State of the Nation: Nothing to celebrate about Buhari’s govt — Adebayo, SDP candidate

State of the Nation: Nothing to celebrate about Buhari’s govt — Adebayo, SDP candidate

State of the Nation: Nothing to celebrate about Buhari’s govt — Adebayo, SDP candidate

Prince Adewole Adebayo, international lawyer and businessman, is the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP. In this interview, Adebayo believes that the Ideology of most people who had come to government since 1999 is to capture power, institutions, and national assets, commercialise and privatise the assets for themselves. For him, the only way to get rid of this kind of mentality is to elect new people with fresh ideas.

The president said the legacy he would like to leave for Nigeria would be a free, fair and credible election. Given the outcome of the recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, are you still saying there is nothing to celebrate about this government?

I cannot say there is nothing to celebrate about this government. I will celebrate their departure, and even double celebration if I win the election and they hand over to me. Until then, there is a lot to endure. 

Beyond the psychological satisfaction that we don’t have a coup, we are not under foreign occupation, though we are partially under terrorist occupation, we can celebrate that the Nigerian people haven’t given up on the country. When I go out and see the number of people receiving me, I get humbled that the ordinary people who are having a worst time than I am having are still eager about the politics of this country. When I see the number of people who came to visit and have had to wait because other people are there, it gives me hope that despite the problems, they have not given up on the country. Yes, we have problems, but if the idea is about celebration, then, you can see from the face of the president that if there is a way he could wind the clock forward, he would want to jump to May 29.

The elite, which you belong has been fingered as the cause Nigeria’s sorry state. Do you agree?

Every Nigerian knows the truth but very few are willing to pay the price of saying the truth. Every Nigerian knows that the present government is a fiasco in capital letter. Whether you want to say it or not, it’s a fiasco.

First, you set a standard. In ideal situation, as stated in our constitution, I tend to focus on Chapter 2 of the constitution, and compare it with the present government. You will see that it is a total failure. Then if you try to be a little more sympathetic, you compare the government on what they said they would be and what they are now. The country’s constitution as far as ethos and ideas may be concerned, may be too high for any incoming government that it may stumble, and as such may not meet the standard. You can say, well, we have to have what we get. However, when a group of people led by the current president, on coming to power, in their volition, set objectives and standard for themselves and they are violating it every day, there is nothing one can do. 

There are four different types of elite. The intellectual elite, which include dishonest intellectual elite speak and explain on behalf of those who pay them. Intellectual elite include lawyers like me, the media which tend to focus on personalities, religion, and other distractions. They can get a non-performing governor who gets an airtime to have live coverage and he is talking lies and nonsense and there is nobody to editorialize that because you make money out of it. There are people who are campaigning on issues, you don’t give them airtime; you give airtime to those who are dancing and others. So, we are guilty of that. When you go to the judiciary, they tend to over look errors; and when the judiciary over looks errors, people commit more of them. When you go into that of Academic Staff of Universities Union, ASUU, I sympathise with them, you will see that for many years, a large number of them were collaborators with the system. 

The people who are free are the common people. Unfortunately, for the common people, if they are not careful, they too will become collaborators because circumstances or condition is pushing them now into collecting crumbs from those who are whining down the system.That doesn’t mean there are no good people in the country, but if you doing analysis, a government doesn’t elect itself, it takes a collection of people to elect a government. 

Given the various problems encountered by this government in terms of dwindling revenue, recessions and the amount of work being done to mitigate them, shouldn’t we appreciate their efforts?

If they are worried about all these routine things, then, they should hand over the government to me. If you are telling me that everything that is there for you to make you work, isn’t working for you, then why are you there? We need to introduce honesty to our politics, especially honesty of analysis. You can argue a viewpoint, but you cannot argue against the fact. They have ruined the economy. People are out of jobs. People are insecure. I know all of these things when I decided to run for president. These are not intimidating to me. These are things, if you look around, there are solutions.

What you are saying now was what this government was saying when it was outside…

Not because I am outside. I am different. It is for the media and the people to listen. I don’t want to go into the fiasco we went through in 2015. That is why I am saying now again that you can decide what you want to do. Majority would be people who want to live a good life because God could not have created Nigeria to be in perpetual darkness and suffering such that the national grid will be collapsing every two weeks and this issue of unemployment cannot be attended to. So, they would want a change. 

Why it looks all the time that politicians come and say this and there are no changes is because it is the same people. That’s why I am telling Nigerians that if you want something new, elect new people. 

You will recall that in 2014, it was the new PDP that started their trouble. It was the same PDP that joined with CAN and CPC to form APC. In 2015, the current chairman of APC was in PDP. Even the PDP has opened a new shop in Labour Party.

The people and audience can think and make up their minds if I am right or not. In politics, politicians have ideology. Power at all cost is ideology and that ideology informs the performance in government. And this people change party from place to place. The fact that they change parties doesn’t mean there is a real change. I may and may not win the election it’s all based on God and the people. But what you say is on record. When in 2015, I was saying these people are not going to make any change, they didn’t believe me. In 2019, I told them that there was no option between the two (APC and PDP), that our only option was to go for the Third Force. 

You talked about collapse of the grid, the decay in infrastructure, and this has been like that for many years, why aren’t we getting it right?

in 2001, I attended the national council on power when the late Olusegun Agagu was minister of power, this was during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. Danjuma Goje was minister of state for power, he is alive. Makoju of blessed memory was managing director of NEPA. I gave them a blueprint on why they will never get power and, how they will get power in this country. 

I have applied it to myself. All my establishments are off grid. We didn’t change this people who have penchant for procurement, and investing millions of dollars on dead horse. They know that a dead horse will never wake up, but at least they will make some money off it. They award a lot of dead horse contracts. Electricity obeys everybody. That woman in Wuse market or anywhere for that matter, once you have generator, fuel it, connect, you will have electricity. 

Egbin power station was built by Marubeni. I told them in 2001 that Marubeni had stopped servicing this kind of station because I was a lawyer in the power sector. I saw that this people were more eager to award contract than to get the thing to work. For example, do you know that the money for ASUU is lying down in TETFUND? People are sitting on it. 

How can we stop the haemorrhage of corruption, lack of accountability, crude oil theft?

We have to go back to the original thing, black and white, that is, the truth. When I engage in public discourse and I realise that people are not interested in the truth, I leave them. This is something that is so obvious. We make ourselves a laughable community. These are thieves in government.

No, they are not moderate in the stealing. If you say a government official who has sworn to a public oath, has stolen billions, there is nothing moderate anymore. You cannot say when government accuses itself that we are losing 80 per cent of the revenue, we cannot help them deny it. They are the ones accusing themselves. When government says its own accountant general, the chief steward of our money, is now in custody, having being caught with N190b, it is not for me to be moderate because that is not moderate in stealing. If the media, the politicians and the commentators don’t want to say the truth, let us shut down. 

The government that is telling you that they are looking for solution are the problem. Let me tell you what they are going to do with NNPC now called NNPC Limited. They are going to have unlimited corruption, unlimited stealing, unlimited lack of accountability, unlimited looting. Why? NNPC as it was before belongs to Nigerians. It was a corporation answerable to National Assembly. It couldn’t belong to us more than that. It belongs to us all the way as the Villa belongs to us. So if you say we should privatise the Villa, privatise what? We already own it. How can you privatise my father’s house to me and ask me to buy shares? It is a fraud.

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