Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says in the last 30 years, he has had his own “share of triumphs and also felt the sting of setback”.
Tinubu said this while addressing participants of course 25 at the National Defence College, Abuja, on Wednesday, adding that his experiences in politics have taught him to remain committed to a well-articulated vision.
He also spoke on the strategies he used in fighting his battles, recalling his contributions to the growth of democracy in the country.
“My public life spans over three decades. I have had my share of triumphs. I have felt the sting of setback,” he said.
“Through it all, I have tried to keep faith with the overarching vision I earlier set forth – of a more democratic Nigeria with a robust economy that provides sufficiently for all.
“Throughout most of this time span, the strategic focus has been on politics, free enterprise and assuring democracy. I believe the toil and sacrifice has been worthwhile. We have secured democracy in Nigeria. Now, our strategic leadership must focus on realizing the second part of that vision, the economic component.
“It was first necessary to getting the political equation right. From this platform, we can then better reform the economic side.
“The profound lesson my experiences as a political leader have taught me is the need to remain faithful to an achievable, well-articulated vision. Then develop practical strategies and tactics to progress toward that vision. The vision is the unchangeable lodestar. Strategies and tactics may change as events unfold.”
He also appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tinubu said for his party to end the 16-year reign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he studied the voting patterns of all prior elections since 1999.
“The challenge before us is a difficult but not impossible one. If we stick to the progressive beliefs of the APC, we shall overcome these difficulties to place the economy on surer permanent footing,” he said.
On the strategies deployed in the buildup to the election, he said: “We fashioned a tripartite campaign message and strategy message. Security, Economy and Corruption. We would drive these three messages home as if with military artillery. However, we have only our leadership and strategic hammer.
“Still all of this would have been to no avail without the right candidate. Given his stature and reputation for integrity, honest dealing and patriotic commitment, there really was no other candidate to have carried the day, than then General Muhammadu Buhari.
“Yet, even with such a figure as our candidate, we foresaw the need to construct a public relations strategy to counter false accusations of religious intolerance and parochialism that would be hurled at him. We did this with great success because we prepared for these attacks beforehand.
“We established other democratic and leadership strategies for our success, details of which time would not permit me to reveal here. We did not have the vast war chest of the PDP. Our efforts had to be sharper and more compelling. We accomplished this task.
“We did not win the election by accident. I had studied the resulting and voting patterns of all the prior elections since 1999. Our team did an honest assessment and detailed assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and those of our opponents.
“To win, we knew the votes we needed and identified the likely places and demographic constituencies from which the bulk of those votes must come. We did not waste time chasing votes we would not get. We concentrated on our strengths and the other side’s weaknesses, realising that our defence must be as tight as if we are inside the War College here in Abuja.”
Tinubu commended the armed forces for the role played in stabilising the country. He said his opposition to the military ended when it stopped involving in politics.