Dr Segun Osinkolu, is an All Progressives Congress Chieftain and Director General Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation in the 2019 General Election Ekiti State in his interview barred his mind on issues relating to the 2023 Presidential Election maintaining that the odds favoured the candidate of the APC ,Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Muslim- Muslim ticket adopted by your part is generatinghested debate amongst Nigerians . Dont you think this may rob APC of victory?
I don’t think so. Don’t forget that Tinubu decided to pick Muslim from the North bearing in mind the political reality in terms of configuration of our country. The Christains dominate the Southern part and Muslims from the Northern part, so scramble for votes would make you come to your right senses in making the best choice for you to win. Don’t forget that the main opposition party, the PDP picked its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a Fulani man from the majority Muslims from the North and his Vice, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa from the Majority Christains from the South. With these, it will be political naive and suicidal for Asiwaju, who is from the minority Muslims from South to also go and pick a Vice among the minority Christains from the North. So, Asiwaju went for the best option to win, which was to pick a Muslim from the North. Again, what are the critics even talking about. Asiwaju’s wife of about 40 years is a Christian, even an Assistant Pastor of a Pentecostal church. Who is still doubting the fairness and credibility of this man in terms of religion? Asiwaju is one of the most religiously tolerant leaders we have in Nigeria. How many of these Facebook and social media critics can raise the kind of family Asiwaju has succeeded in raising? He allowed his wife to practise christainity even when he practises Islamic religion. Who can be more tolerant than him? They should stop all this noise and allow Nigerians to decide. He didn’t do this to spite the Christains and I know that the Christains have nothing to fear under him, he will be fair to all, that I can guarantee.
Can Kashim Shettima gives Tinubu the winning votes in the North?
The quantum of support his candidacy has been receiving from the North and across Nigeria was suffice to convince the worst of skeptics that the former Borno Governor is well respected and popular in the North. Despite the Boko Haram affliction in Borno State under his reign, he was able to build one of the best hospitals in the North, tarred several roads and employ Youths into strategic positions in the civil service. The way he handled the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast also went a long way to confirm how kind and humane he was. You could see how the CAN leaders in Borno State had given testimonies about how he brought all religions together to the extent that there wasn’t any case of religious war or controversy during his time. This is the kind of leader we want, so his emergence was a masterstroke for APC. Most interesting thing about Shettima was the discovery of the present Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum as his successor. All Nigerians, especially the youth are proud of Zulum’s achievements and this alone would be a cogent reason for Nigerians to vote for APC and Tinubu in the presidential election.
Nigerians seemed to be losing confidence in their leaders to rescue the ailing economy based on past experiences . What assurances can you give to Nigerians about Tinubu’s competence?
It is very sad that Nigerians no longer have trust in leadership and you can’t blame the people. It has been as a result of long years of poor governance experienced by the citizens. But let me tell you that we can all attest to what Tinubu did in Lagos between 1999 and 2007. He formed one of the best teams ever experienced in Nigeria to bring out development in Lagos. It was during his time that the internally generated revenue moved from the paltry sum of N600m to over N9 billion monthly and it moved meteorically under Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to Akinwumi Ambode and Babajide Sanwo-Olu to reach about N45 billion monthly. This is one feat that was commendable. Today, Lagos is the third largest economy in Africa. The state is even richer than many of the African nations and this was accomplished through the shrewd and sagacity of Bola Tinubu as a governor. He initiated this and others built on it. Again, it was during his time that Lagos formed Lagos State Traffic Management Agency(LASTMA), Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), Operation Kick Against Indiscipline(KAI), among others. He is a known builder of men and someone who know how to spot and headhunt the best brains to spur development and this we expect to take to the national level with Tinubu presidency.
Were these achievements enough evidence to show that Tinubu will be a good President ?
Yes and many others that he did. As Nigeria is constituted today, what we need after President Muhammadu Buhari is a unifier , who can bring all Nigerians together regardless of race, tribes, religions, political leanings and other primordial considerations and that we know Asiwaju can do perfectly well. Asiwaju as a Lagos State governor brought people from the East, West, North and South to bring development to Lagos. His Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Ben Akabueze is from Anambra State. The former Publicity Secretary of APC in Lagos State and current Special Adviser on Environment and Waterways, Joe Igbokwe, is from Anambra as well. There is presently a commissioner in Lagos Cabinet who is from Katsina State. With this , it was clear and evident that Tinubu can’t be a tribal President or fans the ember of religious bigotry. He would serve as a magnetic force that will bring all of us together and that represents the first thing the next President should be able to pursue before hitting the ground running to bring radical development to our land.
In totality, what is your prediction about the next presidential election?
My prediction is exactly how majority of Nigerians felt about the Tinubu/Shettima ticket, that it remains the best perfect match for Nigeria after President Buhari. Nigeria can’t afford to reverse the gear, we need leaders who can build on the legacy of President Buhari and that I believe Tinubu is eminently qualified to do this. We need a man who can harness the potentials of our youth, a man who can unite us and close this existing gaps among ethnic groups and religions and that Tinubu can do effectively because of his past records. We want to have a leader who won’t pander to ethnicity and religious fanaticism. A leader who can see all Nigerians as one. In fact, if you see the solid support Tinubu got from the North prior to the convention, one would know that Tinubu perfectly represents a pan-Nigerian project that will benefit all of us. While many of the aspirants got the bulk of their votes from their region alone, the former Lagos state governor got the larger chunk of his votes from the North. We need a leader that is acceptable to all Nigerians ,not an ethnic champion.
Is Tinubu Presidential candidate gaining currency in the Southwest geopolitical zone?
His candidacy is not only popular and gaining serious traction, but it has become a project for the zone. Let me say this and you can confirm, Tinubu presidency transcends APC, even the PDP members are ready to support it. And this is because the APC abided by the zoning that stipulated that the next President that will succeed Buhari should come from the South. Again, the former Lagos State governor had built so many people across party lines. His own brand of politics doesn’t sideline the opposition . He sees everyone as his own and that he would reap in 2023. Tinubu has built men and women and he has people across the states in the Southwest even up to Edo State to deliver for him. Without any doubt, Tinubu will get over 80 percent of the total votes cast in the region in 2023, no doubt about this. We started with the victory in Ekiti Governorship election and it shall blow through Osun State and to other regions to make Tinubu President by the grace of God and the help of Nigerians.
As a member of BATSV what makes it stands out among the groups working for APC Presidential candidate ahead of 2023 presidency?
The group was formed over five years ago by Ambassador Dare Owotomobi and other like-minds to galvanise support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the grassroots level and I was invited to be a Trustee as someone, who always cherishes Tinubu’s political ideology. Like you rightly said, there were a lot of interest groups formed to work for him, but let me say that most of these groups are deemed too elitist. These groups only targeted the party elite and educated ones across the country because their aim was to ensure that Tinubu wins the presidential ticket and the bulk of those that participated in the primary were those who were educated and holding certain positions in APC. And looking at this lacuna now that he had got the ticket, we believed we have to go to the grassroots, where we have the bulk of the votes. So, BATSV is targeting only the grassroots and we have our membership across the 36 states, the 774 local governments, 8,809 wards and 176,974 units across the country to mobilise voters ahead of the 2023 election. We are committed to this project because of our believe in the ability and competence of the individual we are about to market to Nigerians.
Can you tell us the composition of BATSV membership to convince Nigerians about your strength?
The group consists of top-rated politicians, professionals and youth, who have accomplished very good height in their various fields. The former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Chief Moses Alake, former Ekiti Deputy Governor, Chief Biodun Aluko and great politicians across the country are members and we are still reaching out to other Nigerians. Is a group that is ready to provide a veritable platform for all Nigerians to be part of Tinubu project, so in a nutshell, BATSV is for all Nigerians – the poor , middle class and the rich.