2023: Osinbajo’ll Not Betray Tinubu By Contesting For Presidency – Hon. Olulade - The People's Voice


Monday, January 24, 2022

2023: Osinbajo’ll Not Betray Tinubu By Contesting For Presidency – Hon. Olulade

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former lawmaker, Hon. Segun Olulade, believes that Nigeria has potential to do better. The Federal House of Representatives hopeful from Epe Federal Constituency in Lagos under the All Progressives Congress (APC) said in this interview with Oladipupo Awojobi that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is morally bound to produce a South Easterner as presidential candidate in 2023. Excerpts…

How will you describe the recent declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 presidency?

As he has rightly put it, it’s a lifelong ambition for him and he has been building structures across the nation, networking, developing and building people all over. Definitely, I think his coming out is a welcome development to some of us, who know him, his pedigree and antecedents in government and even outside government. He has clearly shown his competence, capacity, intelligence and vision. Talking about who the cap fits at this period, we need not look further than Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. 

He has done well for himself and the nation. He has developed a lot of people, he has done a lot of revolution both in economy and infrastructure, even in terms of ideological revolution. Constitutionally, he has brought out the best for the country. If you look at infrastructural drive, he was the first governor to think of independent energy, which was how he brought in Erron very early in his administration as Lagos State governor. He was the one that came out with the best set of commissioners from 1999 to 2007. 

He started the revolution of removing ghost workers in the Lagos State civil service. Today, it is a thing of the past and he came up with Oracle, where everything in the state is automated. It is very difficult to have ghost workers in Lagos State now. Prior to his coming, we were having serious insecurity in Lagos State, where people were being killed by armed robbers every day. The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) was operating anyhow in the state then. Now, they are well-branded and well-organised. 

On security, he came up with the Lagos State Security Trust fund (LSSTF), the first of its kind in Nigeria and Lagos State is better for it today. When you look at education, he started the building of millennium schools across the state. He revolutionalised our education system. So many people today are graduates and they have first, second and even third degree today by what Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu did in the education sector in the state by giving free WASSCE and GCE forms to students of public schools. Look at the health sector, he stared “Jigi Bola”and all our health centres are well equipped and we have LASAMBUS on our highways to cater for accident victims. He rebranded the health sector.
People feel that Tinubu is a kingmaker and that he left government many years back, how active is he now and what of his health, can he cope with the demands of the job?

I have heard so many things about his health and age and I laugh at these things. When you look at his health, it is only God that knows, whose health would sustain him for more than 24 hours. So, on the issue of health, everybody has one issue or the other. I am not a doctor and I know that people who are younger than him have health challenges. So, the issue of health should not come to play at all. 

This is a man that holds meetings till 3am minimum every day and when you see him by 9am the next day, he is already up dealing with another issue. Some of us have to queue for hours to see him because he is attending to one issue or the other. As those ones are going, another set is coming and he has never had a day free except when he is away from Nigeria. Even when he is away from Nigeria some of us still buy tickets to go see him over there. So, it shows the kind of person that he is. How many young people, even of my age can withstand such pressure? So, I laugh when people talk about his age or capacity.

But, many people feel he is part of our current challenges as a nation… …

People don’t understand that the man that has the vision is different from the man you gave the vision to. Asiwaju is a man that has this vision, he knows what is expected in any sector of the nation and how it should be addressed. He understands everything; he can talk to the commoners and to big people. He understands everybody’s language. That is the kind of man that we want. He relates with everybody irrespective of class without any limitation. That is the kind of man we want.

People feel he should support the Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who has been in office as the number two citizen for six years now and who is younger and energetic, what do you think?

Asiwaju said that there is no rule that says a kingmaker cannot become a king. So you cannot say that he is not qualified to contest as the president of Nigeria. The same applies to Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He is also qualified as a Nigerian. He might be the vice president today, but Tinubu helped him and the president to power and he even nominated Osinbajo as vice president. As an individual, and morally, I would never contest with some people. I don’t betray my friends not to talk of my benefactor. I have never tried it before. I believe that Asiwaju Tinubu is the benefactor of Osinbajo and I know that he would not betray him.

Don’t you think Osinbajo has more experience as the nation’s vice president for some years now?

It doesn’t matter, we have seen a former vice president being defeated in this country, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was a vice president and he was defeated. That you are a vice president does not mean you cannot contest, you can. Just like Atiku contested and he failed, another person can also contest, but you must have the structure, but what have you done as an individual and what is your contribution to the present government? Osinbajo is welcomed if he wants to contest against Tinubu, but I will not contest against my benefactor. It is left for him to take a decision.

People feel that people from the North, the South West as well as the South South had been presidents since 1999 and that it is the turn of the South East to be President in 2023, do you support this?

I believe that someone from the South East has a right to be the next president and it is between the North and the South. But I was told that there is a particular section of the North that has also not produced the president. For me, it is expected that everybody except the North can contest now because a Northern is currently there. So, it is part of our constitution in the APC that power should rotate between the North and the South. So, the South East has a right to contest. But you must also realise that the South East has always been in the PDP and we will be glad that they produce a South Easterner as their presidential candidate. 

But when you talk about the APC, you know we have always been voting for the party in the South West. So, the PDP can take their own candidate from the South East. But for us in the APC, we should be looking at the South West. You cannot be working in Leventis and get paid in John Holt, no. You must be compensated where you are working. So, the South East should contest from the PDP and the party should be ready for that.

What do you think your government should address urgently as we are going to election now due to the challenges in the country?

The Federal Government, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, should continue to address the issue of insecurity as they have been doing. They must ensure that the issue becomes a thing of the past before the middle of the year. When you look at infrastructure, you will see that we are getting there now. Just recently, we saw rice pyramid in Abuja, which has never happened before. In the area of infrastructure, transportation, and others the government is doing a lot. But we can do better and once the issue of security is addressed, the economy would improve. With what I saw with rice pyramid, I’m very sure that things would improve. President Buhari was there at the commissioning of the mill and each pyramid had a million bags of rice with about 10 pyramids. Other areas of the economy should also be improved. 

We also need made in Nigeria goods so that prices of goods can come down. This will happen if we continue to produce more goods for the people of Nigeria locally rather than what we had under the PDP, when we used to import toothpicks, tissue papers and others. Now, we have made in Nigeria shoes and clothes and our chickens are no more being prepared by chemicals like it was when they used to import chickens. The poultry farmers are doing extremely well and once we can concentrate on most of those things we will get better.

You want to contest for the Federal House of Representatives, how prepared are you for this?

I am more prepared and equipped for the job and my people are ready for me. I am a man of the people. I always have in my mind what I need to do for my people. Even that is what the people talk about. They appreciate what I have done for them. You cannot just send anybody to the National Assembly from Epe, you need an experienced person, a man who is capable, who is competent and whose antecedents and integrity can speak for him and I think I fit into these criteria. 

Also, talking about equity, fairness and justice and the area I am from; Ikosi/Ejinrin, which has not produced a candidate for the Federal House of Representatives and all the candidates from our party are coming from there now, then I am qualified. Actually, the incumbent is not from there and it’s understandable that some incumbents don’t want to leave when the ovation is loudest. I believe that our people are ready for me and they are looking for who has the capacity to deliver.

But, what do you want to do differently?

People know what I have been able to do in the areas of education, health, infrastructural development, welfare, empowerment, sports and what have you.

…Even as a lawmaker?

Yes, as a lawmaker, who did not have constituency allowance or control budget, I was able to employ teachers to complement what the government wa doing. Even up to the Federal Constituency, they have not done what I did and if I could do that then, on a bigger scale we would improve the economy of our state, we would revolutionalise the economy of Epe Federal Constituency. 

We would put the constituency, not only on the national map, but even on the continent of Africa and people would understand what legislature is all about. I can assure you that we are prepared for it. I was prepared for the office in 2019, and we all know what happened then. I am not going there because I want the title of honourable, I already have that, it is lifetime. I am not looking for money, I want to serve my people. It is a job that I am passionate about.

People have talked about restructuring and constitutional conference and all that, do you support these issue?

By the grace of God, in 2023, when Tinubu becomes the President of Nigeria and I become a member of the National Assembly, you will see all these things coming to pass.

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