Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti) has stated reasons he is supporting the ambition of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, to become Nigeria’s next president.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that Mr Tinubu had got what it takes to provide the leadership Nigeria needs at a time like this.
Mr Bamidele, who is the Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary Human Rights and Legal Matters, said that he had not denied Mr Tinubu of his support and not pretending about his support for him.
“I have not denied him of my support and I have not pretended about my support for him.
“My relationship with Tinubu is not in contention and is something I never pretended about and even several of those who are contesting from the South-West also have their own relationships with him.
“This is because he had been there for a lot of us in the past and he is still there.
” I believe both on moral ground as well as out of conviction that he has got what it takes to provide the kind of leadership this country needs at a time like this.”
Mr Tinubu declared his intention to run for president on the APC ticket last January. Other aspirants in the party include Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Yahaya Bello, the Kogi State governor; Rochas Okorocha, a senator and former Imo State governor; Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transport and former Rivers governor; Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi State, among others.
Mr Bamidele, however, added that in supporting Mr Tinubu, “we cannot use that as a basis not to recognise the rights of other stakeholders who want to aspire.
”But I believe that part of the essence of democracy is that there will be constructive engagement.
“I’m sure everybody is talking to somebody and before the date of this election, there will be some realignment of forces. But the right of everyone to contest is inalienable, and it has to be respected.”
On the concept of consensus candidacy, Mr Bamidele said that it wasn’t a bad concept, stating that what was more important was its implementation.
“Those who made the law, both the constitution of our party and even the new electoral law which also recognise consensus as one of the three means of selecting candidates by political parties, did not envisage a situation where a few persons will sit down and try to impose a candidate in the name of consensus.
“What we have to emphasise is the manner of implementation of consensus.
“What will be tyrannical about the supposed consensus process is where it now becomes an indirect manner of imposition.
“This is because some few people field those who they want and in the name of consensus, they end up forcing a candidate down the throat of every other person,” he said.
NAN reports that Mr Bamidele was Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development and Special Adviser on Political Affairs to Mr Tinubu during his tenure as governor of Lagos State.
Mr Tinubu has also been a firm supporter of Mr Bamidele, rallying behind the lawmaker when the House of Reps caucus in Ekiti suspended him in 2013.
Mr Bamidele is also a strong critic of Governor Kayode Fayemi, who is also aspiring for president on the APC platform.