Chief Lanre Rasak is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State. In this interview with ADEWALE AJAYI, he speaks on the crisis within the ruling party and its chances in the forthcoming general elections
The slogan for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign is ‘Next Level’ and Nigerians seem to be divided on this slogan, considering the performance of your party in the last three and half years. What level is APC taking Nigerians to?
A better level; a level that will ensure an egalitarian society, a level that will guarantee the citizens three square meals; that will ensure that the needs of Nigerians are met by the government of the day. APC is taking Nigerians to a level that we will have good health, good education, good infrastructure and make Nigeria as the destination point for investors.
But some Nigerians are not convinced that the APC administration has the capacity to bring to fruition all these you have lsisted as it has not impressed Nigerians in last three and half years…
They may think so. It is not just easy to get things done; destruction of 16 years cannot be corrected in just three and a half years. Foundation of good governance has been laid by President Muhammadu Buhari and the next four years will give the desired result and Nigerians will be happy for it.
What are the chances of APC in 2019 general elections with the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? Is your party not jittery over his emergence Atiku?
How can we be jittery, when we have an easy candidate to defeat? The antecedents of Atiku are there; he was the vice president during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government. He had the opportunity to preside over privatization of Federal Government’s property and we knew what happened. Nigerians knew what happened and how he was able to manage the privatization process, 70 per cent of the property went to him and his co travelers. We don’t have problem facing Atiku in the election. No member of APC and those that believe in the party should lose sleep because Atiku is PDP’s candidate. The PDP can’t spring any surprise in the 2019 election. The party has nothing to offer; its members are coming to steal, but Nigerians are now wiser.
The dust over your party’s primaries is yet to settle as crisis is still brewing in some states. Don’t you think that this might impede the chances of your party in 2019 elections?
Far from it; it will contribute to strengthening the party because the leadership was able to put its foot down and did the wishes of members of the party. The party has crisis management mechanism that will resolve all the issues and the party will be better for it.
Some people believe there is a gang up against President Buhari’s re-election bid. How would you react to that?
Let them try, but they will not succeed. How can Nigerians easily forget the 16-year misrule of the PDP just like that? In terms of infrastructure, the PDP did not perform; most of the projects they started were abandoned. Buhari is the one completing them now. Nigerians know that the PDP is not a party to govern this country again. The Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha is being done by Buhari. He has also completed the Kaduna-Abuja rail project. The Lagos-Ibadan Express road was also abandoned. The work they did on it was insignificant; it is Buhari that is fixing the road now. All these will make Nigerians to return Buhari for a second term.
Buhari is also working seriously to improve the agricultural sector; even the N10,000 he is giving to market people is being appreciated. Some may consider it as a token, but in the life of informal economy, which involves buying and selling, it is enough capital for many and it generates more fund to take care of their families. So, there is no serious threat to Buhari’s re-election.
But some people see the N10,000 being given to market people very close the election as inducement to vote for Buhari…
The time is not the issue; that it is being done is what matters a lot. Nigerians deserve it and they are getting it. What they could not do, another person is getting it done. They ought to commend that person rather than talking about timing. If they have 16 years to think of what to do, and they could not get that it done, but within four years APC is doing it, they should not bother themselves. Those getting the money know why they are getting it, they know what they will do with the money and what the money will do to the economy of the nation.
Members of Lagos APC went into the party’s primaries united, but came out of it divided. What is the party leadership doing to ensure peace returns to the fold?
It is your imagination that the party in the state is in disarray.
But individuals like Faud Oki complained of marginalization of party members and outright sidelining of some aspirants…
Oki is my brother; he knows why he is making noise, but we will not allow him to destroy the party for personal gain or any interest. Don’t bother about what anybody says; we are united, we are a strong party and we will win. Who is that candidate or party in Lagos State that will challenge APC? Is it the PDP without a notable leader; without anybody that can garner support and give assurances to the people that if they are voted for, the people will not regret voting them? It will interest you to know that the entire state executive of PDP is already in APC.
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