Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and cochairman of APC Presidential Campaign Council. In this interview with journalists after casting his vote in Ikeja, he expresses confidence that his party will win the elections. OLALEKAN OSIADE and TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE report
How would you assess the election so far?
It is peaceful. So far; so good. It demonstrated the resilience of Nigerians. We are using one of the best and difficult ways to select our representatives. Even democracy is not the easiest project to manage; it is not the easiest system to maintain, but with resilience and strong determination, we are getting there and we are making progress. This morning (Saturday) I can say within this polling unit and some other ones that I have passed through, they are doing well.
How would you describe the comportment of the electorate who trooped out to cast their votes?
I commend them because despite the fact that the elections were postponed last week Saturday, they were still excited and ready to cast their votes despite the postponement. There could be frustration and disappointment at one point or the other.But we could see that it was not deliberate. We could see that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as the umpire, gave us very good briefing throughout the week; giving us progress report. That is taking response to bullet. That is being open; that is being honest. We must move ahead; that is what we need in Nigeria and in a democratic society.
If the people of Nigeria vote out your party, what would you do?
I will say we will accept it; that is peoples’ verdict; that is there decision. Any democrats that cannot accept the results of free and fair elections, is not worthy of the name. You must be able to accept the results of a free and fair election. What is your hope? Do you think you can win this election? My hope and determination and for my party is that we are winning.
What gives you the confidence?
Because we have the support of the people. Look back and look at our rallies alone, that is an indication of who have the populace; the ordinary people. We are not talking about the elite; the rich. We are talking about ordinary farmers, traders, artisans and the common men. We are talking about parents whose children are feeding now at least once a day. We are talking about those people. They have to be grateful and still continue with him.
If the opposition rejects the result, what happens?
They are not democrats. They don’t believe in value and philosophy; you will see their desperation and they cannot claim to be democrats.
There have been complaints about logistics in some areas of Lagos State. Are you satisfied with the performance of INEC?
I am satisfied with what INEC is doing so far. You don’t drive yourself like a vehicle. You can easily develop fuel pomp problem on the highway. It is something that is mechanic. INEC said it experienced bad weather last week. I fly a lot. I have come to a situation where I got to an airport in this country and after spending two hours, we could not land. You cannot but accept nature. That one is beyond you.
There are allegations that your party is planning to rig the elec-tion. For example, there are pictures online that surface about bullion vans coming out of your premises?
Bullion vans; are they ballot papers? Where am I voting now?
There are allegations that those bullion vans carry money or ballot to rig election?
Is it my money or government money? I don’t walk for government. I am not in the agencies of government. And let anybody come out to say I have taken any contracts from the government of President Muhammadu Buhari or All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last four years. They should prove it. I am on my own and I am committed to my party. So, even if I have money to spend in my premises; what is your headache? If I don’t represent any agency of government and I have money to spend… If I have money and give it to the people free of charge as long as it is not to buy votes. You are talking of yesterday; so who are those watching my house and seeing bullion vans; they must be mischief-makers. They are lazy people and liars.
How would you describe the electoral process in Nigeria?
None of you became adult suddenly in one day. Without the advent of science and technology, you wait until the delivery before you can even identify the sex of a child. In your home, to raise your children and to even organise your kitchen and your living room, it takes time, perseverance, tolerance, endurance, consistency and strong determination, that we have adopted in democracy and that we want it to grow. So, we leave with the hate and pains, peace and value of it and then, we would move on.