Female presidential candidate, Khadija Okunnu-Lamidi, has said despite the respect she has for the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, she still believes Nigerians are yearning for a young person with a vibrancy to steer the country out of its current woes.
This is as she revealed that she’s “somehow related” to Tinubu who recently declared his ambition to run for the presidency in 2023.
Speaking to BBC Pidgin, Okunnu-Lamidi said, “He’s the national leader of the APC; he has contributed to national politics and I have great respect for him. But that doesn’t change the fact that Nigerians are looking for a young person with vibrancy. Nigerians are looking for a way out of poverty, they want 24 hours electricity supply, good health care and good roads which are what I’m here to provide.”
Asked if she has political experience, she said, “Many people will say they have never heard of my name but I’ve been in politics for at least 20 years learning. Many people do declare their political ambition before they are actually ready, which is quite a problem. I’ve learnt the work and seen how others do it, which I don’t find satisfying, it gives me stomach ache.
On when she decided to run for office, she said, “It was shortly after the EndSARS protests in October 2020,” adding that she started engaging with youths and the late singer, Sound Sultan, towards the goal of fielding some youths to contest for public office.
She said most of those whom she discussed with were sceptical about the idea.
“At that point, it occurred to me that if I truly have the passion, I should be the one to step out and take the risk for us to have a better Nigeria,” she said.
On how serious she is about her ambition, she said, “As you can see, my entrance into the race has not been a joke.”
Asked to speak about the political platform she’s running on, Okunnu-Lamidi said, “I don’t like to talk about party because, for me, it doesn’t really bring solution. I’ve never seen any party talking about how to make life better for everybody, it’s just about their own selfish interest.”
Okunnu-Lamidi said Nigeria needs to include women in the scheme of things to enable the country to experience change which is one of the driving factors in the world.
“Innovation and change are the driving factors of progress in the world these days. The whole world is experiencing change. You can’t do the same thing and expect a different result. The only difference we can add to what we have been doing is to include women,” she said.
On if women will vote for her, she said, “I’ve never seen a woman who doesn’t want to support another woman. All the women I’ve known have been supportive.”
Stating how she intends to tackle insecurity in Nigeria, she said, “The meetings I hold these days are all about finding solutions to governance. With security, the thing is that you cannot secure the outer borders without securing the locality. We’ll first of all start with the localities, make use of local monitoring units because they are the ones who will give information and also watch out for their neighbours. This measure will assist the national security agencies.”