Bola Tinubu, national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has opened up on his experiences on the journey to the top, recalling how a naval officer slapped him in his days as a cab driver in the US.
In a special interview with TheNews, Tinubu also spoke on how he did menial jobs to survive during his undergraduate days.
The former Lagos state governor also made comments on how he excelled as a technocrat in the US, and his contribution to the growth of the country’s democracy.
“One experience I will not forget was when I over-charged a naval officer who was returning to the country. It was not intentional. Apparently, I didn’t know the direction; there was no GPRS in those days to locate directions,” he said.
“He gave me the direction to his house in a Virginia suburb. I gave him the price and the man responded with a slap to my face. He said I should know the correct fare to charge to the location he mentioned. He slapped me and gave me the money.
“Another experience was when I took a guy whom I didn’t know was drunk. When I drove to his house, he pointed a gun at me instead of paying the fare. He took my leather jacket and said: ‘Get into your car and get lost.’ He did not pay.
“Another interesting one was when I was taking the third accounting class and equally working as a security guard at a construction site. They were very serious with their kind of security. You just had to do that job. There were about six points with six clocks at the site, which the security man must wind every hour and with a dog in hand. So, there was never a chance of trying to catch a nap.
“As I was doing my accounting assignment, I fell asleep. I was dead asleep! The inspector came to the site and found me sleeping, with my head on my books. He simply pulled the register and wrote: ‘I have been here. You were sound asleep. So, see me tomorrow.’ When I woke up, I found that Skiddo (the dog’s name) was gone, and then the register. I just went to a corner, cleaned my face and concentrated on my assignment because I knew the job was already gone.
“You can’t lose two things. I ensured that I read well for my test and passed the next day. I opted to post their uniform and the cap to them, but suddenly ran into the man and he handed me my cheque and said the job was gone. I told him I knew and we said goodbye to each other! I had to start looking for another job.”
On how he managed to escape during the crisis that the military plunged the country into after annulling the June 12, 1993 election, Tinubu said: “I disguised with a huge turban and babariga and escaped into Benin Republic on a motorbike.
“My old Hausa friend gave the clothes to me. In fact, when I appeared to Kudirat Abiola, she didn’t know that I was the one! I gave her some information and some briefing. I left at 1 a.m. While in Benin Republic, I was still coming to Badagry to ferry people, organise and coordinate the struggle with others on ground. We put a group together, ferrying NADECO people across. It was a very challenging time. I can’t forget people like Segun Maiyegun and other young guys in the struggle. I would come from Benin to hold meetings with them and sneak back.”