Book Title: 365 Days of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidency: Re-setting the Strategic Foundation for a New Nigeria;
Authors: Bolu John Folayan, PhD & Ajibolu Taiwo Balofin, PhD;
Publisher: McPherson University, Ajebo, Ogun State;
Date of Presentation: Tuesday, May 28, 2024;
Time: 10 a.m.
Venue: Shehu Yar’adua International Centre, Abuja;
Book Reviewer: Professor Ganiyu Olalekan Akashoro


His Excellency, The President, Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria
(Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR), His Excellency, Vice-President, (Senator Kashim Shettima, GCON).
Mr. Chairman, kindly permit me to stand on already established protocol here today.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me start by expressing my profound gratitude to the publisher, organizers and authors of this important book for inviting me to do this review. I thank you for the honour.

I will start with two admonitions:
The first admonition I would give concerning this book is that the prospective reader should not get carried away by its title to think it is a package that contains just what the Tinubu Presidency has done in the past 365 days. The book you are about to read is actually more of a political biography of the sage, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I suppose that the authors, being journalists, opted for a title (or headline) that captures the meat of the story.

The second admonition I want to quickly give is that the book we are here to launch is a standard textbook, written from academic standpoint. It is critically written, and is not, in any way, a public relations package for The Presidency.

Now, let me take you through the CONTENTS in few minutes and, thereafter, do my critique:

The 439-page book starts with a Foreword written by veteran journalist and communication strategist, Dr. Dele Alake, who espouses the overriding importance of holistic strategic communication in effective governance, as exemplified during Mr President’s governance of Lagos State as Executive Governor. This is followed by a Prologue that recalls a seminal letter (more precisely, an Open Letter) written by the late statesman, General Adeyinka Adebayo, An Introduction that reveals the authors’ inspiration to write the book, as well as an acquittance of the reader with the substance and scope of the book’s Chapters. The rest of the book is laid out in 12 Chapters.

The first three chapters provide backgrounds on the central figure of the book, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu – his humble and rough beginning, through his search for the proverbial golden fleece abroad and to his political ascendancy. One of the chapters in this section is appropriately titled: “From Zero to Hero”. This section of the book also contains the “Problem Statement” which painstakingly deconstructed Nigeria’s elusive presidency. The authors’ depth of analysis in the second chapter regarding why it is difficult to become the president of Nigeria, is commendable.

The fourth to the eighth chapter of the book deal with the 2023 Presidential Elections in Nigeria. It starts with a conceptual clarification of relevant terms and processes, followed by a theoretical framework from strategic communication scholarship, with explications of relevant theories such as Strategic Roadmapping, Uses & Gratifications, Framing and Spinning, Agenda Setting, and Diffusion of Innovation Theories, as well as a glimpse into a few selected empirical studies related to political communication (chapter 4). This section also chronicles the build-up to the 2023 election (chapter 5) and next on Asiwaju’s communication strategy during the campaigns (chapter 6). I found the theoretical analysis of the “Emi Lokan” spin by the authors very enjoyable, in particular. The Seventh chapter dwells richly on the legal fireworks that led to the emergence of Asiwaju Tinubu as Nigeria’s fifth elected president, while the Eight chapter dissects the impact of painstaking strategic communication on the victory of Mr President.

Chapter Nine is a stand-alone chapter. The authors, in this chapter, profiled 77 associates, friends, followers and proteges of Asiwaju Tinubu, out of many others, who contributed to his emergence as President. A Yoruba adage says “Eniyan lo wa leyin Basorun, ti a fii n pe ni aleti”. (My translation of that is “behind a powerful warlord are brigade commanders who make the warlord the General that he is). One of the most acclaimed leadership qualities of Mr. President is his people-management skills, and the authors have appropriately highlighted this in this work.

Chapters Ten, Eleven and Twelve contain the source of the main title of the book: What the Tinubu Presidency has done in the past 365 days, presented in critical format and pictorials. Chapter 10, in particular, is where the authors used Michael Atkins’ classic work First 90 Days, to score the first year of the Tinubu Presidency. They conclude that, within this period, the Tinubu Administration is succeeding remarkably in resetting the strategic foundation for a new Nigeria. This chapter, which I consider most educative, expounds how President Tinubu raised his voice, hit the ground running with quick wins, achieved alignment and built coalitions to stabilize the country, which, many people forgot, was seriously drifting at the time he took over as President.

I will quickly do a critique of the book under four subheadings: Relevance or contribution to knowledge; documentation and factuality; style and then production aesthetics.

Relevance or contribution to knowledge
This book has come at the right time. In a journey of four years, one year is a strategic point to take stock, review strategy and re-launch. The authors have helped The Presidency immensely in this regard, especially because they wrote from the academic or objective view point. In terms of contribution to knowledge, the book has filled a huge gap in the literature. If you do not understand how “Emi Lokan, E gbe Kini Yi Wa” performed the magic in the presidential election run, go and read Chapter 8 of this book. Also, if you do not understand the TTT (Tinubu Triumph Theory), grab the book and turn, again, to Chapter 8. If you want to know why Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Atiku Ababakar and so many other deserving Nigerians did not become the president of Nigeria, turn to Chapter 2 after buying a copy. The authors distinguished publicity from communication strategy, emphasizing that Tinubu’s political success was due more to the latter.
I can go on and on: The work is rich in terms of contributions to knowledge.

Documentation and Factuality
The authors used the MLA (Modern Language Association) style of reference, which is very appropriate for this kind of work. The reader is linked to more resource materials and this helps to make the work detailed and reference-driven.

Style (of Presentation)
Despite the academic style of the authors, their journalistic flavour runs through the entire book. I can assure those who detest serious academic reading that they would find the book interesting. The authors tell the Bola Tinubu story in simple and interesting narrative with each chapter dove-tailing to the next, progressively. There is sound logical flow in the arrangement of the chapters.

Aesthetics (which, in mass communication, we refer to as ‘production and layout’)
The book is well laid-out and printed attractively. The cover choice moves away from traditional portraiture to the abstract; featuring the famous “Jigi Bola” and the unmistakable “Jagaban cap” encircled in an outline of the Nigerian map. Point size is big enough for easy read also, although the superscripts for the endnotes (i.e. in-text references) are rather too tiny.

In concluding this review, I agree with Dr. Dele Alake’s verdict contained in the Foreword, that this book is unique and outstanding. The book is, perhaps, the first book by any Nigerian on any Nigerian president, written from the academic point of view. It has not been a bad idea studying ideologues like Plato, Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, et cetera. We also need to explore scholarly works (not praise-books) on Nigerian ideologues such as Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mbonu Ojike, Maitama Sule, Chuba Okadigbo, Gani Fawehinmi and, of course, the political enigma called Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Scholars in other countries of the world also need to read about them.

There are few areas to revisit, however. This work focuses on Asiwaju Tinubu as a communication and political strategist. We need more works on this political field marshal who installed presidents, vice presidents, governors, legislative leaders, commissioners, before it came to his turn (Emi Lo Kan), I am afraid, this volume by Professors Balofin and Folayan, has only scratched the surface of the political institution called Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. More studies are needed on TTT (Tinubu Triumph Theory) as pontificated by the authors (who I refer to as the two Bolus.)

The Fault Lines
Just as God Almighty is the only infallible entity, and we, as humans, are created with subtle and manifest fallibilities; therefore, to the extent of our imperfections, the book is not expected to be without its fault lines or shortcomings. The few shortcomings I observed are both conceptual and structural. The title is rather commercial, in my view. And I did not see Subject and Name Index to guide readers searching for salient issues or people. In a book close to 500 pages, this is not ideal. I also think the book contains more of the positive things the Tinubu Presidency succeeded in achieving in the last 365 days and the authors included only few things the Administration failed to do. It is advised that these observations are addressed in future revisions of the book.

Nevertheless, this is a highly commendable work. The work cuts across several disciplines and proffers novel ideas on political communication and leadership, two knotty issues in our political history. The authors and publisher have filled a huge gap in the literature in the areas of management, leadership, political science, public administration, and, of course, strategic communication with practical reference to Nigeria.
I generously commend the authors and recommend this book to all. I thank you for listening.

Professor Ganiyu Olalekan Akashoro
Al-Hikmah University
28th May, 2024.