By Dupson Collins, 15th August, 2022


Otunba Benji Oloye is a progressive Community leader in Ondo State. A leading voice and advocate of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the Sunshine State, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress. He speaks with the Editor-in-Chief of the PATH, Dupson Collins on Privatisation of NNPC, 2023 General Election, Chances of Asiwaju among other national issues.

With the privatisation of NNPC to a Limited Liability Company, what different would this make to the economy of the country?

It stands a chance of making a difference provided the board and management team are ready to do things differently from what it used to be. It shouldn’t be a mere change of name but acting positively on the aims and objectives of privatizing it. The module operandi must be changed and workable policies must be introduced. It is a pity that Nigeria has become a country where people talk about government has no business in doing business. We have countries that built refineries outside their countries, use the proceed from the refineries to subsidize their internal consumption; their citizens pay less because of the fund being generated from the country’s outside refineries. We have four refineries, they are all weak to serve us, let alone exporting it to other countries. Many greedy Nigerians are feeding fat on subsidy money they never worked for; we should begin to look towards Modular Refineries that is easy to manage and serve us better. States should be given licenses to operate Modular Refineries, this might be a beginning of solution to our energy problems.

2023 is fast approaching, what is your take on the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket and the outcry of CAN?

If we have Muslim-Muslim, Christian-Christian or Muslim-Christian, what difference does it makes? We had President Buhari, a Muslim and Prof Yemi Osibanjo as Vice President, a Christian, what difference does it makes to the economy and security of an average Nigerian? Many Christians were killed by terrorists under the Muslim-Christian presidency of Buhari and Osibanjo. To me, it does not matter who Tinubu picked as a running mate. Aside the religious narrative that is generating serious discussion, APC as a party want to win election and they will exploit all legal means to return to power in 2023. APC is less concern about Muslim-Christian or Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian, their major focus is what platform or political arrangements can coast the party to victory. The Presidential candidate of the party believes in One Nigeria. Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu is a Muslim but not a fanatic or religious bigot, his wife Senator Remi Tinubu is a pastor at RCCG, a marriage of over 40 years with no issue on different religious practice.
To show that Tinubu is passionate about Christianity, he was one of the first caller at Owo to sympathized with the family of victims of massacre at the Catholic church; aside donating, he felt the pains of the bereaved family and condemned the deadly act. How many of the Christian Presidential candidate visited Owo to sympathize with the Catholic and Owo community? It is mere waste of time flogging the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC issue, Nigerians have gone beyond using religion to divide us the more; this is 21st century, we have outgrown this religious tendency. Nigerians need a president that can deliver and return our loss Glory in 2023 and the only person that can do that is what Nigerians should watch out for.

Do you think Asiwaju Tinubu is the best man for the job?

Before I answer your question, still on religion tolerance, Asiwaju was the first governor in Lagos to build a chapel at the Government House. No past Christian governors of the State deem it fit to erect a church inside the Government House. To Asiwaju, both the Muslim and Christian are brothers, they serve the same God. If it might interest you, why Asiwaju housed a Christian Chaplain as Governor, a former governor of the state who is a Christian threw out the Chaplain over flimsy excuse. This is to show you that Tinubu tolerate everybody, your religion background notwithstanding. The outcry of the CAN is unnecessary. When Nigerians were stranded in South Africa and Ukraine, how many Daddy GOs volunteer their Private jets to airlift Nigerians? Many of them are hypocrite looking for attention. The choice of Shettima was not the singular decision of Asiwaju but collectively taken by the leadership of the Party with sole aim of winning election.
When Asiwaju was the Governor of Lagos State, his track record is there for everyone to see. The new Lagos of today is the foundation laid by Asiwaju which other governors after him were building on. Nigerians have gone beyond Party affiliation, they are ready to vote for merit, Tinubu has been tested and Nigerians can trust him with their votes in 2023.

Are you saying the Christian body has no justification kicking against Shettima choice as Tinubus running mate?

Nigeria is a secular State; there is no way you will form a government without having the Yorubas, Hausas, Igbos and Fulanis in your cabinet; the statement that Shettima is a Islamic extremist has no basis; record has shown his cordial relationship with other faith. Once Tinubu become the president of the country, as the Commander-in-Chief, all the responsibility of governance rest on his shoulder. President Buhari administration favoured the Fulani at the expense of other regions. To forestall a situation where a particular ethnicity is having edge over other regions, Nigerians need to cast their votes for a detribalize politician who will unite the country. As of today, the country has been divided along ethnic and religious lines, with Tinubu presidency, unity, harmony and love will return to Nigeria again. You shouldnt forget that religion and ethnicity is killing us in Nigeria.

With the alarming rate of insecurity in Nigeria, do you foresee a situation where 2023 election might be disrupted?

There is a Yoruba adage which says,” if you are being pursued by a masquerade, all you need to do is enduring because as you are getting tire, so also the masquerade; meaning, if the terrorists are bragging that election won’t hold in 2023, government won’t because of that fold its hand or succumb to the threat of the notorious Fulani bandits, like Boy’s Scout Motto, “Be Prepared”. INEC, Security Personnel and relevant government agencies are preparing toward conducting successful election. Some people are apprehensive because of the killings across the country but government won’t relent in making sure lives and property of the citizens are secured. Though, our military seem to be handicapped due to compromise of some certain elements in government, yet, we won’t surrender to bandit.

Considering the score card of President Buhari, does APC stands a chance of winning the 2023 presidential election?

If you continue to look at the score card of President Buhari, APC won’t get a single vote. Buhari ambush all Nigerians that were sympathetic and believe in him in 2015. The current security challenges are war between Nigerians and Fulani Terrorists. One of the things that will work for Tinubu is the track record of Jagaban during his eight years tenure as the governor of Lagos State which is unprecedented. Someone like me pitched tent with Asiwaju because of his past antecedents and unbeatable record in Lagos. If elected president, he will definitely employ the service of best brain because he can’t do it alone. He was able to achieve much in Lagos because he appointed professionals into his cabinet.
Nigerians are clamouring for Tinubu because they believe that if he can sustain and develop Lagos, most especially when president Obasanjo withheld Lagos State allocation for years, he stands a better chance of withstanding difficult situation which Nigeria is passing through today. Under his watch, the economy of Nigeria will be revived, improve infrastructure, end to insecurity, investment in Agriculture and Education among other sector. What we need now is a president that can unite us as nation, a detribalize politician, an achiever with records and someone who will end insecurity and revamp our economy. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu holds the ace and he will deliver all his electioneering promises come 2023.

Afenifere, a Yoruba Social Cultural organization is supporting Peter Obi as against Asiwaju; does this pose any threat to Tinubu aspiration?

We are in modern democracy; Afenifere has outlived its usefulness. The Social Cultural Group has no information of what Nigerians are agitating for. Afenifere is only living on past glory. Where was Afenifere when Igbos are saying Lagos is no man’s land? It is the same Yoruba that says, ” you can’t leave your child and wear bead in someone’s else child. We must support our own. Many of us are supporting Tinubu not because he’s a Yoruba Man but because of competence and ability to deliver.
For the fact that the likes of Chief Adebanjo are rooting for Peter Obi, did they think Buhari will leave his Party and hand over to opposition. Presidency is not a tea party nor buffet for every Dick, Tom and Harry. For whoever wants to be president of Nigeria, you must work for it; you can’t get it on the platter of Gold. Tinubu aspiration is a long time ambition, he is not an emergency candidate. From AD to AC to ACN and now APC; he deserves to be elected president, he has worked for it, for equity, it is the turn of the South West to produce the next president.
If Afenifere is supporting Peter Obi as against their son, there is nothing bad in it, they have right to support candidate of their choice but one thing is certain, Yoruba people are not fool or bastard to leave Asiwaju Tinubu and cast their votes for opposition. We are watching with Keen interest.

Were there any political implications with the loss of Osun State to the opposition?

APC lost Osun State election because of division in the party. Aregbesola and his cohorts gave their votes to the opposition. It was a clear case of a house divided against itself. It is going to be a different ball game in the 2023 general elections; all the State in the South West are going to vote massively for Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Osun APC will settle their differences soonest.

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