By Ezra Odogu
Ability to transform vision and ideas into a reality is the most important skill anyone preparing to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari next year must possess, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.
The only tested individual with such gift and competence, Sanwo-Olu said, is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Lagos Governor told a gathering of Speakers of Houses of Assembly (HoA) at a forum organised by Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja on Wednesday. The event’s theme is: “The Legislature, Changing Times and Nigeria’s Democratic Journey”.
Fifteen serving HoA Speakers from States being governed by All Progressives Congress (APC) fully attended the consultative forum, which also had serving Deputy Speakers, serving legislators of States and all former members of Conference of Speakers in attendance.
The frontline presidential aspirant and National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, was the Special Guest of Honour at the event.
The attendees unanimously expressed support for Tinubu in his bid to get the party’s nomination to contest for president.
Sanwo-Olu said Tinubu’s leadership capacity had been sufficiently demonstrated, given the tenacity with which the former Lagos Governor rolled out vision and ideas that transformed the sub-national city into a flourishing economy.
He said the forum was held as part of wide consultations embarked on by the APC leader in his bid to win the support of the party members across various backgrounds and camps.
Sanwo-Olu said: “It is not by chance that you all are gathered here today. It is because we agree totally that you all are important stakeholders that need to be engaged and identified with separately from others. You are the real foot soldiers who can go back to the hallowed chambers and pass the message to all members of your respective Houses of Assembly and your former colleagues in the legislature across States.
“Tell them that the man, Asiwaju Tinubu, whom we all look forward to, has reached out and identified with them as important stakeholders in the journey to next political dispensation. We need a fresh breath of leadership at this critical moment in our country. Asiwaju is qualified and competent to provide leadership we desire to see. He has the spirit, capacity, tenacity and the experience to do that for us. As stakeholders, legislators, both current and former, are the critical component that can make this happen for us.”
The Governor said a better and greater Nigeria could be achieved if a detribalised candidate that had been tested with the right leadership capacity was given a collective support to succeed President Buhari and build on the progress recorded by the current administration.
Tinubu acknowledged the nation is endowed with great human capital to experience a true transformation but said premium must be placed on leadership ability of individuals jostling to run for president.
The frontline aspirant said the country he was seeking to build would not be an index of poverty, frustration and banditry, stressing that his qualification to vie for the Number One office in the land was not in question, as his pedigree as a student on Dean List, professional in private sector and his strides as two-term Governor in Lagos stood him out among the aspirants.
Tinubu said: “It is a very challenging time for us in the country and we need to decide the next leadership right. We need to intellectually assess the current situation, bring in a person with a clear vision and ability to deliver. Accelerated development of our country is all about thinking, doing and being courageous. I am a thinker and a doer.
“I was raised with courage and that is what is driving me to push on my vision to create a Nigeria that will work for all. We can build this nation and reverse the carnage. What we need is leadership, the visioner to drive the change we desire. That is why I have presented myself to canvass for your support.”
The APC National Leader said he was prepared to take over the mantle of national leadership legitimately through the ballot, and not making attempts to gain political power passing through the back door.
He said he possessed the capacity to truly transform the country, noting that his administration as Governor of Lagos initiated many unprecedented steps towards lifting the State’s economy.
If given the chance to become the president, Tinubu said he would bring his new capability to bear and transform the potential of the country into a reality.
“As I need Nigeria, the country needs my competence. I have been a good example with shrewd, daring and can-do attitude. And I have never lost a single election,” Tinubu said.
Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures chairman and Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Sulaiman, in his response, described Tinubu as “a great leader with character and sacrifice”, noting that the former Lagos Governor placed high premium on the welfare of the party members and citizens.
He said: “Asiwaju Tinubu, we are fully aware of your aspiration to become the president of our country. I give you the assurance that members of the State’s legislative houses will be willing and ready to work with you on this goal. We are behind you in this journey and we, therefore, make request to give us the opportunity to be part of the process.”