Tinubu ‘BOGO’ political couple: Two For The Price Of One — Mike Awoyinfa Column


It’s a well-known incentivising marketing strategy where customers are made to pay the price of one item to get two. The strategy has a funny name: BOGO, meaning Buy One, Get One. But BOGOs are not that bogus. What you are offered as an incentive is not inferior. It is equal. Simply buy one and get another one for free. Alternatively you get 50% discount. I experienced BOGO in the UK during my recent vacation buying books from Waterstones and other bookshops.
Most Nigerians got introduced to BOGO marketing and promotions in the wake of the telecoms revolution and the attendant aggressive marketing campaigns to win the soul of Nigeria.
Permit me to borrow this BOGO marketing weapon and applying it to politics which is also marketing in its own right—political marketing. By Monday May 29, Nigerians would witness history as two former Senators, a husband and wife mount the saddle of power as Nigeria’s President-elect. Officially, only one would be sworn in as President but don’t be fooled. What you are getting is a BOGO: two Presidents for the price of one. The man being sworn-in is President (Senator) Bola Tinubu—alias Jagaban or Asiwaju—supported by his charming and articulate wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu who will be wielding immense power, influencing her bespectacled husband from behind the curtain, advising him from her vast experience as a Senator and First Lady of Lagos State. Together, they would be sitting atop power in a case of two captains on a ship. Now, don’t tell me there can’t be two captains on a ship. Don’t underrate this lady of the Upper House imbued with intellect and experiential wisdom, this woman who has seen it all, she who will be occupying the Aso Rock throne as Nigeria’s First Lady of the new political dispensation.
The role of the first lady has evolved. It is a unique position that is not defined by any specific duties or responsibilities. Instead, it is shaped by the individual who occupies it. There was a time when first ladies were responsible for merely entertaining guests. But times have changed. First ladies today in most advanced democracies have become more involved in policy and advocacy work. They have redefined their office and status to show that behind many successful leaders, there often stands a brilliant and influential spouse who plays a key role in shaping political decisions and strategies. These dynamic partnerships have not only redefined the traditional role of a first lady but have also showcased the power of collaborative decision-making.
Talking about such remarkable women of substance, Hillary Clinton easily comes into mind. Here was the lawyer cum activist who played an influential role during her husband’s presidency. As First Lady, she took on policy initiatives such as healthcare reform and education reform. She used the power of her intellect and expertise to shape the political agenda. Such was her influence on her husband that she was dubbed “co-president” by some, reflecting the extent of her influence on Bill Clinton’s decision-making process.
On March 20, 1992, Mike Royko, the legendary Chicago Tribune columnist wrote: “The fact is, Hillary will have far more power than any vice president. Based on her political activities, she’ll be almost a co-president.”
By the time she left the White House under the Bill Clinton presidency, Hillary Clinton had gained enough experience to contest in her own right for the office of President of America which she unfortunately lost to Donald Trump even though she won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, becoming the first woman to win a presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party.
Long before Hillary Clinton is the formidable partnership between Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt, the renowned activist and diplomat who influenced her husband’s policies as the longest-serving first lady of the United States who championed social causes like civil rights, women’s rights, and human rights. She challenged societal norms and pushed for reforms. Eleanor’s wifely advice greatly impacted Franklin’s New Deal policies. Her extensive travels also brought her face to face with the challenges faced by ordinary Americans during the Great Depression. If there is anything like a woman behind her husband’s success, that woman is Eleanor Roosevelt.
Another American woman worthy of praise for supporting her husband is Michelle Obama. She served as first lady from 2009 to 2017. If you read her memoirs like BECOMING and the latest one THE LIGHT WE CARRY, you will read about her account as first lady. Among other things, she focused on issues such as healthy eating, physical fitness, and education. She also launched the Let’s Move! Campaign, aimed at reducing childhood obesity. In his book, A Promised Land, Barack Obama credits Michelle Obama with providing invaluable guidance and support, especially during challenging times. He acknowledges that her deep insights, perspective and strategic thinking were crucial in shaping his decisions as the President. While the memoir doesn’t explicit refer to Michelle as co-president, he acknowledges her influence and impact on his presidency. He recognizes her as an integral part of his team and emphasizes her contribution to their shared journey in the White House.
It is not only women who played behind-the-scene roles. In India, Indira Gandhi was lucky to find a strong intellectual partner in her husband Feroze Gandhi, a journalist and a politician. In most of her decisions, Indira Gandhi used her husband as a sounding board. Feroze’s focus on social justice and his anti-corruption stand resonated deeply with Indira, shaping her policies and the way she governed. All through history, from the time of Adam and Eve, women have been the silent, secret persuaders behind kings, emperors, prime minister, presidents and leaders of all political persuasions, for good and for bad. There are powerful women who changed the world for good and for bad through the influence they exerted on their husbands. Our prayer is that our new first lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, an acknowledged prayer warrior of the Pentecostal faith, will be used by God Almighty to reinvent Nigeria, to turn around the fortunes and the story of Nigeria, from good to better, from better to best, from darkness to light, from glory to glory. May this BOGO political couple surprise us with good deeds inspired from above! Let me hear somebody say Amen!

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