The Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) Ambassadors for Nigeria’s Greatness (BANG) is a mass movement that mobilised strong grassroots support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the last Presidential election. The chairman of the Lagos State Chapter, AbdurRahman Lekki spoke on the transformation the president-elect and his running mate will be bringing to the table; the lingering non-indigene issue in the state and many more in this interview with GBENGA AKINFENWA.
Considering the unpleasant state of the country, how should the incoming administration approach governance to make life easy for the citizens?
The approach to governance will come in different directions. We are looking at the governance in terms of the civil service. We are also looking at governance in terms of the populace.
I think the first thing in term of the civil service is to ensure that the civil service reforms should be at core of the incoming administration, and I think Orasanye did so much justice to that. I think that’s one of the first things that the incoming government should do, once we are able to position the civil service properly, as the custodian of service to the people, it becomes a lot easier, so that’s the first step.
Then, when it comes to the economy itself, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has laid down the plans he has for the economy. One of the first things he listed, if you listened to some of his presentations, he said the oil subsidy would be removed because it is haemhoraging and it is a disincentive to the economy.
These are some of the first approaches and of course, we know a lot of palliatives would have to be put in place for people to help them absorb the shocks within the economy.
So, first thing first, civil service reforms because it is the first.
Talking about the economy, no doubt the country’s economy is battered, what steps should be taken by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his team within the shortest possible time to placate aggrieved Nigerians?
When it comes to the economy, what holds Nigeria’s economy majorly is Crude Oil and I am sure once fuel subsidy is removed, it’ll do a lot of corrections to the economy itself.
Number two, Asiwaju spoke about Agbado economy; he’s telling you that our economy should move away from being a monolithic economy to an economy that has a lot of products that will drive it. Yes, the current government has made a lot of strive in that direction but they will have to be consolidated. All other products that Nigeria has – the mineral resources and others.
What we have in Nigeria is not only oil, there are several solid mineral resources that the country needs to explore and Asiwaju has spoken so much about how he’ll ensure that they are explored.
Agriculture is another area that Asiwaju has spoken so much about as part of the sectors to revive the economy.
Then, the tourism economy; for instance, Nigeria has one of the best tourist attractions worldwide. Asiwaju said one thing that has always been a disruption for the tourism economy, which is security and he has laid so much plans on what to do about security – for both the military and the police.
He spoke glowingly about how he’ll increase the size of the Army to be able to protect the citizens adequately.
He knew this when he said the Nigerian Army will not only be protecting when there are no more insurgency, they have a lot to do for the country in improving the agric sector, when they are not in battle, they’ll be on the farm.
There are rumours of cabals who are against the power coming to the South; don’t you think this plot might thwart whatever plans the incoming administration might bring to the table?
Everything about cabals and no cabals are just speculations, nobody is sure of that and I will not really want to work on speculation. I don’t have such fact and I wouldn’t want to comment on anything that is not verifiable.
With the performance of the APC in the February 25, 2023, presidential election, is it not a sign that the reign of APC is gradually coming to an end in Lagos State?
No, that’s not true. There are several factors that were responsible for the result of the last election and we are all aware of that. It’s a one-off thing and its not going to happen again, APC will continue to be party to beat.
Can you give us hint on the factors?
There were several factors – there was ethnic side to it, there’s religious side to it. There was a sort of massive religious mobilisation against the person of Asiwaju and also some of the ethnic nationalities massively campaigned against Asiwaju. So those are some of the factors that were responsible for the result.
Like I mentioned, it’s just a one-off thing, it’s nothing to worry about, the party is in charge, APC is a party to beat.
The non-indigene issue is posing a serious threat to the co-existence of the people in the state, will this not have any negative implications after the polls?
Lagos has always been a cosmopolitan state and very accommodating, we’ll continue to be our accommodating self, while also maintaining our position as Lagosians. Because some people chose not to respect their host doesn’t mean we’ll change to become bad people, we’ll continue to play our part well in giving a veritable atmosphere for our guests to thrive.
Lagos will continue to be the pot of the nation and our pot will never run dry and we’ll continue to be good people.
What will be the role of BAT Ambassadors in ensuring massive support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration?
The BAT Ambassadors is a support group and we’ll always be here to continue to mobilise support for Asiwaju. We didn’t support Asiwaju
because we are looking for anything, we supported him because we knew he is good for the job and that he’ll be a blessing to the whole country and it’s obvious now, going by the massive acceptance, which cut across the country.
We’ll continue to support him, mobilise the populace support for all his policies and ensure that his reign remains a success story.
There is no doubt that Afenifere seems to be divided over who to vote and support, some of them did not support Asiwaju’s ambition. What do you think should be the step to win back the hearts of the Afenifere Group?
There are some members of the socio-cultural group – Afenifere that no matter what you do for them, they have a vendetta and own enmity against Asiwaju. So, they are just trying to take a pound of flesh.
Why? We don’t know. But the majority and the preponderance of opinion in Yoruba land is that Asiwaju is the right candidate to be the President of Nigeria and Nigerians have spoken, the whole Yoruba race have spoken.
We saw the votes garnered across the Southwest to show how much the Southwest supported the person of Asiwaju. Whoever now speaks against the vote of the Yoruba race. You know the Yoruba race voted in unison that they wanted Asiwaju and it manifested not only in what we say, but in our actual voting pattern. So, anybody speaking against that is not speaking for the Yoruba race, obviously, they are speaking for their own interest.
In addition, I also want to remind you that the BAT Ambassadors didn’t only endorse or work for Asiwaju in Lagos State, we also endorsed the governorship candidate of the party in the state –Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and we supported him in the just concluded governorship election to emerge victorious.
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