All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Ondo State, Ade Adetimehin, who was a delegate at the just-concluded special convention of the party, speaks on the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the presidential candidate and preparations for the 2023 general elections, in this interview with BEN ADOGA
Before the primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigerians were confused as to what form the election took. At a point, it was hinted that the party would adopt consensus, but it turned out to be indirect primaries, what informed the last-minute decision?
Whatever we’ve done is what is stated in our constitution. The constitution states that we can go by consensus, if that does not work we go by direct or indirect primary. We’ve used one of these which is direct primary because all delegates were physically present and voted, if it were by consensus we would have simply affirmed our candidate, as you can see, everything was set and delegates voted.
Nigerians already know the PDP candidate in the person of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, they say he is the candidate to beat and described him as a grassroots politician, how do you hope to surpass him?
Pardon what I want to say. The flag bearer of PDP, going by his antecedents, going by his records, both past and present cannot match Tinubu, not even the least aspirant of the APC; any APC candidate will beat Atiku. Tinubu emerged from these formidable arrays of aspirants, all men of impeccable character, men with good antecedents, men with large capacity, and men who possess ‘omo lu abi’ per excellency, which means integrity in Yoruba, that is where Tinubu emerged from. Look at Tinubu’s past.
The issue of power shift to the South, how did this help to shape the voting pattern?
As a person and the chairman of the party in the state, I believe those who must go to equity must go with a clean hand, Nigeria belongs to all of us. If the North has been in power for eight years, it behoves the South to have a taste that is normal in equity, and my party, the APC believes in that. A few days ago, the APC governors came out loud and clear that they believe in a power shift to the South.
Talking of power shift to the South, some Nigerians believe that South-Western Nigeria has had a fair share of the presidency and that the South-East or an Igbo person should have been allowed to have it…
Why not if it happened. But let me react like this, the issue of South-West, yes, it had been there too, what about the South-South, they have been there too, both as president and vice president.
You know democracy is a game of numbers. What we are saying in essence is that power should go to the South and that is what we are doing.
What do you think informed the choice of Tinubu and not any other person?
The delegates had done what is right. APC is the party that is leading and it will continue to lead with the choice we have made. We have picked the best out of them to be the flag bearer of our party and he will be president of this country because the APC has capacity, programme, and ideology.
Why are you so confident that your flag bearer will become President of this country?
Nigerians have been supportive of the APC. This is the time to give us another chance. Our candidate has done it before in Lagos, he is well known for capacity, mobilisation of men, and resources to achieve results, the facts speak for themselves.
There is this issue of dollar rain during the primaries, how many dollars were you given?
Did you see any?
I was not a delegate..
I did not collect anything as a person. I am a man of principles, check my record, I don’t believe in taking money before voting, when I believe in a cause I go for it, I believe in Tinubu’s presidency, I did everything to contribute my quota, money is not everything, I believe in ‘teach me how to catch fish and not giving me fish to eat.’ The money they have collected will be spent. Some of us were looking for who can lead this country on the right path. I’ve not said that money did not change hands. I, as an individual, did not collect anything.