By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
In the wake of permutations regarding the 2023 Presidential Election, a former Governor of Lagos State and Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola has said while the nation’s constitution does not provide for a zoning formula, it is a matter of honour for parties who had entered into such agreements to stay true to their words.
Fashola spoke yesterday during an interface with some political correspondents in Abuja.
The minister who said the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP has nothing to offer Nigerians also added that his ruling All Progressives Congress APC would retain power at the centre if it is able to substantially fulfil its promises to Nigerians.
According to him, the PDP is not thinking well and so would still be defeated in the 2023 general elections.
“On zoning, first let us talk about laws and let us talk about the agreement. The law is the Constitution. The constitution prescribes the age when you can contest for certain positions and there is nothing in the constitution that says zoning.
“Political parties are clubs where you write agreements just like the social clubs and you can decide that it is the youngest person who will be the chairman of the club or party or that the oldest person or woman should lead. That is a matter of agreement among people. But the constitution that sets up the requirements of political party formation does not prescribe zoning.
So, if people made an agreement, as a matter of honour, they should keep to the terms of their agreement, whether it is written or verbal. The truth is that what makes an agreement efficacious is the honour with which it is made, not whether it is written or verbal. If it was right there would be no court cases on breach of contract because it is all the documents, the written and signed agreements that always go to court. But the private agreement you make with your brother or sister and you deal with it, there is no dispute, it is the honour.
“To retain power in 2023, certainly if we keep our promises, people will vote for us. That is politics. If you improve people’s lives, even if you don’t achieve it 100 per cent but they see that you are making progress, they would even want you to finish up the ones you started. The opposition has to think better than us, not that they can defeat us anyway. Right now they are not doing that and I won’t teach them how to do it. When it is election time, they will come and meet us”, he added.
On where he stands in terms of political realignment towards 2023, the minister said he remained a party man who is committed to the ideals of the APC.
“Where do I belong? I belong to the party that offers Change, the APC and is committed to good governance because I think the best politics, first, is good governance. That is the best politics. What did you do with the mandate? That is the best politics.
“The beauty of this for me is the opportunity it gives to impact people’s lives for good. We have elections only once in four years but we have responsibilities to provide good governance every day and that is the main job”, Fashola said.
The minister also rallied support for the Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee of the party, saying government officials should not seek to impose themselves on the party, adding that there is need for each person to stick to his briefs.
He said; “In terms of the Caretaker Committee, perhaps this is a good opportunity. You know, the first meeting of the APC, don’t forget, was convened in my official residence in Lagos. Eleven of us. After President Buhari and Asiwaju had agreed, I convened and hosted that meeting at which we first came up with the name ‘APC’ in Marina, Lagos. Some of you were asking me that what did we think we were doing that 11 of us…and I told you to just watch. And it has come to pass. But after that, there is a bigger responsibility. Winning the election is not the challenge. It is delivering the programmes that is the big deal and that is what I am committed to doing.
“At that time, we had party officers. Some people decided that they wanted to be Chairman, Secretary, Publicity Secretary, Treasurer etc and we voted for them. That is the truth. We must leave them to do their job. If there is a crisis that has now led us to have a caretaker committee, we must also respect the caretaker committee. Let it do its job.
Those of us who did not contest to hold party offices who now found ourselves here, let us focus on our jobs too and stop getting in each other’s way. We need to support one another. Every support that the caretaker committee requires to provide leadership, if it is within our means to do so, we will. At the end of the day, we are governed by rules. I know quite a number of them on a personal basis and they a track record.
So, let us support them to achieve what is their immediate and primary mandate and to the best of its ability, I think, we won elections and a governor has joined us”.