It has been almost four months since the campaign for the 2023 polls commenced. As a member of the APC presidential campaign council, how would you rate the campaign?
So far, it has been very good. It is easy to sell a candidate that has a good past. With the development that Tinubu brought to Lagos, selling him has not been a problem for us. And we have been comparing ourselves with other candidates from other political parties. And most of our campaigns have shown what we are going to do. So in terms of general assessment of how far we have done, it has been very good. We’re getting more and more acceptability; we have been able to clear some of the grey areas that people had concerns about. If you look at how we have gone through the number of states we have campaigned, you would see the acceptability we have.
One of the major issues against your candidate is his personality, his businesses and his growing up. How sure are you that it is not going to be an issue during the elections?
The main things they have been talking about are issues about age and health. But when you look at the number of times we have responded, you will know that it is just the antics of the opposition to try to drum up the lies they have to make it look like it is true. If you say somebody is not fit, are you a medical doctor? Do you have a medical report that shows he is not fit? Tinubu is the frontrunner in this election. He has campaigned in more states than every other candidate today. Generally speaking, if you say somebody is sick, how would that person be able to meet up with the rigours of his daily schedule, going from state to state without rest? And it is not that he just goes to campaigns and goes to sleep. He still goes around attending town hall meetings, meeting with stakeholders. So the issue of health is just one cliche that people have held on to, especially the opposition that doesn’t have anything to campaign with. They want to continue to repeat it with the hope that when they continue to repeat a lie, it will eventually become the truth. It just shows the emptiness in their programmes because they don’t have anything to sell. They will rather go tarnishing the image of the front runner in this election.
Another one is about education. I think it is in the public domain where some of these so-called social media influencers traveled all the way to the United States. And the guy came back to say he wasted $4,000 trying to prove that he did not go to school, and he was proven wrong because he got the details from Chicago State University that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu attended the university. So, if somebody comes tomorrow and keeps talking about educational background, we tend to ignore him because it’s a distraction, which we are not ready to be part of. In terms of personality, I don’t know what can be more than the track record that he left behind him in Lagos to prove that his personality is okay. Lagos was like a slum when he took over and he turned it around, and today, it is the fifth largest economy in Africa. So issues of personality are distractions which we are not ready to hammer on. But I can tell you that Tinubu is fit, he is educated, his integrity is intact and he is ready to take Nigeria to the next level.
But one of his campaign directors, Hajiya Naja’atu Mohammed, resigned recently, saying the APC presidential candidate suffers from dementia. Are you not worried about that?
First and foremost, let me say that the last time I checked Naja’atu Mohammed was a graduate of History and she is not a medical doctor. So, when a historian starts to talk about somebody’s health, and people take it seriously, then I just get worried. First, how do you judge a human being by just looking at him and then you know that this person has X Y ailment? I think those are conjectures. And if you look at her follow up comments, you can deduce the reasons why she is behaving the way she’s behaving. Let’s take our mind back to when she became part of this project. I’m quoting from her account; she was an ardent supporter of Muhammadu Buhari, prior to the election in 2015. From 2015 till date, if my calculation is right, it is about eight years. So, it took her eight years to find out that the person you’re supporting is not doing well. That smacks of mischief. Now you are a member of the campaign council. The campaign Council was set up sometime in October 2022. It took you four months to know that the candidate you’re supporting is not well and therefore you have to resign. Again, that to me smells of mischief.
The question is, what was she asking for that she didn’t get? And just this morning on television, she complained about how they were not inviting her to join the campaign train. That is a contradiction on its own. It means that if she was being carried along on the campaign trail, Tinubu would have been well. So these are just people who are desperate to occupy certain positions in the campaign organisation. Tinubu knows his audience; he knows his team; he picks people and builds them up. But I don’t think Tinubu is also the kind of person that you will force yourself on and even with your arrogance and your pressure to get all that is available. The campaign team is structured and there are different directorates. Everybody has his or her own role. So, when you sit down and you want everything and you can’t get it, and you become a medical doctor overnight, then I just feel that whatever she says should not be taken seriously. I just put practical things on ground. When did Buhari’s failure in her own words start. Is it two or three months to the end of the administration or when? When did she decide that conscience matters? Is it after eight years of being a part of the party? So when did Tinubu start having health issues by her own assessment – when did she become a medical doctor to know that Tinubu is suffering from those medical conditions she talked about? As far as I’m concerned, leaving the party doesn’t change the fact that APC will win the next election come February 25.
The PDP recently launched an assault on the APC, seeking the disqualification of your candidate. What is your take on this?
It is obvious that it is just a knee jerk reaction to what the APC presidential campaign council did when the issue of these Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) came up. You are aware of one Michael Achimugu who has come up with revelations regarding how Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as then vice president connived with his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, to set up SPVs with the creation of companies that they were using to loot public firms. Marine Floats is one of them. There was some kind of silence when that information came up, and the PCC of APC brought it to the open and demanded that the ICPC, EFCC, and Code of Conduct Bureau call for Atiku’s investigation and possible prosecution depending on the outcome of their investigation. Now, instead of coming out to address those specific issues and prove whether it is Atiku’s voice or whether there was SPVs, they started by blackmailing or branding the whistleblower as a blackmailer. But the question to ask is that if a blackmailer brings out an armed robber to the police station, should the policeman set the armed robber free because the armed robber was brought by the blackmailer? The answer is no! So I think PDP should occupy themselves with response to the topical issues rather than trying to beg the question. So for me, those are distractions, we are going to take it with a pinch of salt.