Unorganised PDP can’t be threat to APC –Osifo

A presidential aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2018, who later ran for the same office under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2022, Mr. Stanley Osifo, has defended the outing of the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Chatham House, United Kingdom, saying that it shows that he is a team player. In this interview with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI, Osifo spoke on the dust raised over Tinubu’s age, certificates, state of origin among others. Excerpts…

There have been issues over the refusal of the Presidential Candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to honour invitations for debates by local television stations only for him to go to Chatham House, BBC to grant them interviews, what is your view on this?

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has given reasons he did not attend those debates. He has made it clear that he is occupied with a lot of activities, and he has been busy with campaigns as the APC Presidential Candidate. The hype over his refusal to attend invitations by local media should not be seen in bad light. The invitation coincided with that of Chatham House in the United Kingdom. With time, he would present himself for such interviews.

Some people feel that he is dodging the local media to avoid being questioned on issues relating to his age, the schools he attended, origin and some others, what is your reaction to this?

These are the things he has engaged a lot of people on. The issue of his certificate was addressed, when he was running for the Governorship of Lagos State then. I don’t think he would have become the Governor of Lagos State if origin was an issue. He was two-term Governor of Lagos State, and he became a senator from the state. All these issues are media war, this is a man that has been in the mainstream, they are just looking for ways and avenue to see how they can castigate him as the presidential candidate of the APC. You are still going to hear more about him as time goes on. Even as an aspirant, I knew what I went through, when I came out for the presidency under the PDP then and later under the APC. I know all the false allegations that came out against me. From my experience, I know that a lot of things would still come out.

Between now and end of the month, you will hear a lot of things. As a journalist, you will know that most of the things came up, when Tinubu wanted to contest for the governorship in Lagos State. This is a man that had been a senator and Governor twice. If all the things they are saying about him were true, they would have led to his disqualification. Every issue that they raised are things people talk about. People want to carry rumours unnecessarily.

We should know that these allegations are in the past. It is a way of making the opposition feel that they are talking. I don’t see what their noise would achieve. What Nigerians need are leaders that have experience, that are open to all manner of ideas. See what happened at Chatham House, for the first time, a Presidential Candidate did not just go there to say ‘I am the boss’ or that ‘I would rule Nigeria jas an individual.’ It shows the kind of leader that he will be with what he did at Chatham House. When the questions were thrown to him, he showed that yes he understood the questions and made sure that some members of the team that went with him did not go there just to go and watch, but that they went there to participate in the event.

They are part of the people that would participate in the governance of the country if he wins the presidential election eventually. They include the Woman Leader of the APC, Beta Edu, Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and others.

They didn’t go there as spectators, they went with him as a team. It’s like you are going for a particular routine and you have people that are going with you that would participate. You are showing that you are not the only one that has ideas, but that you have people that have better ideas that know where the problems are and who know where the problems are and have the solutions to them. Not attending media houses for interviews is not an issue, what is important is for him to deliver based on what Nigerians are yearning for.

Talking about what happened in Chatham House, people feel that as a presidential candidate, Tinubu ought to answer the questions directly rather than asking the likes of Dele Alake, El Rufai and others to answer for him, what do you say to this?

Many of us don’t understand what governance is all about, which is why we concentrate on one name, when people are in government. Nobody calls the ministers to question, nobody calls the Permanent Secretaries or members of the cabinet to question; we only talk about the president, which is the problem that we have.

Tinubu was in the United Kingdom, and for the people to think that because he is a candidate he ought to answer all the questions himself is wrong. You don’t go there and say you are a super man. If you are a super man, then there is no point for anybody to go with you.

It shows that he is a team player; his team cannot just go there and watch. He went there to show that he is capable and that he equally has a capable team and handlers that can handle issues such as security, the nation’s economy and others along with him.

If at a point one person is not functioning, don’t call the name of the president, call that of the team member and let him know that he is a missing or weak link in the gove r n m e n t . What if the leader has issues, it means that nobody can take care of things, w h e n he is not a round. Let us start thinking differently, one man cannot do it alone. One man cannot govern Nigeria alone or solve all the problems of the country alone. As ordinary Nigerians we have a role to play in the project Nigeria. Tinubu cannot do the job alone; he is a team player.

By the time you compare your ideas with those of other people, then you will have a strong idea that can really solve the problems of the country, after all they say two or more heads are better than one. If you share ideas, you will get problems solved or else you will be going on one way. Every Nigerian needs to come on board and get solutions to our problems. When we have issues, w e should let the people know so that we can get solutions to them. When it comes to security, we have done our best to fight it, but if everybody that is involved in security jobs and those who know the sponsors of insecurity can come out, you will see that the problems would be solved, which is what we want. We need to start talking to ourselves. We must all be in the project of how Nigeria can get better.

Do you see the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar as threats to Tinubu in the election?

As a former presidential aspirant, I must be careful in talking about my contemporaries. I ran with Atiku Abubakar under the PDP as presidential aspirants in 2018 before he emerged as the candidate, the same thing with others in the APC that we ran together in 2022. Talking about threats, they are not threats. I don’t see how a party that feels that power should stay in one region as a threat.

In 2018/2019, I was the only aspirant in the PDP that was from the South, then they said that it was zoned to the North. They threatened me to withdraw from the race, now the pendulum should shift to the South. The same people that said I was from the South then are the people that are taking it to the North. I don’t understand why they are not pragmatic, organised and why they don’t have the team spirit to come together and do the right thing. You can see what is going on between them and some Governors in the party that are displeased with what is going on in the party.

I don’t see why the PDP that is un-organsied will be a threat to the APC that has a tested and experienced candidate. On the other hand, the Labour Party is like a child that is yet to be a teenager not to talk of being an adult, they have to go through the stages. I would say they might have chances in the future, but not right now. They are at infancy stage, so they should not talk about winning election in the country. Atiku Abubakar should join forces with the APC, same goes for the Labour Party so that we can take Nigeria to a greater height.

You have been a presidential aspirant in the PDP and the APC, what is your next move?

We have an election that we are working towards, we have started campaign and we have a candidate in person of Tinubu that we believe would take Nigeria to greater heights as president. We are working to ensure that he wins the election and emerge as the President of Nigeria and deliver the goods to Nigerians.

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