Sunday, 28th May 2023

How leadership, followership under-develop  Nigeria in equal measure, by Adebayo

By  Godwin Ijediogor, Asaba
21 May 2023   |   4:36 am
Prince Adewole Adebayo, Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in the just-concluded general elections, believes the old brigade will continue to dominate Nigeria’s political landscape for a long time unless Nigerians rise to support...

Prince Adewole Adebayo

Prince Adewole Adebayo, Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate in the just-concluded general elections, believes the old brigade will continue to dominate Nigeria’s political landscape for a long time unless Nigerians rise to support a coalition or an alliance of young, new political structures that would wrestle power from the conservatives.

He said people like him, together with the support of the masses, will ensure that the old parties and their candidates are rested for good.
Adebayo, speaking at an interactive session recently, while explaining why Nigeria is not moving forward as it should and what Nigerians must do, especially in the next election cycle, if they truly desire change, criticised the nature of both the leadership and the followership. 
He insisted that majority of the new political parties and their candidates were, during the campaign and subsequently the election, running their race individually in their silos, which according to him, reduced the collective strength of the young and new entrants.
“When you are in the race, you are the most intelligent beautiful candidate, that is what you keep hearing, and everyone is hearing that in their own silos. But over time, the person who wins is most likely to be the one who has majority of the people working for them.   

“Whether for good or for bad, that is another thing entirely. In the course of campaign, the candidate I met everywhere was Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. There was always one governor, one senator, one Reps member, one traditional ruler working for him everywhere you go. “I think we need to do that too with better and positive people. It’s very difficult though, because we don’t agree on the same thing.”
Left to him, the foreign funding of Nigeria’s election, whether to government institutions or the civil rights groups, should be stopped, as that is undermining the country.

“Nigeria is a collection of foreign agents and that is why the international community will come to supervise our elections, such that any stage of the process, including peace accord. When I addressed a gathering at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), where Professor Jinadu, an adviser to the INEC, was in attendance, I asked why they will allow INEC, after collecting N350billion from Nigerians (government), still collect money from EU, USAID.

“He said they are collecting very little. If you are well-funded, why are you still collecting money from foreign agencies? Almost 90 per cent of the civil societies we were interacting with were collecting foreign funding, including the Peace Committee of Bishop Matthew Kuka and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

“Some political parties, including the ones that claimed they want revolution and change, many of them collected money from foreign agents. We have serious funding of foreign agencies in our politics.”
The businessman-cum politician disagreed with the notion that insecurity could deter investors from investing in the country, or that lack of cooperation and disunity are impediments to the country’s greatness, saying investors will come to Nigeria, irrespective of the insecurity, depending on what they are coming to get, because “we are easy to cheat.”   

According to him, some oil companies will come because our environmental standards are low and so they make a lot of profit off you. “Not all admirers that come to your house to see you are for you; some just come to admire your stupidity.

“Investors are not coming to do you a favour; they are coming to take advantage of you. The notion that we don’t love each other is not true. When these people – politicians, businessmen and civil servants – come back from an unhappy outcome, they will say Nigeria doesn’t love me.

“I don’t know of any country where the people love each other like Nigeria. I see them all the time; they are always loving each other in dark corners at night. Somebody will come from Borno State for the first time in his life, go to Mbaise in Imo State and they give him their first daughter. If you are my enemy, why would I give you my first daughter?

“My family is the United Nations of Nigeria. If you want to know Nigerians’ love for one another, go to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), you will see the company incorporation that Alhaji Danjuma, Mazi Okonkwo and Otunba Adedipe, all of them are together doing business. Check when EFCC is charging criminals to court, for say N52billion fraud, you will see Mazi, Otunba and Mallam there. We are not just united in doing good things. We are not united to launch satellite into space; but we could be united in rigging the elections.

“Ethnicity is not the problem, that is just to fool us. Look at the National Assembly, you will see all the senators at Transcorp Hotel in Abuja. If you say we don’t have a united country to do what is right, yes. There is nothing you can do in Nigeria that you can exclude somebody, whether for good or for bad.

“The Nigerian politician still lie to you about religion and ethnicity. The ordinary people do not think about that, but the elite thinks differently. Give the same elite the opportunity to serve their own people, they will rob them blind and harass them, they will finish the people up, but when they go to the centre, they will be talking about religion and tribe.

“The top people close to Buhari and who are involved in stealing our money, none of them is from the Northwest where he comes from. If you go to Borno State, the contractors there are from Anambra and Abia states.”

“He sponsored people to Mecca. You heard what Dino Melaye said when he contested the other time, that it was Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s money and jet he used in contesting. Are they from the same ethnicity?”

Asked to choose, in order of priority, who is best suited to govern Nigeria, he stated: “I have quite a number. If given the preferential voting, I will vote Malik Ado Ibrahim, may be because I have listened to him severally. Kola Abiola is another person. I don’t know about his commitment, but when it comes to issues, he is brilliant.

“Sowore will be my third, in the sense that you cannot be in doubt that he loves the country, it’s just that I don’t know if whether he is sworn in today, half of Nigerians will not cross to the border to leave the country. Peter Obi is another, that is if he can remove some elements off him. Kwankwaso is another. (Kingsley) Moghalu is another good product. There is another fellow, Dr. Pate, who was Minister of Health during the Goodluck Jonathan government.

“However, there are a lot of people who are better than all of us who didn’t come out and are not known yet.” With benefit of hindsight, Adebayo said the collaborative efforts with other young parties during the campaign and election could not materialise because he discovered that some of the people representing the parties were mere placeholders who had no power of their own to decide their fate.

“Many of the people in politics are merely agents, not principals. The reason why President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu could form a coalition is because Buhari is not anybody’s boy; he was the leader of his own team. Tinubu is not a follower of anybody; he is not anybody’s boy.

“You may be forming alliance with some people, while in actual fact they are working for establishment people. And once they call them into the room and tell them what to do, that’s exactly what they will do.

“The people you want to follow are also following and shadowing some people too. It’s like the war in Ukraine. If you negotiate with Ukraine without the United States (US) inputs, it amounts to nothing. If you talk to Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, he alone can decide for his country. So, whatever peace you are negotiating, you must put US into account.   

“You must be sure the people running are doing so on their own. If you look at Omoyele Sowore, he doesn’t fear anybody. If he agrees with you, that is it; he doesn’t need to go and clear with somebody somewhere. Rabiu Kwankwaso is also an independent person.”
On public outcry about the conduct of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for seemingly being partisan towards the ruling party, Adebayo said INEC is not different from every sphere of Nigerian life, which is marred by cheating.

“We do we have tendency to cheat. What we are accusing INEC is the same thing you find with people writing JAMB, WAEC, professional exams and when we are recruiting people into service. It’s everywhere – that culture of people not wanting to do what is right. We only complain about cheating that doesn’t favour us. We must be interested in the process all the time.

“INEC is not designed to give free and fair election; it’s an instrument of the political status-quo to determine succession. As it is right now, it is Tinubu that will choose the next INEC chairman. I can guarantee you that the person to be appointed will make you to say Mahmood Yakubu is an angel, because we started with Ephraim Akpata, then to Abel Guobadia and then to Maurice Iwu, then Attahiru Jega and then Mahmood.

“Next time, the person they may bring may be a full time ex-convict. By our law, if Tinubu goes to Kuje Prison to bring someone, if the senate says the person is okay, then the person is okay.”


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