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I have waited all my adult life, looking for one president that I can serve. Since 1999, I am yet to meet the president who is traveling the direction I want the country to go.Prince Adewole Adebayo
Prince Adewole Adebayo is one of the youngest, if not the youngest male presidential aspirant in the coming 2023 general election. He is a professional in politics. He believes he is the sling in the hands of the Nigerian electorate to ‘kill’ all the Goliath politicians. Very passionate about Nigeria and Nigerians and how the country can be better with the right leadership in place.
In this interview, Adebayo, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said he believes that insecurity will be history the moment he assumes office. He also gave insight into the real reason Nigeria is borrowing funds, among other sundry issues.
Having been blessed this much, the question agitating minds is what exactly is this man looking for in the murky waters of Nigerian politics?
When you are dealing with public welfare, the more you are given the more responsibility you have. If I were to look at basic life problems being solved, then I wouldn’t even grow up in the society, because when I was born,those problems were already solved by my ancestors of my family. I realised that it is not everyone who won the lottery that I won.
To be born into the right country, at the right time and into the right family. Everything has worked out for me in a way that suggests that God has a special for me in the heart.
I see these good blessings that I don’t deserve as a call to duty, that I should look at the lives of others who may not have won the lottery I won, that’s being born into the right country, the right family, at the right time and having the right opportunities. It’s a burden that I need to discharged. I can press that advantage for the rest of my life and build up from there that I get more richer and get more opportunities.
But that’s not a worthy life. A worthy life is that which you do more for others and you do for yourself. I don’t think there is any other worthier course one can find than to serve.
While it’s good to serve, especially voluntary service like this, however, there are other offices to which you can serve rather than the presidency. There is the office of the governor or office of the lawmaker in the National Assembly. Why the topmost office in the land?
I have been offered appointment many times in the past. I know there is a place called the senate but I don’t have any business there because, the problem of society is that of leadership.
The executive powers of the federation is vested in one man, and that man is the president. I have waited all my adult life, looking for one president that I can serve. Since 1999, I am yet to meet the president who is traveling the direction I want the country to go.
Which direction is this?
The direction of Justice. This country, has, unfortunately, been deformed to accommodate injustice. This is a country, in the beginning, the leaders in the first republic, knew the importance of justice. It meant that they understood that public office was a trust and that nothing inside it belonged to them. They knew that the only they could merit and justified being inside government office, exercising public powers was to use it to serve the people.
They started their journey by serving the least preveledged in the society by establishing school systems that catered to the needs of those who had no opportunity. They fought and were eradicating childhood diseases by deimmunization for everyone and by living close to the people and in modest manner as well.
If I had been born at that time,perhaps there is an Awolowo (Chief Obafemi)I would serve under him as a minister or even a clerk, or even just to be carrying his bag, I would do so gladly because I would know that this is a man who has come to do justice.
In politics, the leader that inspires me the most and whose work I follow us late Mallam Aminu Kano. He lived with the people, he lived for the people and he made sure that social justice was the centre point of his political life.
He built infrastructure in the mind of the people that participation in governance is number one duty and everyone is entitled to it and that what he called family compact where you are born into the aristocracies of the ruling houses and only had access to housing, education and other preveleges of society was not right. He criticised the court system even though he was son of an Alkali, sharia judge.
He said the court system wasn’t bringing justice to the people and ensured the people form d their own political party, the Northern Element Progressive Union, NEPU and pushed common people to take position of power . When he was made a minister of health and later, communication in Gowon’s government, he stood on the side of the people.
When you take a the leaders of that time, compare to what we have now, if a president is already self serving, why would I go and serve him? I will just be part of his apparatus of self service. If a political party is set up to confisticate and siphon the wealth of the society and perpetuate injustice, why would I go and serve there? I don’t believe in the system they are running now because it is a system of theft, unfairness, injustice.
It’s a system of ordinary people who were given free education, who were the children of nobody, who were picked up from the lowliest waters of Nigeria. Some were sent to the armed forces, some to the Civil service.
The expectation of the founding fathers was that these children of nobody that were sent to school, like president Buhari was an orphan, ordinarily, he should have been following cattle, but the systems set up by Sir Ahmadu Bello, ensured that he was picked and put in boarding house, from primary education even up to the when he joined the army.
He lived in boarding house all his life till he retired as head of state. As we speak, he still lives in boarding house in the Villa. All his life, Nigeria has catered for him. Will Ahmadu Bello be proud of him now? How many has he lifted out of poverty?
All those people who were picked up from cocoa farms by Awolowo and put in schools who became emeritus professor of medicine, professor of all disciplines , vice chancellors, are they not now living in plenty and the universities are on strike? So where would I join in this?
You can have the same executive powers in the office of a state governor?
But the jurisdiction is too narrow. Would I be a gover or if a state and be able to take care of my brothers and sisters in other states? If I am crying because of the injustice in Zamfara, how would go Ernie of Lagos help me?
The penury you find in Borno, Cross-River, Lagos and urban poverty you find in Ibadan, Oyo State, how would being governor of one state help me, would I over look a of that when the root cause is the collapsed federal government that we have.
My mandate is to make Nigeria a great country. Anybody suffering poverty in Malunfashi is as painful to me as someone who is suffering in my family. I have to solve the problem from the top and across the country.
You are contesting on the platform of Social Democratic Party, SDP. Compare to the most dominant parties, why this party, and not APC or PDP?
You cannot say before you join the fire service, you first of all be a arsonist. You cannot say I have to be a reckless driver before I can join Road Safety Corps. You cannot say I should be an armed robber before joining the police. You cannot before I join EFCC to fight economic crimes, I should first be a yahoo person. This country is where it is today because of PDP and APC. Why would I join? They are not making mistakes? They are deliberately impoverishing the people.
These two parties are well grounded in terms structure and grassroot penetration which of course accelerate it’s victory?
There victory is not from the people but from rigging and that’s why you see them struggling with the electoral act and all the manipulations. In any case, what is the essence of the power if you are not going to help the people? Do you think president Jonathan is a happy man today? He is not.
He tasted the power but he made no difference in the life of anybody. Do you think President Buhari is happy man today, if he can reflect? He has gone from hero to zero, because of what, let me join those who can make me win quickly.
I am following the mantle of the late Chief MKO Abiola which is farewell to poverty. And now I say farewell to poverty and insecurity. If I am saying farewell to poverty, who is the author of poverty except PDP. If I am saying farewell to insecurity, who are the architects, custodians, profiteers of insecurity except APC?
How can I go and join them to stop their business? You cannot join the wrong coalition in order to win at all cost. But if you join the looters, the compromised, the riggers, the manipulators, you can travel fast, but you will not go far.
You speaks so confidently as if you are sure of victory?
My confidence is coming from the place of justice. I believe that God didn’t create a country like this of 200 million people to be enslaved. That is not the believe I have.
I believe God is showing us an experiment and in the fullness of time, this people will over reach themselves and an ordinary person will come and knock them down. This is the David/Goliath situation. I believe the David is the Nigerian collective people. I am not the David, the Nigerians are. I am just the sling.
That sling cannot direct itself but David was divinely inspired to throw that sling. I am that sling that would hit the head of looters in this country. All of these things are testimony to the conclusion of a wicked system.
I am not competing with them in the area of bullion vans and I am not competing with them in the area of bogus concesus they are doing, manipulations and the breach of trust they are doing, I am just taking my message to the people that journey that began in 1993 which Abiola was killed and everything came to a hult has begun again.
These people have asked power, they have been given, they did nothing with it. They asked for billions, gave them, and cornered it, they have done nothing with it.
They have taken the centre stage of our political life, they have done nothing with it. They have left the people impoverished and pauperised and they are deliberately withholding benefits of the people of Nigeria. Electoral defeat is enough for this set of people.
This generation took all the benefits to themselves and their children. Now they doing day light robbery. They rob creches, primary school, hospitals and mortuaries.
Everything that has money in it is stolen in this country. Enough is enough. No people can be condemned to perpetual hopelessness. Nigerians are neglected and in perpetual penury, and yet their country is rich. Very rich.
In the course of consultation round the country, what was the reception like, especially the power that be you visited?
I have gone round the country. I am still touring. I have seen former heads of state, traditional rulers, former governors, politicians religious leaders, market men and women. The response has been warm and the message is clear. The former rulers have given their perspective and where things went wrong and what they want to see. None of them, I can tell you, is happy.
Whether you contributed one way or another to where the country is today, none of them thought things would go this bad. They have become victims themselves. They have equally lost hope in the generation that is ruling now but that is compensated for that they have great hope in our generation.
What would you do differently, if given the opportunity to superinted Nigeria regarding the insecurity in the country?
Insecurity is the easiest problem to solve. The insecurity in the country is a government induced insecurity. Nigerian government is the source of the insecurity because it has become a business.
Just like fuel scarcity, they have turned it into business. Lack of electricity is a problem they have turned into business. None of Nigerian problem is difficult to solve.
The solutions to our problems are already there. The Nigerian army of today is better than the Nigerian army of ECOMOG time.
But what is happening now is that they have turned insecurity into multi billionaires out if the generals, permanent secretaries, contractors and politicians.
When you talk to some members of the armed forces, they would tell you that they are not lazy and that they can finish these rogue fighters within a short time.
Even during the civil war, there were a few who saw the war as a business, majority of members of the armed forces took the war seriously and that was why we were able to fight the war without borrowing a Kobo to execute the war.
Awolowo was finance minister in the Gowon’s government. It was a policy of that government at that time that they would not borrow money to execute the war. Awolowo was auditing and editing almost every bullet used.
Clement Using was governor of Central Bank. He protected the bank against the government. That was why even during the war, our currency was still strong. Isong said he would not use central bank to fight the war.
When the argument was too big, gowon ran out of rational argument and told Awolowo that if I Central Bank does not release this money today to buy this armunition, I will take everyone in the central bank today to the Bar beach and get them shot.
When this message got to central bank, Isong said, no, let them take us now to the Bar beach. Let us die in the defence of Central Bank of Nigeria.
At the end of the day, Gowon had to relent and found the money elsewhere. Compare to now where the Central Bank Governor is taken to the convention of a political party where his presence was announced.
That is a professional institution, an independent and professional position that people have fought over the years to maintain. A government can continue to perpetuate insecurity as long they want to make money out of it. I will put an end to that.
How does this lopesidness of Nigeria make you feel. Virtually nothing works?
Nigeria has more solutions than problems, honestly. We have more money today than we had yesterday. The government is awash with money. If anybody tells you there is no money in the Nigerian government, you should know that that is your number one enemy.
But we are borrowing to execute our budget?
We are borrowing because their greed is so big that they did not want to only steal the money of today, but they want to rob the children unborn. The Nigerian leadership quest for money is a special ethology of mental disease.
When you steal what you don’t need. You steal what you don’t know and cannot keep that when they come out of office, they don’t know where the money is. I say this with all sense of responsibility, if we are not careful, we are going to have leaders who will rule from the mortuaries.
We must remove the original curse of Nigeria which is bad governance. There is no middle way by those who are blinded by insatiable greed for money.
There is this unhealthy competition. If one governor is using state money to control a political party, spending millions of dollars to remove chairman and do whatever, the other governor wants to copy it too. So you now have a well known criminal organisation called Governors Forum that everyone there, is supposed to, as a matter of patriotism, report themselves to the nearest police station.
They corner substantial revenue of the federation and steal the money of the local government.
So some of the poverty ascribing to Buhari us not totally his. Buhari has become an angel of disappointment though.