Why Tinubu should succeed Buhari –Sylva


From Femi Folaranmi, YenagoaThe Minister of State for Petroleum and former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva has declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC), presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the best man for the job of Nigeria’s President in 2023.Sylva speaking in an interview during his visit to Bayelsa State, dismissed the Labour Party and Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidates, Mr Peter Obi and former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar respectively as no match for Tinubu based on pedigree and vision.He equally down played the issue of Muslim/ Muslim ticket of the APC noting that the issue of the rotational Presidency between North and South is more sacrosanct.Your supporters were jubilant when you picked the presidential form, why did you chicken out?I would not say I chickened out at all. In politics, you must always apply wisdom, even the Bible tells us to be wise. In politics, you need certain endorsements to be able to run an election. If you don’t have certain endorsements and certain support, you don’t have to run the election because it is a waste of time. Even in America, people get endorsements of certain blocs and if you don’t get those endorsements, then there is no need to run the election.As for me, my friends bought the form for me.  But I need certain critical endorsements for me to go ahead for the campaign. When I went around, I didn’t get those endorsements within the frame. So I believe it was not wise of me to go into the contest when I did not have the critical endorsements. So I decided to leave it because he, who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. At least, today I raised my hands to be counted. Some other time I will raise my hand to be counted and you may never know, at that time I may likely get the critical endorsements that are required to run the race.There is a dust over APC Muslim/ Muslim ticketAll these talks about Muslim/ Muslim ticket, let us leave it alone. Let us also talk about  Southern/ Northern ticket. For me, the issue of rotating the Presidency of Nigeria is sacrosanct as far as I am concerned and I make myself very clear at every opportunity. The Presidency goes to the North and after the North, it comes to the South. It is not a written agreement but it is an unwritten agreement and it has worked. Every country has mechanisms for managing their diversity and in Nigeria, the mechanism for managing our diversity is the issue of inclusiveness, federal character; these are all mechanisms to manage our diversity to at least give everybody the hope that he has much right in this country as everybody else.In this country, it was impossible for a Southerner to become President, it took a lot of struggle for us to get to the point where a Southerner became the President of Nigeria, and it took a lot of struggle for Obasanjo to emerge.  It was then this unwritten agreement was reached.After Yar Adua, our own Goodluck Jonathan came.  After Goodluck Jonathan, it went North again, and Buhari came. He is still there. I believe that after Buhari, it should go to the South. That is one leg of the discussion. For me, we need to have a Southern President at this time. Nobody can say Tinubu is not a Southerner.For me, the Muslim/ Muslim ticket is not an issue at all. If you come to the South of Nigeria, it is predominantly Christians; if somebody is to represent the South, it should normally be a Christian to represent the majority of Southerners. So, if you go to the North, the majority of Northerners are Muslims. If someone is to represent the northerners, then it must be a Muslim to represent the majority. So if the South is liberal enough to present a Muslim candidate in Tinubu and of course his wife is one of us, then you don’t expect the North to now present a Christian.  So, if the South has had a liberal Muslim like Tinubu to represent the South and we all agree those things don’t matter to us in the South, Tinubu’s wife is a Christian, a very Senior Pastor for that matter. We in the South as liberal as we are, can say Tinubu can represent us as our candidate from the South, and then we cannot now say the North should also agree to be represented by a Christain.  It doesn’t matter to us who represents the North.There is no reason for us to be playing all these games. In fact, those shouting against this Muslim/ Muslim ticket are not even good Christians.  We know some of them. They have now because of political reasons become proponents of religion.The issue is who can do the job. And you would agree with me that among the candidates that we see today, I can list them,  Tinubu, Atiku and Obi.  When we talk of serious candidates, we have three of them. Kwankwaso is not one of them.Let us talk about Obi. As far as I am concerned, Obi is just a show. The youths supporting Obi should listen to me, perhaps they don’t know some facts. If you ask some of them why they are supporting Obi, they don’t even know some facts.  Many of them don’t even know why they are supporting Obi.If you go to his background and history, Obi was in Anambra for eight years as governor. Anambra as far as I am concerned is a technological miracle waiting to happen because if you go to Nnewi and other parts, you would discover that they are very resourceful people that only need the skill of a good organiser to  be able to bring them to the top of the economy of Nigeria.But where is Anambra after Obi? Anambra is not one of the best run states in Nigeria. Obi prides himself on having one watch, having one shoe, is that the problem of Nigeria. I agree that prudence is very important. But you must agree that prudence is not the only solution to Nigeria’s problem. Nigeria’s problem is about expanding opportunities.Remember the parable of the talent in the Bible. Who was the most prudent among the three of them? The most prudent was the man that buried his talent on the ground because he did not want to take chances so he buried his own.  But the first one went to increase the talent, while the other one also went to increase the talent.  But the last one said the Master is a wicked man who would come to ask for talent, so he buried it. Who did the Master reward; it was not the man that was prudent that was rewarded. Prudency is part of it, I agree but Nigeria’s problem is more than prudency. It is how to expand opportunities. Nigeria’s population is increasing at an alarming rate. By 2035, Nigeria’s population would be 350 million people.  The size of the land in Nigeria is not increasing but the population is increasing. 350 million is the population of America today. We are going to have the same number of people like America and yet Nigeria does not have the land area of America. The size of Nigeria is equivalent to the size of the State of Texas. So what that means is that in 2035, there would be a situation where the whole of America would be in the State of Texas, which is how Nigeria is going to be.By 2050, Nigeria is going to be the third most populous country in the world. Now how are you providing new opportunities for the population that is coming? Is it the same system we are running, it is not going to be so. We must make sure we expand these opportunities. The fact is that Obi does not have the capacity to expand the economy.For Atiku, he is just a seller of government properties. He presided over the privatisation process and sold everything. What I suspect is that Atiku realised he has not sold NNPC yet.  He has said in his campaign promises to sell NNPC. He has no programme other than privatisation. Even his manifesto is woolly; you cannot say head or tail.  He cannot even put his party together. The party is in disarray. That cannot be the President of Nigeria. Aside from that and on a personal level, he is a Northerner when it is time for a Southerner. Atiku, for a Bayelsan should never be the President of Nigeria.Let’s come to Tinubu, look at what he did for Lagos. I remember Lagos very well, people were leaving Lagos because of criminals, Tinubu was able to sanitise it. Tinubu was able to increase Internally Generated Revenue. Today, Lagos is doing N50billion.  It is clear for the blind to see and the deaf to hear when you enter Lagos that it is not the same.     Have people been caught for Oil theft?A lot of people are involved. As a Bayelsan, you know very well that a lot of people are involved in these things. Some are from our communities and we know them. Investigation has commenced. These things go deep down, because some highly placed and wealthy people must be involved. If you see the extent of the problem, then you want to dig deep to find out those people who are all involved. So, it is not something you can conclude in a day. But investigation is on-going. I assure you that the President is ready to deal with anybody no matter how highly placed on this matter. He has given us the mandate that this problem is solved once and for all. He has said this is one of the legacies he wants to leave behind and he has said no stone should be left unturned to solve this problem. But it is a very sad thing. For us in Bayelsa, it is also bad for our environment.  If you go around, you can see what is happening to our environment; we see what is happening to our waters, the fish are not there. Before we used to blame Shell, but we cannot even blame Shell because most of the devastation of our environment is caused by our people. So, we must join hands together with the Federal Government and the security agencies to ensure we fish out all these elements into oil stealing which damages our environment and impoverishes our people.

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