Zoom Conference: Sustaining The Progressive Agenda For A Better Nigeria, A Synopsis By Ọmogboláhàn Babs
However, the same PDP-led government would come back to adopt same strategy to raise funds to the tune of over ₦150billion as it is now common among several states of the Federation
The vConference which has become a tradition in recent times as usual drew participants from across the globe – the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Perhaps because of the personage involved, the over 105 participants were all over the space to make their contributions in terms of opinion, advice, questions, clarifications name it.
It will be recalled that the net of the organizers of this (now) cosmopolitan virtual tête-à-tête picked a gargantuan ‘fish’ in person of no other person than the juggernaut himself, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asíwájú Bọ́lá Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom.
The conference which was moderated in its idiosyncratic way by the Leader, Prince Adé Omole and co-hosted by Barrister J.K Adebola had in attendance the who and who in the party especially from Lagos State. Prominent among whom were the former Lagos APC Chairman, Bàbá Henry Ajomale, Chief Iyìọlá as well as other party bigwigs.
SETTING THE TONE FOR DISCUSSION
The APC United Kingdom Leader, Prince Adé Omole set the tone of the discussion while Mr. Udeme was hands-on to introduce the erudite and eloquent former Commissioner for Information and Strategy under Aṣíwájú Tinubu’s sway as the Lagos State honcho, Hon. Délé Aláké. Hon. Aláké had stood in for Aṣíwájú Bọ́lá Tinubu who was conspicuously absent for unavoidable reason.
ALÁKÉ’S METEORIC ESPOUSE OF THE PAST
In his almost 25-minute speech, Hon. Délé Aláké held participants hell bound on the several milestones of the Asíwájú leadership credo for the 8-year he spent as the numero uno of the Centre of Excellence State. From a State that averaged about ₦600m monthly revenue compared to its wage bill of N₦1.1billion monthly, not including the judiciary and a number of State functionaries to a State that pulled an average of ₦10billion monthly in revenue at the twilight of his administration. This milestone was what birthed Alpha Beta Company that today it is an object of vilification. Aṣíwájú had deployed his mastery of financial rudiments to turn the fortunes of the State around.
Hon. Aláké would go-ahead to mention a number of areas where the Asíwájú-led administration blazed the trail and set a new order as a pacesetter governor. This includes but not limited to introducing BOND to raise funds. A move which he said was vehemently opposed by the then federal government under Ọbásanjọ́’s vindictive administration. However, the same PDP-led government would come back to adopt same strategy to raise funds to the tune of over ₦150billion as it is now common among several states of the Federation.
He subtly described the administration of the Jagaban Borgu as forthright and something that could pass for a Nostradamus. He said Asíwájú had at some point advised that the State Executive Council took some drastic steps to plan ahead in a bid to beat the rising inflation that he envisaged then. This, the Exco argued over for days. Eventually, the executive council took to the advice of the governor, Asíwájú Bọ́lá Tinubu by stocking some construction materials. And as pointedly predicted, inflation rose astronomically and prices were almost triple of its extant status. Asíwájú was able to save the State fortunes and several roads like Obafemi Awolowo Way, Kudirat Abiola Way and many others were constructed which till date, after 20 years has not suffered a single pot hole. All thanks to Jagaban’s forward-thinking leadership.
CURRENT APC NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
Hon. Aláké did not mince words when he said without equivocation that the APC government at the national level disappointed many party faithful. He bemoaned a system where those who worked assiduously for the Party were relegated to the back seat while those who risked all were treated like a piece of trash. He supported his position with a reference to the First Lady and Wife of President of Nigeria, Hajiya A’isha Buhari whom he said was vociferous and courageous enough to speak out, especially at the inception of the administration that her husband’s government had been hijacked. However, all hope was not lost. He had pointed out.
Hon. Aláké would not end his speech without the mention of three (3) qualities that are key in any leadership Nigeria may want to put forward come 2023. He said Nigeria has ne’er been lucky to have a leader with all of these 3 qualities in place. He listed these qualities as Vision, Knowledge and Will (courage to do). He concluded by saying if the aim is to sustain progressive agenda beyond 2023, the only man he has seen that has these 3 qualities is no other person than the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom.
No sooner had Hon. Aláké stopped his speech when several hands went up for comments and/or opinions. Prominent among the views of many was the sad tale of neglect by the party especially of those in the diaspora who expended their time and resources for the success the party. This point was extensively stressed by the duo of Chief Felix Adewale Ajayi and the APC UK South West Woman-Leader, Hajiya Aolat Sule.
Other speakers at the highly subscribed vConference include Chief Patrick Oleh who opined that there’s no perfect leadership without perfect followership. He stressed the need to reorientate the citizenry on nationalism rather than bigot and tribal tendencies as are the order of the day today. The issue of whether Asíwájú would run for the presidency come 2023 was clearly laid to bare. Even though Hon. Aláké had mentioned same briefly in his opening remarks, the issue was further reiterated by the co-host of the event, Barrister J.K Adebola who said everyone should align every available group championing Tinubu’s Presidency as the game had begun in earnest.
Others issues raised via chats include diaspora voting which was adequately addressed.
Above is a synopsis of what transpired. Sorry for any omission that might be noticed.