Prince Saheed Popoola is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State. He spoke with KEHINDE AKINPELU on national issues. Excerpts:
How do you see the recent general election won by your party?
When I was the only Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chairman in the whole 16 local government areas of the state, we did our best for the council and we ensured that we were focused. Instead of us jumping from one party to the other, we remained in the defunct ACN. We believed that one day opposition party would wrest power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that is what has actually happened.
Thank God the likes of the state leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed joined APC. I was the first person in the whole federation to be on the platform of APC to contest election. We started victory for APC in the whole country. Thank God for the people of Offa, Offa local government area that stood by us and they are still standing by us. I want to also say that if not for the coming of Senator Saraki and the governor of the state to APC, we couldn’t have attained the level the party is today in the state.
Bukola Saraki as senate president, your take on it?
The good thing is that our party the APC knows the quality and the stuff that the likes of Senator Saraki is made up. I remember very well when I had problems with them in the state, I went to our national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and he told me frankly that he has great respect for the Sarakis. He said the late Olusola Saraki assisted him in 1991 when he had problems. That it was when he came out of the problem in 1991 he was elected in the Senate in 1993.
History is not far-fetched. The role that the late Dr Olusola Saraki played in the history of Nigeria cannot be down-played. Look at what his son, Senator Bukola Saraki has done starting from when he was the chairman of the Governors’ Forum. The APC should appreciate that if not for the coming of Senator Saraki, Governors Kwankwaso and Chibuke Amaechi of Kano and Rivers states what APC is calling victory today wouldn’t have been. If Kano and other states had voted against us, we would be singing a different song now. Remember that the gap between Buhari and Jonathan is just three million. When Bukola Saraki was the chairman of the governors’ forum then PDP led Buhari in the 2011 elections with about 12 million votes. I want to tell you and prophesying that APC will not break. I want to say that Senator Saraki is the most qualified person for the senate presidency of the country. He has a lot of wisdom; he is experienced. So he should be given the chance.
I want to advise our party to treat the issue with tact. The PDP with its 48 members in the senate is waiting for us. We are 61 and PDP is waiting for us not to be united. We should just concentrate on one person and move forward. As a rooted member of defunct Action Congress (AC), ACN and now APC, I want to suggest that our party should not make any mistake.
Even if APC does not support Bukola Saraki in this matter, he might still get it because many of the senators in PDP love him. Even in our party, he has a lot of people he sponsored to the senate.
Asiwaju Tinubu is a very brilliant politician. Other politicians in the country should go and tap from his political sagacity. Either anybody likes it or not, today, Tinubu is the greatest Yoruba politician. There is no Yoruba politician that has for now surpassed his record. Late Obafemi Awolowo and late Moshood Abiola started the race but they couldn’t finish it. Tinubu has finished the job. It is not that he should become president but he did a good work for us in the Yoruba nation.
Asiwaju that did not dictate to Governor Babatunde Fashola as a civilian will never dictate the President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari who is a military man.