Emami: Some Forces Don’t Want Tinubu to Succeed Buhari

Director, Special Duties (iv) of the Presidential Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Ayiri Emami, in this interview  says those working to sabotage the presidential flag bearer of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, are doing so because they do not want a strong willed person to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. Adedayo Akinwale brings excerpts:

There is so much unpalatable news coming from the APC. You have a presidential candidate in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu but the story out there is that the house is divided against itself and we have a few weeks to the election, what’s your take on this?

To me, I don’t want to believe that the house is divided against itself. There are some elements  who are trying to sabotage the system, but I don’t want to believe that the house is divided against itself. If the house is divided, you can see party chieftains  coming out to say, “Oh, this is what we want to do”. For me, if  you cannot come out, that shows that you’re a coward, you’re just there, just trying to sabotage yourself, not even the interests of everybody. So I don’t see that as a house being divided against itself.

President Muhammadu Buhari is not carrying the campaign on his head as it should be of a leader of the party towards ensuring that Tinubu becomes the next president and this can be seen on a number of cases that he was not present at the campaign.  How do you react to that?

To me, even his own election, it was other people that were actually championing his campaign.  So, I just feel that that is his normal style. All humans are not  the same. 

Tinubu is a workaholic, during the 2014/2015, he did that. At a time, even during the primary somebody that was contesting, like President Muhammadu Buhari said I didn’t have money to give to the delegates. For example, if he was not the one contesting, people would have said this man is a wicked man. Then, he was the one  contesting and he could make that  kind of statement in the public while canvassing for votes at the campaign ground.  

To me, it is his lifestyle, even if he is supporting you, it is not that type that comes out to the public and says it.  But what we’re trying to see is that those saboteurs within should please retreat. Let’s go into a proper contest.  I don’t see any problem. To me, I know that Buhari is supporting us because he had  said it publicly and that is one Muslim man that I  believe that once he swears by the Quran, he stands by it.

One of the bedrock of elections is funding. Most of the campaign council members are in complete lack of funds, and we know that the governors are not really  coming out to spend money, the party has failed to raise funds for this, thereby leaving only Asiwaju with the burden to spend money. Don’t you think this is  part of the plot  to frustrate Tinubu from winning this election?

 To me, I don’t even see PDP or any other party throwing money, because the economy itself, there is no money  to throw around. When there’s money to throw around, people will throw money around. 

The situation today, not only in Nigeria, around the world, if you understand the situation, it is not actually friendly to throw around money but when it is necessary, you bring out money to spend. To me, instead of throwing  around my money going to rallies and all those things, I will keep  my money for logistics to move people, for example, the riverine area where I can move people to various communities so that they can vote. It is not only in Nigeria that we have economic issues. To throw money around will be a little bit difficult. Not peculiar to APC.

You are from Delta state where the PDP Vice Presidential Candidate hails from, what impact do you think Asiwaju can make?

Asiwaju will make a lot of impact, I have said it before now. The governor (Ifeanyi Okowa) is a very good friend and an elder brother. But with due respect,  he has not done very well for the people. Warri is an oil city, we are in total darkness; roads are not good, very dirty, people are not happy. 

So, it’s already showing that  Asiwaju and Ovie-Omo Agege are making a lot of waves. To a lot of Deltans, Tinubu is our in-law and that is working for him. So, if Asiwaju goes to South south, he is talking to his in-laws and we know he is going to do a lot for us. Even before now, he used to extend his hand of fellowship to us. When we have a  problem,  we run to him and he solves it.

Outside Delta, how secured is Asiwaju in terms of  galvanizing votes in the whole of South-south? 

As Director of Special Duties, I have done a lot of studies because sometimes I am very angry  when people say (Peter)  Obi is going to have votes in the South-south, it is not the way people are looking at it. There is a family in my local government. If everybody is in this party, they will be at the other party. When some of us were in PDP, they were in the Labour Party, because (Great) Ogboru was using Labour then. 

When APC came, they moved to APC and we moved with them. I thought when Obi’s Labour party is back, I thought they would move. 

I organised one event, trying to sensitise people to  pick up  PVCs and I tried to go around the entire local government to know the members of the Labour Party, but we couldn’t find any. 

Maybe one or two persons now who could not get APC tickets are there to get the ticket to contest. What I see is PDP versus APC. That’s one thing I want to still advise my people to come out and give proper support to Asiwaju because Asiwaju will definitely win. And if he wins, the North will say they are the ones that supported Asiwaju that we didn’t come out to support Asiwaju. 

When (Nasir) el-Rufai was saying Obi will win  South-south and South-east, to some of us, we felt pained. That means he’s not doing his study properly or maybe they are trying to even sabotage us so that at the end of the day we cannot go and start laying claims that we actually worked for Asiwaju. If not, whatever el-Rufai was saying, 80 percent of it was true. But saying that Obi is going to win South-south, for us, it is very painful. He is somebody we respect. I don’t see Obi winning anywhere in South-douth. You can check it out.

The recent policies of the present government, the Naira swap, the fuel scarcity and all the rest are creating a serious problem for Asiwaju’s ambition, what’s your response to that? 

To me, Asiwaju has said it earlier when we were in Ogun state that it is sabotage. I was standing very close to him when he was saying it. I was having that feeling that how can our presidential candidate start saying this kind of thing. But at the end of the day when I looked at it and did my own analysis, I found out that he was very right. 

For instance, maybe someone else who is of interest in the Villa is the one that is contesting, by now you will see the federal government no matter what may be they’re having issues of daughter  vessels. You will see they would  do everything to start getting daughter  vessels  to take the product, no matter the cost so that it would not cause hardship for the people. 

But we are going public now letting everyone know that the saboteurs are some persons, all is because of Asiwaju. At least, we are trying to convince everybody that when Asiwaju gets there, he is going to correct the abnormality. 

We can’t just sit down and let them sabotage a good man who wants to come and change the narrative. 

I wanted to ask if the anger out there will not affect the chances of APC bearing in mind that it is the APC government that is inflicting…

(Cut in) that is what those people that are sabotaging want to achieve and that’s why I am with you now so that more people will read tomorrow and know that these things are geared towards Asiwaju.  

If you see Asiwaju campaigning and everything, once he goes anywhere, he would say please come out and vote no matter how. Even if you don’t have fuel, try to trek to the place, because if he wins,  this fuel scarcity will end it.

So in other words these things are not the policies of the APC ? 

They are not policies of the APC at all. Because if they are the policies of the APC, everybody would be involved. These are policies of a few persons to sabotage. Why introduce such policies during the election? 

People are claiming rightly, or wrongly,  that  these people in the Villa that Governor Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna state referred to as cabal have a personal grouse against Tinubu. What is this grouse? 

Let me use myself as an example. Even in our small community. If you know your right and  you know what you are doing and you want to lead, many people will come after you. Because a lot of people don’t want somebody that  understands the system to lead. 

Asiwaju knows it all. So, looking at my small community, people know that I know the tradition,  I know my right from my left when it comes to tradition. So you will see every day all kinds of battles or kind of blackmail, or kind of way to stop me and that is how I see Asiwaju. 

He knows a lot about governance, he knows what to do to make sure that this place works. 

And if it works, there are persons there doing dubious things who would not be able to do it. So, if such a  person is to take over, it won’t be an easy battle because they know he knows the inner workings of government and can’t be manipulated.

Related Articles