Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the most celebrated and outstanding political leader, South West Nigeria, granted The Guardian Newspaper team of Muyiwa Adeyemi and Godwin Ijediogor this interview which we culled for your attention and illumination on the political development in Nigeria’s transitional democracy, Read On:
Former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has canvassed the legislation of a two-party system as the panacea for sustaining democracy in Nigeria.
Besides, he said the much-touted Mega Party being proposed by the progressives is achievable only if the ongoing electoral reforms could make rigging of elections impossible.
Tinubu, in an excusive interview with The Guardian also expressed confidence that the Action Congress (AC) will emerge victorious in the next week’s re-run governorship poll in Ekiti state and warned that any attempt by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the election will be resisted by the people.
According to him, “Our people are going to vote against them. They know, that is why they are talking of soldiers and sewing uniforms; we are confident of winning Ekiti, if the poll is free and fair. But if it is not, let them think of the history of electoral crisis in Nigeria 1964 and 1983. They have to stop imposing people on us.
“They asked us to go to court if we had dispute concerning the former election and we did. Now we have followed the rule of law by surrendering ourselves to re-run poll in Ekiti, as ordered by the Court of Appeal. I heard that some people said they would do everything possible to win the election, but I say no. If they try it, it would be mutually assured destruction. People will revolt; they will react if there is any imposition on them this time around.”
He posited that the current multi-party system being operated would continue to create confusion and perpetuate the ruling party in power. According to him, “Even the United States, for the two-party system to succeed, they had to put several high hurdles before an independent candidate or a third party. Five hundred years of British democracy have been based on two-party system, until the rules were relaxed later on after they gained some stability and a third party started coming on gradually.
“The conservatives will always give you the problems for not getting together; they created the room after getting to power by relaxing them and allowing all manner of parties to emerge and tear themselves apart.
“The cure is two-party system; let it come one way or the other. Whether through legislation or whatever, it has to be two-party system. If we had managed the two-party system under the Babangida regime up till now, we would have cured the problem of instability of the political parties in the country by now.”
He, however, regretted that the White Paper on the Electoral Reforms as released by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has made nonsense of the exercise and did not reflect the aspirations of the people.
ON MEGA PARTY: It Would Fail Without Electoral Reform:
He also observed that there are several issues that need to be resolved before the formation of the Mega Party would be feasible. Said he: “To me right now, we have several electoral cases still pending in the courts or tribunals. We must first resolve such cases.
“Secondly, electoral reform is the primary thing that we should face. We have always succeeded in tackling single-item issue, because if you have a mega party now, no matter how mega it is in name and appearance, it does not clear the take-off hurdle in its defined destination and if all other obstacles are not well-analyzed and worked at, it will end up failing.
“This is because if the purpose is to gain power on behalf of the people and be entrusted with the power, if the system is cancerous and terrible and sick and you don’t care to remove the cancer first, you won’t get there. There would be premature death.
“No mater how mega we are, if we don’t focus on the problem of electoral malpractices and its evil, and you don’t work for a situation where you can fight and get rid of the impact of this evil in our body polity, you will still have rigging expeditions and intimidation will continue to flourish.
ON ATIKU ABUBAKAR: A Bad Voyage:
The former governor, who declined to comment on his relationship with the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said the time is not ripe to discuss the matter. According to him, “People have been speculating and I leave it at that. I will talk when it is the appropriate time to do so. I don’t want to comment on that matter now.
“Sometimes, silence is golden. When you have gone through a bad voyage, to think of it might bring about depression.”
When pressed further to make his point clearer, he said: “It is a bad voyage; I won’t comment further on it. I have just given you an analogy.”
OF SOUTH WEST RIVALS AND CRITICS: No Comparison With Failures:
The former governor whose political influence is reverberating in the Southwest described the relationship between him and some other southwest governors as friendly but would not accept comparing some of them he described as “midgets” with him.
According to him, “I don’t want to comment about apples and oranges. We are concerned about electoral reform and the future of the Southwest and Nigeria.
“My relationships with people are fine. They can abuse me any way they like, but I know what I am doing and I am seriously focused. I am not successful if they didn’t abuse me. If they are accusing or abusing me, it means I am a force to reckon with and successful. It means I am more successful than they are. Thank God that I am not a laughing stock.
“Among the people talking, how much is their state’s annual budget? Some are not up to that of Alimosho Local Council in Lagos, and still they have been embezzling. I re-engineered the finances of Lagos State and brought physical, financial, economic and political prosperity to the state. They are midgets.
“It is an insult to compare me with people who governed under military administration without their budgets being debated and yet they failed. They gave excuses of lack of bitumen and other things for their failure and mismanagement characterised their regime.
“You think I pay attention to those ones? They are illiterates; we are not comparable. I can blow my trumpet myself. I took Lagos from a state of N600 million internally generated revenue to N10 billion. What are they doing in their states? They are rotten potatoes.”
He said he was unperturbed by the recent campaign of calumny and bad publication against him because he knows that there is a masquarde behind those publications and his lawyers will take action at the appropriate time.