Governance must be taken away from termites, rodents –Tinubu

Former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, shortly after his arrival on Saturday from London, where he had gone for a knee surgery, spoke with journalists on the timing of the proposed national conference. He also speaks on the state of the aviation sector, registration of APC, among other issues. SINA FADARE and TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE bring the excerpts.

Long absence in Nigeria
I am very happy to be back on the soil of my country, Nigeria. I left the shores of this country some months ago and I am happy to be back. Almost three months ago, I left the shores of this country with the hope of returning quickly, but I faced a knee surgery. It is a major surgery on my left knee. It is a great joy to be back, it is good that we are back and I really appreciate your concern and this great gathering. I am returning today, having travelled overseas for medical attention. Among those who facilitated it are great Nigerian medical practitioners, who are competent, well qualified and who are yet to find the need to come home because there are no facilities, no equipment and no such opportunities in Nigeria. The surgery was successful. I faced physiotherapists with the great spirit that I must get well quick and return quickly.
This is the first ever and the longest period of my absence from Nigeria’s political scene. Since 1993, it has never happen that I will be away for a long period except from when I was in exile. Since 1999 that we return, I have never been away for more than one week. I am glad that I am back. I am fit and fit as fiddle. I will beat you running 2.5 kilometres race. If you want to try me, I will get down and we can run together and see who wins. I know so many people will be lagging behind.
APC registration
I am proud to be part of the group, a set of Nigerians who are determined to say enough is enough in the political landscape; that we should not continue to allow termites and rodents to promote corruption, unemployment, destitution, lies and unfortunately ineptitude in government. Our determination is to have a political platform, where true democracy will be promoted by all Nigerians. We got to a stage that we finished all the documentation before I even submitted myself to travel. I believe and was confident that we will be registered in a country where there is rule of law. I am glad the baby was not aborted, the baby was born. And that is bringing about a new hope and a new platform. This new platform is a rescue platform; it is not a replica platform of the past or of the same old way. It is a reversion; it is a redefinition of truth and rescue mission for Nigeria. You own it, all Nigerians own it, all Nigerians must be determined. Political success is not a game of bystanders; it is not a game of spectators either. You journalists own the principle of this party, the objectives of it and if you buy into it, you will be able to see, whether this party can rule Nigeria. And definitely we will do that.
Planned National Conference
This dialogue is for who and by who? Government is about trust. I am standing with the governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola. Go to Osun and look at his programme and you will see that his people trust him. If Aregbesola says a road will pass here today, people believe him because the road will pass there immediately. The level of deception in the country is very high. Now, they have adopted public deception as their strategy. How many months to the elections? How long have we been talking about it? Why suddenly? There is something in political history and social history. They say beware of Greek gift. It is only a very smart rodent in a house full of little crumbs of poison that will survive the trappings of the owners. Let us, first of all, ask series of questions.
I need to consult with my party, but I see a contradiction here. I will discuss with my party. I see a diversion here; I see deception here; I see lack of honesty and integrity here; if my party say, yes let us look at the agenda and develop our own agenda along it. But Nigerians are very divisive right now, so why is this necessary. Where is the sovereignty? What about the Electoral Act? What about the Lemu Committee? We have not had a white paper or green paper come out of that. Why now? How many months to the elections? Can’t you smell a good soup when it is well cooked? Can’t you smell a bad one that stinks? Can’t you smell the odour of the deception when it is passing by? It is left for our party and all of us to note all these development.
You inherit the assets and liabilities of your predecessor. This President was the Vice President when Umaru Yar’Adua told the world that the election process that brought him to office was flawed and he promised that he will do something about it. He started and set up a panel of eminent Nigerians to look into that process, where Justice Mohammed Uwais, with great eminent Nigerians, sat down to look at the matter. Where are the reports that came out of that deliberation? They chose to compromise the electoral process, they chose to dwell on corruption and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Call for the postponement of the 2015 polls
That is the saying of a thief who wants to continue to hand on to the opportunity; who is enjoying and stealing and wants to continue to have that opportunity. What are you postponing about the elections? Is it with the head you walk or with the feet? You must stand on something. You say democracy and sovereignty of this country is about the National Assembly and belonging to the National Assembly but I argued with them, that sovereignty belonged to the people. Now there is a diversion. Where is the agenda? I want to say that Nigerians should beware of the poisonous gift. But I cannot conclude here today unless I consult with my party. I can only express my own feelings. I am a democrat. If the party says go this direction I must follow them to achieve that direction.
Associated Airlines’ crash
It is unfortunate that one of our great politicians in the person of former Governor Olusegun Agugu passed away suddenly and in the process of his burial there was a tragedy again. So many lives of known people were lost. It is a sad and depressing period in our country. Regardless of political divide, Agagu was a perfect gentle man, committed family man, and patriotic democrat. Tunji Okusanya was a close friend to everyone. But God has done one thing, He has shown us his wonder, despite all, Feyi Agagu survived, his brother in-law survived. So God has given room for us to give thanks to Him.
Addressing the government, I think we are talking to a deaf ear. Nigeria’s aviation is a risk. We have never allowed professionals to run the aviation industry. We created too much bureaucracy, kinsmanship, ethnicity and mediocrity to interfere in our decisions. We play with the lives of Nigerians. We have no infrastructure. This runway that we landed on is one of the worst in the world. It does not meet world standard.
You allowed non professionals, fraudsters, corruption to dominate the ministry. The ministry should have nothing to do with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and all other agencies. The professionals in the Ministry of Aviation should be adequately trained. They should be trained and retrained to meet world standard and independent. You allowed mediocre to take decisions. You abuse me politically or disagree with me your plane will not fly, you can ground Rotimi Amaechi anytime you want to ground him; you can recall Adams Oshiomole in the mid-air, is that the way to value people’s lives? Where are the professional hangers? Where are the incentives to bring engineers to Nigeria? It is not the age of the aircraft that matters, it is record of maintenance and the spare parts of the aircraft. But when they have already compromised in their vision, they waste our valuable lives and time to give us grieve and sorrow. We have to remove corruption that is a cancer in our society. We have to remove ethnicity, carelessness, he is my kin he must occupy that job regardless of his or her qualification. It is a shame on this country.
My condolence goes to Chief Olu Falae and others who lost their beloved ones in the crash. We have promises of enquiries into these sectors. But who are the ones making the inquiries? Do they have the knowledge? Do they have the intellectual or professional inquisitiveness? What we have is superficial inquiries in Nigeria. Now, it is left for us to raise the issue and follow it for safety of our people in the industry.
Thought of not being able to walk again
This is my leg. You can see it for yourself and it can do what it has been doing. Before I travelled, I disclosed to Nigerians that I was going for medical attention in order to avoid this kind of speculation, but they chose to speculate. I thank God that I am back. I thank Nigerians for their prayers. I thank my well wishers for their overwhelmingly concern. They were concerned about my health. They were concerned about the rumour. You don’t have to listen to them. This speculation came up as a result of idle mindedness, lack of employment and not being occupied with serious issues. I say God Almighty will forgive those who spread the fictitious information. God forgive them because they did not know better.
I want to thank those who personally, through visits and telephone messages, expressed their love and concern for my well-being. I never felt appreciated as much as what I witnessed at this period. It is unfortunate that I came home at a time a tragedy occurred to this country. One of our great politicians, in person of Olusegun Agagu, passed away suddenly and in the process of his burial, there was a tragedy again. So many lives were lost. It is a sad and depressing period in our country.

Called from National Mirror
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