Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, his Ekiti State counterpart, Kayode Fayemi, Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, Egbe Afenifere National Leader Pa Ayo Fasanmi, and many others yesterday congratulated ex-Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on his birthday.
Tinubu turns 67 today.
Ambode saluted the role played by the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying Nigeria was already on the threshold of greatness with the duo in the “next level” government.
Ambode, who spoke at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja as part of activities marking the 67th birthday of Tinubu, said it was gratifying to note that the next level promised by the APC government was already unfolding, adding that the next four years would engender massive development and service to the people.
He said: “We are all expectant and we can feel the next level unfolding. Our country is on the threshold of greatness because for the first time since our independence, we would have successive administrations of a progressive and visionary government; a government of integrity, a government whose sole interest is the well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“We are lucky to be here in this exciting time; in a time when our country will be led by selfless individuals who have the progress and prosperity of our people as their major objective and we are here today because Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been a very key part of this story.
“We are here not only to celebrate him (Tinubu) but to celebrate the incoming dawn in Nigeria; we are here to celebrate the next level in Nigeria where Nigerians will be served and given what is due to them.”
The governor, who attended the colloquium with his wife, Bolanle, hailed Tinubu for his political dexterity, doggedness, undoubted courage and political acumen, saying the attributes of the national leader played key part in the electoral victory of APC at the Federal, National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections.
While describing the theme of the colloquium: “Next Level: Work For People,” as perfectly conceived and apt for the moment, Governor Ambode said it was instructive that it was coming at a time when Nigerians were eagerly looking forward to revolutionary transformation in key sectors and sections of the country.
“This colloquium is coming at a time when the APC has spread its political tentacles even further in the country and this colloquium is coming at a time when Nigerians are eagerly looking forward to the next level in progressive politics, economic growth, social welfare and increased national security,” the governor said.
Fayemi, in a tribute to Tinubu, described him as the leading light of progressive politics in the country, a fact which he said critics of the APC leader usually acknowledge.
He recalled his working relationship with the former NADECO chieftain and said Tinubu remained a dependable, reliable and passionate leader, whose record of grooming successful disciples is unmatchable.
Fayemi said: “I celebrate you today as always because you have been a reliable, dependable and passionate leader. The hallmark of a great leader is not measured in castles and materials, but in his ability to groom and lead successful disciples.
“Like a colossus in the jungle of life, your ability to identify, nurture and engage talents is unequalled. Your life has been a testimony of human capital development in an unrelenting struggle for a better life. Even your political detractors secretly admire your courage, vibrancy, intelligence, ebullience, kind-heartedness, warmth and sagacity.
“I will forever cherish the memory of our struggles for the enthronement and sustenance of democracy and good governance in Nigeria. Your infectious smile, as we have witnessed together on a number of occasions, is disarming. You have, over the years, succeeded in constantly reinventing yourself as a leading light of progressive politics.
“You mean different things to different people. To some, you are a patriotic politician, while to others, you are a political strategist who loves challenging the powers-that-be as a result of your passion and desire to see that your people are not deprived of their rights at any time.
“You might not be the darling of all, but you have carved a niche for yourself in the political history of Nigeria. May providence reward your labour of love with long life in good health, unspeakable joy and everlasting bliss.
“On behalf of the government and good people of Ekiti State, I wish you the best of what your new year can offer. Above all, I wish you many more useful and productive years,” he added.
Obasa described Tinubu as the greatest politician of the present generation. The speaker, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Musbau Rasak, yesterday said: “Asiwaju is the greatest politician of this generation. His leadership qualities and ability to discover and nurture talents for the greater good of the public is uncommon and unrivaled among his peers.
“But for the special discovery talent of Asiwaju, great administrators like the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; former Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; former Lagos Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; Messrs Wale Edun, Yemi Cardozo and Dele Alake among others would not have had the opportunity to show Nigerians and the world at large, the stuff they are made of.”
Obasa also praised the pioneering efforts of Asiwaju Tinubu for the creation of modern Lagos which has become the role model for others to emulate in the country.
“He’s the architect of modern Lagos, laying the solid foundation on which successful governments continue to build on making the state the best among its peers in the country and the continent,” he said.
The Lagos Assembly Speaker stated further that the APC National Leader deserves all the accolades, best wishes and praises showered on him because he has always stand for good governance anchored equity and fairness nurtured by justice and strict adherence to the Rule of Law.
“On behalf of my colleagues at the Lagos State House of Assembly, I rejoice with our Leader, the great Jagaban of Africa on this glorious birthday celebration. I wish you many happy returns sir,” Obasa said.
Fasanmi, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Adebayo Temitope, said: “No matter what you may say about Bola either you like him or not, there is no way you can discuss the democracy that is being enjoyed by many people today without mention Bola.”
He added: “During the NADCO era, he played a vital role which is still fresh in everybody memory. Asiwaju Bola has fought a good fight for the sustenance of democracy and he has won. If not because of Asiwaju’s struggle, some have determined to turn this country to their private business. Bola, what you are celebrating is the reality of unprecedented, steady and consistent progress in the entire nation, even the foundation which you laid as the former governor of Lagos State during the AD still continues. As you are celebrating your birthday Bola, I can say you have come, you have seen and by the grace of God you shall conquer. Wishing you a many more good years. I pray you shall celebrate 93 like me.”
Osun APC also congratulated Tinubu. The party said: “What makes this moment worthy of celebration is the quality of the series of achievements that the Jagaban of Borgu has made in less than four decades, from a local hero to a huge national figure.”
In a message of goodwill signed by the chairman of the ruling party, Prince Gboyega Famodun, the APC added: “One of Asiwaju Tinubu’s greatest achievements is his contribution to the political engineering that brought the APC into being and led it to a historic victory in 2015.
“And as if that was not historic enough, the Asiwaju led the new party to a second term victory in the just concluded elections.
“These events were first of its kind in the history of Nigerian politics, and one that will occupy a special attention of historians,” the party said.
He praised Tinubu for what he described as the “unique generosity of the APC leader”, which has changed the lives of “hundreds of thousands of people”.
He went on: “These people (that spread across party lines and nationalities) will never forget Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a hurry.
“They will be amongst the millions of Nigerians who will be praying today to Allah that He grants the APC leader long life and prosperity for the good of Nigeria.”
A socio – political group, Akwa Ibom Visionaries’ Choice for a Better Tomorrow Initiative (AKV), has described former Lagos State governor as ‘an apostle of one Nigeria’.
The group said Tinubu has salvaged the country’s democracy through his brand of politics. Its National President, Emmanuel Effiong, said: ”Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is an Apostle of one Nigeria and a dogged fighter for the the sustenance of unity and democracy in Nigeria.”
Effiong said the group has been closely following the political contributions of the APC leader, adding that the posterity will not forgive the present crop Nigerians if they failed to identify with the lofty ideals and inputs of the former Lagos state governor to the country.
Effiong eulogised Tinubu for his outstanding achievements, noting that the APC leader is an ”American-trained accountant of no mean repute, a party planter for the sustenance of Democracy and a political activist who struggled for the emancipation of Nigerians”.
He urged all Akwa Ibom people to identify with and celebrate Tinubu as a stateman on the occasion of his birthday anniversary.
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