The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the just concluded February general elections, Prince Adewole Adebayo, in a recent interview as a special guest on an online discussion programme, among other issues, speaks on what opposition parties can learn from the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Don’t you think coalition with other young parties and like minds would have changed the result of the last Presidential election?
Many of the people in politics are merely agents not principals. The reason why Buhari and Tinubu could form a coalition is because Buhari isn’t anybody’s boy. He was the leader of his own team. Tinubu isn’t a follower of anybody. He is not anybody’s boy. But some of these people may be forming alliances with them while in actual fact they are working for some people. And once they call them into the room and tell them what to do that’s exactly what they will do.
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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 USA inputs it amounts to nothing. If you talk to Putin, he alone can decide for his country. So, whatever peace you are negotiating, you must put USA into account. You must be sure the people running are doing so on their own. If you look at 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. If you look at Malik, it is the same. If he says yes, it is yes, if he says no, it is no. Kwankwaso is an independent person.
How much of your personal money went into the election?
90 percent of the budget campaign came from my pocket. There is a former head of state who wants to remain anonymous, he gave me some money. I am not anonymous about it but he wants to be anonymous about it. Towards the end of the campaign, he called me and he said he liked what I was doing and he said take. There are many people who paid for posters and billboards on their own for me. I don’t know how much such would cost. We are well below the amount they said we should spend. Directly from me we didn’t spend more than N1.5 billion. So, we are still within the limits.
In order of priority, outside you, which among the contestants would you have voted for?
I will vote Malik Ado Ibrahim maybe because I have listened to him several times. 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 he is sworn in today, whether 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. 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.
There is so much controversy around the President-elect. What is your take on this?
They are all the same. Whether it is Atiku going to Dubai or Tinubu going to France or Peter Obi going to London to do surgery, they are all the same in that regard. The lesson to learn from it is that we must set standards. What is happening in the case of Tinubu and his son is that they are coming into office with issues on buying property abroad instead of talking about how they are going to strengthen the Naira, improve the economy and things like that. That was why I was making a case during the campaign that all the contestants must declare their assets in public but the media suppressed it. So, standards must be set for people who want to lead us. They must not be people who already have certain habits that are injurious to the welfare and of the people of this country. The entire first family must declare their assets so that we know whom we are dealing with.
Is it true that some SDP agents did not work for you on election day?
Not all my agents worked for me. Some may look at my picture and say this didn’t have money and went to collect from other parties. In a particular state, our agents said INEC didn’t give them accreditation cards. We asked why. They said they didn’t know. We went to INEC. It said the state chairman of our party came together with PDP. Each of the chairmen collected for their parties, and then the SDP chairman gave the tags to the PDP chairman, shook hands, and drove away. On that election day, you would see someone wearing an SDP tag, but he is definitely working for Atiku. Some of them helped APC. Some worked for labour, I think in Delta Anambra and some parts of the South-east.
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