Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Chief Lanre Razak, in this interview with MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE, explains why the party has not met some of its campaign promises to Nigerians. He also speaks on the Igbo’s quest for power shift in 2019 and other issues.
The APC has not met the expectations of Nigerians, why?
I want to thank Nigerians for voting the APC, with much expectation at the back of their minds. But, if you have a bad scenario and you are unable to witness a worst situation, you do not appreciate what you have. Nigeria’s economy was at the verge of total collapse when the APC came to power. Revelations have shown that the situation could have been worse than what we have now. The efforts of changing to good from the level of deterioration that we have cannot happen overnight. The party and the government of the APC are working seriously to turn the situation around. We are aware that APC have men with the pedigrees to change things, drawing from the examples of people like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other eminent personalities. Asiwaju performed wonders in Lagos. We are aware of the budgetary situation of Lagos, when he became the governor. He turned it around and Lagos has performed wonderfully well till today. Some of the men used in getting Lagos to its high position, are those supporting central government to get its task done. I want to seek the understanding of Nigerians; it is just a question of time for things to get better. Those who have waited patiently for years should be able to wait for months. Within the budget of 2017, when it becomes operational around June and July, Nigerians would be smiling that the confidence they reposed in APC is not in vain. President Muhammadu Buhari meant well for Nigerians, the leadership of APC meant well for the country. We should encourage them and give them the desired support to move the country forward.
It is said some members of the APC with outsiders are working on a third mega party…
Politics or political parties are not grave yards, where you have absolute silence. We are talking about people managing power and you know what power game is all about. The APC have an effective crisis management mechanism in position to handle any supposedly crisis people think exist in its fold. We have able hands, if any crisis arises. We have National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, National Leader Tinubu and a host of other leaders, who are well schooled and grounded in party politics and crisis management. These people are working in collective arrangement to ensure the party is united. We cannot afford to work hard to win election and dismantle the structures. No general go to war, win and turn around to maltreating his soldiers, rather the solders are pampered. And definitely, there is no crisis in the APC. The party is capable of managing its affairs and I am very confident that the party is united and it is a big family. The issues whether the third mega party can emerge and replace the APC, it is easier said than done. I don’t foresee any serious group outside the APC than can form the third mega party. The people who are being mentioned as promoters of this mega party, I have not seen them doing any serious political business. Be rest assured that APC is intact and working seriously to put the country on course.
The Igbo is seeking the support of Nigerians for its Presidency in 2013, any hope for them?
The constitution of Nigeria allows that every citizen of this country can vie for any position, no matter the level. They are assured by the constitution to be there. Let get to the rivers, we will see how to cross it. Nobody has approached our leaders in the Southwest and when there is nothing on the ground, what do we discuss. When they come, we will know how to handle it. They are entitled to it, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the President of this country and was an Igbo man. We trusted him and worked for him. If are Igbo, who could sell themselves to Nigerians, that they are capable, and they in turn assure Nigerians that they will do the best for the country, the people will think of giving them support. After all, they are Nigerians; the only thing I don’t like about them is, why are we discussing Biafra? If there people within the Nigerians context cannot talk to their group, to stop the agitation for Biafra, Nigerians may not be too comfortable to trust them with power. That is my appeal to them; they should work for a united Nigeria and get what they want within the Nigerian context, rather than agitating for Biafra. The agitation for Biafra will work against their dream. Nobody should think of tearing the present political structure apart. They need to educate their people; they need to be seen as Nigerians and people who want to build a united Nigerians.
Lagos has passed death sentence for kidnappers…
It is really painful to have taken that decision; government has been driven to that point. The horror of kidnapping is better imagined than being involved. When you are kidnapped, you become bleak. You think in the next few minutes or hours you could be killed. That could affect your organs for life when you are released. You may not be the same person for the rest of your life. What the kidnappers are doing is to kill people and leave them like vegetable. I am aware of some who undergo such torture, they are no longer useful. Nigerian should realize they can make money, without destroying others. Those they kidnapped, lot of them are innocent. They kidnapped school children, teachers, is that the best way to make money? And unless there is a serious punishment that will serve as deterrent, these criminals will not stop doing what they are doing. The first assignment of any good government is the protection of lives and property, whatever action taken by government to protect the people of Lagos is welcome.
What is your assessment of the Lagos under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode?
The governor is doing lots of job and Lagosians themselves can attest to that. I can assure you that the man is performing. Is it on transportation that the governor has not touched? Look at the blue buses plying the roads, the infrastructure development in the state, the traffic management scheme, security, education and other areas public concerns, the governor has ensured that things are working. The traffic situation is completely under control; let us support his genuine and good efforts to make Lagos count among the best cities in the world.Source: The Nation