Speculations on whether or not, former governor of Lagos State and All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will be contesting for the office of the president in the forthcoming general elections, ended during the week.
Tinubu had declared his intentions of fulfilling ‘his life-long ambition of becoming the president of Nigeria, during a visit to President Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa.
Barely 24 hours after his declaration, governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State also met Buhari to declare his presidential ambition under the same party. As of Wednesday, the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, also declared to run for the number one office under the APC.
“I’ve said it over and over again that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is going to win the APC primaries however you go about it, whatever mode of primaries you adopt; whether direct primaries, indirect primaries, a combination of direct and indirect primaries, Asiwaju is going to win,” Jubrin told Arise TV The Morning Show crew during an interview.
With his declaration, all party stalwarts will rally around him so, we can have better stability and concentrate on the general elections. But for the primaries, I don’t have any fear that Tinubu is going to win. In any case, even in the secondary election, Bola Tinubu continues to be the front runner”.
He goes further to state his reasons. “He is knowledgeable, understands the economy of the country, understands politics of the country, knows the people, has a large heart, not a religious fanatic, and not an ethnic jingoist. So you see that we are going to have a president that will be able to continue from where president Buhari stops and build Nigeria of our dream”.
On the issue of the Jagaban’s age and zoning the presidency to the southeast, Hon Jubrin stated that good leadership is not a function of age, insisting that someone can be a young man and be a bad leader and vice versa.
The most important thing he said, “is capacity and competence, and if you have all that, we will support you and in this instance, Bola Tinubu fits in.
“On the issue of the South East, I also sympathise with them; we all do.
The issue is that over the years, traditionally, they have always played centre politics; it is the South West that has been playing regional politics because the South West realised that they have to play central politics just like what late MKO Abiola did.
The South-East will have to put a bit of effort to get to the centre in terms of the overall nature of the politics they are playing. They also have to demonstrate that they are really interested in the presidency. For example, there’s a dominance of the southeastern part of the country in the PDP.
But you rarely see them coming out to show, even when they have competent people to contest. Apart from Pius Ayim who came out a few days ago, nobody is coming out. And they are there debating to zone the presidency to the northern part of the country. You can now see that they are not even pushing as hard as they should for the PDP to take the presidency to the southern part of the country which is in fairness what should happen,” he added.
He advised the southeastern part of the country to re-examine the politics that they are playing, build a strategy around what they want to do, as this is an opportunity for them. Funny enough, he invited south-east politicians to “come in and support Asiwaju Bola Tinubu”, stressing that “It is the best opportunity that they have in the future to have the presidency, and you know why because he is a man of his words. If he gives his word, he is going to do it”.
Referencing some statements credited to former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu in 2006 and 2007 when he said Bola Tinubu is corrupt, as well as Tinubu’s involvement in the Alpha Beta case, Rufai Oseni inquired whether such allegations of corruption would not hinder Tinubu’s ambition.
“If you punch google now, there is no politician in Nigeria that you will not see one accusation or the other of corruption. So, we’ve reduced it as word of playing politics. The only way you know that a person is corrupt or not is when he is charged to court, the court makes the pronouncement of it.
I do not see anything in that because he is a front runner. Bola Tinubu is an armoured tank, and everybody tries to hit, bomb and bomb, they know that he has a destiny with 2023,” Jubrin defended.
He added that “Asiwaju has a pedigree; he’s worked so hard to build his image, his empire and he is the person that Nigerians want at the moment. I come from the Northern part of the country; anywhere you go in the North is Asiwaju, so it is going to be a landslide, both in the primaries and secondary elections”.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s health has also been a major concern. And so, the crew wanted to know if he is physically fit to lead Nigerians.
“Everybody falls sick. Asiwaju was ill, it was a public matter, went to the hospital- it was a public matter, if he had wanted, he would not have allowed people to visit him while he was ill. And he got well, came back to the country and continued his activities. This man is fine, healthy and well, travelling all over the place, organising his preparation for when the lord will permit us to start a campaign and people are busy talking about his health.
Today, look at president Buhari, how healthy he looks, he is even becoming healthier. He was sick, went to the hospital, told the country he was ill, came back and continued his work. For one day, President Buhari has never collapsed. We should stop playing politics with matters like this,” Hon Jubrin responded.
Again, from Oseni, another question begging for an answer is, “how did he make so much wealth that he can afford a bullion van prior to an election, in his home- a staggering colossal amount of wealth, how did that wealth come about…?”
“At this point, we’ve gotten to, our emphasis should be on the pedigree of this candidate, what he has demonstrated that he has done, what he has achieved, how he has changed the revenue of Lagos State, put a long term plan to implement the infrastructure. Etc,” Jubrin stated.
Feeling unsatisfied with that shallow response, Oseni queried, “How did Bola Ahmed Tinubu make his money…? In response, the honourable said “These are all trash from the internet that people put together and we will not elevate such conversations but when campaigns commence, we will bring out facts and figures and put before Nigerians”. Refusing to accept the bullion van issue as trash, Rufai maintained, “How is this trash, Bullion Van was found in his home, the pictures went viral, and there’s been no denial.
So, how is it trash that we want to know how the person that will lead Nigeria made so much wealth and also, the declaration of him being richer than Osun state…how did he make his money and how old he is?”.
Well, Jubrin insisted that they will not elevate such conversations, describing Rufai’s refusal to accept his answer to the question about Tinubu’s source of wealth and age as unfair.