Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Saturday night advised Nigerians to choose leaders based on their track records rather than religious beliefs.
He gave the advice while speaking at the 6th Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos.
The colloquium, with the theme “Summit of the Common Man ” was organised to mark the 62nd birthday of former governor of Lagos State, Sen. Bola Tinubu.
Fashola said while religion was good, it was not a factor in giving good governance and delivering the dividends of democracy.
“Religion is good but not a qualification for the top job because religion will not produce water, religion will not give that farmer fertiliser.
“It will not cure the sick in the hospital; it will not provide a home for that retiree. Yes, religion is good but it will not put 10 million children back to school.
“So what should be the biggest qualification of our would- be leaders is a track record of performance, rather than faiths,” he said.
The governor urged citizens to always look out for leaders who would lead them effectively.
According to him, great leaders all over the world are not applauded for their kindness but for impacting positively on the lives of their people.
“I know we all like our leaders to be nice and kind but I don’t know anywhere in the world where leaders get applauded for being nice.
” It is good to be kind but great leaders are applauded because they are effective, ” he said.
Fashola advised the electorate to scrutinise the credentials of aspirants dispassionately and ensure they were fit for leadership before voting in the next election.
The governor contended that nation building was a collective responsibility which required every Nigerian to play his part.
Fashola said the Nigeria of everybody’s dream was still a possibility and urged citizens to do all they could to realise it.
He described Tinubu as a lover of the common man who had done a lot to improve the lives of people across the country.
On his part, Tinubu said great leaders were not judged by how much helping hand they gave, but how much change they brought to the society.
He urged citizens to shun sentiments in electing their leaders, advising them to rather choose agents of change.
“Compassion is good but it doesn’t run the economy. People should elect leaders who can bring about change and improve the lot of the people they lead, ” he said.
According to him, the All Progressives Congress is determined to bring the needed change in the country.
Tinubu said he was impressed by the love shown to him by the people on his birthday and that he would continue to do his best in the service of the masses.
NAN reports the high point of the occasion was the cutting of the birthday cake by Tinubu, joined by his wife, Oluremi and political associates.
A former Head of State, Gen. Muhammed Buhari and a former Vice-President, Atiku. Abubakar, along with some state governors, were among those who also joined him in cutting the cake.
Some of the governors present were Govs. Abiola. Ajimobi (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi, (Ekiti) Babatunde Fashola (Lagos) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun).
Some members of the National Assembly were also among prominent personalities at the occasion.