A RARE display of public disagreement was witnessed on Thursday, between Action Congress of Nigeria leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his protégé, who is also the current governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
The duo were at an event presented as the 4th annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium, which was organized to mark the 60th birthday of Mr. Tinubu, who was Governor Fashola’s immediate predecessor as governor of Lagos.
Governor Fashola had mentioned as part of his remarks at the event, appeals made to him by lower cadre members of ACN to use his influence to convince former Governor Tinubu to dispense "justice equally" between all members of the party.
However, Mr. Tinubu’s response shocked observers when he simply refused to budge, saying that Governor Fashola’s position as Lagos State governor derives from the same style of leadership that he (Mr. Tinubu) has brought to bare in his role as the party leader.
If there's no partiality, you cannot be governor yourself,” Tinubu bluntly stated, before saying that those making the demand for fairness from him are making impossible demands of him.
“Ask them not to give me the task that I'll not be able to deliver," said Mr. Tinubu, before going on to add that "What I'd done consistently in the past, why would I want to change at 60?
"I've succeeded with that behavior and sorry I'll not deviate from it."
The colloquium, which held under a heavy police presence at the Eko Hotel and Suites, was a gathering of political heavyweights across the country.
Adams Oshiomhole and Lucky Igbinedion, present and former Edo State governors; Diepreye Alamieseigha, former Bayelsa State governor; Rauf Aregbesola, Osun State governor; Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, Niger State governor; Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Respected former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaokwu, in a speech at the event urged Nigerian leadership to work towards a return to what he called “true federalism” as a basis for stability and development.
"I do believe that a true, rather than our current unitarist federalism, will better promote peace, stability, and development in Nigeria," Mr. Anyaokwu stated, stressing that it was evident that the country enjoyed general progress in the early years of existence when federalism in its true form was the norm.
“There can be no doubt that Nigeria was making progress in national development in the early years of its independence when it practiced true federalism of four regions with more extensive powers deployed from the centre to the regions.
"Those were the days of the significant export of groundnuts, hides and skins, and the tin ore from the North; of cocoa from the West; of rubber from the Mid-West; and palm produce and coal from the East of Nigeria."