48 Laws of Power… Law 15


Law 15 states All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.) If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.


While law 15 itself may be considerably harsher than the reality of the relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Fashola, it does go some way in explaining what transpired between both juggernauts.

As rumour had it, Mr. Tinubu made Raji Fashola, first by employing him as the Chief of Staff, and then anointing him as his successor as governor in 2007. The latter was of course expected to remain eternally grateful having been selected from relative obscurity to being one of the most powerful governors in the country. At the height of his fame, Governor Fashola was considered the best serving governor within the cabinet, and the best governor since Gov. Marwa in Lagos State.

What this implied was that Fashola was considered better still than his immediate predecessor and godfather. Yet, it was Bola Tinubu who had championed democracy during the dark days of General Abacha, at great risk to his life and property. On his return from exile he was ‘compensated’ with the governorship of his beloved, and some say adopted Lagos state.

Governor Fashola of course having made a name with his famed accomplishments as governor, could not stay in his predecessor’s shadow for much longer and was said to have tried to assert himself and his authority much to the chagrin of Ashiwaju Tinubu. This set the stage of the battle for the soul of Lagos state on the one hand, and for the party, the APC on the other hand.

After many famous and often public clashes, the line was clearly drawn between both men. The situation deteriorated further when they had both backed different gubernatorial candidates during the APC primaries in 2015, a situation which greatly polarised the party.

With his candidate’s victory at the primaries and ultimately at the polls, Ashiwaju had his chance to finally destroy Fashola, who was by this time a lame duck governor on his last hurrah.

President Buhari’s supposed entry into the fray is thought to have given Mr. Fashola a new lease of life with his reemergence as arguably the most powerful minister in the current administration.

It remains to be seen how the drama will play out given the pendulous swing of power between both great men especially on what will likely be the final battleground – Lagos, given Fashola’s new portfolio and the strategic role Lagos must play in his plans.



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