Popular Lagos godfather, Bola Ahmed Tinubu might be gunning for the job of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Hon Hakeem Bamgbola is the Vice Chairman Lagos Central Senatorial District of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, the former State Secretary of the party speaks on developments in Lagos State and other issues of national interests.
The governor- elect of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu will be sworn-in in few days’ time. What are your expectations from him?
The expectations from our party members and Lagosians as a whole is that we want developments that will take the economy of Lagos state to the next level. We all know that it is the third largest economy in Africa. I believe that with the coming on board of Sanwo-Olu, Lagos might attain the top spot in the economy of Africa. There are lots of expectations in all sectors because what I consider as priority may not be the thing that matters to you. However everybody wants a state that is secured, cleaner and economically viable. I know that Sanwo-Olu will deliver on all the promises he has made. I will appeal to Lagosians to give him their cooperation so that he can perform to the expectations of all.
Governor Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna recently came to Lagos and said there is need to retire political godfathers in Lagos. What is your take on that?
I don’t know how many godfathers he has retired in Kaduna because he never mentioned their names. He only said that he has retired all the godfathers in Kaduna state. We know that Lagos is a peculiar state and we have the leadership that guides us which has been there for us for a long time. I will only say El- Rufai is playing to the gallery. He can’t do anything about the leadership in Lagos state and we still believe in the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as our father and leader in APC, who, as governor from 1999 to 2007 laid the foundation for the Lagos of today.
Why do you think it has been difficult for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win the governorship election in Lagos since 1999?
It is because of the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu. He is leader that embraces everyone. He is a man with a large heart. No matter your gravity of sin, when you are remorseful and you come back to him, he forgives easily and he will even give you a greater role to play in the party. I can cite several examples in the past and present to back up this. In fact, some of our members who angrily decamped to PDP, having realised that they are in political wilderness in PDP, they came back to APC and today, they are still playing key roles in the party. Also, he doesn’t take unilateral decision. If there are serious issues in the party that needs to be addressed, Asiwaju will table it before the Governors Advisory Council (GAC). He is also accessible to everybody, irrespective of your position in the party. He is a leader who is full of empathy and will inconvenience himself to make others comfortable. That is one of the things that distinguish Asiwaju Tinubu from other leaders in the country. That is why we are like a united family in APC and we have always recorded resounding victories in the governorship and other elections conducted from 1999 till date.
What are your expectations from President Buhari as he will also begin his second term in few days’ time?
My appeal to the President is that we need to do more. He did well in his first term and that is why appreciate Nigerians renewed his mandate but he can still do more. I am glad the theme of his second term is ‘Next Level’ whereby he has promised to consolidate on the gains recorded in his first term. Also, he needs to improve on the economy. If we are sincere, the economy is not that stable for now. On his cabinet, those he will be bringing on board now must be people of vision who believe in his agenda and are ready to make sacrifices to ensure all the goals are met.
There are rumours that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu might contest the presidential election in 2023. Do you think he has what it takes to govern the country?
Like you said, it is still speculations but the general belief among Nigerians is that based on his records in Lagos State, if we can have someone like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as President, Nigeria will benefit a lot from his leadership. People know him as visionary leader, a highly detribalised Nigerian who has a wide network across the country. They also know that he is a leader who has a knack for identifying talents and also believes in grooming new set of leaders many of whom are holding key positions in the country today. We are hopeful that in 2023, the presidency will be zoned to the South- West and if he indicates interest in contesting, I am hopeful that all over the country, Nigerians will troop out to elect Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as president of this country.