2023: As Christian, I am not against Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim ticket

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Hon. Bosun Oladele, Former Member, Nigeria's House of Representatives.

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Hon Bosun Oladele, Former Oyo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation (2011-2015) and immediate past Member House of Representatives representing, who represented Irepo/Orelope/Olorunsogo Federal Constituency of Oyo State at the National Assembly (2015-2019) is the Secretary General of the South West Agenda for Asiwaju 2023 (SWAGA’23), which sold the idea of an Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Nigeria’s political establishment until it materialized in the emergence of the former Lagos State Governor at the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s presidential primary election held between June 6 and 8, 2022. In this post-primary election interview he, originally Daily Independent’s Temidayo Akinsuyi, he speaks on the issue of selection of running mate as it regards Muslim- Muslim ticket among others. Expectedly, the constitutional lawyer and patriotically party man to the core, Oladele, a Christian figure with no record or religious bias, bares his mind about the who becomes the Presidential Candidate of the ruling APC. Excerpts:

Against all odds, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the man that your group SWAGA went across the country for has emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC. What do you make of his victory?

It was a very good win. We thank God for making this possible. We were on a deliberate mission. We had our target and goals. We also had the zeal to drive it and see it through. Now the stage is set for the big battle in February 2023 and I can assure you that by the grace of God, he will triumph again.

He will be facing a formidable opponent in former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Do you think Tinubu stands a chance against him? 

You will agree with me that when you talk about the democrats and the conservatives in Nigeria, especially within the PDP and APC, Asiwaju Tinubu and Atiku are the big fishes. But there has never been a time that the two of them will square it up. Now, the stage is set. For us, the reward for hardwork is more work. We have the bigger work ahead of us, which is the general elections. We will go back to the drawing table, restrategise and then fine-tune our strategy and get prepared for the general elections. I have said it before and I will still maintain it. We are a potent threat to Atiku. They better get ready because Asiwaju is coming with full force.

 

“Yes, some people have been talking about Muslim-Muslim ticket or should it be Muslim-Christian ticket and so on. I want to say it categorically that it shouldn’t even be a consideration this time. I have said it before and I want to repeat it now. We all go to United Arab Emirates, Dubai and other places. How many places have we gone that religion has a place in deciding the leadership?”

 

The race is on for selection of the vice-presidential candidate and the CPC faction in APC are asking for the slot. They claimed the ACN faction got the position in 2015. Do you think this is fair enough? 

Just like every member of an association will have a right in laying claim whatever position is available in the association, if the CPC faction is saying they have the right to produce the vice-presidential candidate, I want to concede to them that they have the right just like every other legacy groups that formed the APC. Definitely, the leadership of the APC will take these and many more things into consideration in deciding who gets what just like it has always done in the past. But I want to categorically that the essence of APC continuing in leading this country is to ensure that the paradigm shift that has been initiated, the programmes and the renewal activities in terms of infrastructures and developments are well sustained.

You cannot ensure sustenance from outside. You have to be the main player and driver of sustainability. That is why it is sacrosanct that APC remain in power. The most important concern of every APC member is how can we win election? It is only when we win that we can continue with our developmental agenda programmes for the country. That is when we can bring the desired changes that we had always wanted. You can see what continuity has done in Lagos state. So, if we are seeking that at the centre, the first and most important thing is, let us pick people that will ensure that we win the general elections.

So, what criteria do you think the party will use in picking Tinubu’s running mate? 

Again, a lot of people have talked about who should be the vice-presidential candidate. Even if we are considering that right to any of the legacy parties, it behooves that legacy party to ensure that the person they are bringing to the table is a person that can ensure victory for us in the general elections. A lot of people have posted several things on social media out as they always do out of political naivety. They put forward names and say things like ‘this person will be a good vice-presidential candidate, that person should be chosen as running mate’. These are just done out of sentiments but not based on political calculations and experience.

This is not the time for experimenting. It is not time for unnecessary sentimental display. It is not even time to choose based on emotion. It is time to put practicality into play, that is put forward anyone or anything that will make us win the general election come 2023.

Another raging controversy is the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket. Already the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other groups have kicked against the idea. Do you think your party should give any serious thought to this?

Yes, some people have been talking about Muslim-Muslim ticket or should it be Muslim-Christian ticket and so on. I want to say it categorically that it shouldn’t even be a consideration this time. I have said it before and I want to repeat it now. We all go to United Arab Emirates, Dubai and other places. How many places have we gone that religion has a place in deciding the leadership?  Dubai is populated by Muslims. There are some states in Nigeria that we have Christian- Christian governors and deputy governors. It doesn’t mean that other religions are not existing.  In all these, let’s agree among ourselves, what is the place of the traditional worshippers?  Are we saying that they no longer have rights in the country again?  Religion shouldn’t have a place in politics.  It is only when people are bereft of ideas that could turn things around for the country or state, that is when they bring religion to the table as part of the reference point in selection of candidates.  I am a Christian but I am for good governance and I will conclude by saying that anything that will ensure that we win and be able to enthrone good governance in Nigeria should be the main concern for every true party member and Nigerians in general.


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