A former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, who later became a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Moshood Salvador, has spoken against the decision of the APC to field Muslims as both presidential and vice presidential candidates. In this interview with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI, the businessman-cum politician spoke about why he decided to vie for the office of Governor of Lagos State under Labour Party. Excerpts…
You recently moved to the Labour Party and you are their governorship candidate in Lagos State, why did you leave the APC?
As I explained before now, I left the PDP because they never had the intention and plan to win election in the state, so being there was a waste of time. I later went to the APC with over 300,000 of my members in Conscience Forum. The agreement with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was that he would give one or two members of my group tickets. The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, is a witness. But they were not given. One man, Oke, in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government and others were to be the beneficiaries. I just persuaded them that we should be patient since we were new in the party.
They promised to give my members three commissioners, two special advisers, not me. I never took contract from any local government, state or federal government. They should check their records. My company is Dock Management Nigeria Limited, I am a businessman, a farmer I also have a school and I have properties. It is these young ones that are my concern. I want to make sure that they are relevant.
They promised me 100 LASTMA jobs, 100 neighbourhood watch and 100 LAWMA jobs for my people, none of them was given. They promised employment in parastatals for my people, not one was given. Even to the extent that they never invited our people to local government or ward meetings. During the local council elections, all my people that applied were frustrated and beaten. They told them that they were from the PDP.
We were in the APC for five years; from 2018 to 2022. Asiwaju’s Group is Mandate, while the group of the Deputy Governor is Justice Forum; only two groups enjoy in the APC. They refused to accommodate Conscience Forum. Am I the one to do LASTMA, LNSC jobs or to be commissioner, no, it is the people from my group, yet they threw everything away. They will say the decision of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the final, so when you get the opportunity you better get away. They only come out with the list for every election, which was why we decided to have our own parallel congresses.
I can show you our compendium with the ward, state and local government executive members up to the national delegates. When I got to the national, I spoke with the national deputy chairman, and the organising secretary. They said that there was little or nothing they could do, they said that all the powers belong to the Governors. They have told us that there was no chance for us.
So, when the opportunity of Labour Party came, my people came to me that we just have to leave this place. They said that if I did not go with them they would go and that I could stay. I want to tell the whole world that I am not the kind of person that gallivants from one party to another. I am looking for where the young ones, the populace, Nigerians and members of the society would benefit from my efforts. About 75% of House of Assembly candidates and 60% of National Assembly candidates in the Labour Party in the state are from Conscience Forum. Are they not growing, it is left for them to go and show their popularity in their local governments and constituencies. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is improving, everybody can say that; your votes now count. If you are popular, go and test your popularity. That was why I led them into the Labour Party.
You said you were promised some things in the APC and it didn’t work out and you tried to see Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and it didn’t work out, what do you think was responsible for these?
I was not promised anything, it was my group they promised. I don’t need anything from them. I am contented with what God has given me. I told them, when I was in the PDP that if you come and give me money because you want to contest an elective office, you have failed. I can show you the videos of all my meetings with them. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu invited me to join the APC, and everything was done within one year before the 2019 elections. I rented No 6, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Maryland, Lagos, from the Ibru Family with my money. Not that the money was refunded to me. National arm of the APC now gave me an assignment to be the coordinator of President Muhammadu Buhari/Yemi Osinbajo Campaign in Lagos State. I used the place for them and I combined it with that of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
I was killing one cow for members of the public every other day because I believe in welfarism and that once hunger is removed from your problem, the problem is half solved and that it is the type of government that is coming to you in Lagos State now. Asiwaju Tinubu encouraged me to keep spending money and I kept spending money. I spent over N150 million on that project without any reward. After the election, Tinubu refused to pick my calls. I even went to his house, where he told everyone to be opening the door for me before the 2019 general elections. Now, they would tell me to call him.
So, I decided to stay in my house. He would not call me and I stopped calling him. I cannot blame anybody. Some Nigerians later came from Canada to contribute to his presidential ambition and I did not mind what he did to me, I followed them to Asiwaju’s house in Abuja. But his Personal Assistant and one other guy would say we could not see him that he was busy.
The people from Canada came to contribute N300m and 20 vehicles to his campaign, I cannot throw that one away or collect it from them. We went to his house two times and after three days I just left. Whether the PA told him or not, I don’t know. So, I had to leave the party as I was no longer wanted. That was the last time I saw those people and I told them not to come to me for anything concerning Tinubu’s ambition again that he was no longer interested in me.
What do you think are the chances of the Labour Party in Lagos State as the APC and the PDP are leading in the state, and the APC had been in power from the days of AD, AC, ACN and now APC?
You don’t need to talk about the PDP, they never wanted to win election they are only interested in four years, getting money from Abuja and sharing it. I wanted to win election for them and they said what was I mobilising, when there was no election. When the likes of Bode George were asking me not to mobilise, when there was no election, that was the beginning of the fight.
They are never and they can never be serious. You can see them bringing Funke Akindele as Deputy Governorship candidate, when there are people that are more experienced, highly educated and, who are technocrats there. You cannot blame them because they never wanted to win election. I have the experience of the two political parties now. 90% of the people in the APC are not happy, they are only smiling.
They are looking for who will bell the cat. I will have many votes from the APC, they know me and we have our relationships. You can imagine how easy it would be to defeat them. The PDP has no vote again, you will call one person to vote for you in the APC from the PDP, 20 of them will come. I know how many calls I have received from the people in the APC hours after I declared my intention from the Labour Party.
Many of them from APC platform. People that I did not even imagine could call, did. It is not my making, I never planned to contest, if not I would have gone for the Senate. But at this time, they said they needed experienced, matured, strong and powerful person to get it for them and hand it over to youths.
What would you do better as the Governor of Lagos State as there are so many issues on ground such as transportation, healthcare, education, environment, congestion and several others?
APC has never given you a government that shows love to the people. Feeding people is part of showing love to them, I feed people every Ramadan, sometimes I do it monthly. I consider Lagos State as a country, in some countries they help their citizens, once you don’t go to bed without food, your problem is half solved. I will make sure that people are catered for. During the era of Sir Michael Otedola as Governor of Lagos State, there was a place you could get ‘gari,’ rice, and beans at reduced prices. Nobody cares about how much we buy things or rent houses in Lagos State again. These are the things you do for people because their income is meagre.
Now, talking about revenue generation, I can push the monthly revenue of Lagos State beyond N50bn. I will go into industrial revolution and reduce the taxes of the people. That was what China did and they got to where they are today. I will not give all my strategies to them. I want the people to know that they now have a father to cater for them, and I will serve just once, not two terms before I give it to youths.
How do you see the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, and do you think we should rise above religion and ethnicity in our politics?
There is no way you will not talk about religion in politics. Even in relationships, it counts because the fact that someone is a Muslim, a Christian lady might not marry him and vice versa, but what has that got to do with the house. So, religion matters. I will want to tell Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that he has lost the opportunity of the pieces of advice I used to give him. Most people around him are only interested in getting money from him.
I never requested from money from him in my life, ask him. People said I was collecting money from him, I never did. I once told him that we should request for something that could be difficult for us to do from Mr. President. I said he should tell the president to give us rail lines that would connect the entire South West so that somebody can be sleeping in Ogbomoso and working in Lagos, it will be just one or two hours trip.
He said Mr. President has given us new port in Badagry; I said that was small that we can still get another one. That is my interest and not money. How can Muslim- Muslim ticket not affect election? This is how he would lose in the South: In the South West, Muslims in Lagos State are 49% and there are 51% Christians, in Ogun we have 50, 50, in Oyo State, we have 60% Muslims and 40% Christians, in Osun, we have 79% Muslims and 21% Christians.
In Ekiti, there are 85% Christians, and 15% Muslims, same in Ondo State. That is for South West, where they need Christian votes more. In the South East, there is no Muslim community at all. In the South South, it is only one local government, Auchi, in Edo State, that is predominantly Muslims. Look at the ratio as against his interest in the North. In the north, they are so bitter because of the Boko Haram issue. There is a place in Adamawa State, where they are all Christians. More than two areas in the state are dominated by Christians. We have many Christians in Kaduna. These are the things I would tell him.
The comfort of my country is my comfort. If the country is not comfortable, I am not comfortable, if the country is not peaceful, I am not peaceful. The best of security, economy, infrastructure and welfare for Lagos State is coming from Moshood Salvador.