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Tinubu Is Running For President Because He knows He Can Turn Things Around – Abike Oludero

Princess Bukky Abike Oludero is the chairman and national coordinator BAT Network Vision International also called BAT KSM Vision International. In a chart with APC NewsOnline, she bears her mind on Nigeria's democratic journey, with special focus on the looming 2023 general election.

What inspired this support group?


Right from 2009, when I came back from U.K, I made up my mind that I was going to give back to the society that made me because I am a successful horticulturist and an administrator. So, when I came back to Nigeria, I went straight to my locality which is Ondo state, Oke Igbo. So, when I got there, I mingled with the grassroots and we were working together and I was educating them. I was empowering them.
Meanwhile, I have keenly observed Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s leadership/political philosophy, as it is modelled after the late sage Baba Awolowo. How he builds and nurture the leadership structure, from the grassroots to the higher echelon, and how he relates with them. So, I made him my role model as well, and since then I’ve deployed my personal resources to work with the grassroots. Sensitising them.
Determined to serve the people through quality representation, I veered into politics and contested for the Federal House of Representatives in 2011 under the ACN, however, I didn’t win but I was not discouraged as well. I stayed with them, educating them, then getting involved in electioneering processes and I was appointed as education secretary, then later I was removed because I was vocal against leadership that were not really attuned with the needs of the grassroot. So, I was removed but notwithstanding I wasn’t discouraged. I was with them, we were doing things together and I was involved in 2019 election, we decided to form a formidable group that would go around the country and propagate the philosophy of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. So that was when the BAT Network Vision International came into being in December 2019. So, when we had it we started connecting with all our friends around the country across the six geopolitical zones, visiting and inaugurating the state chapters with the little we could raise between ourselves. Our followership/ support base grew astronomically. So, I was championing it.
Given the enormous financial demands, we could not but solicit support from people that believed in our philosophy, who were made our patrons and our matrons. One of them who actually stands out is Chief Fred Akinsenyinwa who resides in the US, but he is actively involved in the politics of this country. He is a very strong believer in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He is a strong pillar of support for the group even from the US.  We made some jingles and made a lot of videos used to canvas support for Asiwaju, before the APC primaries that produced him as the party’s standard flag bearer. Fortunately, we were very elated when he eventually showed interest in what we were doing to justify our support canvassing for him to be able to make the primary. We thank God, the rest is history. He is now our candidate for the APC and we believe by the grace of God he is going to win the presidential election.
What endeared us to him, is that he does not have hatred for anybody, irrespective of what they say about him. He is focused and he moves with the people and he educates them. Talk about the development of the grassroots, which really gave us the impetus. To be able to move on, we now decided that because our party is disengaged from the grassroots. So, because those that are in the support group believe what Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima are doing. Because even before his nomination as vice presidential candidate, in his own region he was making waves and they love him. So, we now say how can we do it, that people will like us and change their attitude towards us. So, our team designed s two-way approach, The programme we are trying to showcase and we want the APC leaders to look at it and accept it. It will cost some money but the money that it will cost will yield many millions of votes. So, the second one is, WE ARE READY NIGERIA. The members of the support group will be kitted with a series of souvenirs that will show that we are ready. We would show how things are going to be done. We would show how we are really ready. We will show that we are ready for Nigeria to move forward. This is the series of things we are going to do within the time of the campaign before the election. So these are all the things we are working on.


There is a belief in certain quarters that Bola Tinubu is one of the greatest leaders from the Southwest since Obafemi Awolowo. What is your take?


It is very true. When you look at what Obafemi Awolowo has done, his accomplishments and that of MKO Abiola, if you compare it with what Tinubu is doing. Tinubu is even pushing higher now because he has studied all the things that have made Awolowo not to get to where he is today. He has studied what MKO Abiola did and did not make him get to where he wanted. And he is building on all those things to excel, so he is a great leader.


How do you perceive his acceptability ability in the Southwest, we know Oyo State is under the PDP represented by Governor Makinde the recent defeat of Governor Oyetola in Osun State gubernatorial election?


He is highly acceptable and accepted, and I will say this, if even though on social media they might be saying, no no we don’t want. I have lots of friends in all the states of the Southwest and some of them are in the opposition party. When I call them and say what are you writing, they say they have paid us for what we are writing. So, leave us, we know where we are going during the election. So, from that feedback you will know that there is no controversy about the acceptability of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is going to win the election in a landslide because we know that Yoruba will always be Yoruba. They can never leave their own irrespective of those who are talking. They just have to talk because they must have compromised somewhere and if they don’t talk those people they compromise with will trouble them but there is an adage which says, if you see my face, you don’t see my heart. That is how the Yoruba’s are, so I believe that he is going to win very well in the southwest.


How is the spread of your group in the southeast, south and in northern parts of the country?


I will say our spread is stronger in the North, in the South-South, a little in the Southeast even more than in the Southwest because by the time we started this propagation of Asiwaju’s name, and we were connecting, people were just falling in places. Yes, we heard about him, yes, he is good. And you see, what normally happens, is the person that connects matters a lot. If they know you are good and you connect, they will assume that the person you are talking about is good. So that has been the spread all over and I tell you especially in the Northeast even before they picked Kashim Shettima as the Vice-Presidential candidate, already the Northeast had keyed so much into Asiwaju’s ambition. So, I wasn’t surprised when they picked him. They were just calling and calling and calling. So, the acceptability is much and we are still talking to more people. As we speak, we have about two hundred and fifty thousand members across the country. And we now have three chapters, in the U. S, the U.k and the Republic of Finland. Some of our members have taken Asiwaju /Shettima’s name to Italy, to Spain, to the Netherlands. So we are spreading and the acceptability is great.


Looking at the Peter Obi Obedient phenomenon in the Southeast, and the formidable stature of Atiku Abubakar in the North, do you think your principal, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu can win the Presidential election?


As it is and in the future, I believe that he would make it. That is one of the reasons that we sat down and considered this ONE TO CHART FORTY. If you are used to someone consistently, it will be difficult for that person to do otherwise, so we have that believe and with the way people are coming in, we have that belief that Asiwaju will win, no doubt about that and that all his good deeds or KSM good deeds are paying back to them now, that even if few people are saying otherwise but the majority will vote for APC. For the northern states, the 19 northern states, I have the belief that they are going to work for Asiwaju because if you look at it now, PDP is not really settled and you see what is happening down South against Atiku. So that one will also give us leverage because as politicians we are not going to allow them to settle down until we win the election, then we bring them together to form a government.


There is a controversy in this country, that the old guards are unwilling to cede the political stage to the younger. Can one rightly say Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a champion of the youth?


I think so. The reason why Asiwaju said I would go this time around is for several reasons. First, he has been planning this for a long time. Secondly, when u have an idea, that is the reason why i am sitting as chairman and national coordinator now. When I have an idea, and want someone to do it for me that person may not do it the way I want.
Because he knows that he wants to turn things around. So, these are the reasons why he felt he would rather go in and show that example for people to see. Age is not a deficiency, age has nothing to do with brilliance. I am 63 for crying out loud and I left the UK when I was 50 and I was fulfilled and I said I was going back to the country that made me. And when I got there things were not working out, I was at the grassroots, I didn’t just barge into them. I first studied them, my first degree was in guardian and counselling and my second degree was in industrial relations and personnel management. So, I study human beings. I know their needs, I know their wants. If I cannot provide it, I must be able to carry their voices up and that’s it. So, I believe that he will do it very well because he knows how to empower people. He knows how to fix them. He will find them out and fix them. He can’t do it all alone so needs capable hands to do the work and get the results, so that is my belief. And I think it will work out.


Looking at the structure of the present APC National Working Committee (NWC) led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, do you think they will be able to deliver a Tinubu/Shettima presidency come 2023 general election? There has been talk of a crack in the leadership of the APC what is your take?


The issue is, if we look at what happened during the primary, it will give people some kind of jittery. Will these people be 100 % loyal and you know it is politics? Loyalty is key. When you are loyal, people will depend on you 100 %. Disloyalty can create failure. That is the fear but having looked at it, that Asiwaju and Senator Kashim Shettima cannot do it alone. They will have to look for other people who can work and deliver and that is why we will advise strongly that support groups must be held, must be empowered because willingly they are working without giving them anything. They are working because they believe in the two of them, and they are working because they believe after working they will recognize them and give them positions. So, with that, I will strongly advise that we have the party structure, let them be doing the work. But strongly too, the support group has to be held and no small support group should be overlooked because they can damage and they can correct, they are used to working at the grassroots. Once you are a support group, I am not talking of emergency support group, that will just package themselves for elections. No. Those of us that are passionate about this thing, we want success for them. They should identify them and then find them during this time of campaign and during an election. Our national chairman is a single entity and he has series of instructions. He is bound to move left or move right but at the end of the day when the majority, everybody who believes in these two people’s ticket will work hard and we will achieve results.


How do you see the controversy surrounding the Muslim Muslim ticket?


I granted Savannah news an interview on this and all I said is that we have always been having Christian Christian leadership and no noise about it. Now they say Muslim Muslim ticket because they found no means of discrediting Asiwaju and Kashim Shettima. Now they want to hammer on that like I told some people that this Muslim Muslim and Christian Christian ticket has nothing to do with governance. As a Christian bring your policy for the government to see, follow it up and get approval for your policy. So, Muslim Muslim – Christian Christian tickets they are just using it to negotiate. Some are using it to negotiate. It is for selfish intentions. Governance has nothing to do with Muslim – Muslim or Christian Christian or whatever. And if they say they want to Islamize Nigeria, it is possible. We still; have those who are neither Christians nor Muslims and they are many. So, I want to believe that Nigeria always look for a way of making noise about something that it is so infinitesimal, that one should overlook it. Look at what is happening in the UK now, the person that is now their prime minister is of mixed breed and yet nobody is making a fuss about it. What we should hammer on mostly, is our policies. The way the policies are formulated and implemented.


If you look at the policies of Ondo state, where you have your political root, how is the APC faring and what do you see going forward?


I would say that the governor has tried all he could to identify and he has been trying to bring people back to himself and he is improving the way he is doing things in the state. One thing I can assure you is that we will win a majority of votes in Ondo state because the support groups that are there are working. In fact, they want to stand on their own and work and deliver Asiwaju rather than they say party structure, put them under. But what we BAT – KSM Network Vision International did was that the letter was given to us at the national secretariat. Letter of recommendation, we directed all our coordinators across the country to do a letter and attach that letter to it and take it to the secretariat so that they should recognize them. That if they recognize us at the national, they must recognize us at the state level. So that one is going on. They should do their best, whatever the party is doing is making people feel somehow, the support group will diffuse it and then they will be able to vote our candidate in.

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