Osinbajo: I Never Met Tinubu Before He Appointed Me AG

  • Says Lagos will be a leader in the world Vision for our future clearer, says Ambode

BY Gboyega Akinsanmi

The acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the weekend explained how he emerged as Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice during the administration of Senator Bola Tinubu, noting that he never met the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) personally before he was appointed.

Osinbajo also reeled out facts and figures about the potential of Lagos, concluding that the state would be a leader not just in the comity of black countries, but specifically among the great nations across the world.

The state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, said the vision for the future of the state was clearer, noting that he could foresee a smart city much more in line with the other great cities of the world, where clean and decent living, seamless and efficient transportation would be a norm rather than an exception.

The duo expressed the views at the gala night of the Lagos State Government organised last Saturday to mark the state’s 50th anniversary at Lagos House, Alausa, where the former said the strategic contribution of the state to Nigeria’s domestic economy could not be overemphasised.

Aside the state first civilian Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, and Tinubu, the gala night was attended by former military Governors of the state namely Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson; Brig.-Gen. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa and Rear-Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.

The serving state governors in attendance included Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki Edo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State graced the grand finale of the anniversary.

Apart from the serving governors, former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George; the PDP governorship candidate in 2015, Mr. Jimi Agbaje; President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and CEO of Forte Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola, also attended the event.

Beyond the make-up of dignitaries that cut across all political divides, business interests and socio-cultural groups, the acting president gave insight into how he served in the Tinubu’s administration, which he said, epitomised the diversity of Lagos.

He explained that Tinubu, who served as the state governor between 1999 and 2007, obviously looked at the socio-political make-up of Lagos megacity before he eventually formed his cabinet.

He, therefore, commended Tinubu’s leadership virtues, who he said transcended all forms of parochialism and equally accommodated diverse talents irrespective of political ideology, race and religion.

Specifically, Osinbajo said:  “I did not and I had never met Tinubu before I was appointed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State. That says a lot about the kind of individual that he is.

“This is the kind of thinking that makes nations great. That is the kind of thinking that would make Nigeria great. Asiwaju thrives on a kind of thinking that considers all of our diverse talents; a kind of thinking that does not allow parochialism; a kind of thinking that does not allow us to say anywhere belongs to only a set of people. That is when our country would be truly great.”

Although he was sympathetic to the course of those craving for a Lagos for only its indigene, Osinbajo said it was now evident that the momentum of history could no longer hold down the elemental force of the state.

On this ground, the acting president said Lagos “is going to be a leader; it would be a leader in expressing the world’s view that the black man is capable of governing not just himself, but the world.”

He referred to a recent statistics, which the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) released, attesting that Lagos alone accounted for 912 out of 914 individual businessmen who pay self-assessed tax of over N10 million.

Aside, Osinbajo dissected Ambode’s mid-term administration, noting that the governor had successfully opened new vistas in the state, which according to him, were capable of making Nigeria great.

He said Ambode “is making Lagos great. Every day that we watch television, we see the new vistas that he is opening up. It is evident of the fact that surely in this state lies the seed of the great Nigeria of our dreams.”

Also at the gala night, Ambode said his administration was fully committed to take on the huge responsibility to make the next 50 years even more productive and memorable, worthy of bigger celebrations by the next generation.

He, thus, said the vision for the future “is clear. We foresee a smart city much more in line with the other great cities of the world, where clean and decent living, seamless and efficient transportation as well as sustainable environmental practices are the norm rather than the exception.”

He described the anniversary as historic and significant, thereby recognising the inputs of all founding fathers of Lagos and 13 former governors, saying their selfless service had placed the State on a pedestal of greatness.