PDP presidential candidate lacks executive position experience – Kogi APC chair
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In this interview with GBENGA ODOGUN, the Kogi State All Progressives Congress Chairman, Abdullahi Bello, highlights the edge the party’s presidential candidate has over other contenders in the 2023 general elections
How well-prepared is the APC for the upcoming general election, in which Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will be flying the party’s flag?
We are adequately prepared as we know the task before us is not something to joke with. Our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the candidate to beat and everything being equal, we have the people’s support to deliver him in sha Allah.
What is your view on the Muslim-Muslim ticket of your party, which has received lots of criticism from electoral stakeholders across the nation?
I am surprised that you are coming up with this question again but in politics, you are free to ask for more clarification on any issue you think has not been exhaustively settled.
From my own point of view, this matter has been settled. The Muslim-Muslim ticket is going to promote unity, and it is going to help this country in a way never seen before. You may recall that I stated that the best elections ever held in this country were the 1993 general elections, which also fielded Muslim-Muslim candidates, the late MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe. I will say history is about to repeat itself, and I can assure you that our candidates will record a landslide victory.
Major critics of the APC have expressed concern about the age and health status of your candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. What do you say to this?
I think in this part of the world where you and I come from, age is a blessing. It is not a disadvantage. You will agree with me that age is a blessing. The wisdom associated with age, coupled with the experience he has acquired over the years, will come into play when he becomes president.
If you knew Asiwaju very well when he was governor of Lagos State, you would know that he goes for talents and I believe he will do the same to help solve the nation’s problems, and I can assure you that age will not deter him from taking critical decisions.
I know Asiwaju will go hunt for the best talents in this country. He is a man who doesn’t consider religion or ethnicity when looking for talents. He is not the type of person who will surround himself with mediocres or local champions from his village; instead, he will seek the best hands to assist him in realising his dream for the country and sustaining the good works of President Muhammadu Buhari.
If he (Tinubu) knows that it is an Igbo man who will do the job well, that is the person he will choose and not anyone else. We should all be happy that this man is coming to deliver our country. You will agree with me that Asiwaju is a true nationalist.
Still, some critics have expressed concern about his health status.
(Cuts in.) How old is Asiwaju, if I may ask, and how old is our sitting president? How old is the American President? Joe Biden is older than Tinubu.
Atiku had been vice president, the second highest position in the country, and the highest position Tinubu ever held was that of Lagos State governor. Don’t you think it may give Atiku an edge in terms of national leadership experience?
You are exposing the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party to ridicule in the sense that you are highlighting his weakness. He was only a vice president. No doubt he can act when the president travels or when the president assigns any responsibility to him, but he has not handled an executive position. He lacks that experience while Tinubu was once a governor, having presided over Lagos State affairs as the chief executive.
The PDP candidate was a vice president; he deputised for Obasanjo whenever the president was not in the office but our candidate, Tinubu presided over the commercial nerve centre of the country and did it with distinction. Are you telling me that someone who was once a vice president has more experience, which experience?
Here is this man with executive experience who calls the shots. If it is the position of Vice President Atiku is looking for, we can say he has a better experience. Please don’t ridicule the PDP candidate.
A lot of critics have said Tinubu cannot be trusted with the nation’s resources considering the way Lagos State resources were allegedly handled when he was the governor; how will you react to this?
From 1999 to date, Lagos State has had a system brought about and developed by the quality thinking of one man, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Because of the mentality of Lagosians, who loved good things, they have sustained the system Asiwaju left, and it has been working excellently. We must not deceive ourselves, Lagos is a model template for other states who want to develop in this country.
So, if you are saying that some Lagosians are questioning the character of Bola Tinubu, of course, they have the right to say something. Just like in Kogi State, only a blind person will say they haven’t seen the massive developmental projects going on there, yet we still see some people with different views, and we have that in every society.
They are bad eggs and some of those saying this are the bad ones who cannot even manage their homes. If you set up a business for them, it will collapse. They don’t even know how to manage resources, yet they are questioning a genuine resources manager who governed Lagos with distinction.
Are you comfortable with the security situation in the country today?
The security situation has improved, compared to what it used to be. In the country generally, I think the security situation has improved considerably.
At one time, many public places were being bombed in Abuja; there was a bomb in Nyanya; there was an attack on a police station and many other public places were being bombed, but all that has stopped under this administration. What we have now are pockets of strikes here and there. They can strike today, and tomorrow they will go to another place. This is because our security system is working and our security personnel are working. What we experienced during the PDP era, if they had continued in government, the situation would have been worse off than it is now.
In Okene, where I come from, there used to be bombs almost every day. There was even a time when there were two blasts in a day, one near the Federal College of Education in Okene and one at Osara but all that has stopped with the efforts of the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
So, security has improved. I don’t know your yardstick, but I can categorically tell you that it has improved greatly and will continue to do so. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will improve the look of things by building on the efforts of the incumbent President, Buhari.
How will you rate your party candidate’s economic experience?
I know that as a journalist, you may not be able to speak out publicly about the capacity of Tinubu to manage the economy excellently. But be reminded that at some point when Tinubu was the governor, the allocation to Lagos State was stopped. He sustained the state and managed it with internally generated revenue, which is to tell you that our economy will be turned around. That is why I say Asiwaju has a magic wand and has answers to our economic problems.