Hon. Jude Idimogu the incumbent member representing Oshodi Isolo constituency II at the Lagos State House of Assembly gave an overview of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Chatham House visit in relation to his poise for the presidency of Nigeria, while appealing to his brothers and sister from the Eastern extractions to team up and vote him in on February 25th 2023. OLANREWAJU ADESANYA brings excerpts.
Chatham House episode for Asiwaju means a lot of things, what are the positive effects of this experience and the new twist to his strategy ahead 2023 election?
My principal Aisiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has done well for the coming 2023 presidency. For me he has improved alot in terms of answering questions than he has been doing before. I have heard a lot of side comments that he is using surrogates to interface the people, for me and those that have known Asiwaju before now, will say that Asiwaju is a team player even those days when he was still a Governor here in Lagos State how did he even improved this internally generated revenue we are talking about ?
He summon a team he was part of even the present Vice president was part of that team with others alike, how do we solve these problems? That has always been his legacy, tomorrow people are always saying he has helped A,B,C,D, from different ethnic group, different profession and different states. Ir is his style of leadership, which is I alone don’t know it all, I alone cannot do it, his style is that if he sees any best hand and believes he can work with the person he carry such person along, that does mean that he cannot answer all those questions well but he felt that my team are here with, he also want to show the whole world that he has a team, a team I can rely on, a team of professionals who are also good in their own aspect. That a country like Nigeria one person alone cannot do it no matter how you look at it, it cannot work and that is why when I see people criticising him. The idea is that all he needs is the brain, the capacity, give the directives, he is not going there to carry block or nail and hammer or whatever, he is there to tell us there is a new way of doing things. We are used to a situation where one person come and speak continually but here is a man who has brought a new idea and people are now criticising him. He has gone and showed the whole world a new idea that look I am team player I can work with others and this people are working with me, I can also give them responsibility, after all he has not won election, when he gets there these are the people that he may work with or even may decide not to work with them. He may decide that okay if I want to do it well for my nation I have guys who can add one or two things so why not me go with them?
So if they asked me question I say okay you are better in that aspect answer it. It does not mean that he cannot answer , I call it division of labour no matter how people look at it. Nothing is static, is it conventional that you must be the only one to answer the questions? It is not written anywhere that only you must answer the questions, no, it depends on my style I might decide and say come my guy let’s go together and say I want you to answer, that does not mean I am not capable I am just giving you an opportunity, as a team we form a bond and anybody that wants to succeed in Nigeria, the way leadership is structured probably that is why all our previous leaders have been failing, because they feel arrogant-you know it all. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu even in his behaviour today he is never that person that would tell you he knows it all.
Let me give an example in Lagos State when you say Governor Advisory Council (GAC) can you see what he is doing? The same thing that apply in Lagos, I have witnessed where he is chairing a meeting and what he does is allow everybody to contribute and he then summarises at the end, that is leadership. Somebody who believes that I alone cannot do it, I alone cannot have all the answers he allows you express yourself. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Amidst other four strong contenders like Mr Peter Obi of Labour party, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of New Nigerian Peoples Party and ALHAJI Atiku Abubarka of Peoples Democratic Party all have at one time or the other shared platforms, only your party’s candidate refused to share platforms with others since the commencement of this electioneering campaigns, don’t you think this portends to us a danger of somebody who is not going to be accountable to us, who thinks he doesn’t need the people back home, who will leave the media back home and go and speak outside the country, where he doesn’t have a voting population that is going to vote him, is this not a sign that this man is going to be out of reach when he eventually gets there?
No, no,no it is not a sign, I will also give you an instance I remember when Peter Obi went to the diaspora the same way Nigeriand were condemning him that why did go to consult with Nigerians over there? So if probably he has had his appointment before that date as I speak to you APC as far as I am concerned their time table is ready and they want to follow those time table religiously and we have not come to the end of campaign a lot of media houses abounds if I don’t do it today it does not mean I won’t partake tomorrow so what is the big deal about it? We still have about 79 days more from today to go before the main election come 25th of February there are plenty and many opportunities for him to engage the media, he might even decide to call the media he wants to call, must I do a townhall meeting for one media house? I might decide to go to media House A,B or C, like I am saying there is still time and lots of things ahead so people should not use or perceive it as of he is running away from such fora, if he is why will he present himself that he wants to rule the country? All of us here knows the antecedents of Asiwaju during the Juntas era was he not on the streets? All those presidential candidates contending with him how many of them were on the streets, who risked their lives to fight for this democracy even me that is enjoying it now ? He and some others fought for this, they even escaped being hurt at some point the same man after sacrificing, now said okay give me opportunity to rule the nation people are criticising as if it is a bad thing to say he wants something. It depends on you thr audience to say okay we will give you or not you. It is not like he is going to take it by force but there is nothing like me presenting myself this what I want. I don’t see anything wrong with that. This same way you can come and say this is what you want. So he has his right to contest the way he believe best because at the end of day what matters is winning the election, any other thing you are saying is by the way.
His party, his mind and his world might be different just like my strategy might be different from your own. My strategy is for me to win, you have your own strategy and talking about Nigerian audience, all of them are not listening to TV townhall meetings, if they are not listening to TV A townhall meeting they can listen to townhall meeting of TV B the radio is also there,so there are a lot of other avenues.
It is not late, this man has not come and said no I will not attend Nigerian interview or stuffs like that the issue for me is that when the opportunity came he has another appointment he has to keep that is it. There are other opportunities in front.
All they do in the parley is just to ask questions from party’s candidate individually and that for me is a token for Asiwaju there is nothing serious there.
Some people raised the question that why should El-Rufai the Governor of Kaduna state answer questions on security whereas his state still grapples with insecurity despite housing nearly all the military apparatus in Nigeria is under fire, even as we speak why is it so and we are calling it a team?
It also mean from your question that El-Rufai might even have better experience because like you mentioned his state is under fire so he might be able to do well in that, the fact remains that even the insecurity we are battling today did not start overnight, sometimes we forget where the water starts beating us, we only complain when we get to a level. This thing did not start today, it started even right from the previous administration so at times when I look at Nigeria I say come what is happening? All we are seeing today is an accumulation of what has been happening for a long time ago, which was not addressed on time and the issue is that when things have gone bad, for you to amend it takes a while. Today now the APC government led by President Mohammadu Buhari is doing well in the area of security unlike before. Yes! If we can compare it to what is happening before if assuming he has used this pace since a year ago I think by now it should have been a thing of the past and let me tell you government is a continuum, no government can come and solve all the problems, even as you solving one problem another problems are coming up that is the way it is and my concern is sometimes people that people that claimed to be holier than thou, the most important problem with us is not our leaders but with our followers because even from day one we don’t even hold our leaders accountable leave all this bickering but I like what is happening now because people are now talking and asking questions ,assuming before now if all these questions were being asked let’s say 10 years continuously may be we would have progress.
In my language they say the day you wake up is your beginning so I believe that my leader our own presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the best candidate that as at today amongst those running that we have come 2023 that is my opinion and I believe we will win.
Back to Chatham house your principal was busy assigning questions to his team, if we agreed that Nigerians are the employer and he is one of the applicants applying for a job and he came for a job interview and a question was thrown at him and he is asking his brother, sister or friend to answer it for him don’t you see that as cheating, malpractices?
No, like I have said one thing before there is different style of leadership for me from the antecedents of Asiwaju he had always been like that, from under if some of us can tell us the truth, those that have been following him from unset his attitude, splendid administration prior to his emergence as governor he is that kind of person who does not believe he knows it all he goes and work with his team.
As an applicant will he get the job?
Look there are many people who will decide his fate, you may not like it, I like it other people may like it as well so at the end of the day it is the majority that will decide his fate.
This is more like a policy related question amongst all the four contenders Asiwaju is the only one that is yet to come out with his clear plans on how to tackle some salient issues of governance if eventually he becomes the president. Why are we not having the when and how from Asiwaju?
As far as I am concerned that is not the true position of things, I have also been listening to the things he has been saying and our manifesto is there but manifesto alone cannot do it, you need human beings to come and implement it. He had been giving the how to go about it and when may be you are not paying g attention , in fact he has been giving answer to questions, solution, idea more than the other three candidates before he travelled for the Chatham house encounter he has been giving the how and when, he was in Delta, Bayelsa where he met the creek boys .
Slippery statements by Asiwaju is like a child asked question in one field of study and is answering from another, as a father will you tolerate such?
Many of us have slip of tongue at some point in life, for instance Daniel Bwalla PDP spokesman made same mistake likewise Senator Dino Melaye made such mistakes, even some times I do slip intending to say he and I say she so what is the big deal there? We make such slip over time so when such happens you correct it and move forward so you cannot use that one to judge, is he an encyclopaedia? So let us not be looking at things that does not matter let’s dwell on substance, taking me in verbatim here I can make mistake so it is not a crime neither is it something that is subject to debate. See Nigerians should leave all those minute considerations. Personally I don’t know why most Nigerians just hate this man is it because off his success or popularity or maybe because of what he has achieved in life, because I cannot really fathom why the criticism is this much. Tomorrow if I have the means I can say I want to be President of Nigeria, today I know what people say on the social media because I am supporting Asiwaju the kinds of calls I am receiving but that will not deter me , this is my own choice, he has his choice, he is presenting his self before Nigerians and they have the choice to choose him or somebody else but as far as I am concerned and a lot of people he is our presidential candidate. By the grace of God I will not sleep until he wins.
Provided Asiwaju is not on the ballot as one of the candidates contending for the presidency whom will you prefer amongst the other three contenders?
Nothing but Asiwaju, my message to Lagosians and my Igbo brothers is that in Lagos it is an Expressway, go on straight to Alausa for Sanwoolu and all other candidates there is no rival, we have no opposition at his own level the only one where we have such is at the presidency. For Sanwo-Olu I would say go on straight, I always say a good product is always good, good thinking, good product, good products have buyers and those buyers are Ibos like us and we will vote for him and when we do Sanwo-Olu will win . For our dear President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu I am saying my Igbo brothers, Lagosians naturally this is Asiwjau’s home base so for that fact he has already taken 50 percent of the voters in Lagos State whether we like it or not. Now the remaining 50 percent is what I now beg the non indigenes especially my Igbo brothers and sisters that (ebi onyebi onawashi) meaning where you live you protect, let’s not be sentimental. If I want the best where I am living I will support the land owners, I cannot be fighting my landlords, even you appears to have won , you will discover that you’ve loose alot but if you join hands with the owners of the land work with the government and whatever you want the government will give to you. That is the way I look at it . I am appealing to my Igbo brothers and sisters that they should please vote Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president of this great country come 2023 and also vote Sanwo-Olu as governor