The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday revealed the reason the leadership of the party preferred Senate Leader Ibrahim Lawan to other contestants in leading the Senate.

He explained that the senator is a great example of a very consistent and intellectually resourceful leader the country needs. He lamented that those he referred to as political prostitutes denied him of the opportunity to serve Nigeria in that capacity because of their selfish interest.

Tinubu who was giving a goodwill message at the Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable held in Ibadan, yesterday, lauded the Senate Leader for staying consistent in spite of what happened; stressing that it was one of the qualities that stand him out.

At the Roundtable with the theme: ‘The Imperative of Building Institutions for Lasting Legacies’ , the former Lagos State Governor said: “Senator Lawan, thank you very much. It will come from you as the institution. You are a great example of a very consistent and intellectually resourceful leader that we have in this country. We saw in him, these leadership traits and the qualities we wanted in the Senate President. We know you are qualified and competent to be, that you would have led the most important arm of our government more effectively but the political prostitutes and their robbers and their collaborators denied you of it because of selfishness and selfish aggrandisement. But instead of fleeing, you remained constant and consistent, seeing this institution as a place for truly lawmaking that we the people and you have remained consistent and constant ever since on a progressive stand. Thank you.”

While commending Governor Ajimobi for changing the fortunes of the state in the last seven years, Tinubu said his success would have been incomplete without a worthy successor. He hailed his choice of Adebayo Adelabu, who he believes would build on his exploits.

His words: “To the discussants, we have facilitated this important topic, it is all about you as a thinker and a doer and that is what Nigerians need all over – thinking and doing. The capacity to pick the right kind of people to think out the need for our society; that institution that you represent, translate it to vision and be able to do it. Unless that you have the rare combination of thinking and doing you cannot succeed as a leader and that is what you have done for Oyo State.

“The third and most critical element: yes we have seen all the roads, the infrastructural renewal, reforms and re-engineering of Oyo State coming up from you. Establishing the infrastructure is critical to development and to economic regeneration of the state. You have been doing that, we have seen you in brick and mortal form. I have commissioned projects for you but have you succeeded? No. Not yet. We have seen demolition, we have seen emotions, we have seen expressions, we have seen reforms, even of traditional institutions. Yes a leader must lead and face the pain, and critical evaluation of his steps but courage, if it’s lacking, you have failed. You don’t lack that, you have exhibited that and I salute you.

“The last one is what has just been mentioned.  You can be successful as a leader if you have the capacity to construct and develop the road infrastructure and housing estates as bricks and mortals but, one critical element is that how many other leaders have you developed, particularly those who can succeed you? Otherwise, as you move, the empire crumbles. And you have critically done that. If they say I am involved in choosing your successor, it is part of human qualities as a leader to consult and find out or do due diligence about somebody’s background.

“So, for your choice of a successor, I will campaign and support and contribute to the success of Adelabu. He is a man who has worked in the private sector. I am from the private sector background, a man who has worked on the economic prognosis at macro and micro levels in the country as CBN Deputy Governor of Nigeria, is now trying to succeed you.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) will support you, that is part of the leadership qualities that you have exhibited to protect that legacy and to build on it. You are just a foundation engineer who has just reconstructed Oyo State institutionally, who has reconstructed Oyo State infrastructurally.

“I say thank you and congratulations and I don’t feel bad if they say I have been associated in the process. If you do direct primaries again like you did, I will vote for your choice of successor because reform, reengineering and reinvigoration of institution can only continue beyond us and if the foundation is bad, the house will crumble.

“I saw in the debate yesterday, you could see the difference between a developmental economy and a container economy. Oyo State is going APC, Oyo State is APC, it is progressive politics. Our Moses has crossed the Red Sea, no going back to Egypt.”

In his speech, a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, showered encomiums on Ajimobi. He said he possesses high leadership qualities having known him since the 1990s.

In his vote of thanks, Ajimobi expressed satisfaction that those celebrating him are the icons of his time, stressing that the commendations did not come after his demise.

He praised Tinubu for his vision and qualities, recalling that the top politician has been ahead of all his colleagues since they were together in the United States (US) in the 1970s.

He said the Roundtable was borne out of his deep belief that no meaningful developmental achievement is possible without intellectual base. “We believe most sincerely that knowledge and intellectualism must precede development. We are making a template of the leadership already established by Asiwaju Tinubu in Lagos State. I thank him for setting the Lagos template.” Ajimobi said.

Earlier, discussants hailed Ajimobi for having offered sound leadership in virtually all spheres of life.

Lead discussant, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, said Ajimobi is not a typical Nigerian politician. He pointed out that the vision and courage he brought to governance stood him out, stressing that he has raised the bar of governance in the state.

Other speakers including Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111 also commended Ajimobi for his astute management ability. They all posited that building institutions rather than individuals will change the development track of the country.

Also at the event was the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; members of the National Assembly, Health Minister Prof. Isaac Adewole and many other traditional rulers. The US Ambassador Stuart Symington addressed the gathering on telephone.

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