The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in this interview with BBC’s Focus On Africa, gave an insight into the source of his wealth, why Nigerians should vote for him, his main priorities if elected, among others.
How is the campaign going?
Things are going very well. I am very confident that in this election, free and fair, I’m the frontrunner. And that is why I’m getting many arrows.
What are your priorities if elected president?
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Security and economic recovery, accelerated development, to get Nigerians employed and get inflation down. You know, monetary policy needs to be changed. Subsidy needs to be decided upon and then removed.
What are you going to do specifically to address insecurity?
It has actually reduced. I will defend him (Buhari) for that. Then, in 17 local governments and about four states, we had flags of foreign jihadists in Nigeria. That’s no more, that’s long gone. To start chaos is easy. To bring normalcy and redecorate is more difficult. Here we are, Buhari has degraded, but not completely eliminated ISWAP. The West is yet to feel comfortable enough with a Buhari administration to sell us the arms and technology necessary.
Do you think that might change with you?
It could change, it might not change. But we have to look at, you know, alternatives. And those are mass recruitment of individuals in a volunteer army to really clean up.
What are you going to do differently, why should Nigerians vote for you?
Because I’m different. I am Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I have governed Lagos. I built a modern state that could be a country on its own. I have led an administration that is so prudent, from N600 million internally-generated revenue to N5 billion a month. That’s a record. Nobody else can brag about that. I have treated and tamed the Atlantic Ocean surge in Nigeria that would have perished many people in Lagos. The infrastructural renewal of Lagos is excellent. I have continuity in Lagos. Buhari has done his best. I can’t run away from him being my friend, my leader in the party. I will not.
You are a wealthy man. Don’t Nigerians have the right to know where the wealth of their next leader comes from?
Because you have got to know how to analyse and how to ask questions, not in an accusatory format. Are they enemies of wealth? If they are not enemies of wealth, investments do yield. I have an example of Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in America and in the world. He started from stock buying and brokerages. I inherited great real estate. I turned the values around. I’m not denying my wealth. I was the most investigated, the most accused governor in opposition for eight years. And since I left the office, I’m still there, I have not taken any government appointment, no government contract.
But some say you were getting some shares of the revenue that Lagos State was generating…
Hey, excuse me, share what? Have they proven it? The World Bank and IMF have investigated the record in Lagos. What’s wrong with them? It’s envy, envy, envy.
If you were not running for president, which of your two main opponents – Abubakar Atiku and Peter Obi – will you be voting for?
Because they are not as competent as any other person out there. They have no track record. None of them is qualified except me.