Former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has spoken on why he joined other progressives to form the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).Speaking at the weekend to an African audience at the Njala University, Sierra Leone where he was conferred with the Honorary Doctorate Degree of Civil Laws (Honoris Causa), Tinubu told the excited crowd of academicians, students, politicians and business leaders that the party was formed so that Nigeria could avoid social calamity.
“We formed the APC so Nigerians from all walks of life and social station might gather under one tent to develop the nation on the basis of equity and shared prosperity. What we seek is a fair social compact that we may avoid social calamity,” he said.
Tinubu said the APC is more than a political party interested only in political power. He described the party as a mission, “a calling forth of the nation to realise its better self”, insisting that it is a call for the nation to fulfill its destiny.
“We realised that if Nigeria continues as it is, it will soon collide into the barrier of its internal contradictions. A land of vast wealth yet vast penury; a people of great talent and energy but also of despair and unproductivity born out of their jobless poverty. A land that exports the raw materials that helps fuel, electrify and lubricate the global economy but one that lives more in darkness than in light.”
The APC leader said for that change to happen in Nigeria, all those who desire change must be committed to the same cause. “I have worked too hard and long for the progress of our people to countenance such a broken outcome. We must reform ourselves so that we can fully occupy the destiny our people deserve,” Tinubu said.
Njala University, the best rated higher institution in Sierra Leone, in picking Tinubu for the award, cited his contributions to the deepening of democracy Nigeria and the sub-region and the tremendous transformation of Lagos State when he was governor. The university, which marked its 50th anniversary, also contends that Tinubu towers above many people considered for the award as he remains active in public service.
Describing him as a “great son of Africa”, the university attributed the award to Tinubu’s virtues, political exploits, intellectual acumen and strategic thinking.
In his acceptance speech to the over 6,000 people, titled: “The best is yet to come”, he saluted the comeback spirit of the people of Sierra Leone.
Tinubu said: “From the ash and dust of war, you have stepped forward as a nation, a small nation engulfed by such a big war, you persevered defying the odds. No nation, no people ought to have suffered as you have, you teetered on the brink of extinction. Yet with some help from your friends, you averted a disaster that seemed inevitable and permanent.”
Tinubu said Africa needs to invest in the education of the youths, who are the limbs and hands of future development, saying for Sierra Leone the worst is over.
“You held fast to a thin ray of hope until it grew to fill the sky above the nation, where there was nothing but breakage and destruction, now is learning and the building of new buildings, new lives and new dreams. A new nation has risen from the old, the worst has passed, the best is yet to come,” he said.