With the holding of direct primaries to elect governorship candidates in Lagos
and other states, the APC takes a groundbreaking step toward greater internal
democracy and progressive governance for the benefit of all people. While our
party is young, it has grown fast and has travelled far in a short time. This
speaks well of the character of you, the party’s rank-and-file members.
What, in other nations, has taken political parties generations to achieve, we
have done in a few brief years. No other party in Nigeria dare attempt what we
have already dedicated ourselves to do.
I thank and commend all APC members and all Lagosians who have lent their
support to this historic and humane mission upon which our party has embarked.
We are democrats in the truest sense of the word. As such, we forever search
for what is good and right for the people. With this ideal as our guide,
tomorrow’s primary cannot be shaded by selfish ambition or the perceived
personal grievance between this or that person. Something much greater waits in
the balance. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the people of
this state and how we can best maximise our collective destiny.
By resort to direct primaries, the party places the people’s future soundly in
their hands. As democracy would have it, you shall be the authors of the
party’s nomination and hopefully our next state government.
I trust in the wisdom of the people and will abide it. However, as a leader of
the party and as a former governor of our beloved and excellent Lagos, I would
be remiss if I did not make a few observations regarding the primary.
My goal is and shall always be a better Lagos. To this objective, I have
dedicated the greater part of my public life. Roughly 20 years ago, a corps of
dedicated and patriotic Lagosians, put aside personal interests and rivalries,
to put their minds and best ideas together for the good of the state. Out
of this collaborative effort, was born a master plan for economic development
that would improve the daily lives of our people.
Bestowed on me was the honour of a lifetime when I was elected to be your
governor in 1999. My administration faithfully implemented that plan. The
government of my immediate successor, Tunde Fashola, also honoured this
Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things
happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos state recorded
improvements in all aspects of our collective existence, from public health to
public sanitation, from education to social services, from the administration
of justice to the cleaning of storm and sewage drains. Businesses, large
and small, invested, hired millions of workers and thrived.
All Lagosians were to fully participate and justly benefit from the social
dividends and improvements wrought by this plan. From the common labourer, to
business leaders, to professionals and our industrious civil service. We all
were to be partners in a monumental but joint enterprise. None was to be
alienated. None was to be left out. And none were to be pushed aside. This is
especially true for those who contributed so much to our development, whether
as a business leader who has invested heavily in Lagos, the homeowner who
struggles to pay his fair share of taxes or as someone employed in the hard
work of keeping our streets and byways clean so that others may go about their
daily tasks unimpeded.
I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be
fine-tuned. However, whenever a government departed from this plan without
compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence
of the improper departure.
To ignore this blueprint for progress in order to replace it with ad-hoc
schemes of a materially inferior quality contravenes the spirit of progressive
governance and of our party. Such narrowness of perspective does not bring us
closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny.
For reasons unknown to me and most Lagosians, we have experienced such
deviations from enlightened governance recently.
This trend is that which most concerns me as the primary nears. We must arrest
this trend before irreparable harm is committed against the people and their
future. For the record, let it be known that I shall vote in this primary
because I see it as one of extreme import to our state and our party. Just as I
shall vote, I equally urge all party members to do so.
We must vote in a manner that returns Lagos to its better path, the one that
promises a just chance for all to enjoy the fruits of our prosperity. We must
always pursue our goal of a Lagos energised by creative dynamism, tolerance of
others, and guided by a leadership capable of extending a collegial hand to all
stakeholders, far and wide.
I am encouraged by the emergence of a candidate in this primary who has served
the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration
and even in the current one. While possessing a wealth of experience and
exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment.
Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for
development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the
future development of the state. He also knows the value of reaching out and
working with others in order to maximize development and provide people the
best leadership possible.
With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for
When the final word is given let it be said that we want all Lagosians to look
to the future with the hope and optimism that our best days remain before us
and not behind us.
We walk into this primary strong and confidently believing in the right course
we are to take. We shall emerge from this primary even stronger and more
confident that we have taken that course by returning Lagos and our party to
their finest path.
Aswiaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu