Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Elders Forum in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI speaks on the desire of Lagos Central senatorial district to have Senator Oluremi Tinubu as the Deputy Senate President in the ninth National Assembly and other issues. Excerpts:
Is it true that the Lagos Central Senatorial district has given up on your ambition to have Senator Oluremi Tinubu as the Deputy Senate President of the ninth National Assembly?
We are not talking of ambition of any sort. We are talking about competency, we are convinced that our senator, Oluremi Tinubu was by all standards qualified to be the Deputy President of the Senate. She has served loyally and diligently as a member of the senate and as a member of the various committees. She has also performed creditably well as to her responsibilities to her constituents. She has been very excellent and we are very proud of her. So, in consideration of all these, that is why we resolved that she should be given a higher position with much responsibility so that she can serve the Nigerian people better.
But I want to say that we have always been loyal and responsible members of the APC. We know that the party has a role to play in constituting officers and leaders of the national assembly, since the constitution of Nigeria has placed supervisory responsibilities on the party.
That is why the constitution states that all members of the National Assembly must be sponsored by various political parties. So, therefore, the party has a role to play. We have given allowance to the party to perform its responsibilities and we are ready to abide by the party’s directives.
Are you saying if the party fails to zone the position to the South- West, then you will forgo your desire?
Presently, we have made our views known and we have made representations to the leadership of the party. Right now, they have not taken any decision. So, let’s the matter as it is.
Don’t you think it’s impossible for Lagos Central senatorial district to produce the Speaker as well as the Deputy Senate President at the same time?
I think I want to concede that those who have made that observation have the right to make their views known. We have not based our request on any particular platform. As members of the party, as a branch of the party and a section of the Nigerian community, we have placed our request before Nigerians as well as before the party and the leadership. So, let’s give them sufficient room to examine the issue and take a decision.
There is this report that there is crisis between the Mandate Movement and the Governors Advisory Council (GAC) over the composition of the cabinet of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor-elect. How true is this?
I will answer this question out of respect for you because I have debunked this matter in several quarters as mere fabrications. I want to urge the media, the fourth estate of the realm to be very cautious in promoting concocted stories. It is totally false and there is nothing like that.
What are your expectations from Sanwo-Olu?
As a father, I am praying for him. I want God to guide him. As a Muslim, everyday, we pray to Almighty Allah to guide us to the right path and unless a person is guided by the Almighty, he may not succeed. The governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has the requisite qualifications, the needed experience having served in government in various capacities. So, therefore, I expect him to perform by the grace of God to the expectation of the people of Lagos state and the entire country. My expectation is that he will minister to the needs of the people. He will continue the developmental projects of his predecessors, the monumental developments that Lagos has been witnessing in the last 20 years. He will be a governor of the people.
What lessons can he learn from the man he will succeed as governor?
I will not want to say anything about learning from a predecessor. Sanwo-Olu is an experienced. I want him to learn from all his predecessors; from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode and also he will also display his own initiative, ideas in addition to whatever he will learn from the performances of all his predecessors in office.