Prince David Adetunji Adeyeye is a legal practitioner aspiring to represent AMAC/Bwari Constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
In this interview with TOPE SUNDAY, KEHINDE OSASONA and PAUL OKAH, the legal practitioner and energy specialist says the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have failed Nigerians.
He also bared his mind on solutions to the problems in the country and his reasons for joining the race.
Why do you seek to represent AMAC/Bwari in 2019? I am a lawyer and I work in the power sector and I am an energy specialist.
Having done a little bit of evaluation, want to change the narrative that ordinary good people can actually participate in politics.
As a matter of fact, that is the only way through which accountability, change and good governance come into politics when you have ordinary people who have not come in contact with the dirty money of politics or who are not products of godfathers in the selection process as we have in our politics.
As a Yoruba man, what are your chances of winning? My chances are strong.
Whether we like it or not, the Nigerian electorate are becoming conscious, because the opportunity of vying for a public office is not hereditary, linked to tribe, ethnicity or gender.
It is about aspiration and decision to want to serve.
For instance, we have this politics of indigene and non indigene in Nigeria.
However, people are now aware that the problems we have in Nigeria, like unemployment, killings, hunger, lack of shelter, etc, do not know ethnicity or whether I am Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba or any other tribe.
So, the electorate are becoming aware that the person that can fix these things by lobbying or making good laws doesn’t necessarily need to belong to one tribe or the other.
This is the reality.
Has the representation of the Bwari people over the years served them? From the community and grassroots mobilisation I have been doing, the answer is no, even though the representation they have been having all these years are by indigenes.
It hasn’t necessarily improved their lots.
For instance, the mayoral status is so critical for the residents of Abuja because it will bring government closer to us, but it has not been achieved.
But the people that have been representing the FCT are they not indigenes? Is it not more fundamental that they should drive it? So, you can see that representation is not about indigene or non indigene, or do non-indigenes deserve representation? Moreover, the demographic in Abuja is now so sophisticated that we have both indigenes and non indigenes paying their taxes and contributing to the development of the city and deserve representation.
So, the people now say they want to support anyone interested in representing them, whether indigene or non indigene.
With the consultations we have done at the grassroots, we have good and strong chances, because the electorate have become wiser and more informed.
Why are you contesting on YPP platform? With due respect to established parties like the APC and PDP, they had tremendous opportunities to reposition Nigeria to greatness since 1999 when we returned to democracy, but I can conveniently say that they blew up the chance.
When I made my decision to run for Bwari/AMAC constituency in the House of Representatives, it obviously made sense that I didn’t want to go to the party that has obviously been the problem, rather than the solution to us.
I considered it deeply and found out that many members of the PDP and APC are good people, but the general ideology of the party has not moved Nigeria forward in the comity of nations, neither has it done us any good.
Therefore, I looked at the Young Progressive Party and discovered that it is a very dynamic party and citizen centred in all their ideologies, manifestoes and policies.
They are very determined in restructuring and making Nigeria great again and in decentralising the concentration of power at the centre.
The APC and PDP and have not been able to push us in the right direction since 1999.
And look at them defecting back and forth.
They are not defecting for the interest or growth of Nigeria, but for their selfish political interests and calculations.
We need a party that will plan for Nigeria and where we ought to be as a nation, in terms of infrastructure, economy and to put things in place in terms of industrialisation and to empower the citizens to aspire to develop.
That’s the ideologies that YPP has, but which are lacking in the PDP and APC, despite their structure and opportunities they have.
These two parties, instead of developing institutions, develop personalities.
No nation develops if they develop personalities, rather than develop institutions.
China is not doing greatly today because they are empowering personalities or certain individuals; they are developing because they are empowering institutions and developing systems of government and are becoming greater.
Malaysia, Dubai and countries that were not greater than Nigeria in the 1960s, but now they are becoming giants in Asia and Middle East, because the leaders realised that the country should be greater than individuals and are developing institutions.
Unfortunately, we don’t have that in the APC or PDP.
Therefore, to me, as a new generation, fresh and aspiring leader, I have to think about the party whose ideologies and foundation revolve around the citizens and I found it in why YPP.
That’s why I am going to start with YPP, instead of APC or PDP.
As a technocrat and expert in the power sector, what are your programmes to ensure that people have not wasted their votes? I may not come from a household political name in Nigeria, but the household names and big political leaders in Nigeria have not given us better leadership or representation.
So, I am coming from the reality of a society of average Nigerian who has lived all the season of our politics: from being jobless to being homeless, to starting a business to collapsing and surviving.
That has built me up for leadership and professionally I have done my bit in terms of contributing to the development of this nation and I have professionally rendered my quota in my small ways.
These experiences I have carried, I think, are sufficient and have prepared me for leadership, especially in representing the good people of the FCT in the National Assembly.
I am very smart, I am quick to think, I know and familiarise myself with issues of the FCT and I think that I am good to go once I get elected.
Moreover, I already have bills I am considering to sponsor if I eventually get elected, so my people are sure that they are going to have a robust representative in the National Assembly.
It is not going to be the usual people that go there and become deaf and dumb for four years or start fighting over contracts.
I am not going there to sleep for four years, but to drive my development agenda for the FCT community as a young and motivated person.
In terms of what I want to do for the people of the FCT, the role of a legislator is to principally make laws.
I realised that there are no developments in the hinterlands of the FCT, so my legislative agenda must be such that brings about community development.
Apart from working and lobbying others to ensure that the FCT mayoral status is a reality, I am going to fight for passing and amending the FCT Public Health Insurance Bill, such that the Bill becomes very practical and makes a difference in the lives of some of the people who cannot afford the cost of child care or can’t afford hospital bills.
I am also thinking about FCT Job Creation Bill, which is essentially a copy of what China has done in terms of creating industrialised zones that would attract would-be job creators that would attract tax incentives.
How do you plan to achieve all these, especially with limited resources? I am very determined about making our community to become livable.
I don’t necessarily need to wait for government appropriation of budget to achieve certain things.
For instance, agricultural cooperative is just to bring in and organise our farmers into cooperatives, buy agricultural tools and equipment so that all can share on rotational basis.
They want it, they book it.
If I need a tractor, I book it and we rent it at a stipend to keep it going.
So, we will provide them by supporting and linking them with countries and institutions that are into agricultural research and development.
For instance, Israel has revolutionalised agriculture and they are ready to share that technology and knowledge with us.
A country that was prone to drought has become a food basket in Europe and the Middle East; does that not say something to us? And they are not hiding that technology, but they just want a legislation that would say we need this, help us, teach us and they are willing to come.
So, the agricultural cooperatives for farmers will provide all this and they don’t need too much government input.
I don’t need government to give me budget and appropriation for that.
I just need to reach out to this guys who are ready to share and help our needs.
Don’t forget that one of the Millennium Development Goals is for the food sustainability of nations.
These are platforms.
In Europe, a lot of government institutions and America are ready to share their ideals with us.
They are ready to partner with us.
So, I will bring this to the committee.
How will you develop local economies if you are eventually elected? In developing local economies, for instance, our women and youths have been disenfranchised economically.
They don’t have employment or opportunities to get money to start up businesses and this depresses our local economy.
If we do what India has done, that Pakistan is doing, of having community banks that loan to people in the community, at a single digit interest of say two to three percent, you will have a community bank that we can capitalise on for the development of community with N10 million.
For instance, we can have Buchakwa community bank.
You don’t need a big building, just one small building.
Put in N10 million and just give them and have a volunteer in the community to administer it.
This is not a politician’s role, but people who live in the community and maybe want to expand their businesses or to start trading with maybe N10, 000, N20, 000 or N100, 000 kind of initiative.
Now, they are going to get this money if they are banking with that community for a period of three months.
That is to intensify them and it is going to be referred because I can’t borrow without a referee, so the person who refers me assume the liability of you defaulting, so if you do that and people can access that, there are going to improve themselves and the economy and have more purchasing power.
That becomes aggregated and then you will have local economies doing well.
So, if you do that, there will be competition.
So, you will have Yuchafa and Gwarinpa community banks and you capitalise on 10 million every six months, then it means that for the period of four years that I am going to be there, you will have a community bank having about 80 million in their account.
It will radically transform lives of people there and since it is not a politician’s money, but money meant for a community, they will make it perform well They know that if they don’t perform, the guys in Gwarinpa will capitalise on it and get more money because they are performing.
Nigerians are very creative, but we lack are opportunities, money and capital.
What about constituency projects? We are aware that constituency projects have allocation from the national budget.
But our politicians typically do is to drill borehole and other meaningless projects and they pocket the rest for scheming.
I am going to look at projects that will develop our youths.
For instance, we need libraries in our communities.
You may wonder what does a child in Yushafa need a library for.
Don’t forget that these libraries are all in one.
They are some libraries that have e-learning centres, coaching, creative hubs, so that instead of our kids roaming the streets of the community, you can have time for coaching and different things to engage their creative minds.
We will also link that to sporting centers in the communities, so that I don’t need to come to places like Rockview Hotel to be able to play tennis or swim.
All those things in the community will develop talents.
That’s what other countries are doing.
No wonder why America and other developed nations take all the medals when they go for competitions.
It is not by magic, but because they have the facilities for these kids who are probably not gifted enough.
These things matters and that is the only way Nigerians can compete globally either academically, creatively or in sports.
As well as I am aware of hunger in the land, we also need to worry about the quality of education and what kind of kids we are raising.
We need to have training institutions that can be like training institutions where we acquire skills and not necessarily certificates, so that people in the community can be gifted technically.
These are some of the things I want to bring to the FCT, apart from representing community-based issues, apart from lobbying to make sure that things that have been appropriated for in the budget, under the Ministry of the FCT, are actually implemented.
So, the roads, LEA schools that don’t have chairs and the roof have collapsed, and some of these things have been appropriated in the budget.
My goal will not be to call anybody out, but for the minister to come with me to the community to see things for himself.
These are some of the things I will be doing for the people of FCT.
Is your decision to contest based on the #NotTooYoungToRun law? The not too young to run bill is a great initiative that has been signed into law by the president, thanks to the great proponents like Samson Itodo and all the people involved, but the Bill will not amount to anything if we do not have the political and economic power to run and we don’t have it.
A lot of people simply cannot take ownership of the political space, because they don’t have the power.
Nigerian politics are so monetised that the average young man that is not corrupt or has not stolen public money will not get power.
So, we don’t have that power.
For me, the bill is fine, but I am actually driven by the fact that I have suffered the effect of bad leadership.
So, it goes beyond #Nottooyoungtorun, but to see a community where people will not suffer, an FCT that is comparable to Paris, France, Holland and other nations.
This is the capital city of Nigeria, so it should function like one.
We should make sure that the people of FCT have functional transportation system, potable and accessible water, good roads anything that makes life easier.
These are the things that have driven me into politics.
What is the thrust of the relatively unknown YPP? YPP is a new party that has spread like wild fire within a short period of its registration last year and we are currently in 31 states, including the FCT.
We have three presidential aspirants, one of them being Professor Kingsley Moghalu, a renowned economist, banker and former Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor.
Like I said before, in terms of ideology, YPP puts the citizens in the centre of its manifesto, so it is fast becoming an alternative to developed parties like PDP and APC, which we are going to unseat, by the grace of God.
YPP has demonstrated that it is a strong and viable party for the young people who are progressive in mind to aspire for leadership and so we are now a credible third force and this will give every Nigerian the opportunity to run in the 2019 general elections.
What will you do differently from the APC and PDP? I may not have a monopoly of the knowledge of issues being faced by FCT residents, but I have a general idea of them.
But there are already three bills I want to run with.
One of them is the FCT Public Health Insurance Bill I mentioned before, FCT Job Creation Bill and I also want to run with the implementation of Mayoral Status Bill.
But what I want to do differently is to bring political access to the people and change a situation where people cannot see or access their elected representatives.
How can you say you are representing a people, when you cannot engage them? I want to run a representation where people can come to me every day and see me in my office so that I cannot disappear from the National Assembly to my house.
This is so that I can lobby for them and take their issues to the National Assembly and introduce it to the executive.
I also want to have a bi-monthly town hall meeting with my constituency.
I will chose a venue and publicise it so that we can engage ourselves and have a feedback and give them quality representation.
Your thoughts on the problems in the National Assembly I must confess that I am worried and sad about the type of a country we are allowing our children to see.
What has happened in the National Assembly, especially the blockade by hooded DSS peratives is a shame and that shows you the kind of leaders we have in the National assembly.
With due respect to them, they did not make the polity to over boil, not that the executive has done well nor that the legislature has done well, but the country should be important and paramount to all of us.
The country is bigger than all of us, so there should not be a play of political personalities, so I am worried.
That’s why I am calling on the ordinary and good people of Nigeria to come into politics.
Politics will only change when we have the good people and ordinary people taking part in decision making process.
You see, a politician will never give you a change, because it is convenient for them.
They will give you a chance when you as an ordinary Nigerian get involved.
So, if we have more good and ordinary people in politics, it will be good.
Politics is not dirty because it is dirty but because of the kind of people that are there.
So, we need people, including professional journalists, because that is the only way to resolve the issue and move forward as a nation.