Politics

Nigeria must restructure to survive –Adu

Olumuyiwa Adu, a lawyer, is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant for the vacant Akure North and South federal constituency seat. In this interview with BABATOPE OKEOWO, he proffers solutions to insecurity in the country and speaks on the need for restructuring, among other national issues

With your rich resume, why did you choose to go into politics?

Well, I am not a new person in politics and if you will agree with me, politics is also played within family units, at work and every area of life. Yes, we have politics which is popular in Nigeria which decides the faith of every Nigerian. Several years back, I opted to contest but for one reason or the other, I withdrew for someone else.

The same thing happened the second time because the person I was to contest against seemed to be popular, acceptable and people around benefited from him and I felt that such an individual should not be removed from position because of my own personal ambition.

But now, I was actually invited by my people who said they wanted me to represent them on grounds that the person who was there died and he was somebody who was highly respected and has done a lot for the community and having done their research, they felt that I will fit into his shoes. And when I came on board, I discovered that from kingship to the subject and every category of people within the two local governments just rose in a very encouraging manner and showed that they actually wanted me and with that reception and the look of their reactions to call me to politics, I feel it was encouraging.

Among the political parties in Nigeria, why did you choose PDP?

We talk about majority. So, if my people could call me to politics, the question is: Which party do my people belong to? My people are in PDP. So, I have no choice than to stay in PDP. It is the party of my people.

Does it mean PDP is the party to beat in this zone?

It is easy to say it verbally but somebody will want fact in support of what you are saying. The fact remains that most recent elections that were held in the two local government areas were won by the PDP, which means that majority of my people are in PDP. So, why should I go into any other party?

There have been elections in the past, especially when it comes to bye elections, you discover that the ruling party always muscle the opposition. Are you not worried that this could happen in the forthcoming election?

We have seen it in recent times that it is only easy for election to be rigged where the majority of the people are in support of that rigging. We have seen it. In Oyo State, it is PDP that is there today, despite having the incumbent President in APC, the people were determined and said the man they wanted was Governor Seyi Makinde. Look at the case of Ondo State, despite their resources, they couldn’t win the two local governments of Akure South/North for APC. So, it is not going to be easy for anybody to rig an election where he doesn’t have the support.

What are you going to do differently if you win the House of Representatives seat?

We are going to look at this thing from various angles. The jobs are not limited to one area. One, you look at what I am going to do in the National Assembly. How will I link the benefits of that to the people I am representing? Then, the personal care, which is the third, is what I need to have for the people that are supporting of me.

What is your view about the structure of Nigeria?

Look at Nigeria, people keep saying it is not well structured and I give you an example; that is restructuring geopolitically. In Nigeria today, the structure is such that the whole of the North is divided into two and the South is divided into four. Whereas, Abuja is the middle in the latitude zero,which means anything below Abuja is south and anything above Abuja is north. This is a question of geographical terminology, not South- East or South-West. Rather than the way they divided North into two; comprising North-West and North-East, come down to the South and divide the South same way, so there can be that block power in a situation where the entire country will see themselves as equal but that was not done. Dividing the South into four splits us; an Igbo man will tell you he has no relation with somebody from South- South and nobody has been able to talk about that. Why must Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Benue and Niger be called North Central geopolitical zone? If Abuja is the centre, then, anything below Abuja is south. Only if we are able to geopolitically restructure Nigeria, it is then there will be equity and justice in terms of ownership of this country and we will not even bother about where the president comes from. We are still talking about state of origin; this is something we need to address in our constitution. I want a country where we talk about state of residence and not state of origin.

What is your view on electoral reform, especially the issue of direct and indirect primary elections, which the President cited for withholding assent on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill?

Whatever they are doing right now, I can tell you that there is no foundation for them because geopolitically, we are not well structured. An average Hausa man is thinking about how to remain in power forever, how to continue to oppress others and the same thing with an average Fulani man. That is how it is in this country today and for us to speak the truth to each other; for us to be able to agree and move this country forward, we must first restructure this country. Now, let me come to your question. We are talking about electronic voting. At a time in this country, when ATM came, people thought that the elderly don’t need it. We can’t continue to remain in a particular position because of people who are not actually educated enough to be able to go along with development. By the time we start restructuring, a lot of things will fall into place and you will discover that individual interest will no longer be famous against collective interest. Nobody is pursuing collective interest in this country today. How can the president and even the governors be the only ones signing and approving how to spend money? Sincerely speaking, everything we are doing concerning electoral process, as far as I am concerned, are all waste of time. I know that we are only shifting the goal post. The present government is only looking for a way it will not be out of power. I am not saying there is no ingenuity in some of the things they do, but bringing them to practical implementation is the problem we have. For now, I don’t have confidence in whatever they are doing. Nevertheless, we will continue to do it the way we do. We are talking about direct or indirect, I can tell you that it is not difficult for anybody or individual in this country to have a card like ATM and on the day of this election, you just put your card and press whatever you want to press and you can even do it from your home.

Restructuring means different things to different people, what is your definition of restructuring?

Restructuring is the only thing that can enshrine true federalism and we know what true federalism means. It means that you can grow based on your own strength. It is not like that in this country. A country where you want to offer admission to citizens of this same country and you say some people can have lesser marks and some have higher. Is that a country? We can only call it a country, not a nation because we don’t do things in common. There is lack of equity and justice. These are things that restructuring will address, if only it is allowed. All the institutions we have in this country are located in wrong places. Before you cite any industry, or any institution, there must be certain things called natural resources or endowed resources that will support it to function. You can’t locate what is not supposed to be in a dessert in a dessert. So these are the issues. There is no equity, there is no justice. Look at what is happening on the streets. A country where we have banks, look at what you see today where currencies are sold on the streets and we are talking about bringing down the value of the dollar to naira. How can that work? A lot of things are not done rightly. Restructuring will ensure that we prioritize our projects and what do I mean by that? We don’t have electricity, Ajaokuta is moribund. We went borrowing money to construct road and rail lines, whereas if you have electricity and you are able to develop that Ajaokuta, from there, the steel we need to construct the rail tracks will come from there without importing them. The only thing we need is technical support.

As a former military officer, what is your suggestion on how to end insecurity in the country?

First and foremost, I was part of the team that started Operation Zaki in Borno State with the now Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), General Buba Marwa (retd). It was from there, Lagos State emulated Operation SWEEP. Then, the military was in power, sincerity of purpose was there and there was nothing like political influence. But today, the problem with our politics is very clear. People bring in politics into everything and like I said, whatever we see regarding our security issue, are as a result of political rottenness. I can tell you with my experience in the military that it doesn’t take the Nigerian military one month to end all these security challenges but the cause, I don’t know but I can tell you that it is politically motivated, not because the guys are not professionally competent.

 

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