June 23, 2024

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APC Will Win Osun Election, Mutiu Are

9 min read

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Secretary to the Governance Advisory Council in Lagos State, Chief Mutiu Are, speaks on the 2023 General election and forthcoming Osun governorship election.

Hon Mutiu Are

Between PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and APC’s Asiwaju Tinubu, who do you see as Nigeria’s next president and why?

By the grace of God, Asiwaju Tinubu is the next president of this country. I believe he is going to be the best president Nigeria ever had. This is based on his antecedent as governor of Lagos state.
It is also based on the number of eminent personalities he has mentored to success and prominence. Not many people can boast of that.
Even governors and senators from the opposition parties can attest to his benevolence.

Some critics have said that Tinubu presidency would spell doom for the country alleging that he would encourage and empower touts, what’s your take on this?

Who are the touts? We need to define this? If you are referring to members of the proscribed NURTW as touts, that isn’t right because they are affiliated to the NLC. Their activities are backed by state laws and the constitution of the country. So I don’t know what qualify them as touts.
The transport union has been in existence before the administration of Asiwaju Tinubu. So I don’t know how he empowered them more than the recognition given to them by the constitution.

Did the PDP government not use them when they were in power? Can’t they proscribe their activities then? We should ask ourselves this kind of questions too.

During the last primary election for the House of Representatives and State Assembly, it was alleged that members of the Governance Advisory Council imposed unpopular candidates on aspirants without recourse to the results of the primaries, did GAC actually handpicked candidates?

That’s not true. Although I may not be able to tell you more than that, I can tell you for free that the primary election is not about GAC but about members of the party. They showed preference for their candidates.

I can also tell you that the primary election we had is the best so far. All the candidates went to the field to test their popularity. I know of a candidate that had been written off but ended up winning the primary election. So it’s all about what the people want and not GAC. The process we adopted was free and fair and the people that lost are the ones crying foul.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) won the Ekiti governorship election amidst allegation of vote buying and electoral misconducts; can you do a review of the poll?

Ekiti governorship has come and gone. We worked really hard to secure victory. It was not by chance. Our party reconciled all the aggrieved members of the party and we went to the election as a united family.
We campaign rigorously and our efforts were crowned with victory.
The election was free, fair and violent free as observed by elections observers and security agents. Also, we fielded a sellable candidate, a gentleman par excellence with a good track record. He is a goal getter.
Fortunately, we worked together at the Benue State election committee some few years ago. I was the chairman and he was a member of the committee. I am very fortunate to know him because he is humble and hardworking.

It was said that the All Progressives Congress would not have won the election without the former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose who alleged sold out the PDP and its candidate, how true is this assertion?

That’s not true. I totally disagree with such claim because I was in Ekiti state for the election and I witnessed everything that happened. Like I said earlier, our victory was as a result of our rigorous campaign and acceptability by the voting population in Ekiti state.
Former Governor Ayo Fayose had no input in our victory. I didn’t see him play any role. I am not a small fry in APC. If Ayo Fayose played any role at all in the election, perhaps he did that for other political parties and not APC.

Considering the internal crisis and the gale of defection rocking Osun APC, do you see APC winning the July 16 governorship election in the state?

I don’t know the defection you are referring to but certainly our party is winning the election.

I am referring to the defection by Hon Kolapo Alimi, a staunch supporter of the Minister of Interior who left Osun APC with thousands of his supporters?

Kolapo Alimi is one individual. We have had tens of thousands of PDP members joining our party in Osun state. Apart from this, politics is a game of number, so, how would an individual leaving the party have a negative impact on the outcome of the polls.
It is like saying if I move out of APC today, I will be leaving with multitude, no. All politics are local; a politician can only be strong in his ward or at best in his local government.

Are you saying that Lagos4Lagos movement out of the Lagos APC to PDP won’t affect the chances of your party come 2023?

Let me tell, PDP stands no chance of winning Lagos state come 2023 and even beyond. In the last local government election, how many Councillors did either Lagos4Lagos or the PDP had?
Since we have been having elections in Lagos state since 1999, what significant impact have they made? And to think that all their major players back then are now in the APC. So their idea of winning Lagos state could at best be described as a mirage. It’s an illusion.

One of the potential banana peels on the way of the APC presidential flag bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the controversy surrounding his educational qualifications, as a chieftain of the party and someone that should know, did he actually attended the schools he claimed?

To start with, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is 70 years old and I am barely 63. How would I have known what he has done in the past? I think our focus should be on competence.
The opposition has been crying foul since 1999. In spite of this, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been contesting and winning elections. He won election into the Senate with the highest number of votes. Also, he was elected as a two term governor in Lagos state.

With the help of almighty God, he installed three governors in Lagos state, I mean, what are they saying? Was his credentials not screened at the time?

I don’t like joining issues with armchair critics and politicians. If they can beat him, let them go ahead and test their strength and popularity at the polls. And if they defeat him, he has said he will go back home and rest. He is a democrat.

Asiwaju Tinubu has the Southwest under his belt just as he is popular in the northern region, but what about the South South and South East?

What happened to the South-South and South-East during the first and second term bids of President Muhammadu Buhari? They didn’t vote President Buhari but did this stop him from winning the election?

As journalists, you should make yourselves busier by going back to the records. When the Southwest did not vote for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, did that stop him from becoming the president of the country?

Are you saying the votes of the South-South and South-East do not count?

No don’t get me wrong, I am not saying their votes don’t count. Every vote counts. I was only responding to your question. But it is totally wrong for you to say that if South-East or South-South does not vote for a candidate such individual cannot win an election. We all need ourselves.

Like in Lagos, APC will be contending more with internal discontent, how realistic are you to repeating the feat recorded in Ekiti state in Osun state?

Can you prove to me there is discontentment in Ekiti with the number of ballots we polled? As a matter of fact, the gap in the election result is wider. If you combine the votes by all other candidates, they are not up to fifty per cent of the votes recorded by our candidate.

But there were allegations of vote buying and rigging of the election?

We have security agents in the country and they were at the election to provide security. Are you saying they did not perform their duty? They monitored the conduct of the election. If there were allegations of rigging and vote buying, they should come up with evidence.

These are what politicians do when they lost an election. They must definitely find an excuse to say to pacify themselves. They have an option to explore and that’s to head to the court if they are sure of their claims.

Choosing a running mate has become a knotty issue for your party’s presidential candidate, where do you think he is picking his running mate from?

I am not the presidential candidate. He has that decision to make and the constitution is clear on whose duty it is to choose his running mate after due consultation.
I know the running mate is coming from the northern part of the country. It could be from the north east, central or west, that I don’t know.

I am not surprise Asiwaju is still searching for a running mate. So long as he is doing it according to the constitution. He is always aiming for the best.

What’s your view on Muslim-Muslim ticket?

People that know me know that I don’t discuss religion. I don’t miss religion with politics because the two don’t go together. We have witnessed lots of religious crisis in this country. How many Muslim governors and deputy governors have we had in the country? You don’t have to be lazy about this, go back and research into it?

What different does it make if we run on Muslim-Muslim ticket or Christian-Christian ticket? We have ran on Muslim-Muslim ticket and won in Lagos. Are you telling me that the Christians of the period didn’t know what they were doing? They did but they chose to vote for competence. They voted for the candidate that would serve their interests better.

For me, I am more concerned about getting the promises delivered. I don’t care about religion.

Either a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket shouldn’t matter to us. We should be concerned about competence. Nigeria is a secular country and we are not doing ourselves any good by bringing religion into politics. The media should also try to downplay the issue of religion in politics.

Is religion not a factor in every election held so far in this country?

It is not a factor. Go and check it. But I, as a politician will go with what will get me the people’s vote. If it’s going to be Christian-Christian ticket or Muslim-Muslim ticket, so be it because we are in politics of winning election.

So I don’t know who Asiwaju Tinubu is going to choose. I am only expressing my view on religion and politics which I think should be downplayed for the sake of the future generation. Why are we not saying that the traditionalists should be considered too? If we go the way of religion then we are not being fair to other religions.

Do you see Emilokan phrase as a catchy campaign slogan for Asiwaju Tinubu?

Emilokan is like a prayer. It was not an outburst or a statement made out of anger. Some churches have been using it as a prayer point. We should stop bring negativity into something that is positive. We need to help ourselves in this country. We should downplay all these negativities hovering around us. If I pray for you that ‘Iwo lokan’, aren’t you going to say amen?

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