Minister of Works and Housing and former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola has said he would consider supporting the purported presidential ambition of the current leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, only if he (Tinubu) declares interest.
Fashola who was speaking during an exclusive chat with LEADERSHIP yesterday said as far as he knows, Tinubu had not made any public statement indicating his interest to take a shot at the presidency come 2023, adding that until that is done, he would not pre-empt the APC leader by going ahead to say what he would do to support his bid.
“I think from the last conversation we had, the official statement he issued was that he was busy supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate and had not made up his mind to go for the presidency yet; that is all he said, unless he had said otherwise since then but not to my knowledge.
“And his last public statement that I have read was about the issue of today-our challenges in managing our diversity and our economy.
“These are the public statements he had made so far, and those are the right things any leader worth the name should be concerned about, so I am not surprised that he is doing that.
“Of course, once it is the presidency everybody falls in line, but let him come out first and say ‘I am throwing my hat in ring’, then you will see what I will do.”
On whether the government was losing grip of its responsibility in keeping the nation’s unity as kidnapping, armed banditry, farmers-herders feud, secession threat among others continue to rear their ugly heads in parts of the country, the minister said the government was fully on top of the game and remains resolute to bring all criminal activities to their end as soon as possible.
“Diversity is a very strong component of our nationhood, and when challenges like these come up, it is also the weapon for partisanship but that should not be a reason for extreme ideas or views.
He said, “Yes, we can disagree to agree. We have a lot in common. We have done a lot with ourselves and there is a lot more that we can do. We are joined in many more places now than we are able to acknowledge.”
The minister maintained that though there was room for people to air their views as part of the freedom that comes with democracy, they must also realise that freedom comes with responsibilities which they must not ignore.
“We must pay as much attention to our duties and responsibilities with the same fervour that we assert our freedom.
“ kidnapping is a crime and we need to recognise and respond to it by doing intellectual rigours together. So instead of sitting back and labelling people, let’s take the business away from criminals.
“We must do some research and apply some data in a way that it is not targeted at scoring political goals. Our focus should be where, what time of the year it is prevalent, and how it happens, not who is behind it. That is the kind of intellectual rigour I am talking about.
“Lets ask those kind of questions that when properly answered would provide the kind of insight required into where our resources should be channelled,” he said, charging the media to assist by echoing the voices of those who are asking the right questions at all times.