By Temitope Owotoki
Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo on Thursday has acknowledged the great roles played by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in political power play in the country.
Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari as Chairman of the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, to celebrate Tinubu’s 67th birthday specially recognized Tinubu’s roles in helping the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) regain some states it lost to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the 2007 general elections.
He told how Tinubu hired 63 finger print experts mainly from the UK police to help prove cases of over voting in the 2007 elections.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said with the help of the finger print experts who worked hard for six months, it was discovered while it takes an average voter about five minutes to conclude the voting process, it took PDP agents less than five seconds to thump-print ballots that were counted in its favour in 2007.
The Vice President said it was the political dexterity of the former Lagos state governor that ensured the ACN reclaimed Edo, Ekiti, and Osun states.
“We celebrate a man who has spent the last thirty years of his life in creative and catalytic public service. He is not a lawyer as many of us know but there are few Nigerians who have provoked so many legal controversies and constitutional challenges resulting in several landmark judicial pronouncements especially in the area of federalism and what today is loosely described as restructuring.
“Many of us know that he is not an engineer but a lot of his vision is what is responsible for what we see today in Lagos, the BRT, the Lekki industrial zone, even the Eko Atlantic project and of course the reform in the tax system of Lagos State.
“Today, Lagos as we know, earns more revenue, more IGR, than 31 states of Nigeria put together. That by itself began in 2001,” Osinbajo said.
Likewise, the roles played by the APC leader in the success of the party in the just -concluded 2019 general elections was commended by Osinbajo, who added that the choice of the phrase next level as campaign slogan was simply to tell Nigerians that the country was moving to the next phase of development.
“As you know, the expression Next Level, itself, is our political campaign slogan in this last election. And what we were saying was simply that there was a next phase to what our country has seen.
“There are many who will say that there many things that were promised in 2015 which have not yet been realised.
“I think the best way of putting is to say that our country, for the first time, is witnessing the type of leadership that is bound to lead us to where it is that we are proposed ourselves as a government.
“In my view, the honest leadership, leadership with integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari, is a very important component of getting anywhere at all in all of our development plans.
“I said before at the last colloquium that Nigeria’s main problem is not the lack of ideas, it is not the lack of projects and programmes.
“It was most of the time, especially the leadership in the past, and corruption in particular as the reason why we were finding it difficult to make progress.
“I explained that that’s why we earned $383billion in four years, the highest ever in the history of our country, and yet Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was not done.
“Lagos-Kano Railway and all that is being done today, not done. We cannot point to a single major infrastructure project that was completed in the 10-year period, despite the high earnings, including power.
“So, a government coming after so many years of waste must be a government, first that emphasizes fiscal prudence, a government that emphasizes integrity in public finance,” he said.