Monday, October 7, 2013

Am back to rescue Nigeria-Tinubu

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in this interaction with newsmen on his arrival from his medical trip abroad, accuses President Jonathan of planning to use the proposed National Conference to deceive Nigerians. Our Correspondent, Ayodele Samuel was there. Excerpts:
Your long medical trip generated a lot of controversy, how was your surgery?
This is the first ever and the longest period of my absence from Nigeria's political scene since 1993; it has never happened. The only time something like this happened was when I was in exile.
Since 1999 that we returned, I have never been away for more than one week not even personal vacation. I am glad that I am back. I am fit and able. I can run 2.5 kilometre, if you want to try me, I will get down, and we can run and see who wins.
It is a great joy to be back, it is good that we are back and I really appreciate your concerns and this great gathering. I am returning today, having travelled overseas for medical attention. Among those who contributed to this are great Nigerians, well qualified, who have moved out of the country because there are no facilities, no equipment. No such opportunities in Nigeria, now the surgery was successful.
While you were away, the APC was registered by INEC, how do you feel?
I am proud to be part of the group: a set of Nigerians who are determined to say enough in the political landscape. That we should not continue to allow termites and rodents to promote corruption, unemployment, destitution, lies and unfortunately, ineptitude in government.
Our determination is to have a political platform, where true democracy will be promoted by all Nigerians. We got to a stage that we finished all the documentation before I travelled. I was confident, that we will be registered in a country where there is the rule of law. I am glad the baby was not aborted; the baby was born. That baby is the new hope, a new platform. This new platform is a rescue platform; it is not a replica platform of the past, or of the same old way.
It's a redefinition and rescue mission for Nigeria. You own it, all Nigerians own it, all Nigerians must be determined. Political success is not a game of bystanders; it's not a game of spectators. You journalists own the principle of this party, the objectives of it and if you buy into it, you will be able to see, whether this party can rule Nigeria. And definitely we will do that.
On planned National Conference and Dialogue
How long have we been talking about it? Why suddenly? There is something in political history and social history, they say beware of Greek gift. It is only a very smart rodent in a house full of little crumbs of poison that will survive the trappings of the owners. Let us, first of all, ask series of questions. But I need to consult with my party but I see a contradiction here.
How many months to the election does he develop the urge for national dialogue? I smell deception here, this government is using deceptive strategy to run the country, when the people can't trust the government what will they dialogue.
I will discuss with my party. I see a diversion here. I will discuss with my party. I see deception here. I see lack of honesty and integrity here. It is time to look at our own agenda and develop it. Nigerians are being deceived. So, where is the sovereignty? What about the Electoral Act? What about the Lemu Committee? We have not had white paper or green paper out of that. Why now? How many months to the elections? Can't you smell a good soup when it is well cooked? Can't you smell a bad one that stinks? Can't you smell the odour of the deception when it is passing by? It is left for our party and all of us to note all these development.
Some stakeholders are calling for the postponement of the 2015 polls because of the conference.
The suggestion smacked of dishonesty and fraud. That is the saying of a thief, who wants to continue to hold on to opportunity; who is enjoying and stealing and wants to continue to have that opportunity. What are you postponing about election? Is it with the head you walk or with the feet? You must stand on something; you say democracy and sovereignty of this country is about the National Assembly, but I argued then, that sovereignty belonged to the people. Now there is a diversion. Where is the agenda? I want to say beware of the poisonous gift. But I cannot conclude here today unless I consult with my party. I can only express my own feelings. I am a democrat, if the party says go this direction, I must follow them to that direction.
What's your comment on the recent plane crash in Lagos involving former Governor Segun Agagu's corpse, his children and other passengers?
It is unfortunate that one of our great politician in person of former Governor Olusegun Agugu passed away suddenly and in the process of his burial there was a tragedy. So many lives were lost; it is a sad and depressing period in our country.
Regardless of political divide, he was a perfect gentleman, committed family man, patriotic democrat and with what has happened, MIC boss, the late Tunji Okunsanya, is a close friend to everyone of us. But God has done one thing, He has shown us his wonder. Despite all of these, Feyi Agugu survived, his brother in-law survived. So, he has given room for us to give thanks to God.
Addressing the government, I think we are talking to a deaf ear. Nigeria's Aviation is a risk. We have never allowed professionals to run the aviation industry. We created too much bureaucracy, kinsmanship, ethnicity and mediocrity to intervene in our decisions. We play with the lives of Nigerians. We have no infrastructure. This runway that we landed on is one of the worst in the world. It does not meet world standards.
You allow non professionals, fraudsters, corruption, to dominate the ministry. The ministry should have nothing to do with all agencies. The professionals in the Ministry of Aviation should be adequately trained. They should be trained and retrained to meet the world standards. You allowed mediocre to take decisions. You abuse me politically or disagree with me your plane will not fly, you can ground Amaechi anytime you want to ground him, you can recall Adams Oshiomole in the mid-air, is that the way to value peoples life? Where are the professional Hangers? It's not the age of the aircraft that matters, it's record of maintenances of the aircraft but when they have already compromised in their vision, they waste our valuable life and time to give us grieve and sorrow.
We have to remove corruption; that is a cancer in our society. We have to remove ethnicism, carelessness. He is my brother he must take that job. The carelessness for qualification is a shame on this country.