Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has paid glowing tributes to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying the mentorship he received from him in the last 30 years was instrumental to his political career growth.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this at the rescheduled ‘Meet the Mentor’ dinner held by the Progressive Sisters Network to honour of the former Lagos State governor at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
The Speaker’s tribute came shortly after the PSN National Coordinator, Rinsola Abiola, also said that the APC presidential candidate deserved commendation for appointing the first female Chief Judge in Lagos, Justice Ibilola Sotuminu (retd.). She encouraged the former governor’s wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, to shatter records as the first woman to serve three terms in the Nigerian Senate.
The event also had notable political dignitaries such as Tinubu’s running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima; chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; APC National Women Leader, Dr Betta Edu; Deputy spokesperson for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Hannatu Musawa and other PCC members.
While saying nobody could make it far in life alone, Gbajabiamila stated that he was privileged to be among great personalities who benefitted from the ideology and political sagacity of the national leader of the APC.
“We are here to talk about a man whose entire life is a testament to the incredible impact that individuals can make on the lives of others when they devote themselves to building ladders of opportunity for others to reach the highest heights their talents can take them. And most importantly, we are here to hear from the people who, at the critical moments of their ascent, benefitted from the support, guidance, and leadership of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I am one of such persons.
“Nobody makes it in this life alone; we need each other. We depend on relationship networks, our family, our friends, and even sometimes the kindness of strangers to achieve the best desires of our hearts. In those moments, nothing beats having a guiding hand from someone who has been down the same road and can provide you with a roadmap.
“For nearly three decades now, I have had the opportunity and privilege of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s guiding hand to help me in my public service. I have learned lessons from him that have helped me be a better legislator and public servant. Today, we are seeing the devastating hardship that inevitably results when policymakers fail to consider the life and circumstances of the ordinary citizen,” he stated.
According to the Speaker, the quality of the people one surrounds oneself within public office would determine the quality of policy design and implementation.
He stated that as the governor of Lagos State, Tinubu composed a cabinet of men and women drawn from different states and regions, representing various religious and cultural affiliations.
He said, “That cabinet had men like Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Ben Akabueze, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Sunday Dare, and Arthur Worrey, amongst others. All these individuals who have gone on to have accomplished careers in the public and private sectors by virtue of their own abilities are Lagosians by their contributions to the growth and prosperity of the state. But none of them is from Lagos. I learned from Asiwaju that what matters is the quality of the person, not where they come from, their gender or religion.
“You will never succeed in building such a team if you focus on asking questions about which God a person prays to, which language one speaks, and which church they attend. These questions don’t speak to the quality of a human being. More often than not, they reflect the prejudices and limited vision of the person asking the question.
“Asiwaju taught us that the promise of democracy is not perfection. The promise of democracy is accommodation and dedication to service in the best interest of the collective. And we learned from Asiwaju that the private ambitions of any one individual must never take preeminence over the shared interests of the community, the party, or the country.”
Rinsola, one of the daughters of the late icon of democracy, Chief MKO Abiola, argued that aside from his mentorship, Tinubu was also one of the patriots whose resilience and agitation against military dictatorship had culminated in the democracy Nigeria is currently enjoying.
She also noted that the APC presidential candidate was the reason many women in Nigerian politics are raising hope for gender equality in governance.
She said, “Many have asked us why are we so committed to actualising this goal of having him sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief come May 29. The answer is simple. We are committed to Asiwaju because he has demonstrated commitment to us. From the bitter, drawn-out struggle against military dictatorship to his relentless efforts to steady the ship of our nascent democracy, Asiwaju has proved himself to be a patriot in every sense of the word; and a man who loves Nigeria as much as he can be trusted to lead the country.
“Many of those in this room today and scores of others not present, male and female, and in both the public and private sectors, have worked with Asiwaju at different points and benefitted from his guidance and mentorship.
“From the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, whose dynamism endears him to the youth, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, one of the finest lawmakers our continent has ever seen; to Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was captain of his class of governors and continues to embody efficiency as Minister for Works and Housing, to Mr. Projects, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu, and Dr. Idiat Adebule, former Secretary to the Lagos State Government, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State and now a senatorial candidate for Lagos West among others.
“For those of us who work in the gender space, gender equity is a key part of why we participate in politics. The road to emancipation and equitable representation has been long and windy for Nigerian women, but not so with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
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