Fatai Olukoga was Special Advisor for Education to the former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola. Retired Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Civil Service, he is also leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). In this exclusive online interview with INIOBONG IWOK from his base in the United States of America, he spoke about the 2023 general election, presidential candidates and their chances, among other topics.
What is your assessment of the four main presidential candidates for next year’s election?
Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a political mobilizer, conceptualizer and actualizer. Atiku Abubakar is a politician with a wandering mind. He is not a good human resources manager. Peter Obi is a politician based on data that does not match his calculations. Kwankwaso is a grassroots politician but lacks management skills.
My view on the chances of Peter Obi and the Labor Party in the presidential election next year is that; if you expect him to win the election, that’s like believing Kano stalwarts will defeat Real Madrid. The Labor Party has no political structure.
Were you surprised by Tinubu’s emergence as an APC candidate?
I am not surprised that Tinubu became the APC candidate. No, I’m not, because while others were running to collect the votes for the presidential primary, Tinubu has already done so by perfecting his chances of securing the votes ahead of the party primary.
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The campaign is set to start in September and end there have been clamors that it should be issue-based; What do you think candidates should say?
Yes, I accepted, all candidates must let voters know the cause of insecurity, bad economy, poor quality of education, corruption and other indices affecting the country. They must tell us how they are going to go about it if they are elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
What is your opinion on the performance of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in power so far?
So far so good, Muhammad Buhari has performed well despite all the odds against him. Infrastructure is running in every nook and corner of the country.
The PDP has been plunged into an internal crisis since the presidential primary; part of the reason is Atiku Abubakar’s decision to choose Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate. Do you think it was a wise decision by Atiku and what are his chances in the poll?
Honestly, this is the beginning of Atiku’s failure to manage the political crisis and human resources. His candidacy died on arrival. Governor Wike who held the PDP should not have been treated like Atiku did.
The committee that was set up by the party recommended Wike while he himself chose Governor Okowa.
More than two decades after the return to democracy, Nigerians are disappointed that democracy has not given them the expected dividend. Is there something wrong with our style of democracy?
Yes, we are getting the democracy dividend, but Nigerians are too impatient. It took a lot of patience, hard work, and dedication on everyone’s part before Americans could get the democracy dividend to where they are today.
Rome was not built in a day. All hands must be on deck, everyone playing their part in all ramifications, consciously before we can reap the dividends of democracy in Nigeria. Religion and marginalization, and patronage must be put aside when appointing people to do work in order to have better productivity in Nigeria.