As Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as President-elect, many have been expressing fear if he would be able to save the nation from the current socio-economic challenges. In this interview with BOLU-OLU ESHO, Pastor Olufemi Bakare, a leader of one of the groups that sold Tinubu to the people, spoke on Asiwaju’s competence and what Nigerians should expect when he assumed office. Excerpts:
As a friend and supporter of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, what are the things Nigerians should expect from him?….. CONTINUE READING
It is imperative to say this. About seven years ago, Asiwaju told me in confidence that he wanted to be president of Nigeria in 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari completed his tenure in office.
He said he wanted to use Tinubu Mandate Group (TMG), which had been in existence in Lagos to execute the ambition. Right there, I declared my 100 percent support for him.
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He also told me to go and start the support group in Ondo State because he considered the state as the bastion of progressive movement in Nigeria.
I started the group and ever since, there had not been looking back till the election took place on February 25, 2023.
Immediately I swung into action selling him to the people because I know he has the wherewithal to place this nation on the right footing.
Nigerians should not nurse any fear about the competence of the president-elect in handling the nation in all sectors.
The country has always been ruled by people who were wooed, coopted, or unwilling. I can say categorically that this is the first time we will be having a president-elect who has prepared for the position long ahead and has willingly presented himself for the huge assignment. He had long drawn the plan on how to tackle the challenges and manage the country and its astonishing diversity.
Nigerians can be rest assured that he will address our security architecture to check the evitable loss of life and property.
The economy is sacrosanct to him because of the focus on improving life expectancy ratio in the country. There is empirical evidence that he’s capable of revamping the nation’s economy. Nigerians are not people with a short memory, they can still recall what Lagos was like before the advent of Tinubu’s administration in 1999.
He designed a 25-year economic plan for the state, which I call a template, which subsequent administrations had been implementing faithfully after leaving office.
Through his various economic policies and strategic plans, which subsequent administrations have built upon, Lagos has metamorphosed into the fifth largest economy in Africa.
So, we should be expecting a meteoric turnaround in all sectors of the nation when he replicates Lagos’s blueprint development in Nigeria.
His emergence as APC presidential candidate and victory at the poll isn’t easy. There appears to be an in-house coup against him. What’s your take on this?
This will take me to the pre-primary of our party. As I earlier mentioned, Asiwaju conceived the vision to reshape this nation a long time ago. He’s not a fire-brigade aspirant. He was not coopted or conscripted by the powerful people that lay claim to who becomes the president or not or any mafia. He loves this country and has a special dream for this country which he tactically pursued to reality on February 25, 2023.
He’s a man with the attributes of painstakingly and meticulously planning and executing his visions.
He once said: “Even the obstacles on my way, I predict them before those that will bring them think about them. I plan for betrayal, I plan for backstabbing, I also plan for reunion and forgiveness long before they happen.”
He also said: “I expect nothing. I expect anything. I expect everything.”
These are traits I proudly share with Asiwaju.
It will therefore be foolhardy for anyone to think that the road to achieving such a realistic reality is without bumps. Though hope is frail, it is hard to die. Nigerians, not necessarily members of APC, could see how turbulent the voyage was but he berthed the sailing ship at the Port successfully.
I may not want to bore our members and citizens with the tales of conspiracy and intrigues he fought and lost none like the biblical David. He will surely reorganise our party and reconcile all members who have one complaint or another.
Our party under Asiwaju as the leader will experience a new lease on life. The constitutional challenges and impunity exhibited by some leaders of the party would be resolved and a strong APC would be built to the admiration of members, particularly young folks.
As the president of this great nation, he will redirect our political psyche that would relegate religion and ethnicity in the scheme of political ideologies.
The president-elect lost in Lagos and Osun states, how would you rate the performance of your party in Ondo State?
Let me, first of all, go into the conduct of the elections. The electoral umpire was fair to all. That Asiwaju lost in Lagos, Osun, and in President Muhammadu Buhari’s state, Katsina, revealed that this election was fair and credible as against the position of the opposition clamouring for the cancellation of the election before it was declared as they have done their calculation and realised that they have lost. This same presidential candidate of the opposition political party was happy to identify with their party members who won the Senate and House of Representative seats but sought the cancellation of the presidential election because they lost in an election conducted on the same day.
However, in Ondo State, we did not only deliver the state for Asiwaju, we delivered the highest percentage of votes to him. Our people trooped out and voted for Asiwaju and all other APC candidates across the state.
This, among other things, can be attributed to the good leadership of His Excellency, our governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, whom I hold in high esteem for his doggedness and how he marshalled the leadership of the party in the state to achieve the highest percentage of votes for Asiwaju in the country..
We are not surprised by the result because we in the Tinubu Mandate Group which I led in Ondo State had been working for the past seven years on this project. We believe in him and see him as the right person Nigeria and Nigerians need to make us the Giant of Africa in the real sense of it.
Many people have started scheming for appointments, claiming they worked for him. What’s your comment about this?
It is normal to lobby for positions in any administration or government. But our people should not be in a hurry. The Asiwaju that I know is a dependable rewarder of hard work. Everyone who worked for him would have a fair share of the benefits that abound in the government. And he has also conveyed the same message that he will not be under any pressure to appoint people to the government but that he will only appoint competent people to positions. What he is saying, in essence is that his appointment will be based on a round peg in a round hole.
Ondo State has not enjoyed much federal presence in the state since President Muhammadu Bihari became president in 2015, what is responsible for this?
Not only is the state has been unfortunate not to attract federal projects to the state, but we have equally been the recipients of low federal government patronage in terms of political appointments ceded to all the states of the federation. Despite the brilliance of the Ondo State people as one of the fountains of knowledge in the country, the state is not being given corresponding federal government patronage in the distribution of opportunity to serve at the federal level and infrastructural development in the country.
In the last eight years of President Buhari’s government, no federal government presence could be seen in the state. Ondo State produced some of the brightest brains in Nigeria, the state was not even considered for a substantive minister in the cabinet. So far, what the state has got from Buhari’s government were mere minister-of-state positions.
Claudius Omoyele Daramola, a university professor, was given the Minister of State for the Niger/Delta ministry in the first tenure of the president. Alasoadura, a former senator of the federal republic of Nigeria, and Prince Ademola Adegoroye both got the same junior ministerial positions during the second term of the president.
It was a herculean task to convince our people that this unjust treatment by the federal government will come to an end if Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is elected as the president. Thank God they yielded as we delivered the highest percentage of votes for him in the country.
Do you believe the state will be treated differently this time around when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is making his appointments?
I have no iota of doubt that the state will get a fair deal in his administration. He is also conversant with the unfairness surrounding us as a state in the federation. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as I said before always rewards people for good performance and we have shown it as deserving people by overwhelming votes for him. When he came to campaign, he promised to support Ondo Seaport and its Agric-based economy…… CONTINUE READING
I always told our teeming supporters that “E lo fi o’kan bale igba o tun tide.” To calm down the messiah has come for us in Ondo State.