National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday revisited the circumstances that played out in the months leading to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in last year’s election and said God merely used him to play a crucial role in the polity.
“God in His wisdom placed me in the position to recognize the change that was needed and to help effectuate that change,” Tinubu said in a prepared speech at The Sun Newspapers Man of the Year award ceremony in Lagos.
But he said the victory ultimately was achieved through the collective effort of Nigerians of diverse backgrounds.
“What was accomplished in 2015 was not a singular effort. It was done through the collective love and labour of millions of Nigerians,” he said in the speech issued by his media office.
Continuing, he said: “a handful of them were well known. Most of them are hardworking anonymous people who together constitute the backbone and great strength of this nation. It was this collective effort that produced the unprecedented change.
“Many sacrificed greatly to achieve this great turn of events. Some practically surrendered their businesses. Some provided funds. Especially that elderly 90-year old woman, Hajia Fadimatu Mai Talle Tara, who donated N1 million, her life savings for the campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, (may her soul rest in peace).
“Others worked ceaselessly, hour after hour, day after day until the historic job was done. Many hit the campaign trail day and night from Katsina to Lagos. I reserve a special recognition and commendation for the youth across this nation who formed part of the foot soldiers in the struggle for change.”
He dedicated the award to “these heroes.”
But he warned that Nigeria, having reached this point in its desire to move forward must not look back, saying:”we have come to a point where there is no turning back for there is nothing worthy of the sacrifices so recently made to turn back to.
“We have reached the juncture at which we must reform our institutions, rid our country of corruption or admit that we have mortgaged away the good future due us. The infrastructural decay of past decades, the unemployment time bomb, the challenging security situation make a compelling case for us all to join with this government embrace a new politics that will help build a new country.”
He added that the renaissance for a better society must come from within through perseverance, strong determination and an irrevocable sense of patriotism.
Tinubu charged Nigerians to remain steadfast and build a nation that all can be proud of.
“The nation is going through a challenging period and truly we must build our tomorrow today-together,” he said.
On the award itself, he said: “I am honoured to have been picked as The Sun Man of the Year. The decision to give me this award I understand resulted from a thorough process reviewing the significant political developments that our country in the last quarter of a century has witnessed and particularly the monumental happenings in the past one year.”
He said there were equally other Nigerians eminently qualified for the award.
“I am humble enough to know that The Sun could have chosen any one of several figures. Their decision would not have been gainsaid. I think particularly of the man at the helm of affairs and who won the election, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Yet, I am mindful enough to realize such Awards do not come frequently and that I better grab the good thing given me.”
The publisher of The Sun, Dr. Orji Kalu called on Nigerians to rise up to the task of nation building. He said the country was passing through a critical stage and needed patriotic people to join hands to salvage the country from the problem it was facing.
He said those who were honoured were considered in view of their track records to the betterment of the country. “Those selected made positive impact on Nigeria, so we are celebrating excellence and achievement.”
The award was formally presented to him by The Sun publisher and former Governor of Abia State, Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu who recalled Tinubu’s involvement in the fight for democracy from the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) days till now.
As Tinubu was called to step forward to receive the award, a large coterie of his friends and political associates including Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Babachir, Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, former Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Demola Seriki and Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello accompanied him to the podium.
Also flanking him was his wife, Oluremi.
Also honoured at the ceremony were former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Lifetime achievement award); Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano (Governor of the Year); General Ike Nwachukwu (rtd), Gen. Samuel Ogbemudia, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, Chief Kessington Adebutu, and Chief Mbazulike Amechi,.
The most supportive First Lady of the Year went to Hajia Nana Shettima, Public Service Award went to Chenelo Anohu-Amazu; Banker of the Year went to Yemi Adeola; Business Man of the Year, Anthony Chukwuka.
Others were Erick Umeofia, Uche Ogah, Amaju Pinnick, Josephine Ugwu, Obateru Akinruntan , Rockview Hotels, Omoni Oboli and Harrison Okiri for their impact on the society