President Tinubu to Chief Bisi Akande: Your Honesty, Integrity Motivate Me; I am Lucky to Have You

President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday night in Abuja, said he benefitted immensely from his close relationship with long-time confidant, Chief Bisi Akande, and that he considered himself lucky to have him.

Speaking at a dinner held at the State House Conference Centre to celebrate the 85th birthday of the elder statesman, President Tinubu said he was delighted that the sentiments he had about the former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who is also a former governor of Osun State, resonated well with other speakers at the event.

“Listening to the remarks from the podium, they are inspirational enough. It has been said that you are Mr. Integrity, we, the younger ones, are very lucky to have you. You deserve to be celebrated. Thank you for always being forthright and being honest. I do not want to repeat myself beyond the fact that, lucky enough for me, I have you. I thank God for your life,” the President said to Chief Akande.

Recounting the role of Chief Akande in the process leading to the emergence of the APC as a mega party and its eventual election victory in 2015, the President stated that the lessons in forgiveness and patience that he learnt from the elder statesman eventually led him to becoming the President of Nigeria.

“Anyone who wants to learn about forgiveness, candour, reliability, should see Chief Bisi Akande. You taught us perseverance, patience, honesty, and management of resources, be it human or capital. See me standing before you, I am the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“You know how many times and how long that we spoke truth to power, deliberate on how to take the cuff off this nation, how to change and comply with our developmental objectives. You have been doing it whispering silently, ‘be patient, forget the past, look forward'”, the President said.

In his response, Chief Akande, who said he had concluded arrangements to have a discourse on ‘leadership’ to mark his birthday in Ibadan, thanked the President and First Lady Oluremi Tinubu for the dinner, acknowledging that President Tinubu had always been pivotal in the celebration of his birthdays since the 70th anniversary. 

 He harped on the twin values of loyalty and honesty in dealings with friends.

Other speakers at the event, including Senate President Godswill Akpabio; House of Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, APC National Chairman Abdullahi Ganduje, former Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Minister of Solid Minerals Dele Alake, and former Chairman of TETFUND, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, extolled the virtues of the elder statesman.