Oby Ezekwesili, candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), says the touted influence and political clout of Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Lagos is immensely overestimated.
Ezekwesili said Tinubu does not even have grip of Alimosho, the largest local government area in Lagos state.
Tinubu is believed to wield much power in south-west. He worked for the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
But in a statement on Monday, the former education minister said Tinubu “and his like in #APCPDP control only as much as we let them."
She said “Alimosho for example, is the largest local government in Lagos state with over 1.2million persons resident according to official census figures. In 2015, only about 650,000 of these people registered and obtained their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs)
“Faced with the rather unattractive choice of voting for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Goodluck Jonathan, or the anyone-but-Jonathan candidacy represented by Muhammadu Buhari, a great many voters chose to abstain.
“At the end of the day, the #APCPDP, the twin terrors of Nigeria, only managed to conjure up 140,000 votes between them. In Almighty Alimosho. This says something loud and clear, that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with all of his ‘might’ and experience in so-called grassroots politics could, at the end of the day, deliver only 86,897 votes for his candidate Buhari and their party.
“Where then does the source of this his widely reported power come from? Isn’t he grossly overestimated? Asiwaju Tinubu and his like in #APCPDP control only as much as we let them. And the situation is the same in every other part of the country- from Kano to Ilorin- where any godfather claims to hold sway.
“These men are only as powerful as we, the citizens let them be. They have been getting away with this for so long because we outsourced our responsibility as voters to people who do not necessarily represent our best interests. The biggest trick that these entrenched politicians have played on us is to convince us of their invincibility, and we permitted them. This stops now!”
The former minister said her movement offers “a clean break from all of the old ways” but everyone has to get involved.
“An Oby Ezekwesili presidency will not only work to create an enabling environment for our young people to explore their greatest potentials and be globally competitive, but they will actually power the government. Building our young human capital will be an urgent priority of our ACPN government,” she said.
“We have an agenda to transform 20 Nigerian universities into world class institutions with strong showings on the global rankings. These people are still talking about oil when the world is counting down to the end of the oil economy?
“In fact, we should just give them the oil to drink since it is what they really want so that they can leave alone to focus on the work of rebuilding our economy. Our agenda is about creating wealth – growing the pie exponentially, creating jobs, building shared prosperity and taking at least 80 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“It isn’t enough to decide to vote. There are millions of people, similarly challenged who need to be convinced, not only in the authenticity of our cause but in our practical road map for victory.
“We will be knocking on doors, please open to us. We will be selling our message please listen to us. But we cannot do it alone. We need a committed team of volunteers and supporters that will be prepared to go door to door, taking our message to those who need to hear them.
“We will need the resources to make this happen so we will be asking for your support, in all the ways that are possible- talent, skill, resources- whatever it takes to deliver the vote.”