“I’m not denying my wealth. I was the most investigated, the most accused governor in opposition for eight years up to 2007. Since I left office, I am still there, I have not taken a government appointment, no government contract.”
The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, says he “inherited” real estate which contributed to his wealth.
During an interview with BBC Focus on Africa, on Tuesday, Mr Tinubu, who has developed a reputation for avoiding interviews, said he invested his resources and got good returns.
The interview came barely 24 hours after he spoke at Chatham House in the United Kingdom.
The former governor of Lagos State likened himself to the United States billionaire, Warren Buffet.
“Are they enemies of wealth, if they are not enemies of wealth-investments do yield. I have an example of Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in America and the world. He started with stock buying and brokerage. I inherited great real estate, I turned the values around.
“I am not denying my wealth. I was the most investigated, the most accused governor in opposition for eight years up to 2007. Since I left office, I am still there, I have not taken a government appointment, no government contract,” he said.
When asked about allegations of getting “cuts” from Lagos State revenue, Mr Tinubu claimed that the records of the state have been investigated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Share what? Have they proven it? The World Bank (and) IMF have investigated the record in Lagos. What is wrong with them? It is envy,” he stated.
I cannot run away from Buhari
Speaking on the record of the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Tinubu said even though he has his identity, he cannot deny the president, whom he described as “a friend and leader.”
He also defended the current administration in the area of security, adding that the West is not too comfortable “enough with Buhari’s administration” with regard to weapon sales.
Mr Tinubu said he is not sure the western countries are going to change, but he will consider mass recruitment into a “volunteer army” to clear insurgents and bandits.
He noted that he will be running on his record as a former governor of Lagos State, adding that Mr Buhari has done his best.
“It (insecurity) has reduced, I will defend him for that. Then, 17 local governments and about four states, where we have flags of jihadists in Nigeria, that is no more. That is long gone. To start chaos is easy, to bring normalcy and redecorate is more difficult. Here we are, Buhari has degraded but not completely eliminated ISWAP.
“They will talk briefly of lethal weapons, ammunition and technology equipment; they will help accelerate the clearing of those people. The West is yet to be comfortable enough with Buhari administration to sell us the arms and technology necessary to fight. It could change and might not be with me but we have to look at mass recruitment of individuals in a volunteer army to clean up the system.
“I am different. I am Bola Ahmed Tinubu. i have governed Lagos and I built a modern state that could be a country on its own. I led an administration that is so prudent- from N600 million IGR to N5 billion a month. That is a record. No one else can brag about that. I tamed the Atlantic ocean surge that could have perished many people in Lagos. The infrastructural renewal in Lagos is excellent. I have continuity in Lagos. Buhari has done his best, and i cannot run away from him being my friend and leader in the party, i will not,” he said.
Obi, Atiku aren’t competent
Mr Tinubu also took a slingshot at the presidential candidates of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
When asked whom he would have supported if he was not in the race, Mr Tinubu responded that none of the major candidates in the race with him is competent enough.
“They (Messrs Obi and Atiku) are not as competent as any other person out there. They have no track record. None of them is qualified except me.
He maintained that in a free and fair contest, he will be the front runner in the election.
“I am very confident that free and fair, I am the front runner, that is why i am getting arrows,” he said.
Mr Tinubu on Monday appeared at the Chatham House in the United Kingdom, where he spoke about his manifesto, “Renewed Hope.”
He also spoke about his age, family background and academic records.
His candidacy has been under scrutiny due to what many perceive to be a deliberate act of avoiding interviews and debates during this campaign season.