By Dapo Akinrefon,  Ebun Sessou, Yinka Ajayi & Monsuru Olowoopejo

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, led prominent Nigerians from far and near to pour praises on former Lagos State Governor and All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tinubu turns 65, today.

The ocassion was the 9th Bola Tinubu Colloquium tagged: ‘Make it in Nigeria: Use what we make, make what we use’,  held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The colloquim attracted eminent Nigerians such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governors Akinwumi Ambode (Lagos), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Bello Masari (Katsina).

Former governors present included, Aremo Segun Osoba (Ogun), Otunba Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Alhaji Lateef Jakande (Lagos), Timipre Slyva (Bayelsa) and Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Ogun).

There were also former Vice President, Namadi Sambo; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu; Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila;  Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun;  Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu and Alhaji Aliko Dangote; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro; traditional rulers members of the National and State Houses of Assembly.

A variety of exhibitions by the Nigeria Airforce, the Lagos State Polytechnic and University of Lagos added glitz and flavour to the event held amid tight security. Indeed, security agents cordoned off the area with some overzealous security guards with Solution Golden Events preventing journalists and some guests from gaining entry.

Tinubu, an outstanding politician of his generation — Buhari

Speaking at the capacity-filled and charged hall, President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, described the Jagaban Borgu  as an outstanding politician of his generation, who has been good in planning and executing government’s plans.

Commending Tinubu for being a great mobiliser, President Buhari, who was guest of honour at the event, said the politician played a great role in the transformation of Lagos State.

His words: “Tinubu is an outstanding South-West politician of his generation. He is a great mobiliser. He is very good in planning and executing government plan. Tinubu played a great role in the transformation of Lagos State. Tinubu and his associates, Babatunde Fashola, Yemi Osinbajo and now Akinwumi Ambode are the architects of the new Lagos. Lagos State used to be one of the dirtiest states but now it is one of the most cleanest in Nigeria. He has a knack for picking right people at the best of time.

“The present administration is determined to make sure that we produce and consume what we produce and import only what is strategic to our development and plan. Government is looking forward to accept the proposal of the colloquium as part of this administration economic plan.”

He also said that the nation had benefitted “a lot from the personal sacrifices, political experience and intellectual foresight of the APC chieftain.”

FG copying Lagos template to revive economy — Finance Minister

In her comments, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun assured Nigerians that the country would soon be out of recession, disclosing that the Federal Government was already copying the Lagos template to revive the economy.

She said the Federal Government recently released N1trillion for capital expenditure to make the economy productive, adding that measures were being taken to bring about multiple streams of revenue.

Adeosun also said that the Federal Government will embark on aggressive tax regime to fill the vacuum left by oil revenue in the country.

Noting that the dwindling oil revenue has left the government with no option than to turn towards tax administration, she said: “It is a pity that Nigeria has one of the lowest tax regime ratio globally at 6 percent. The only country that is lower than us is Oman. We have so many wealthy entrepreneurs, who have managed to develop a habit of not paying tax, we need to correct that. I take this opportunity to reach out to the millionaires, billionaires and trillionaires that you will hear from me soon.”

Tinubu, a made in Nigeria product that is working  — Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr Ambode described Tinubu as a great Nigerian political product and a successful leader, who not only mentored many leaders in the country but also laid the solid foundation for the sustained progress of the state.

Governor Ambode said the test of any successful leader all over the world is in the number of leaders such leaders produced, and that using the said globally accepted parameter, Tinubu without doubt, is a winner.

Likening Tinubu to a coconut blessed with divine task to be fruitful and useful to humanity, versatile, courageous, which could bear fruit for a long time, he said: “Like the coconut, some by-products/fruits will get bad along the way or after being sold in the market; in actual fact, the political product may not be the favourite of some other people. The bottom line, however, is simple. If Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, were a coconut, I dare say, with all simplicity, I would be among the forefront liners that will eat, drink and sleep B.A.T. 24/7.”

Also, the governor said Tinubu’s “blueprint has continued to serve as a road map to achieve the Lagos of his and our dreams. This same political product without doubt, traverses the Nigerian landscape and that is evident with the emergence of the APC at the centre in 2015. Asiwaju is a made in Nigeria product. We should make more products out of him.”

Ambode assured that his administration would continue to improve on indices of the ease of doing business to ensure that more products are made in Nigeria for the development and growth of the nation.

He’s the architect of modern Lagos — Lagos Speaker

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa,  described the APC leader as the architect of modern Lagos.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Musbau Razak, Obasa commended Tinubu’s courage, determination, commitment and the will to succeed despite all odds.

He said: “Tinubu is not only the architect of modern Lagos, he is also a great leader of men whose unrivaled ability to discover talent has led to the discovery of great leaders who have turned out to become reference points in great leadership and good governance in the present democratic dispensation in the country.

Tinubu, a man of strong legacies – Osun Assembly

On its part, the Osun State House of Assembly described Tinubu as a man of strong legacies.

In a statement by its Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, the Assembly described Tinubu as a quintessential, larger than life politician, with passion for democratic ideals and commitment to national development.

He said: “Nigeria owes Tinubu a huge gratitude for his determination, consistency, doggedness, vision and fearless disposition in the strengthening and enthronement of good governance in the country.”

Ekiti APC celebrates Tinubu

Also, the APC in Ekiti State described Tinubu as a dogged and courageous fighter, a political juggernaut and master strategist with uncommon wisdom of an astute manager of men and materials.

In a statement in Ado-Ekiti by Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, the party described Tinubu as a politician with a midas touch, adding that APC’s victory in the national election that produced President Buhari was as a result of the visionary leadership championed by the Asiwaju of Lagos.

We must patronise made in Nigeria products — Tinubu

Responding, Tinubu outlined what can be taken as 12 steps that will take Nigeria out of recession and accelerate socio-economic development.

While calling on Nigerians to patronise made in Nigeria goods; he said we must build a new nation by casting aside the prejudices of yesterday; reshape/restructure the economy and end pursuit of economic balance with the precious things that Nigeria produces.

He also said we must embrace economic diversification and industrial policy because ‘’no populous modern nation with a significant urban population has attained prosperity without creating an industrial base capable of employing great numbers of the urban population and of manufacturing goods for domestic consumption and export.

‘’We must press forward with a national industrial policy fostering development of strategic industries that create jobs and spur further economic growth. As part of this plan, government should institute a policy of tax credits, subsidies and the insulation from the negative impact of imports critical for these sectors.’’

To complement the industrial plan, Tinubu said provision of infrastructure and steady power supply are important.

‘’Closely complementing the industrial plan, we need a national infrastructure plan. New structures need to be built and existing ones enhanced so that we enjoy a coherently planned and integrated infrastructural grid. A national economy cannot grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructure that serves it. Of utmost importance, we must conquer the political and bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing affordable, reliable electrical power,’’ he said.

The Asiwaju also canvassed agricultural reform and credit for business investment as consumer spending is too costly in Nigeria to be of much help, mortages and clement interest rates, adding: ‘’We have to revamp our government-backed home mortgage system.”

 

Mortgage loan agencies need to be better funded, they must liberalize eligibility requirements so more people qualify and they should provide longer-term mortgages with manageable interest rates.’’

Looking at the economy, he said: ‘’Today, we must ask a most fundamental question:  Is our our political economy structured for the benefit of man or have we reduced man to be subservient to the impersonal political economy?

The correct answer looms self evident. The political economy should be for the benefit of man.  In reality, we do not first try to reshape the economy to realize optimal benefit for the people. Instead, we have been conditioned to demand that the people contort themselves to fit the dictates of what the economy is or what it isn’t. I reject this harsh path. It violates the tenets of morality and of sustainable economics itself. We must begin and end our pursuit of economic balance with the precious things this nation produces.’’

Noting that President Buhari is already on this course and working well with his vice, Tinubu urged Nigerians to join hands to make the journey successful inspite of initial pains.

“I must applaud President Buhari. He meticulously followed our constitution in temporarily transferring the helm to the VP. As such, the two excellent men exemplified teamwork and true meaning of unity of purpose.

“I have listened to the Minister of Finance, Nigeria stands at a defining juncture. Our challenges are manifold and profound. Yet, so are our collective abilities and talents. Don’t ignore them. One more thoughts shall suffice. Here, I add a third part to this year’s theme. Not only must we use what we make and what we use. We must fix our minds to make what the world values.

 

 

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