From left: former Head Of State and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Mohammed Buhari (RTD)/ Chairman Of The Ocassion, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo/ APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his wife, Remi/ wife of Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Abimbola Fashola and Governor Babatunde Fashola, during the 6th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos.

From left: former Head Of State and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Mohammed Buhari (RTD)/ Chairman Of The Ocassion, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo/ APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, his wife, Remi/ wife of Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Abimbola Fashola and Governor Babatunde Fashola, during the 6th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos.

The 6th Bola Tinubu Colloquium was tagged: “The Summit of The Common Man”.

It’s been exactly 3 weeks and what seems to still be the top of discussion within intellectual circles, the political elite and the common man is the just concluded annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium and it’s very unique and apt theme ‘The Summit Of The Common Man’.

It was the 62nd birthday of former Lagos State governor and All Progressive Congress (APC) leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the last Saturday of March which was the 6th Bola Tinubu Colloquium to mark the event focused on the common man, who feels mostly the effects of bad governance.

Since its inception six years ago, the colloquium has been a platform to discuss salient national issues.

It was a gathering of the chieftains of All Progressives Congress (APC), friends and well-wishers of former governor of Lagos State and a national leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Most Reverend Dr. Ephraim Ademowo, Order of the Niger (OON), who was the chairman of the occasion, had to cancel his overseas trip to attend the Sixth Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium, to mark the 62nd birthday anniversary of Tinubu, an astute politician, at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.

The hall was almost filled to capacity as people came from far and near to witness the event. The roll call of guests included Nigeria’s former Head of State, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Chief Bisi Akande, former Attorney General of Lagos State, Yemi Osinbajo, Governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola (SAN), Governors of Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Rivers states, Abiola Ajumobi, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Rotimi Ameachi, Chief Segun Osoba, Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Biyi Durojaiye respectively as well as member of House of Representatives and Chairperson of House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

L-R Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi with Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun ( Ogun) and Rotimi Amaechi ( Rivers State), during the 6th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos.

L-R Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi with Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun ( Ogun) and Rotimi Amaechi ( Rivers State), during the 6th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos.

The common people from far and near across the country witnessed the occasion. Both the low and the mighty were well-treated as all you needed was to register your presence and you will be given a package containing a plate of food the programme of events among others.

The arrival of some of the dignitaries such as the Ogun State Governor, Amosun drew the attention of the crowd who hailed and showered encomiums on him.

The venue was well-lit with giant chandeliers. Due to the effectiveness of the public address system, and the video screens spread around the hall, with a big screen on the podium, at every angle of the hall that one sat, one could see or hear loud and clear the day’s proceedings.

One thing that was reiterated by everybody at the event was that Tinubu was a consummate politician, master strategist, defender of the poor and a de-tribalised Nigerian.

The Chairman of the occasion, Most Reverend Dr. Ephraim Ademowo further described Tinubu as a libertarian per excellence, adding that he also hates injustice.

He recalled how Tinubu was involved in an accident with some common men while he was a governor and how he followed the victims to the hospital and also foot their bills.

He admitted that he has not only impacted on the likes of Fashola and the Governor of Edo State, Adam Oshiomhole, but the common man also have a testimony to tell about Tinubu’s generosity.

The “Common Men” stories:

One of the common men, Alhaji Nasir Bala Daudawa, a 46- year-old farmer from Katsina State, discussed about the challenges facing farmers due to adulteration of fertilizer and farm inputs.

He told the story of what common farmers like him were going through due to the insufficient two bags of fertilizers given to them as subsidy by the Federal Government.

He had to buy fertilizers from the market, which were often mixed with soil and the maize turned yellow instead of green. He incurred huge loss as a result of the adulterated fertilizer.

He wants the government to treat people dealing with adulterated fertilizers like people dealing with counterfeit drugs.

He also complained about the problem of insecurity and the untold hardship people like him are going through in the hands of Fulani cattle herdsmen who he said usually kill innocent farmers.

Mr. Ron Mgbatogu, a retiree, called on Baba Tinubu (as he called the celebrant) to assist many more common men. Among them were the 20 million unemployed youths and 11 million primary school age children not in school.

He is afraid that come next year (2015), 24 million of the common men in the country will be homeless.

Although he has a roof over his head but no home to call his own. “How can our government take our taxes for more than 40 years? We paid taxes but the country has no obligation towards the common man.”

If not for Tinubu, folks like him, he admitted, would have become endangered species.

So how can a retiree fend for himself unless there is a social benefit available for them? He advocated that government’s policy should be in favour of the retirees.

There was also the story of Emmanuel Ikpeamaeze who is a student of Bethesda Home for the Blind in Lagos.

Emmanuel admitted that “he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches”.

He wasn’t born blind, it started later in life. The doctor diagnosed him of glaucoma. He needed N200, 000 to treat it. Unfortunately for him, his parents could only raise N20,000. That was how his sight withered away helplessly.

He later came in contact with Mrs. Chioma Ohakwe, the owner of the school who gave him hope of a brighter future. He is now planning to read Sociology for his first degree and Theology for his second degree.

He called on kind-hearted Nigerians to help him raise money for his education.

Emmanuel said giving the necessary infrastructure people like him could do more than Stevie Wonder, the blind famous American musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Chioma who is the founder of the Bethesda School for the Blind said that most of the blind people in the school are very talented. She was glad that they have been able to restore the sight of some of them.

She called on the government to extend love to the visually impaired children, not only in Lagos State, but other states as well, so that they don’t end up being a beggar. For help from Nigerians, Chioma can be reached on (08033516572).

Another common man, Mallam Musa Ali, a lecturer at University of Maiduguri, recalled his ordeal in the hands of Boko Haram. He lost his wife and father in-law to Boko Haram. His wife had six children for him.

He recalled how the Boko Haram visited his house while he was not around. The wife told him about it. The school authority was aware about it and he was given accommodation on the campus.

Unfortunately, the assailants came again. They said that his wife was shielding him and that was how they gunned her down. Now playing the role of a mother and a father to his children, he admitted that the situation was telling on his productivity.

He is happy that the military has pursued the insurgents out of Maiduguri but wants the government to be proactive to save the lives of the people in the rural areas where the Boko Haram are still perpetrating their atrocities.

There was also a video play to show what the APC governors are doing in two states, Osun and Ekiti to demonstrate how the APC government is helping the common people to be empowered.

The governor of Lagos State, Fashola, admitted that Nigeria needs a change and the common people are the ones that can make the change to happen.

“If we are united to change this country we are going to do so.”

He recalled Frank Olizeh who used to go to the streets to interview the common man. One day he was attacked in Oshodi and he said: “This is Frank Olizeh now running for his dear life,” he said.

“Is Tinubu a common man? His life tells the story of success not the story of struggle.” He, however, said that Tinubu is a common man. All the people who have led this country, he said, have come from humble beginnings.

Yet he admitted that Tinubu made mistakes because he doesn’t give up. “The common man, the ordinary people, they paid taxes, they have the majority. The truth is that the common man does not understand that he owns Nigeria.”

“The common man should decide in 2015 who they want to give the top job to. Is he the man who spend his time in the church or who spend the time on the job? Or those who have demonstrated that they can make things work?”

Great leaders across the world, he said, are people that solved problems.

Having listened to all the complaints of the common men and women in the hall, Fashola understands that money could make a difference in their lives.

He, therefore, donated N10 million to help the common man in Nigeria. He asked the common men in the hall to just write their names and send it through the ushers.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu recognized the efforts of those people who painstakingly put the colloquium together.

“Year after year, we listen to the common man. You have heard the frustrations and the pains of our children, the pains of the farmers, the widows whose children cannot feed from the book of sermon, whose religion is not wicked but their leaders. You have raised the flag high that the leaders can do something.”

Tinubu said that hunger has no tribal marks.

“Poverty has no tribal marks. We all have traits of people with poverty in our families. But you cannot shake it off alone. You need the help of the government.”

“The government needs to care for those people whose shoes have worn out. APC can do it. We can provide all of you with portable water. But we cannot do it until we get there. The change is here, to make it real you have to vote. It is only through democratic change that it can happen. We are not sadistic. How can we continue to vote for a government that cannot give us electricity or petrol? We have the broom to sweep the dust away.”

The APC leader said the 15-year reign of the PDP had brought untold hardship to Nigerians. The APC , he said, is out to rescue the country.

“They are so shameless that the number of years they have ruled does not matter to them. Don’t change the subject matter. Account for the missing money or go. All the explanations they gave about the missing money were just unconvincing. They steal from pensioners. We must kick them out,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to reject the PDP in the next general elections starting from the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states later this year.

“We have heard the frustration and pains of our people. Poverty is not a shameful thing but it is not acceptable. The change is now. To make it real, you have to defend your vote,” he said.

He cut his birthday cake with the common man and later the guests.

Asiwaju Tinubu’s wife Senator Oluremi fed him a piece of the cake and they sealed it with kisses to the admiration of the gathering.

There was light music in the background as guests took turns to congratulate Asiwaju Tinubu before leaving.

There were also other personalities present such as Pat UtomiFestus Keyamo as well as from the Entertainment Industry such as Saiid Balogun, Frank D’Nero,YQ, Jaywon amongst others.

The event was successfully put together by The Bola Tinubu Colloquium Organising Committee a team of seasoned professionals from different spheres of the industry. The event was also supported and supervised by Dark Cypha Entertainment with media support from MrsHustle Magazine and Nigezie TV.

Other Media outfits present were TVCLTV, Channels TV, Silverbird TVLove World TV, Super Screen TVOGTVGotel TVOrisun TVCore TV, The Punch Newspapers, Vanguard Newspapers, The Sun NewspapersThe Nation Newspapers, Nigerian TribuneCity People Magazine, Amuwo Herald, Celebrity MagazineCore Media, amongst so many others

Check exclusive interviews & excerpts of the event by Nigezie TV below.


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