Comrade John Lawal is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC); a staunch supporter of the APC presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. In this interview with CHAMBA SIMEH, he said he has done a lot in his little way to support Tinubu’s bid.
We’re glad to have you today on our platform and considering that you’re not running for any political office. Why are you investing so much in the Tinubu project?
I am very happy for this opportunity to speak on some pertinent issues, especially my resolve to support the candidate of the APC in the coming presidential election. The leadership recruitment process in our country must not be left to the professional politicians alone, but it must evolve now to include all segments of the Nigerian society. This is because the leadership of the country at every point in time affects everybody, positively or negatively. My support for Bola Tinubu is out of my conviction that among the plethora of candidates jostling for the office of the Nigerian Presidency at this point in time, he is ways above them.
The question on the lips, seeing how passionate you are in supporting Tinubu, is why do you think he is the best?
It is high time that we faced reality by shunning sentiments and the pull-him-down syndrome that has left us in the wilderness of under-development. Our people, I think, are more politically conscious today to recognise a good leader when they see one. Tinubu, we should not forget, is one of the very few personalities that went to the trenches fighting for the enthronement of a genuine democracy in our country. This is a man who has severally lost his personal investments and freedom in the course of fighting for the return of democracy to this country; and this is even against the most vicious military regime this country ever had. This man has paid his dues and I think now he should be given the opportunity to lead Nigeria. I am proud to be investing without prodding from anyone on the Tinubu project. I believe in the man’s ability to translate this support to the accelerated development of our country which I believe is the wish of all citizens.
The Kogi state central senatorial district has really felt the impacts of your campaigns for Tinubu, especially in your home town of Okene. Why did you choose to start from your hometown?
They say all politics is local. Today, I can proudly tell you that the Kogi central senatorial area is 100 per cent APC and pro-Tinubu in this month’s presidential election. The broadly unenlightened masses all share the same concerns about the impacts of mass poverty, hunger, and unemployment. Unfortunately, some people seem not to care about the long-term outcome of the election process. It is the duty of enlightened and patriotic citizens to engage continuously so that the ordinary citizens appreciate that there are consequences for whatever choices we make this year. I have peer- reviewed all the candidates jostling for the office of the president and found that Bola Tinubu is the best. This support you see for the candidate from me starting from my home town and enlarging into the whole state is my deliberate way of enlightening my people on who is the best to support.
What do you think will be the benefits of the Tinubu presidency to Nigerians?
The economy is one of the major issues for the campaign for this election. A critical factor that determines economic growth in a democracy is the competence, capacity, and commitment of the leadership of a country. The quality of those we elect into office is very important as it is going to be a factor in tackling and reversing the malaise we have faced economically in this country. We have today multiple choices, but essentially one better choice and option as the president of Nigeria in the next dispensation and it is no other than Tinubu. In Lagos state as governor, he tackled the issues of poor infrastructure and the many developmental issues from education, healthcare, land administration to agriculture. If he has the capacity to do that in Lagos state, he would do better as president of Nigeria and you can take that to the bank.
What do you have to say about the PDP presidential candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who many say is a threat to the victory of Tinubu in Kogi state?
A threat?.. I do not see him as such in Kogi state. I do not want to dwell much on name- calling, but for the purpose of this interview I would say a gallivanting and nomadic politician so desperately attached to using every political platform with no political ideological stability in the likes of Atiku Abubakar can today not have a chance with a political giant like Bola Tinubu in the race. Atiku Abubakar is no different from the type of politician we want to be retired from the political scene because his candidature is a constant reminder to us of our wasted political and development years. His defeat by Tinubu would really signal the end of an era. I am surprised that Atiku Abubakar and his promoters are portraying him as a repentant politician who has seen the light and now adopted a Messianic triumphalism posture in rescuing the nation from the claws of the APC which has fared better in eight years than the 16 years of the locust of the PDP. His situation sounds hypocritical even though it resonates with some people who are like him – disgruntled and discontented with the present orthodoxy.
In your opinion, what are the challenges before us as a country?
We need a leadership that would fight the symmetric and asymmetric warfare of our people. We are living in a very interesting time and we need a leader that can rise to the challenges of the times. If we get our leadership right in this country our problems would be over in no time. I want all of us to rise up and contribute to the right leadership endeavours in the country because it is a call to patriotism. The second challenge before us is to concentrate on how to rescue our country from bad leadership at all levels by using the weaponised devices of the power of our votes. The attendant effects of bad leadership have an immediate and long time effect that we can never quantify.
Some are complaining that your candidate is among the type of leadership that we need to discard from the political scene. What is your take?
This assertion is borne out of petty jealousy. Let me tell you the fact that Tinubu does not necessarily respond to all sorts of rubbish published about him shows his maturity politically. A pessimist is a well informed optimist. Tinubu is the most investigated governor and nothing was found against him even when the EFCC was under the PDP regime and its contractual tendencies. This man would be president by the grace of God because abuses, lies and innuendos are never substitutes for political logic except among political illiterates and clowns which the manufacturers of such fake news are.
How far are you willing to go financially in supporting Tinubu?
As far as the victory of Tinubu demands, I am spending my own resources based on my conviction that as citizens we need to rise to the demands of the time and it is choosing a capable leadership personality to lead our developmental processes and transformation. I can tell you rightly that I was not sponsored by anybody and I am doing it willing. We bought cars, printed t-shirts, memorabilia, billboards, sponsored advertorials and jingles in radio stations and dramas on television and above all a magnificent campaign office housing our campaign headquarters all for Tinubu.