MOGAJI WOLE ARISEKOLA:— WHY I AM SUPPORTING BOLA TINIBU
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Ibadan-born businessman and publisher of Ireland-based journal, The Street Journal Magazine, Mogaji Bowale Oluwole Arisekola has stated reasons he is supporting the ambition of the National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and frontline presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to become Nigeria’s next President.
In an interview with some selected senior journalists at his Abuja office on Friday, Arisekola said that Asiwaju Tinubu has got what it takes to provide the quality and desirous leadership Nigeria needs at a time like this.
“Those who know me will attest to the fact that I am ever loyal to my friends. I am also loyal to a political cause I believe in and on no account will I comprise my moral rectitude for any reason.
“That is my makeup and nothing can change that,” he added.
Emphasizing his unalloyed loyalty to Asiwaju and why he thinks he is the best man for the job, Arisekola said, “I am making a bold statement today that my unalloyed support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu‘s Presidential ambition is 100% and I can assure you that he is going to emerge as President Buhari’s successor in 2023 through the merit and strength of the ballot.
“The former Lagos Governor brought innovations into governance of the state during his eight years in power and I can assure anyone who cares to listen that he will replicate similar feats when he eventually becomes Nigeria’s President.
“I have not denied him of my support and I have not pretended about my open support for him either.
“My father-son relationship with Tinubu is not in contention and is something I never pretended about and even several of those who are contesting from the South-West also have their own relationship with him.
“This is because he has always been there for a lot of us in the past and he is still there. He has the clout, mien, charisma and suave disposition required for the number one office.
“Asiwaju is simply the best man for the job.
“I believe both on moral ground as well as out of conviction that he has got what it takes to provide the kind of quality leadership this country needs at a precarious moment like this.”
On his thoughts about other presidential aspirants on the same APC platform, Arisekola says they are no match for Tinubu.
“You will recall that Tinubu declared his intention to run for president on the APC ticket in January 2022. Subsequently other aspirants in the party including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Yahaya Bello, the Kogi State Governor; Senator Rochas Okorocha, former Imo State Governor; ex Transport minister and former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi; Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State; Senator Ibikunle Amosun, firmer Ogun State governor; Kayode Fayemi, among others are no match with Asiwaju at all and I don’t mean to disparage or treat them with disdain and don’t quote me out of context please.
“Of course we cannot use that as a parameter not to respect the rights of others who want to aspire, and in fairness to them its good to be ambitious as a politician.
“But one thing is certain and that is the fact that the office is for competent hands with requisite experience and qualifications. It is not meant for a neophyte. But I believe that part of the essence of democracy is that there will be constructive engagement.
“I’m sure everybody is talking to somebody and before the date of this election, there will be some realignment of forces. But the right of everyone to contest is inalienable, and it has to be respected.”
Recalling the genesis of Asiwaju Tinubu’s alignment with President Muhammadu Buhari that led to the eventual formation of All Progressive Congress, a combination of Buhari’s party, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and Tinubu’s party, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Arisekola revealed that he facilitated their very first meeting.
“The first meeting between Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu which took place in Kaduna, I facilitated it.
“Salihu Mustapha the former party chairman of CPC called me to say that the General (Buhari) alongside some CPC officials wanted to meet with Asiwaju. He wanted me to speak with Asiwaju and make that happen.
“I asked him to come to Lagos, lodged him at Marple hotel, Lekki phase 1 and drove him to Asiwaju the following day. That’s how they started CPC /ACN alignment. You can ask Buba Galadima and Mustapha. They are all alive today.
“I don’t book appointment to see Asiwaju. If I go to his house and he has some free time, he will see me.”
While referencing one of Asiwaju’s gesture of kindness he said, “Gentlemen of the press, without sounding immodest and I wouldn’t also want to embarrass anyone, one of my former editors who is now a serving Governor in a South Western state, once had a challenge to cater for his child naming ceremonies.
“He had no money to foot the bills. Asiwaju stood for him and sent N6 million through Kemi Nelson to support him. The rest is now history.
“Asiwaju’s benevolence knows no bounds. There is no region in Nigeria that his gesture of kindness and benevolence have not reached. He is a pan Nigerian, a patriot with class, humility and forgiving spirit, this is rare in our political clime.”
Arisekola concluded by saying that Tinubu is not a greenhorn in politics, and that he is a committed and patriotic party man, a consummate professional, a respected nationalist, a trailblazer, a committed philanthropist and a true family man who can proactively restore the fortunes of Nigeria socio-economically without bias or lapses.
Asked if he is nursing a political ambition, Arisekola put his response succinctly.
“My parents were never political office holders. They died as a businessman and businesswoman. They warned me not to play active politics or accept any political office, but that I should support my friends who are aspiring to get to the pinnacle of their career as long as it is lawful.
“To people asking me to contest elections in this country, I’m so sorry, I will never hold any political office in my life.
“The former Czech President and public intellectual, Dr Vaclav Havel said people are driven into politics “by ideas about a better way to organize society, by faith in certain values or ideals, be they impeccable or dubious, and the irresistible desire to fight for those ideas and turn them into reality.”
From what we are witnessing, that may not be true of our country.