* Bola Tinubu alliance helped Buhari win presidential poll
* Ex-Lagos governor now one of the most powerful godfathers
* Seen as favouring technocrats who can solve problems
By Tim Cocks
LAGOS, – “I am a talent hunter. I put talents in office, I help them,” says former Lagos state governor and opposition alliance leader Bola Tinubu, being quite open about his role as one of Nigeria’s most powerful political godfathers.
“I use the best hand, the best brain, the best experience for the job,” he told Reuters after voting this month in a governorship election in Nigeria’s economic capital which, as expected, his hand picked candidate Akinwunmi Ambode won.
But it isn’t only in his traditional fiefdom in the ethnic Yoruba southwest that Tinubu has sought to be a kingmaker. His support for former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari was seen as a key factor in the latter’s win against President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28 presidential election in Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer.
The pro-Buhari alliance that Tinubu headed, the All Progressives Congress (APC), rallied elites around Buhari in the southwest, Nigeria’s wealthiest region. That enabled Buhari to tackle a perception that his support lies only in the dust-blown, largely Muslim north. The religiously mixed southwest had voted overwhelmingly for Jonathan in the 2011 race.
So ‘The Jagaban’, an honorific title beloved of Tinubu’s supporters, could have much say in what reform policies the new government will focus on, and who fills which cabinet posts.