Remarks By Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at A Symposium During the 60th Birthday of Governor Oshiomhole
Around this time last year, I celebrated my 60th birthday. It is a milestone. I am so happy that our comrade Governor has joined me in this club. As such, I believe I have the freedom to call him my younger brother. With that in mind, let me say a hearty and warm happy birthday to my slightly younger but much shorter younger brother. Happy Birthday and may your life be filled with countless more and may each new birthday be finer than the one that preceded it.
2. Today, we gather to celebrate a stalwart leader and a tireless guardian of the public trust. This man is a bold champion of the needy and less privileged; he is a strong aid to the downtrodden. We thank God for the mercies he has bestowed on Adams Oshiomhole at 60.
3. No matter his other talents, a leader amounts to nothing but a disappointment and threat and his people will experience little except danger if that leader lacks vision and commitment. The people of Edo State are fortunate and also wise for they have selected a man of great vision, commitment and compassion. Adams Oshiomole may just be like any human being, but his superior quality is that he is a HUMANE being. A person committed to improving the lives of his people completely and quickly as he can is a HUMANE being.
4. While he may be a small and slight of frame, he is large of heart, mind and spirit. This man has the bravery, the boldness and dedication to hoist the entire weight of this state on his shoulders and carry you the people to a better place and brighten future.
5. He is not someone interested in small steps and half-measures. He does not want to hear that something is too hard to do. If it is the right thing, he will do it. Whether it is easy, hard or nearly impossible does not dissuade him. If it is in the best interest of the people, he will do it. No matter how strong the wind, he will not give up. No matter how hard the opposition, he will not sit down. No matter how loud the shouts against him, he will not be silenced. He fights hard and when he fights the hardest it is never for himself, it is for you the people. This makes him an exceptional leader amongst leaders.
What sets him apart is that my brother is a believer in justice and a deliverer of radical and progressive change that break free the people from the old and unwise injustices that have plagued us for too long.
6. From his days of radical union activism many thought he might lack the temperament to administer and manage material and resource. I never thought such a thing for I understood the talents of this man and the depth of his convictions.
7. When he entered electoral politics, the cynics had a field day predicting he would fail. He quickly proved them wrong first with the fight to win back his stolen mandate and then with the team he picked to help him govern. These cynics joked that he thought politics was a union arena, but they soon found who they were dealing with. Today, the joke is on them.
8. Anyone who truly knew the nature of the man knew he would not falter. He would not let that happen. If his administration did not perform, he would organize a people’s protest against himself until his government took the right course. A man who would go to this length to get things right, can, in fact, be trusted to work for the poor and underprivileged.
9. A dogged fighter for truth, a long distance runner and a progressive agent. Since he climbed the saddle of power, he has worked tirelessly to reverse the years of stagnation infrastructural decay in the state. He invested time and energy in planning and strategizing for the benefit of the people. Within a short period of time, he demonstrated unequal passion and commitment to rural integration. On this, he has scored an A+. Is that not true-YES. On free and qualitative education, has he not scored an A+. YES. On Investment in the quality of life, hasn’t he scored an A+. YES Job creation. A+. YES. Health care delivery. A+. YES. Overall how do we score Comrade Adams? RESPONSE- A+
10. In this midst of this celebration, our joy is tempered because his beloveth wife who had been as one in the struggle with him has passed on. Fortunately, she lived long enough to see the victory of their struggle with the inauguration of her husband. She was called home by God and thus was unable to join him physically in this great journey of serving the people of Edo State. Yet, we know that she has been with him in spirit and that she is with us today in this celebration of this outstanding man with whom she shared her life and devotion. We thank God for her life. We believe she must be proud of her husband for the promises he has kept, for the hopes he has restored and the compassionate leadership he is providing. He remains a good father and a responsible family man. On this again, I score him an A+.
11. Comrade Governor continues to demonstrate unusual determination and courage in the face of all odds. He has given deep root to democracy with all he has done since arriving at government house. He has been a champion of one man, one vote because he believes in the sanctity of the vote and believes that our electoral system must be fair and just. He fought hard to protect the votes you gave him freely and massively. You stood by him to reclaim the stolen mandate and swept away a leadership the people had actually rejected.
12. We must pause to ask why in the 21st century, Nigerians still suffer under an inferior and ship shod manual registration, verification and accreditation of voters when there is the option of the full biometric system. Today, many nations now use the biometric system to ensure one man, one vote and eliminate multiple voting. In our situation, the struggle for one man, one vote is not yet over. Although people who love justice and progress seek to usher Nigeria into the light of 21st century democratic practice, other bleak and shadowy forces seek to push our nation so far back into the 20th century that it falls into the crude electoral practices of the 19th.
13. Comrade brother, your struggle to retain the mandate the people gave you is but a chapter in the struggle to enthrone one man, one vote. That book has not yet been fully written. Already, the election wizards and riggers have written their portion of the book. Now, it is time that we erase their misconduct and fill the empty pages with fairness, openness, democracy and the people’s will. We must push for the use of biometrics like witnessed in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon and other places. Nigeria has no reason to be different when being different is to be inferior.
14. To INEC, if the last voter registration data did not meet the minimum quality threshold, let INEC do it again using the biometrics system. We must insist that subsequent elections are free and fair. The people of Edo have seen the light. They are ready to protect their votes and to reject the erstwhile PDP government that served them a salad of corruption and rickety governance for years. The people are now witnessing rapid development because they voted for change. This is manifest in the developments across Edo state, the provision of water, modern transportation, judicial reforms and other people-oriented policies. If I personally have any complaint against Comrade Oshiomhole, it is that he has allowed me only one ride on one of the new air conditioned buses.
15. Even though one could be forgiven for thinking that a labour activist has not the right demeanour for governance due to the often combative psychology of the activist, Oshiomhole has proved this to be erroneous. He has been dogged and steady in guiding the state to a better place. He has been able to do this because he has made compassion the driving theme of his administration. He has reached out to meet the needs of the workers and of the people. He has shown devotion to his friends and charity to his foes. Through the sad experience of the assassination of Olaitan Oyerinde, his Private Principal Secretary and the way he has pursued justice, we see a man committed to his friends, dead or alive, a man determined to fight for what is right. That is the quality of his leadership.
16.Comrade, today, no amount of theorizing can capture and describe the way you have deepened democracy and enhanced the welfare of the people than the evident landmarks constructed during your tenure. These testify to your achievement and the millions of thankful hearts lucky to have you as their governor. So at 60, you must not relent. There is more work to be done.
17. Your kind of leadership has set a higher standard for governance in this country. Your commitment to providing good leadership in spite of adversity is unparalleled. Abraham Lincoln must have had you in mind when he said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. Nothing offers a more befitting description of your leadership than these words.
Again, to my younger brother, I ask that you all join me in wishing him a Happy Birthday.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to email@example.com