National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, returned to the country after months of seeking medical attention abroad. He speaks on various national issues, insisting that corruption is the bane of Nigeria’s aviation sector.
How do you feel now?
It is a great joy to be back, it is good that we are back and I really appreciate your concern and this great gathering. As you are aware, I returned 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.
How was the surgery?
It was successful. Among the medical professionals was a physiotherapist who did the job that I must get well quick and return to the country. 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 kilometers. If you want to try me, I will get down, and we can run and see who wins.
What is your view on APC registration?
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 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 even submitted myself to travel. I believe I was confident, that we will be registered in a country where there is the rule of law in some aspect of it. I am glad the baby was not aborted by the electoral body, 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 because 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.
Do you support the setting up of a committee to set modalities for a National Conference?
How long have we been talking about it? Why suddenly now? There is something in political history and social history, they say beware of Greek gift. It is only a very smart rodent in house full of little crumble 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 because I see a contradiction here. I will discuss with my party. I see a diversion here. I will discuss with my party. I see deception here, I will discuss with my party. I see lack of honesty and integrity here. It is time to look at our own agenda and develop it. Nigeria is 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 to come 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 this development.
What will you say about the death of former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu?
Agagu was a committed family man, with what had happened, Tunji is a close friend of every one of us. But God has done one thing He has shown us his wonders. In the midst of all of these, Feyi Agagu survived, his brother-in-law survived. He has given room for us to give thanks to God.
What is the solution to the crisis in the aviation sector?
I think we are talking to a deaf ear. Nigeria’s aviation is a risk, we have never allowed professionals to run the industry, and 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, and this runway that we landed on is one of the worst in the world. It does not meet world standards, you allow non professional, 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. They have continued to allow mediocres to take decisions. You stop Amaechi from using the Rivers State jet. You stopped Oshiomhole from flying. Is that a way to value people’s life? Where are the professionals, where are the engineers? What is the age of the plane and the records of maintenance but when they have already compromised the office, they waste valuable lives and time. We have to remove corruption because that is a cancer in our society. We have to remove ethnicity in our society. It is a shame on our society.