can be corrected. Through our journalistic work we have being able to meet him, the amiable wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu OON, the people who have worked around him, even down to the wards. With these interactions and careful observations, we are able to muster enough capacity to write this book which is 380 pages.’
Speaking at the World Press Conference, the National Chairman of Association of Local Government Vice Chairmen (ALGOVC), Aarebinrin Hon. Folashade Olabanji-Oba said: ‘I want to celebrate today. It is awesome. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu does not need any introduction. As a mentee, I can proudly say that we are blessed to have him and talking about youths, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is somebody that is needed. When we talk about being prepared, in the past 3 decades, nobody else is prepared. He believes that youths are leaders of today and tomorrow and sees the need to get them prepared for a greater and better Nigeria.’
‘Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a detribalized Nigerian. In many African states, he has gotten leadership awards. Nigeria should be proud of the celebrated son of Africa. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have. Others are taking care of their turf and we are envying it. We owe it to mother earth to leave it better than we met it.’
‘Politics can be heated up but his antecedent as Governor of Lagos state prioritized the youths. The youths of 15 and 20 years ago are the major players today so in life we look for mentors who is a talk and do. I am a mother, I know that the greatest asset we have in this country is our youths. For human capacity development, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is directing programmes and policies towards the youths to the end that Nigeria will be the go-to place not just in Africa but in the world. The future is here. Look no further ‘The Iconic Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: An Inspiration to African Youths is a book you must have once it is launched. You will never remain the same by the time you are done with this book.’
Also lending his voice to the book, the Chairman of Coker-Aguda LCDA, Hon. Rasaq Ibrahim Olamilekan praised the idea and authorship of the book ‘The Iconic Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: An Inspiration to African Youths’. He added: ‘Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a quintessential leader. He is a father. He has the capacity to unlock a lot of the challenges that we have. For me, Asiwaju is an answered prayer for youths.’