2023: Count me out of pretenders, says Amosun
The declaration of the former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the presidency has not only changed the political calculation of who will fly the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) but has generated controversy on whether he is just a pretender, with the ambition to seek re-election to the Senate or a contender for Nigeria’s highest political office.
But Amosun has not kept anybody in doubt that he has all it takes to slug it out with other 27 presidential aspirants of the party and emerged as the candidate of APC.
For those, who have been following the political trajectory of the former governor, he is not a push over in the Nigerian politics, especially in the internal politics of the ruling party. Apart from being among the few that has the ears of President Muhamadu Buhari, many are of the opinion that some eminent Nigerians across the six geopolitical zones are routing for his candidacy.
Speaking during his public declaration in Abuja where he unveiled his eight-point agenda for the transformation of the country’s fortunes, Amsoun said his wealth of experience in both the public and private sectors has prepared him to lead Nigeria to economic prosperity where lives and property will be secured.
He reeled out his campaign manifesto to include improving security network of the nation, creating enabling environment for business to grow the economy and provision of infrastructural facilities for the teeming Nigerian populace.
To the two-term governor of Ogun State, his desire to join the presidential race “is to honour a historic call and duty to lead the next phase of our collective journey to national glory. It is a duty to reenergise our faith in the future of this country even in the face of the threats to our national sovereignty by insurgents and terrorists; a duty to renew hope in our collective destiny even in the light of some doubts expressed and mobilised in some quarters about our shared fate.”
“I am convinced about my capacity in leading the country to national glory. I offer myself to serve as national revival and rejuvenation in providing comprehensive audit of security architecture and accelerate economic growth in the country.” he said.
Many analysts have pointed out that two major issues that require urgent attention in Nigeria at the moment is tackling insecurity challenges and revamping the economy. Amosun in his declaration speech vowed to give priority to these two key issues.
He said, “Putting human security at the forefront and approaching human security as the directive principle of state policy would imply that the two dominant goals of my leadership would be national security and economic development”.
“The two pillars of the agenda that I will elaborate in the weeks ahead are national security and economic development. Upon these two pillars, we will create a national architecture for human flourishing that is unprecedented in our national history.
“Based on these two pillars, we will erect a national agenda which, apart from national security and economic development, will include healthcare, education agriculture and food security, infrastructural rural and urban development, technology, innovation and digital economy, and nation building.
“Guided by the unprecedented investment in human security, the integration of the eight areas of this carefully planned agenda for national reawakening will, within four years, unleash unparalleled human resource that will make Nigeria proud of their motherland.
“It bears repeating that Nigeria has the required manpower, both at home and abroad to accomplish this agenda. Under my leadership, we will mobilise Nigeria’s immense human and natural resources to rebuild our education sector, healthcare, infrastructure, including electricity, roads and water supply”.
Speaking on Amosun’s declaration, Kemi Muritala, a public affairs analyst said “Others have been promising to fix Nigeria, some promises hope, some promises unity, some promises better life and so on, but stakeholders across the divide testified on Thursday May 5, when Amosun declared before the mammoth crowd at Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja that we need a trail blazer and someone whose Nigeria is safe in his hands like Amosun”.
“Testimonials from distinguished Nigerians such as Ambassador Fatimat Bala Abubakar, Senator Isa Dansadau, Senator Khairat Gwadabe, Senator Iyabo Anisuluwo, Senator Lawan Shuaibu, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Mrs Rukaiyah Wiran, Ambassador Jerry Ugbokwe, among others in attendance testified to the fact that Amosun is a straight forward, frank, a good leader, a cheerful giver, a detribalised and competent Nigerian the country needs now”.
Senate Leader Abdullahi Yahaya said Amosun is “exceptionally good, a person of courage and generouse and Nigeria will be safe in his hands”. Corroborating this, Fayemi, a co-presidential aspirant, said Amosun is a complete Nigerian having similarity in ideological orientation like him, hence his decision to attend his declaration.
“You can be sure that between us, whichever way, we will be in the tent and not outside the tent”, Fayemi assured supporters.
“I quite agree with Amosun in his priority of human security and accelerated economic growth and development as a way out of the doldrums we are in the country”.
But his critics who, has not come to the reality of his audacity to be president of Nigeria have described Amosun as a pretender who shouldn’t be taken seriously. They said he would soon collapse his structures with that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for an alliance that will see former Lagos State governor as the candidate of the party. They also said Amosun had secretly purchased senatorial form to return to the senate and even attended the screening for senatorial aspirants last weekend.
Amosun, however, has dismissed the claims of his critics as their inability to understand the dynamics and intrigues that will determine the candidate of the party and denied being a front to Tinubu.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Bola Adeyemi, Amosun disregarded rumours that he attended the screening exercise for senatorial aspirants held on Sunday.
He said he was not at the screening exercise because he didn’t purchase nomination and expression of interest forms for senatorial election.
He said, “The second claims that Senator Amosun is set to align with a named presidential aspirant for the presidential contest. The two news stories are false. They are instances of the brand of politics that responsible Nigerians abhor”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Senator Amosun procured only the forms for the presidential ticket of APC and did not attend the screening exercise for Senatorial aspirants because he is not one. Also, Senator Amosun is in the race for the presidential ticket of the APC and has no plans to align with any politician in the race. The false news stories should be dismissed.”
A political group, “SIA Advocates”, has described Amosun as the best presidential aspirant, who can tackle Nigeria’s insecurity if elected the next president.
The group in a statement jointly signed by Coordinator-General, Ishaq Bada and the Organising Secretary, Afolabi Sunday, said Amosun stands out among “all the aspirants vying for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
According to the group, Amosun inherited Ogun in 2011, during the period the state was considered the most insecure in the country and turned things to ensure residents could sleep with their eyes closed.
“Senator Amosun took over the governance of Ogun State in 2011 when the State was almost rated the most insecure in the country, small arms proliferation were more popular than sachets of water, cultism was at its highest, banks couldn’t open in any part of the state without being robbed, not even the ones within our ivory towers were saved, no one in Ogun State could sleep with two eyes closed.
“Senator Amosun did not only give marching orders to security operatives, he was leading the battle from the front. The kidnap cases of former CAN President, retired Primate Peter Akinola, in 2013; that of a former Minister of State for Education, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo in 2016; and the kidnap of the spouse of the Osun State House of Assembly Speaker, Mrs Muibat Salam in 2012, are few cases of the security dexterity and native intelligence know-how deployed by this industrious Nigerian.
“Amosun is practically the best man to solve the problem of insecurity in Nigeria,” the group said.
The group further revealed that “Ogun State was ranked 35th out of the 36 states of the federation in the Sub Regional Ease of Doing Business in 2011, within three years at the helm of affairs, the State jumped to the 3rd position in 2014.
“By the time Amosun was leaving Ogun State in 2019, the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State which was met at N700m per month jumped to an average of N6.8b per month.”
The group insisted that Nigeria needs a courageous and unbiased leader with track records in the management of both human and material resources.
“Without casting aspersions on every eligible and qualified Nigerians who have thrown their hats to the rings, especially within the APC, the love for the prosperity of this country should be on the front burner and not individual lifetime ambition.
“He approaches every responsibility and task with an infectious passion, commitment and perseverance. A hands-on leader who leads by example, he has the knack to identify, assemble, and nurture talents to create motivated teams with the capacity to deliver optimal outcomes,” it added.