A Board of Trustees (BoT) member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that no less than 50 per cent of the current members of the ruling party will defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) once the party is registered.
The BoT member, Kashim Imam, made this declaration at a dinner in respect of the 61st birthday of the National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in Lagos yesterday. Imam pointedly told the gathering that the current occupants of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa should prepare to vacate the place because APC will win the 2015 election. Imam, who spoke while paying glowing tributes to the celebrant and former Lagos State governor, said the massive defection from the ruling party to APC would “shake this country.” He said: “I am standing here talking as a PDP member, and this is coming from me.
APC is set to shake this nation, and they will win the elections.” There had been speculations that many PDP members would defect to the APC, a merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), would attract many PDP members, including governors and National Assembly members. Kashim said there is no Nigerian politician who knows his onion as much as Tinubu, noting that the best of the National Leader of the ACN was yet to come. He said: “As a senator, he sacrificed himself for another person to be Senate President.
He sacrificed everything to ensure Abiola was elected President. Regretfully, the election was annulled. “In 2003, he called me and sent me to Abuja to tell President Olusegun Obasanjo to forget Lagos in his quest to capture the South West. I left that night and told Obasanjo that we should leave Lagos alone. “He is an incredible fellow. He is faithful to all his friends to a fault. “As we celebrate you, my Asiwaju, there is no politician like you. People in the Villa should start packing because APC is coming to take over.
I am saying so with all sense of responsibility because 50 per cent of us in the PDP will move and shake this country.”
The event, which held at the 10th floor of the Eko Hotel and Suites, had in attendance distinguished personalities from all walks of life, many of whom paid glowing tributes to the national icon. Describing the former governor of Lagos State in superlative terms, the guests noted that Nigeria would be a better place if it had a leader like him. Present at the gathering were Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and his wife, Abimbola; the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji; the Asojuoba of Lagos, Molade Okoya-Thomas; Senators Mudashiru Husain, Mohammed Ndume, Gbenga Obadara, Olorunnimbe Mamora; Babajide Omomurare and Ganiu Solomon; wife of the Osun State Governor, Alhaja Sherifat Aregbeslola, and Mrs. Remi Agbowu. Others included Oba Saheed Elegushi; former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake; the Managing Director,
The Nation Newspapers, Mr. Victor Ifijeh; the Chairman, Editor Board of The Nation Newspapers, Mr. Sam Omatseye; Mrs. Kemi Nelson; former Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Audu; the Chief of Staff to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola and wife; and the National Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Husain, who spoke to The Nation, said Asiwaju Tinubu made a lot of them what they are today. He described him as an icon, a leader and a statesman who has elevated so many people from zero level.
He said: “He (Tinubu) deserves to be celebrated because he made a lot of us what we are today. I pray that the Almighty Allah will grant him wisdom and the strength to exceed his present record. “We are all looking up to him for his guidance, his caution, because he has the lead way to so many things. “With him, I know we can achieve so much more in this country and beyond.
“My wish for him is that Allah should grant him long life and more grace.” Ndume, who said he came all the way from Maiduguri to celebrate Tinunbu, disclosed that the Asiwaju was his role model.
He said Tinubu is not just a politician but a nationalist, noting that there is a difference between a politician and a role model. Ndume said if Nigeria has six people like Asiwaju, the country would be a better place, noting that Lagos is the only state where the dividends of democracy are evident. He said: “You see us here because we are celebrating a true nationalist. People like Asiwaju are rare. So, when God blesses him with another year, we are delighted to come and celebrate him.
“He is one of those who make Nigerians feel proud of their nationality. He has taken the politics of Nigeria to the next level. “From his struggle during NADECO to the time he fought to retain Lagos in the opposition, he has been true to his beliefs. Although Lagos was in the opposition, he was able to transform Lagos from a slum city to a mega city. “I am impressed by the state of Lagos today. It is one of the few states in the country that have seen the dividends of democracy, and it is Asiwaju’s legacy. I urge the youths to emulate him.
“If other past governors had worked like Asiwaju, Nigeria will be better today. I wish him very long life and pray that Nigeria should have many people like him.” For Mrs. Agbowu, Nigeria would have been a better place if it had a leader like Asiwaju. She said Asiwaju has great ideas and is very prepared for leadership unlike some leaders who do not understand the enormity of the weight of leadership. She described the former governor as a sincere, kind and forward-looking man with great ideas to move the society forward.