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‘Zoning or not, Tinubu remains the best to succeed Buhari’

By Seye Olumide
03 April 2022   |   3:51 am
On the one hand, some argue zoning is required to allow for proper representation of our diverse tribes, on the other hand, some say that zoning shows that democracy in Nigeria is immature, and weak.

Baroness Tinuke E. Davies-Kesington

Baroness Tinuke E. Davies-Kesington is the Diaspora Woman leader, Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO) and matron, Asiwaju Volunteers Group. She speaks the necessity or otherwise of zoning in Nigerian politics and why Asiwaju Bola Tinubu remains the best choice to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

Some stakeholders have been agitating that APC should jettison zoning. Do you agree with this?
On the one hand, some argue zoning is required to allow for proper representation of our diverse tribes, on the other hand, some say that zoning shows that democracy in Nigeria is immature, and weak. Democracy is a western European ideology that has been implemented in Nigeria. Looking at the idea and the framework of democracy, it is not actually in alignment, given that democracy at its core promotes freedom of access. Zonal politics is not aligned with actual democratic principles. It is not what would be expected in a country that purports to hold democratic values.
As the APC is, considering leaving zonal politics practices behind it shows political maturity, advancing knowledge and true alignment with democratic principles. Democratic ideology lends itself to people in a country, regardless of where they are from, being able to participate in the political process, and if they choose to serve, they can represent the interests of their constituents.

However, it is not so much whether I agree with zoning or not, rather we should focus on the best candidates who can deliver the best outcomes for every community in Nigeria. That is what I agree with. I agree with what will improve the lives of Nigerians of every tribe and denomination.   

As an APC leader, who do you think should emerge as the next presidential candidate of the party?
There are many fine potential candidates in the APC. We have heard of candidacy aspirations from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi. They are all experienced politicians; they all have something to offer Nigeria, which needs a new direction to be able to compete in the global economic and political system.  
It’s simple, the candidate with the experience, determination and intelligence and proven record and vision for Nigeria; the candidate that can represent Nigeria on the world stage and who understands politics, is my preferred candidate. That candidate is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

There are others jostling for the coveted office in your party. Why do you think Tinubu is better?
Yes, there are other eminently qualified candidates. Nigeria as a country is showing its advancement by producing world-class statesmen. They are all credit to Nigeria. But in my professional judgment, Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands a better chance, because he has over the years, not only been known as a politician, but has become a brand, embedded in the minds of Nigerians across all geographical locations. Tinubu is not only a statesman, he is also a brand. He has a unique vision for Nigeria, a Nigeria that is powerful with her people, healthy, prosperous, and educated.

What other qualities do you think Tinubu has to lift Nigeria?
I agree Nigeria needs more than a politician; Nigeria needs a true visionary to guide the country into a better future. Therefore, we need Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at this point in our history. Nigeria needs to advance rapidly and take a true leadership position in Africa. That requires a statesman, one who understands statecraft and one who cares about people and the people’s interests. Tinubu dares to dream of a truly powerful Nigeria, that gives its citizens chances in life, security, and gives them the ability to dream and makes their dreams a reality.
Tinubu possesses a deep love for all of Nigeria, every tribe, every region, and sees Nigeria as a whole as an integrated unit that can take its place among leading nations in the world and make black people across the globe have a beacon of hope and protection. He has a truly international vision for Nigeria and a deep respect and love for all Nigerians. 

Does his achievement as governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007 qualify him to rule Nigeria?
The work Tinubu embarked on whilst being governor are well documented. He commissioned new hospitals, improved roads and focused on infrastructure and fiscal responsibility. So also are his works as a private citizen with Aramco, one of the largest energy corporations on earth some 40 years ago.  

What does he need to do to eventually clinch the ticket of his party?
He is a unifying force that Nigeria needs. Nigerians from all areas and tribes have immense respect and belief in Tinubu. They see a man that has transcended all tribal and religious barriers who will create a government that will reflect the country properly. He is fairly accountable and is obsessed with making Nigeria great.

What do you think Tinubu will do and should do differently if he eventually becomes the next president?
I believe that Tinubu will be bold and courageous; he will take us to where Nigeria ought to be.

What are your mandates as the leader of Diaspora women of Tinubu Support Organisation (TSO) and matron, Asiwaju Volunteers Group?
My mandate stems from my involvement in politics in the United Kingdom, and my background in social policy development, which I engaged in not only in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.  

My political career in the UK began in the early 1990s as a community organiser, securing votes within the Black and South Asian community for the UK Labour Party. 
I was then elected as a Councillor, and through my work was able to secure a position as a policy adviser to the then Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair and subsequently to his predecessor, because of other works I undertook as a member of their Think-Tank.

Using this experience, I founded the British Nigerian Association of Councillors, to allow for Nigerians in London to have a voice in the political system in the UK as well as being an integral part of Operation Black Votes, a national organisation that worked to ensure that Black people in the United Kingdom, had their interests listened to and acted upon by government. 

With my career in social policy, I was able to gain an international perspective on issues, around the social care, health, economics and family planning, protection of children and women’s issues, and the impact of government policies in these areas. I undertook projects around social policy development in the United Kingdom, Spain, Jamaica, United States, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, St. Lucia. In addition to these, I have sat on boards of numerous governmental and organisations in the UK that focus on policy development. This is a snippet of my background and mandates, that I have in working as a Nigerian in the Diaspora.