- Dr. Kunle Olajide, an elder statesman and Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) in this exclusive interview with AN24 speaks on the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presidential declarations
How do you see the recent declaration of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s for the presidency?
I am of the view that those who believe they have something to offer Nigeria have the right to declare for the presidency. I don’t think there is any crime in that.
But how do you see Osinbajo’s declaration, considering that his former boss and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had earlier declared his intention for the presidency?
That is in the best interest of this country. In fact, I am very happy as a Yoruba man that we have many competent Yoruba sons and daughters who can aspire to be President of this country. I don’t think there is any crime in that. In the process of declaration and electioneering, a discussion would commence, negotiation would start and then you find them reaching consensus, agreeing to disagree and if they fail to agree, they will give the Nigerian people the opportunity to choose out of those who have offered themselves. I think it is good news and good development for Nigeria and the Yoruba nation.
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What is the implication of two Yoruba prominent sons, Tinubu and Osinbajo declarations to Yoruba aspiration of producing President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023?
I think Yoruba should be proud that they have competent people who believed that they have something to offer Nigeria to take us from where we are to where we ought to be. They are just commencing electioneering and in the process of electioneering, negotiation will commence and at a particular time and stage, we elder might intervene if we consider it necessary or otherwise we might not intervene. We may decide to leave it to the Yoruba people in their wisdom to decide who they want. I don’t think there is anything to lose sleepover. I think we should rejoice.
But some analysts are of the view that Tinubu and Osinbajo contesting for the presidential ticket on the platform of the ruling party, APC may affect Yoruba’s chances of getting the APC presidential ticket, considering aspirants from other zones…
Nigeria must move. Yoruba national must move. We must move with the world and development. We must not be retrogressing, going back into the past. We can have many competent Yoruba sons and daughters declaring for the presidency; don’t resist it to sons alone, we can have daughters who believe they are competent and can take Nigeria from where we are to a much better place we ought to be. Let all flowers blossom, then at the appropriate time if we consider it necessary to intervene either in a subtle manner or we might not intervene if we think it is not necessary. We think Yoruba people and Nigerians, in particular, should be allowed to decide. We must move. We must not be going forward and backward.
Will Tinubu and Osinbajo ambition not affect Yoruba presidency?
The two of them are aspiring to be President of this country, there is nothing wrong with that. But of course, they have been colleagues and I am sure they are very intimate. At the appropriate time, they will talk to each other, they will discuss and so on. All of them are eying the goal trophy. As for me, their ambition is in order and it is just the commencement of it. They must not be discouraged; nobody must be discouraged. At the appropriate time, I am sure the two of them will talk. They have shared so many things together politically and otherwise, so they should be able to talk and if they cannot, then we might intervene and ensure that by the grace of God the Yoruba nation gives Nigeria the best that we can offer.
Both Tinubu and Osinbajo are competent. But the South-West alone is not going to decide who is going to be president. Whoever wants to be president, whether from South-West or wherever; is expected to gather votes from all over Nigeria. So, it is not a Yoruba, Kanuri or Igbo affair or whatever. For me, I think it is good news. At a particular time, there would be discussions among the aspirants, contestants and so on. That is expected. Let all flowers blossom for now.