President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the most prepared anyone has been for the top job, his longtime ally Chief Bisi Akande has said.
The pioneer All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman believes Tinubu can deliver on his renewed hope manifesto to lift Nigeria to a higher height.
Akande, a former Osun State governor and one of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s political sons, spoke on the preparedness of the President-elect for the job, which he will take up on May 29, and what the country should do to get out of economic difficulties, during the 97th birthday anniversary of Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti in Akure.
The speech was made available to reporters in Osogbo yesterday.
Akande said: “We thank God that this time around; Nigerians have elected a leader who has planned for a long time to be our President.
“When Tinubu was Governor of Lagos State, he did not just plan for his eight years in office; he did a Master Plan for Lagos which has since been running for more than the past 20 years and which has transformed the city-state into the powerhouse of the Nigerian economy.
“Therefore, it is right and necessary to expect a 20 or 50 years Master Plan for Nigeria from President to be Tinubu when he assumes office. This will transform this blessed country into a great one.”
To the political class, putting Nigeria first must be a priority, Akande advised.
He said: “In our country, we know the President cannot be the sole agent of change. There are leaders and there are followers!
“All good patriots need to get involved and keep all hands on deck. We need to align modernity with our development.
“We cannot be in love with the products of modernity like cars, telephones and air travels while we continue to live in dreadful underdevelopment. But presently, to our collective shame, almost all the cars on Nigerian roads are imported.
“We import foods, wines, spirits, clothing, perfume, body sprays, toothpick and toiletries and then turn around to complain that the Naira is not strong. Let us, as followers, make the Naira strong by changing our ways.
“Let us learn to make our own cars, produce our own food, drink our own wine and wear our own clothes because those individuals, corporate entities or countries, who think deeply daily, plan meticulously and work assiduously towards the realisation of their plans would continue to devise all means to confuse, exploit and enslave the lazy, fun-loving and planless pleasure seekers.
“All good living can only happen when we change the way we think and the way we educate the next generations.”
Extolling the Afenifere leader, Akande said: “Again, Chief Fasoranti was among the first to chart a new course of educating our youths.
“After years of serving as principal of various secondary schools, he and his wife established Omolere Nursery School and St. Francis Grammar School.
“They took this path in reaction against the destructive interference in education by the military administration. Today, graduates of these schools are leaders in education, industry, and even in politics.”
Akande said Nigeria needs a future that would resemble more of its past when the likes of Baba Fasoranti were in charge.
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“We need to think more and plan more about our future as individuals and as collectives.
“We need to produce more and consume less of those things that we need but had to be imported.
“We need to be more godly and less religious and we need to be united in demanding accountability and good performance from our leaders.
“Our country is rich and we need to make her wealth to serve the poorest among us so that the poor would not go to bed hungry.
“No rich person can sleep peacefully when his poor neighbour is awake because of hunger,” he said.
The former Osun governor believes the country failed because of the inability to plan for the future.
He blamed underdevelopment on the inability of successive governments to have a development plan for critical sectors.
Akande said when he served as governor between 1999 and 2003, he balanced the budgets, cleared the debts his administration inherited and did not borrow to finance projects.
He also said he did not leave any uncompleted projects and did not owe any worker, contractor or suppliers.
According to him, he followed the template set by the late Bola Ige and Awolowo to prove that good governance is possible.
Akande said: “In our government, we planned. We executed the plans for the good of our people. Our government did not live beyond its means.
“We followed the examples of those before us in the Awolowo School of Politics and Public Service.
“We need to ask ourselves today whether we can say the same thing about the current emerging set of our leaders.
“We fail to plan and, yet, we are surprised that we fail in almost all sectors as we are all lapsing into generations of plan-less hypocrites.
“I can assure you, that was not what we inherited. In this same country, we use to have five years capital development plans and seven years capital development plans. Now we only plan for the immediate next election.”