Hon. Fatee Muhammed, a businesswoman and politician, is the director-general of Atikunation, a volunteer group for the Atiku Abubakar 2019 presidential project. The PDP House of Representatives aspirant in Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos, in this interview, speaks of her group’s aims and passion for the Atiku project, her political dream, among other issues. Excerpt.
What is that project or accomplishment that is considered to be Alhaji Atiku’s most significant in his political career that you think should win him instant followers and needed support toward 2019?
Institutional reforms were part of the most outstanding achievements of the OBJ/Atiku administration. Atiku was the head of the privatization drive that opened way for revolution in the telecoms industry that solved problems of unemployment to a great extent. Millions have been blessed directly or indirectly through this drive.
In addition, Alhaji Atiku is an employer of labour. He is one of the well-to-do Nigerians that are regularly taking the youths off the job market.
Your group, Atikunation, has begun the inauguration of state coordinators across the country, how have the responses been from each state, and does this give positive hope for the Atiku Abubakar presidential project?
The responses have been very fantastic! The responses are encouraging across the country. In fact, people now realize that it is only Atiku who has the will to deliver Nigerians from the claws of APC government. This indeed is a positive hope for the Atiku Abubakar presidential project. People are getting Atikulated on a daily basis.
The PDP is yet to pick its flag bearer for the 2019 presidency. Likewise the ruling APC. Does this delay have anything to do with fears of what to expect, especially given that you are campaigning for an interested party?
Yes, this is a moment of decision for both parties. At the moment, consultation, networking and strategic meetings are ongoing. None of the parties will take chances by fielding a wrong candidate. They will both weigh all the available options looking at the pros and the cons. But for PDP, Atiku’s candidature is the best.
A dramatic change is required and Nigeria needs forward-looking leadership that has solutions to her myriad of challenges. What difference is a President Atiku Abubakar going to make in this regard?
Restructuring will solve some of these challenges facing Nigeria. Atiku is coming to restructure Nigeria for the good of all and equal opportunity.
Atiku is cosmopolitan and a visionary leader. He is one of the few Nigerians who have created employment like I said earlier. At the moment, he has over 50,000 Nigerians working in his companies nationwide. Having said this, he has the capacity to solve these challenges of unemployment, insecurity, infrastructural deficit, low quality of education. His university is one of the best rated in Nigeria and is a globally acclaimed institution.
How would you react to the thinking from some sections of Nigeria that your candidate, like they are accusing Buhari, is also coming to perpetuate the so-called Hausa/Fulani agenda?
Atiku’s is a household name in Nigeria. The role he played to strengthen our young democracy then during Obasanjo’s third term agenda earned him the respect and honour. So, Atiku is not a religious/racial bigot. Atiku is not in anyway coming to perpetuate the so-called Hausa/Fulani agenda. As a matter of fact, he has no link with them. That I know.
Tell us about your House of Representatives membership aspiration.
It is on course. There is no going back. I want to serve my people and make a positive and lasting impact. My desire is to seek public office to alleviate poverty and suffering of my people.
It is becoming somewhat a pipe dream for the PDP to win Lagos State, not even when it was the ruling party at the centre. Do you foresee PDP ever winning Lagos State, and what do you think is the strategy the party is lacking to win the state?
Winning Lagos is an uphill task. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is doing a great job. Nonetheless, his policies are not in favour of the masses. Therefore, if we can work on the APC lapses to reach out to the masses at the grassroots, then, PDP will win Lagos. It requires no magic.
When was your best moment in politics?
Good question! My best moment in politics was when I won the House of Representatives primary election and most importantly, the support I got from my people. Also, it was a pointer to the fact that politics can be won without banking on any godfather. Mine was a deviation from the old order.
How do you cope running your private businesses and still stay very active politically?
I have good organization in place and a working structure. I don’t have to be around all the time. I have heads of units and managers coordinating my business for me. Everything is ICT compliant. I monitor everything online. So, it’s easy for me to be active in politics and still run a successful private business.
Visualize Nigeria in 2020 and share with us your expectations for the country.
I see a great Nigeria. A nation filled with milk and honey. By 2020, Nigeria will be one of the 20 largest economies in the world, able to consolidate its leadership role in Africa and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena.
With Atiku Presidency, Indeed, the geo-political zones would become centres of thriving economic activities. Human capital development would also be made to align with the respective development priorities and aspirations of each of the regions.