In this interview with ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) 2023 presidential aspirant, Prince Adewole Adebayo, explains what Nigerians must look out for before electing the next President of the country
Why do you want to be President and how do you intend to address Nigeria’s problems?
If you want to fix the problems of Nigeria or the people at the top to fix them or you want other people to fix them, because you are not interested in fixing them, then you are hypocritical. I want to be president. In the study of what the president does that I have done over the years because I have studied documents about how the processes work. In a country like Nigeria, I have seen serious life and death decision, good or bad decisions, and serious consequences following such decisions. If you are going to be president of Nigeria, you have to think about 3000 or so decisions a week for four years. And if you have two terms. you will take for 8 years. So, if the president gets 90% of those decisions right, will you not say he has tried?. But that leaves you with 300 errors every week, each of which can cost lives, each of which can ruin fortunes, and each of which can cause chaos. So in that situation, you want to improve on it and see that the president gets 99% right. If God is with him, he is prayerful, he is honest, he is sincere, and he is very careful. If he is a person whose heart bleeds for the country and it works very hard and is naturally talented. He can get 99% right. So I will be working towards that when I become the president without wasting time or delay. My covenant with God is to have 99.9% of my decisions right.
There are financial inducements in the electoral system, how did we get here?
What we need first is truth. We tell a lot of convenient lies. The people who steal elections and buy votes are not illiterates. They are not people in the rural areas. Our poverty is not the cause. The first person most likely to steal a vote or buy are party officials, they are well to do. You will see a national chairman of the political party who has all kinds of bulletproof vehicles donated to him by people gunning for election. In any of the parties, it’s the governor who funds the party and gives them dollars and everything. Are you saying a typical national chairman, national secretary, auditor, all these people in the party organising secretary are illiterate and poor? No. Now the next set of people are delegates, the typical delegates are not that poor. So many of them are statutory delegates, some of them are former governors and senators and all of that. So, it is just that they are dishonest people. It is as simple as that. They are greedy, to disloyal to the country or they don’t understand or they don’t believe in democracy. It is just a business for them. So I think it’s just a general lack of commitment to it. I think what we should do is to make people in Nigeria understand that this governmental system we are running is equally as important and that you can make sacrifices for it as you make sacrifices for all other things in your life, including your religion and making the sacrifice for your children. Because it is a government that will determine whether you get killed in your house and take you to your house or not, whether you live in safety and comfort or not. whether your children are in school and how much you have to pay in school, whether you have a job after School and you can live a life of comfort or you are jobless and prone to crime. So the government has a role to play. I have heard people say to collect the money and vote your conscience. You don’t have a conscience once you collect the money. There is no conscience left because if you are a receiver of stolen goods, you are a thief. You can not say let me be the receiver of the stolen goods, keep it and tell the police I saw the thief walk by, the thief will say I kept part of it with you. So I think that we should talk but more importantly, to have people believe in this system, those who run the system should be credible and that’s what I said to my fellow politicians. Those who say Nigerians are too poor to vote right. No, despite how poor they are, they are making a lot of decisions. right. So it is for us to build a political system where people can believe in leaders such that you know that this leader is there for them. We need to build a political system people will believe in. This I will do if elected. We need political leaders who can show absolute transparency, absolute selflessness, and absolute commitment so that when people see they know that this person is in this politics.
Do you think Nigerians are ready for positive change governance?
I think that Nigerian politicians tend to run away from responsibilities and say that people are not ready. People are ready only that the people are too smart that they don’t want to be fooled. If anybody is saying people are not ready where were you in 2014, 2015, when people were trekking miles just to listen to candidate Muhammadu Buhari, people were in tears as if it was a rock star, there would be rallies in Bauchi, people would walk from Jalingo, no transport, they would still find their way there. If he is coming at 5 pm people would be there by 5 am. So, in this country, people can still leave their families and stay in the sun and stood by the roadside from morning till late at night because of something called politics, because somebody is trying to be president of Nigeria who they have never met but believes in what he is saying and they want to come and hear more. So that shows to me that Nigerians are ready and will in 2023 select good leaders, that will bring about good governance.
So you think the 2023 election will bring about change?
The game will change. There are two factors to consider if the media follows issues, and not money if they don’t give dedicated coverage to criminals who are trying to run away from the law. I know that the media is expensive. But there is a period in the life of a nation, especially at this critical period where every liberty we have is at stake where even the liberty and right of the press are at stake, where the economic continuity of the republic is at stake. This is where the media comes in, analysing issues, and monitoring people who are talking wise things that you can learn from it. So the leaders of the country who are aspiring to lead can be interrogated, even If you don’t like them, come out and interrogate them. Anywhere in the world where somebody declares that I want to be president, the media follows the person, questions the person, researches the person’s background, confronts the person at every juncture. If you don’t do that, you deny the voters the right to know them including the right to.