THE SEVENTH BOLA TINUBU COLLOQUIUM

The seventh colloquium was a two in one event. It was both a symposium and a book launch. The program which took place on March 25th, 2015 held in Eko Hotel and Suites. The theme of the seventh edition was “Change: How Will It work”. Taking opportunity of the program being days away from the general elections, the agenda of the party along with the manifesto of things to be done once in power was reiterated. The book launched was a book written by the celebrant titled “Common Sense Revolution”. It was unveiled by the governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and other top personalities from the party.

Present at the event were political leaders, dignitaries and captains of industry to celebrate the national leader of the APC. The discourse shed a light on how the APC government would run the affairs of the country when elected into power. A new approach to solving the problems in the problems in key sectors like power, education, social security and housing were discussed. Governor Babatunde Fashola, the governor of Lagos state described Bola Tinubu as a great man and a lover of mortals. He reeled out the achievements the national leader had made in Lagos state when he was the governor. He spoke on power generation in Lagos; its history. He spoke on how Bola Tinubu was the one who stated the state government/private sector initiative that delivered the first Independent Power Project (IPP). He made sure that Lagos state generated electricity privately. He stated that the power generated was not for private use and that was why there was ensuring power outage “Commercial distribution is not possible under the Power Reform and that is why the power is not extended into homes”. He stated that the problem with transmission of electricity was the thinness of the transmission cable. “We do not have power, not because it is difficult to generate. We have darkness because of incompetent people governing us. So as you go to vote on Saturday, remember that leaders are not elected to pray, but to be humane, compassionate and effective, all of which General Buhari embodies” he said.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the governor of Osun state spoke on social security, Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O.Y.E.S) and the one meal a day program in Osun state. On the O.Y.E.S program, he said that the program had absorbed over 80,000 youths into different cadets and the school feeding program. Launched in 2012, the program had increased enrolment in schools by 25% It has increased the production capacity of farmers, with over 3,000 women food vendors empowered, besides meeting the Millennium Development Goals on food and health among school children”.

General Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate, commended the selflessness and commitment of Bola Tinubu to the cause of changing Nigeria for the better. This was the reason for the merger of the two opposition parties AC and CPC to become the leading opposition party APC. Although people doubted that the merger could be successful but the party was getting stronger by the day. Our success as a party can only be undermined by people that are not among us. How we have conducted ourselves according to the law, from the merger, to the convention and till date, is huge”, Buhari noted, adding that though there is desperation in the PDP already, the electorates should reflect carefully on the situation of things today from when the ruling party took over in 1999 as they go to the polls on Saturday.

His running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo applauded the efforts of the celebrant in Lagos when he was governor. He described Tinubu as an astute leader and a team player who allowed for debates in his cabinet while he was a governor. He introduced the pro-poor conditional cash transfer program of the APC. He stated that the program was aimed at rendering help to the people who earned less than N200 a day. These people would get a token of N5000 on the condition that they enrolled their children in school and their wards are immunized regularly. He said “That is why it is conditional. Because we have 12 million children out of school, the highest in the world. Immunization is also involved because it will help us cut down expenses on healthcare. A lot of countries have tried this model and that is pour plan too. The program will cover 25 million people over time with N1.5 trillion per year. But plans are in place to put it in phases of five million people per time. Through the initiative, we will be injecting money into the economy for prosperity. Smaller economies have done it. This is something APC will do because it is the party that has pledged itself to the plight of the common people”.

The celebrant, Bola Tinubu gave a speech that was centered on the upcoming elections and the reason why the incumbent government should be voted out. He said that this coming election would require no fence sitting on the part of the electorate. This was a defining moment as the gap between the desired future for the country and the present situation was a vast one. The people of Nigeria have a choice to make between the present government and the government that his party is offering. He said “We have a decision to make. We must decide whether wisdom is better than cunning, if bravery is sounder than bribe, if compassion speaks more than corruption, if patriotism is a more worthy vocation than pillage and if love of the nation and its people can overcome the love of power and stolen privilege.” He said that when Action Congress of Nigeria held its last convention in April the previous year, it was to join force with the CPC to become APC. This merger was not done for selfish reason but for the good of Nigeria as the people need to cast off the yoke of mis-governance; they needed to “vote for a change that will usher in a new day for a new Nigeria”.

According to the celebrant, those that were against the wind of change are those who profit a lot from present inequities hence they view it as a personal curse. While the incumbent party was seeking out ways to find faults and loopholes in the formation and members of the party, the APC were building their democratic edifice on a solid foundation of fairness, transparency and merit. The incumbent concocted so many rumors to defame the opposing party all to no avail. Rather the progressive vision for the nation was clear to all as being the better one. He highlighted the incompetency of the incumbent in its use of power citing the missing Chibok girls as an example of the reason why this present government needs to be removed. He cited the postponement of the election as a blessing in disguise as rather than it giving the incumbent enough time play tricks, all it did was to postpone the electoral defeat to a later date. Corruption is a rot that this present administration has allowed to fester for too long, he said. There was looting in every national institution within reach.

The celebrant said the time for change in the country has come and it can be described as a common sense revolution. He called on Nigerians to come out en masse and vote for the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari to effect the change they so much desire. To do this, he called for a peaceful revolution that would be strong; a revolution that would use votes as a tool for overthrowing ineffective leaders, a “true call for democracy and responsive leadership associated with it”. The revolution would be one that would eliminate violence, injustice and poverty. He urged Nigerians to have the commonsense revolution in the need to elect patriotic leaders that have the best interest of the nation and its people in fighting against terrorism, poverty, looting, hoarding of salaries and pensions, hunger and recover the economy from economic depression. This can be done, he said through countercyclical policy and reform of the government.

“We fight no one and hate no one. We are all Nigerians. However, some things we do to each other must stop. We are better than how we seem and how the nation now performs. We must commit ourselves to our better nature that we may enjoy a better nation. This does not require any special genius. All it requires is the common sense to recognize we share a common fate and destiny”.

In conclusion, he called on the electorate to rise up and build a new country by voting out the present administration. He urged them to do so on Saturday as they cast their votes because achieving a new day for Nigeria is possible.