They said this at a luncheon organised by the “Elders of Lagos ACN” to mark the 60th birthday of Tinubu, held at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi.
The elders were Oba Olatunji Hamzat, Prince Tajudeen Olusi and Otunba Busura Alebiosu.
Accompanied by his wife, Senator Oluremi, and associates who came from abroad for the ceremony, the ACN leader cut his birthday cake, amid applause by dignitaries.
Oba Hamzat said: “This man has played local politics enough. Now, we want him to play national politics. Awo worked to become the President, but when he died, he became the best President Nigeria never had. We want him to become the President of Nigeria. Look at the problems we are having now. In Ghana, electricity is regular, but light had gone off thrice now where we are. he can fix those problems”.
Thanking the elders and leaders for their support for him since he vied for the Lagos West senatorial seat, he also applauded them for not jumping the ship at critical moments in the lives of their political caucus groups.
Tinubu said: “This is my happiest moment. I wanted to travel to Ghana, but this is the most important meeting. Credit yourself, this is what you have made of me. You elders, through God Almighty, made it possible. I was just a financier of a rebellious group. I took after Alhaji Hamzat, Prince Olusi and Otunba Alebiosu’s rebellious attitude.
“We quarrel, we argue, we disagree, but we have never engaged in anti-party activities. We never betrayed ourselves and we have never failed. Thank you for making a good politician out of me”.
The event was witnessed by Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Tawakaliku Orelope-Adefulire, her predecessors, Princess Sarah Sosah and Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Sir Pius Akinyelure, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, Alhaji Akanni Seriki-Bamu, Pa Abiodun Sunmola, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Senator Tony Adefuye, Alhaji Mutiu Aare, his wife, Alhaja Rashida, Chief Rabiu Oluwa, Mrs. Toun Ajomale, Dr. Shamsedeen Amuwo, Dr. Kayode Sonaike, Dr. Tunji Alausa, and Dr. Jide Salako.
Oba Hamzat recalled that he had perceived Tinubu as a man of the future 25 years ago, when he donated generously to the party’s purse for the oiling of its electoral machinery.
Oba Hamzat added: “At that time, we did not know that he was behind our group, donating generously. That was during Sarumi/Agbalajobi saga. I did not know the money was coming from him. Later, it was revealed when he agreed to go for the senate.
“Odu Olukosi was a contestant. He said he knew Tinubu would win, but that he would disturb us by invoking the rain. He waved his handkerchief and there was rain. But the delegates did not disperse. He won the primaries and general election . That was when I dreamt that he would shake the polity.”
Oba Hamzat said, although Tinubu wanted to become the Senate President, party elders prevailed on him to step down for Dr. Iyocha Ayu, adding that when he was forced into exile by the military, he did not financially abandon the group that threw him up as a promising politician.
Reiterating the backing of the elders for Tinubu’s future political endeavours, he added: “As long as we see you in front, when there is a political war, if you look back, you will see us”.
Olusi, who described himself as one of the leaders who discovered Tinubu, noted that he has not disappointed them as a politician. He recalled that he had told the political group that Tinubu would be governor since the Third Republic, adding that his traits have thrown him up for leadership.
Olusi said: “I want you to continue to be a foremost Nigerian. I don’t want you to confine yourself to Yorubaland. We want you to be a national leader.
Alebiosu congratulated the celebrator, saying: “I wish you the best of luck. I want you to become the future President of Nigeria”.
Mrs. Orelope-Adefulire, who described Tinubu as a father, mentor, motivator, counsellor and teacher, said the ACN national leader is endowed with a rare courage. She added: “He is a special being. Tinubu has developed a lot of people. He is courageous. He created the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and brought women into politics, parliament and executive council. He is a gender-friendly leader”.
Sosan said Tinubu is a kind man who had impacted on lives and groomed women for responsible positions in public life.
Basorun said: “I was not in his party when he selected me, through a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Babatunde Fashola, as a delegate to the Abuja Political Conference. I had to leave PDP when dogs started eating dogs. I urge you to remain prayerful and humble and God will give you your heart’s desire”.
Sunmola extolled Tinubu’s qualities, praying to God to give him the wisdom to always triumph.
Mamora said: “Asiwaju cannot be over-celebrated. We are celebrating a celebrity in his own right.”
Osoba thanked the elders for standing firmly behind Tinubu, saying that he has erected lasting legacies. He added: “He has created succession in the state and across the ministries. He is a man of resolute mind who has the tenacity of purpose to pursue political goals.”
Tinubu spoke on how he joined the fray in the Third Republic, saying that, although he was initially in the shadows, he shared the beautiful goal of harnessing the resources of Lagos State for its development.
He said his first intra-party battle was to object to the attitude of denying brilliant people party offices in favour of carpenters and vulcanisers, adding that he later learnt compromise and flexibility from Pa Hamzat when he later got to the senate.
Tinubu recalled: “I won the nomination resoundingly. It was not because of my brilliance. I was only blessed in terms of strategic thinking. Today, Lagos is the glory of Nigeria.
“During the MKO Abiola battle, you were consistent and you stood like the Rock of Gibraltar. At a meeting presided over by Alhaji Alebiosu, you asked me to run for governorship. I said I would think about it and you postponed the screening until I came back two weeks after.
“Those in control of the party wanted to use delegates. At Ijebu-Igbo, we changed the beat from delegates to direct primaries because we said every Lagosian should have hand in the emergence of the governorship candidate. I thank you all for making a good politician out of me.”