BY SAMINU IBRAHIM
There have been criticisms since you indicated interest to contest for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Some critics even went to the extent of saying that you don’t have the temperament of being president. What is your reaction to the barrage of attacks that trailed your declaration?
I don’t have reactions, other than I want to be president of Nigeria. I don’t want everybody to support me, because everybody cannot support you in life. The moment everybody is supporting you, then you are a dead man. Face where you are going, if this is your desire in life, stand for your desire, pursue it and get it. People will say so many things, even if you give them your wife. Even if you say you give them your mother, some would still be for and against. So why do you bother to give anything to people that will never love you? I don’t like to cry where somebody will not tell me not to cry again oh. I won’t even start to cry, I will just clean my face. I am set for a goal, the goal is ahead of me. I want to achieve it, I want to attain it, I want to be president of Nigeria.
Why do you think you are the right man for the job?
Even Nigerians know that am the best and the right man for the job. Let us first of all talk about my experience. I am not just somebody not known; I am a credible voice in this country, I am somebody who has been saying the present administration is not doing well. I have a better offer for them and let me go a little further to tell you that I was elected twice as governor of Ekiti state, defeating incumbents two times. I have penchant for defeating incumbents and in the same strength and God’s grace I will take out President Buhari from office. Democracy says majority either by 51 percent is majority. Did you ever imagine President Buhari will be president of Nigeria after losing so many elections? But because God had destined it. I am destined to be president of Nigeria. When and how? The remaining is with God.
Your party, PDP, has already zoned the presidency to the north in 2019, won’t this zoning affect you?
You see, I support them for zoning it to the north but I want to ask them a question. Up till now, who has officially, credibly come out to say he wants to be president? (The interview was conducted before Alhaji Sule Lamido’s declaration last Monday). You think it is those days when they will just wake up one day and say we have given the presidency to somebody, like the one they gave to Obasanjo that time? That will never happen again, if anybody wants to contest, let him come out and show us; election and primaries of political parties will be a year away. When will Nigerians see the qualities you are made of? In America, when election is three years away, the people that will contest into that office will begin to gravitate, begin to move, begin to reach out. The race starts from the day another president gets elected. So, if they say it is zoned to the north and nobody has come out from the north, what will you do? So we will not have candidate again? Zoning is fantastic and I am saying that by the grace of God if the party says it is the north and because if you say it is the north, you still have to go through a process to achieve it. Let them defeat me now! Let them defeat me, I have thrown my hat into the ring. I am battle ready, I am prepared for it, I am set, I am showing credible readiness to be president of Nigeria. If they have alternative to me in the north, let the alternative come out not under the bed they are sleeping. They are currently under the bed. I am on active mode, I am not scared of anything, to God be the glory. Because power will not come from men, it will come from God, I am set for this race. I want to be president of Nigeria.
When you declared your intention to the party leadership to vie for the presidential ticket, what was their reaction?
What should be their reaction? I just said to you everybody cannot love you. And they don’t have to and when you are waiting for people that will say when are you going to start; the race has started. I am doing what I have to do, some will not support you now. Some will come and beg you when you get there. Some will run and meet you on the way as you are running. At some point, it is difficult to say everybody will follow you, but when there are no alternative routes, everybody will jump into the boat and catch up with you and follow you.
What will happen if you are denied the party’s ticket, will you decamp?
I will take it in good faith, you understand. You see not taking a decision is the worst thing that can happen to you. You have to move, not moving will be the worst thing that can happen to you. If you are looking for the day of the dead you will not start living at all. Today, I have chosen the path which I believe in very strongly. Nigerians know me when I say yes, it is yes. With due respect to Nigerians, they will vote me. They have seen that I am not a coward, you need to have a reasonable level of courage, you must be fearless to be president of this country. Nigerians don’t want old people to be their president any more. We need a lot of energy to run governance. As much as you need money, you need energy beyond measure. To be governor of Ekiti state, I deployed a lot of energy. To be president of Nigeria, you have to deploy 36 times of that effort if not more. So, I have what it takes to be president of Nigeria physically and I have good health. I am strong, reliable and you know what it takes for a man like me to be in the saddle.
Let us assume that you are popular in the south west and south east. Will you say that you are popular in the north?
You see, you don’t know politics that is why you are talking like this, and you don’t know God. When you see a man with fierce character like the current president, it is on the day of election that you will know they are no more with Buhari. Let me get the ticket first, when I get the ticket of the party, you will know that I have large following in the north. Secondly, when God destines a thing, he makes a way where there seems to be no way.
How will you convince Nigerians that your presidency would be different?
The little you have seen in my criticism of the present administration and the love I enjoy in Ekiti clearly show that I will make a good president. Today, in Nigeria, Ekiti is the best in education. That is our identity, if you can sustain your identity, you will sustain the identity of Nigeria. And let me tell you again very expressly, I have the experience, I always encourage that we must take people who have democratic experience, who have gone through it in states, not just anybody who says I am coming, I am a former military man, I am a former civil defense man. Democracy is different from autocracy. A lion will always be a lion, even when you bring it to the house and feed it with pap. One day the lion will chop your children. I am a properly grown democrat, who knows the feelings of the people. I am the voice of the people in Nigeria. Ayo Peter Fayose the rock, is the voice of Nigerians. When I speak, they listen, when I criticise government, they believe that is the true position. You see, let me say it this way, for as long as this country remains, I am going to bring back hope to them.
Are you not worried about the power of incumbency in the politics of not just Nigeria but developing countries?
Let me tell you, Jonathan was an incumbent when Buhari took him out. Jonathan was an incumbent with all powers, Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces. Goliath was the Commander in Chief those days, until David took him out. This Ayo Peter ‘The Rock’ Fayose will take out President Buhari and the APC in 2019, God willing.
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