The party, Alliance for Democracy (AD), is intact and we are meeting. It is unfortunate that we found ourselves in such a precarious situation because under normal circumstances, we are not supposed to be deregistered because, looking at our past achievements, we should still be standing. Secondly, due process was not followed generally before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made the pronouncement deregistering the parties. Anyway, the case against the action is still in court. We are hopeful of defeating the INEC in court because once the case is won in court, it will rub off on all deregistered parties. So, we are still functioning as a party with shared ideas and visions.
Recently, you issued a statement on behalf of some political parties supporting the presidential aspiration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader. Would you explain if the AD is now working towards a merger with APC?
There is no merger plan with APC. It is not only AD that is in the arrangement in support of Asiwaju Tinubu. We have 25 political parties working together, even as several others are also willing to join us too. We just came together as a group of political parties to discuss the 2023 elections. During our discussions, we found out that among the Yorubas, Asiwaju has the popularity and political wherewithal to win the presidency in 2023. So, we decided to give him our support.
We understand that you are indeed the Coordinator of the group working towards the actualisation of the Tinubu presidency. What is the name of the group, its objectives and activities so far?
The name of the group is Forum of Political Parties. We cannot use the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) since its constitution does not allow partisanship. Its activities are majorly to speak on behalf of the parties if there are contending issue that affect us. Our involvement in the Tinubu presidency was facilitated by the State Chairman of the Southwest Agenda (SWAGA) 2023, Primate Charles Odugbesi, a former representative of All Progressives Congress (APC) and also a State Executive of IPAC when I was its state chairman. Someone many of us respect so much. And we have agreed to work together towards achieving a Yoruba Presidency in 2023.
Could you explain further the mission and vision of the group?
As a political group, the Forum of Political Parties in Lagos State support for the 2023 presidential aspiration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It is true that we have, through our meetings and media works, been canvassing for the Tinubu presidency. We see the former Lagos State governor as the most qualified for the nation’s number one position, assuring him of their support for the next eight years. When Asdiwaju returned from his medial trip abroad, we as a group, officially welcomed him Leader back from his medical trip. It was our view that Tinubu’s return from the medical trip naturally ignited political activities in the state. This we saw as the evidence of his political sagacity and relevance come 2023.
We also used the opportunity to express optimism that despite the ill-health at that time, Tinubu would still be around for a long time to come, even after his two term of eight years in Aso Rock as the nation’s president of Nigeria. We also looked at Tinubu’s landmark achievements. The forum noted that the former governor pioneered the BRT buses project, which has helped commuters to enjoy their ride in the state. It would be recalled the judiciary reforms in Lagos State the state, which have place the state above others in that sector, was his handiwork. He also overhauled the health sector. The reform in health sector brought about the building of five general hospitals in the state and improved remuneration for healthcare workers, which has remained the best in the country.
On the reforms in education, the Tinubu administration impacted positively on the sector with improved salary for teachers as well as the introduction of millennium schools to meet the World and UNESCO standards. Tinubu established LASTMA, LAWMA, LIRS and other pioneering agencies in Lagos State and created the Local Council Development Authorities (LCDAs), which helped to bring governance to the grassroots. With these past achievements by Tinubu, we know that if he assumes the presidency of this nation, Nigerians will sing a new song and the citizens will be better for it. It is our belief that majority of the political parties in Lagos State will root for Tinubu presidency hence our group want him to contest. We are assuring him of out unwavering and total support.
Considering the age and the health situation of Tinubu, don’t you think that a younger and stronger candidate like Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who is already a vice president, could have been a better choice than Asiwaju Tinubu?
There is no age barrier to contest for the position of presidency in Nigeria and even in advance democracies. Joe Biden is 79 years. Donald Trump is 75. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, is 81. So, the issue of age is not an issue for us at all. What matters to us is Competency, Capacity and Character.
Credit to Guardian