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Tinubu must make significant impact within 90 days of his administration, says Ekungba 

By Seye Olumide
05 March 2023   |   3:00 am
Let me look at it this way: God has a way of doing things. I can say God has ordained Tinubu to become the president of this nation and when God ordains something, He would mobilise everything to ensure that whatever He ordains comes to pass.


Chief Jamiu Afolabi Ekungba is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State and National Coordinator, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) Ambassadors for Nigeria’s Greatness (BANG). In this interview, he examines the factors that caused Tinubu’s defeat in Lagos by the Labour Party and how Christian leaders worked against the President-elect in the presidential election, among other issues. He spoke with SEYE OLUMIDE (Southwest Bureau Chief).

How would you describe Tinubu’s victory despite all the odds, especially from within?
Let me look at it this way: God has a way of doing things. I can say God has ordained Tinubu to become the president of this nation and when God ordains something, He would mobilise everything to ensure that whatever He ordains comes to pass. I asked you this question: when Tinubu was the governor of Lagos State, did he plan to become the president of Nigeria then? I asked him this question and his response was how could he be thinking of becoming a president when he was in office as a governor? But all those things he did as governor that became campaign issues today, God deliberately allowed or motivated Tinubu to do them then and most of these works are still in progress up till now. Tinubu had the idea but was he the only governor then who had the idea? So, why is it that his own idea became manifest and became a positive factor that now worked to his advantage in becoming president? 
Secondly, God gave Tinubu courage. When he chose a Muslim as his running mate, I was jittery and said this man chose in error but later on, I sat down and said the will of God shall prevail. Then, the Christendom, particularly the Pentecostals rose up against him. People are saying Igbo votes counted against Tinubu in Lagos, but that is not true, it is the Christian votes. You will see that in places where Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) won, it was the Christian votes that helped him. In Ondo and Ekiti states, where I was able to talk to our brothers that are Christians, I said please don’t let us use this thing otherwise it would be dangerous.

Now, let me give you the funny analysis. Tinubu lost in Lagos, so you cannot say it is Lagos votes that made him. He didn’t come first in Kano, so you cannot say it was Kano votes that made him president. He came second in Kaduna, so you cannot say it is Kaduna votes that won the contest for him. He came second in Katsina. So, God just proved something to Nigerians that nobody can play God. Those who claimed to be men of God and were threatening Nigerians because of Tinubu can now see and understand that Tinubu’s victory has divine backing. 
It was saddening that most of them campaigned on the ground that it was APC that caused the economic problems of Nigeria despite knowing that the economic situation of Nigeria is still better than that of Europe and America. 
The cashless policy that was done by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) two weeks before the election created a lot of challenges because some people believed that Tinubu is keeping money to buy votes, but God proved a point that Tinubu would win without distributing money. 
Now, they made sure there was no petroleum to move around and in spite of that he still won. My position is that anybody that raises his or her hands against Nigeria now, God will destroy that person. God has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the person that deserves to reshape Nigeria won the election.  

What are the implications of Tinubu’s defeat in Lagos? Could it mean that the votes of non-indigenes are becoming a threat to Yoruba in the state?
No. The Igbo are threats to themselves in Nigeria. The results from Igbo land is a real threat to them. In Lagos, it is not the Igbo votes alone that made Tinubu lost, but the Christian votes particularly. How does the Igbo elections talk to the Yoruba? Now, the Yoruba will know there are some people among us who claimed to be men of God, but whose actions and utterances are dividing Yoruba people. We are known to be homogeneous in our communities. In my family, I am a Muslim, but we also have Christians and we do things together. We don’t discriminate. It has never happened in Yoruba land where we discriminate based on religion. If the Muslims should react to what the Christian community did in Lagos, there will be crisis in Yoruba land. Now, because I am a Muslim, the Christians are now saying, even if I am good they didn’t want me. We need to tell ourselves the truth that some Christian leaders need to be careful because we Muslims are not cowards. We knew what happened in Lagos, we know those who did it but we are going to be calm, believing that God will touch their minds and that they will repent and come back to what Yoruba are. We are not saying they shouldn’t vote according to their choice, but voting against Tinubu because he is a Muslim, we Muslims noted it and we are waiting for their actions and next reactions. We will also mobilise ourselves and that will be dangerous to Yoruba land.

Is it not an error of judgment to blame what happened in Lagos solely on Christian leaders without considering some of the policies of APC that triggered people’s resentment?
I want you to tell me if what I have said is true or false? Is it true that there are Christians who even placed their members under a curse that if they vote for Tinubu and his running mate, calamities will befall them? 

(Cut in) But Tinubu’s wife is a Christian…
That’s true. I watched something on the Facebook where a lady was weeping, saying that something must be done that if Tinubu wins, she would no longer be a Christian.

How would you now advise Tinubu to handle this issue of Christian/Muslim differences now that he is now President-Elect hoping to step in on May 29?
  The first thing he needs to do is to ask the Muslims to be calm. He should tell them to be what they used to be. He should appeal to them that he is the one that caused the crisis by choosing a Muslim as his vice. 

What’s your view about the letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, calling for the stoppage of the announcement of election results midway?
   My reaction is simple: Obasanjo should maintain his position as an elder. Obasanjo is not the only former president of Nigeria. We have Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalam Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan. We knew that Babangida had a preferred candidate but did you hear him say it? When you occupy some offices, there is a degree of dignity you must always maintain no matter the pressure. Obasanjo hates Yoruba people from when he was Military Head of State to the time he became civilian president. My question is what did Yoruba people do to him? 
He hated the late founder of Action Group (AG), Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he also hated the late Chief Moshood Abiola and we will understand that because they were classmates, but he also hates Tinubu. So, the question is why? Why must Obasanjo hate every Yoruba man that wants to come up? Why must it be Obasanjo alone every time that is talking and writing? President Muhammadu Buhari has equated Obasanjo’s record of being a former Military Head of State and two terms civilian president.

As a Chief in Owu land, Ogun State, there are certain things you must not do. What Obasanjo did is wrong. Three things that command respect for Obasanjo has been thrown into the gutter. Anybody insulting him now has the right to do so. The letter Obasanjo wrote makes no meaning. Does he not have Buhari’s phone number or the INEC Chairman’s phone number, to call them? He could have called them and expressed his position.

What would be your advice to Tinubu on restructuring, economy and security? 
  I read the manifesto and said this man put a good team together to write the manifesto. That manifesto did not only identify problems but also gave two, three to four suggested solutions and in each of the suggested solution, it gave timeline for it. Now, the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefile, created a serious economic crisis. What the CBN governor has brought us into is not available anywhere in the world. That’s the first problem to tackle and how do we do it that people will have currency to transact business? That’s the first thing the President elect must do. We cannot continue this way. You dragged us into the cashless society without building the structure to do electronic transfer, so how do I transfer to my family? You hardly can use the ATM machines now because of bad network. 
Now that we won the election, Tinubu’s economic team need to sit down and take the manifesto to look at it in view of the new money crisis, let us prioritise it such that within his first 90 days in office, Nigerians will know that there is a new government.
In terms of security, putting certain infrastructure in place may take some time, but while some state governments have what we call vigilante groups and others, his security team needs to sit down and fashion out how the disjointed security of states and the Federal Government would come together to have what we call good security. 

Restructuring will be addressed because that is key and it will take time. He must also look at a way of improving on our electricity infrastructure. There is need for him to build an infrastructure that will make telecommunication quick, faster and accessible even in the villages. He must look into this early. To achieve this, electricity is also there. These are things he can do in the early days of his government. His security and economic team must look into this.

Do you see Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu winning on March 11 going by what happened in Lagos in the presidential election?
 He will win because we will vote for him and it is now left for the Christians to support him. But I am sure he will win.