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Between King of Boys and the return of Tinubu

Between King of Boys and the return of Tinubu
October 12
12:37 2021

If you have watched the movie series, ‘King of Boys: The Return of the King’, you will agree with me that it somehow has similarities to the reality of what is happening today in Lagos and Nigeria.

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When I watched the first part back in 2018, I was only able to connect it with the general political situation in Nigeria. I did not really relate it with a particular political figure at the time, maybe because the political atmosphere was not as tense as it is becoming right now since we are now getting closer to the 2023 general election.

I only watched King of Boys for the fun of it. I enjoyed the characters, sound, and storyline, and at the end, while stepping out of the cinema in Lagos, I sighed, shook my head, and told myself “God go help Nigeria”.

But it appears the writers and producers of that movie had the foresight of what to come, though the ‘King of Boys’ in the movie is a woman, unlike its real-life similarity who is a man. The film is gradually proving to be a prophecy of some sort as some of us who think deeper, can now relate or are beginning to relate.

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For the benefit of those that have not seen the movie before, King of Boys tells the story of Alhaja Eniola Salami (played by Sola Sobowale), a businesswoman and philanthropist with a promising political future. She is drawn into a struggle for power which in turn threatens everything around her as a result of her growing political ambitions. To come out of this on top, she is caught up in a game of trust, not knowing whom really to look up to, and this leads to her ruthlessness.

In the follow-up series released in 2021, Eniola Salami returns to Nigeria after a five-year exile, eager to mete out punishments to her adversaries. She starts anew and sets her sights on a different position of power, fuelled by revenge, regret, and ruthlessness. The film touches on themes around feminism, power tussle, politics, hooliganism, and gang wars.

After a careful study of the character played by Sola Sobowale, and the reality of the political career of the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader and former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I figure out some key similarities between the two, of things that have already happened and things that could happen in the near future.

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In the movie, Alhaja Salami paid her price and was instrumental in producing the top leaders like Akin Lewis who played the character of Aare Akinwade, and even the president. She played a key role both financially and otherwise to ensure many people attain top political and traditional positions as a ladder for her to climb when her time comes. This can be likened to Tinubu. He formed the APC, took in President Muhammadu Buhari, and threw his full weight behind his presidential ambition. Today, Buhari is serving his second term. Buhari is just one of the many people Tinubu has supported to achieve its political goals.

Also, just like Alhaja Salami fell out with Aare Akinwade in the epic movie, Buhari may have fallen out with Tinubu when he said on Arise TV that “nobody is just going to sit in Lagos and decide how APC will do its zoning”. However, a visit to Tinubu in London by the president, during his three months away, may have settled the dust of acrimony between them.

Looking at another similarity, Eniola Salami is a successful businesswoman in the film, and so is Tinubu, a business mogul who has built his empire from the scratch over the years. When a female campaign staff suggested that a married Salami would be easier to ‘market’ to the electorate, Salami’s response opens the floor for a heated debate.

“I have built numerous businesses on my own without a man holding my hand. Today you sit here, telling me it’s not good enough. Why? Because I’m a single woman with no children. People will find it difficult to see me as the next governor of Lagos state. What a shame. This is sad,” Salami says.

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In addition, Salami spent five years in exile and came back more ambitious to fulfill her dreams no matter whose ox is gored. When she returned, she was welcomed at the airport with singing and dancing by her supporters. Journalists were also present to catch a glimpse of the funfair and interview her. In the same vein, Tinubu returned to Nigeria on Friday after three months away in London following surgery on his knee. On his return, he was hosted by Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday at the state house in Marina. Top media houses were also there to cover the event.

I also find something emotional about the two figures, they both suffered losses. Eniola Salami’s two children, Kemi Salami, played by Adesua Etomi, and Kitan Salami played by Demola Adedoyin both died in King of Boys. Similarly, Tinubu lost his son, Jide in 2017, though it may not have anything to do with his political career. Speaking about his death, the former Lagos state governor said “those who knew him could not help but like him. Yet, he was taken away by cardiac arrest when it seemed he had so much life to still live. This is a reminder that we must live each day to its best as none of us knows when our last day shall be. Mortality comes upon us all. We have no choice in that but we do have a choice whether we shall be good or bad, just or unjust. Let us all strive toward the best in ourselves.”

Now that Tinubu is back

Judging by the close similarities between the two characters as enumerated above, it is now easy for me to predict what the future may look like for Tinubu, Nigeria, and the political space. Already, governor Sanwo-Olu has launched the Southwest Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA ‘23), a group championing the ambition of Bola Tinubu to become Nigeria’s next president, the same thing Eniola did on her return from exile.

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Eniola Salami, while trying so hard not to go back to her past, found herself sinking deeper as the only way to defend her reputation is to attack her enemies and take revenge. In real life, Tinubu may not be as ferocious as Alhaja Salami and may not devise the same methods in handling his perceived enemies who may want to stand before him and his presidential ambition.

Eniola Salami played her game well, contested the gubernatorial election, won, and became the governor of Lagos state, a position she had been dreaming of all her life. As much as the governor’s wife, Jumoke Randle, pushed Eniola Salami to the wall, she was able to manage her temper with maturity and only strike when the time is right. Correspondingly, I am anticipating the same process and outcome from Tinubu.

The role played by Richard Mofe-Damijo as Reverend Ifeanyi shows that some religious leaders in Nigeria are not upright, can compromise their beliefs, and be used by politicians to achieve their ambition as the 2023 general election gets closer. Eniola Salami knows how to read the moves of her supposed enemies even before they plan it. This is one of the reasons she remained Oba (King) for many years.

Now that Tinubu is back, I will not be surprised if he swings into action immediately by officially declaring his intention to succeed Buhari as president of the federal republic under the All Progressives Congress. Eniola Salami did the same thing on her return to the country after five years. She set up her campaign team and set her priorities straight.

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Both characters have already played out in close resemblance, and it is now left for the end to justify the means. But all my kudos will go to Kemi Adetiba. If her foresight truly materialises, she will ascend a special place in my heart.

Let the posters roll out on bridges and walls across Lagos and Nigeria, let the commercial jingles beat in our ears and eyes, let the newspaper covers and center spread display campaign banners, let the campaign songs begin to flood our social media and Whatsapp groups and status.

It is the campaign season, let the games begin.

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