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NigeriaDecides2023

2023: Religion and godfathering must be put aside when electing people into office – Olukoga

Fatai Olukoga was a Special Adviser on Education to the former governor of Lagos State Babatunde Raji Fashola. A retired permanent secretary in the Lagos State civil service, he is also a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). In this online exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK from his base in the United States of America, he spoke about the 2023 general election, the presidential candidates and their chances, among other issues.

What is your assessment of the four leading presidential candidates for next year’s election?

Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a political mobiliser, conceptualiser, and actualizer. Atiku Abubakar is a politician with a wandering mind. He is not a good human resources manager. Peter Obi is a data-based politician which is not in tandem with his calculations. Kwankwaso is a grassroots politician but lacks management skills.

My take on the chances of Peter Obi and the Labour Party in next year’s presidential election is that; if you are expecting him to win the election, it is like believing Kano pillars will defeat Real Madrid. The Labour Party has no political structure.

Were you surprised about Tinubu’s emergence as the APC candidate?

I am not surprised that Tinubu emerged as the APC candidate. No, I am not, because while others were running around to gather votes from the presidential primary, Tinubu has already done this by perfecting his chances of getting the votes before the party primary.

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The campaign is set to begin in September ending, there has been clamour that it should be issue-based; what do you think the candidates should be saying?

Yes, I agreed, all the candidates must let the electorates know the cause of insecurity, bad economy, low quality of education, corruption and other indices affecting the country. They must tell us, how they are going to tackle them, if elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

What is your take on the performance of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in office, so far?

So far, so good, Muhammad Buhari has performed creditable well despite all odds against him. Infrastructures are being executed in all the nooks and crannies of the country.

The PDP has been engulfed in an internal crisis since the presidential primary; part of the reason is the decision of Atiku Abubakar to pick Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate. Do you think this was a wise decision by Atiku and what are his chances in the poll?

Honestly, it is the beginning of Atiku’s failure to manage the political crisis and human resources. His candidacy is dead on arrival. Governor Wike who had been holding PDP shouldn’t have been treated as Atiku did.

The committee that was set up by the party recommended Wike whilst he on his own picked Governor Okowa.

More than two decades after returning to democracy, Nigerians are disappointed that democracy has not given them the dividend that was expected. Is anything wrong with our style of democracy?

Yes, we are getting the dividend of democracy but Nigerians are too impatient. It took a lot of patience, hard work and dedication from everybody before Americans can get the dividend of democracy where they are today.

Rome was not built in a day. All hands must be on deck by each and every one playing their roles in all ramifications, consciously before we can enjoy the dividends of democracy in Nigeria. Religion and marginalisation, and godfathering must be put aside when appointing people to do a job in order to have a better productivity in Nigeria.

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