Tinubu's Day Of Tributes: Fashola, Fayemi, Aregbesola, Others Pour Encomiums
• "His greatest achievement is to re-chart the developmental course of Lagos", says Fashola
Mar 29, 2012 - Celebrations marking the 60thbirthday of the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, climaxed Thursday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, where his successor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), joined other governors and prominent personalities, from both within and outside Nigeria, to pay him tribute.
Other highlights of the celebrations which began on Wednesday include a Special Parliamentary Session in his honour at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja and the Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island.
In his tribute at the occasion, Governor Fashola said the greatest achievement of his predecessor and mentor was re-charting the developmental course of Lagos and setting it on its current path of progress adding that he achieved that as a Public Servant, the part of him which according to the Governor "is least referred to by people".
Acknowledging Asiwaju Tinubu's multi-faceted accomplishments, Governor Fashola declared, "In paying tribute to him, I ask myself, 'who can hug an elephant, for the elephant is so huge and to hug it you are forced to decide which part you wish to hug", adding that the former Governor was so multifaceted that it is impossible to capture his essence in a tribute limited by space".
"In paying tribute, therefore, to my leader, the part I will like to hug is Asiwaju the Public Servant, the Servant Leader and this, perhaps, is the least referred to part of him. In my view, perhaps, his greatest achievement was to re-chart the developmental course of Lagos and set it on its current course of pride", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola noted that at the time Asiwaju Tinubu took over the mantle of leadership of Lagos State in 1999, Lagos was "like a ship that had set its destination to the North but was sailing towards the South" adding, "Almost everything needed an extreme makeover".
"If one were to take a poll today of the needs that existed pre-1999, you will find people struggling to remember how high the refuse heaps of Lagos were and the number of streets that were rendered impassable because government could not remove the refuse", the Governor said adding, "Asiwaju changed all that".
According to the Governor, although Asiwaju did not do it alone, he was the arrowhead of the vessel of change, "the leader of the team that brought the State back on course and kept backing it until it stayed on course".
"Indeed, the common touch has been described as the ability to attend to the ordinary people by empathizing and appearing to have the same qualities with them", the Governor said adding, "If possessing a common touch is one of the key attributes of a great leader, then Asiwaju, an effective administrator and leader with an undeniable common touch, must certainly rank as highest".
Describing Asiwaju Tinubu as "the one who has the ability to keep re-inventing himself and about whom the last has not been heard, Governor Fashola declared, "For me, he is still work in progress. What next, one might ask?"
"Congratulations for this Diamond milestone. I wish you many more years of servant- leadership. May your mission be accomplished in your lifetime and may your legacies endure for many generations", Governor Fashola prayed.
In his own tribute, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, described Asiwaju Tinubu as an icon and exemplary leader who, since coming into the arena of the nation's politics, has laboured to grow democracy in the country.
Recalling his exploits and prominent role as member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), the Senate President, who was represented by Senator Abba Ibrahim, said Asiwaju Tinubu has also demonstrated his leadership prowess in Lagos by the work of his successor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), adding, "Your achievements are too numerous to mention".
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Governor of Osun State, in his tribute, recalled his first meeting with Asiwaju Tinubu 23 years ago and the series of political groups he had been privileged to be with him saying the greatest gift of the former Governor and National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was his uncanny ability to choose leaders.
"His excellence in choosing great leaders is responsible for the record achievements of his successor, Governor Babatunde Fashola", Ogbeni Aregbesola said adding that the political sagacity of the Jagaban Borgu was legendary.
According to the Governor, "Another trait that separates him from his peers is how he handles crisis. He never displays any fear or buckles in the face of any challenge. In fact, it is when things get tough and hot that Asiwaju Tinubu is at his best. He is never overbearing, he is rather supportive and always ready to listen".
Wishing the former Governor a long and prosperous life in good health, the Osun State Governor noted that the capacity to produce a succession of leaders is what has kept the Asiwaju relevant and dominant in the politics of Nigeria in general and the Southwest in particular.
The Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, in his own tribute, recalled that his path first crossed with that of Asiwaju Tinubu during the struggle to restore democracy in the country adding that although he crossed swords later with the former Governor during his tenure as Labour leader over minimum wage, they had remained friends because of Asiwaju's openness and passion to serve the cause of the common man.
"He never relented in engaging the powers that be even at the risk of his life and he was ready to fight in the interest of Lagos State despite the overbearing strength of the Federal Government", Governor Oshiomhole said adding that Edo State has benefited from some of the policies which he enunciated such as the creation of wider fiscal latitudes for states.
In his tribute, Governor of Ekiti State expressed gratitude to Asiwaju Tinubu for his role in the struggle to regain his mandate in Ekiti State attributing it to the indefatigable spirit of Asiwaju Tinubu to fight injustice and never to give up.
According to him, when Asiwaju Tinubu was hounded into exile for daring to challenge Military rule in the country, he became a rallying point for all the Nigerians who were fighting to ensure the exit of the Military. "He later took the political space of Nigeria by storm and Ekiti State is beneficiary of his commitment to democracy", the Governor said.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in his tribute, described Asiwaju Tinubu as an astute, courageous nationalistic politician who, according to him "is smart, intelligent, acute, sanguine, accommodating and God-fearing".
"A man of destiny, an enigma leaving his imprint in the sands of time, Asiwaju has greatly delivered his task of liberating his people. He has saved the people of the Southwest from the stranglehold of conservatism. The political sagacity of Asiwaju has been a thorn in the flesh of the conservatives", the Governor said adding that he has redefined politics in the country to mean true service to the people.
In his tribute, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, described Asiwaju Tinubu as a Master-strategist saying he is a defender of the common man who is ready always to confront any challenge placed in his way towards achieving his goal in favour of the common man.
Others who also paid tribute were the Vice President of Ghana who was represented by the Ghanaian Deputy Chief of Staff while prayers were offered for the celebrant, his family, the states and the nation as a whole by Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Ola Makinde, Rev. Wilson Badejo, Rev. Mercy Ezekiel, the Chief Imam of Lagos and other clerics.
Also present at the event were the First Lady, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola and the first Ladies of Oyo, Osun Ogun and Ekiti, wife of the celebrant, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Traditional and Religious leaders, members of the National Assembly and Houses of Assembly of the Southwest States, delegates from other countries and other states of Nigeria, captains of Industries and top government functionaries.