Engineer Adedeji Doherty is a former South West Zonal Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party. In this interview with ADELEKE ADESANYA, the PDP chieftain says the current administration would have fared better if President Muhammadu Buhari and his men had not sidelined the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He also calls on Yoruba leaders to jettison partisan politics and promote the unity of the region. Excerpts:
There is a speculation that the ongoing fight against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari is slowing down his government because he is not focusing on the economy. What is your take on this?
The issues of how government is being run in this country right now is a very sensitive one. There are lots of things happening at the same time and that is not good for the country. Look at it from the economic viewpoint, things are not looking good for the country. So what is the main thing that this government wants to use to campaign in 2019? I can’t see it. Will they want to campaign or they do not want to campaign? Is there going to be election or there is not going to be election? Because from what I can sense, I sense something else coming which may not go down well with majority of Nigerians because from all the indications that we have seen, there are lot of taboos that are being committed, which politically will not gown well with a lot of people in this country. The economy also is bad, public fund is withdrawn from the public sector; also this government has not mentioned anything concerning the subsidy to any section. This government has not mentioned anything to do with the reduction of duties, even on agricultural machinery or pharmaceuticals or children educational materials. Nothing has come out of this administration concerning any kind of palliative for Nigerians. Today, N2million car costs Nigerians N6million and things are not going well for all of us. So, what is it that Nigerians are supposed to live for now? Even in the manufacturing industries, everything is going bad, the banking sector is becoming shaky, schools cannot even take care of themselves, and salaries are not being paid. Everything is going up; even the market women cannot survive. What is important right now is to pick up judges, SANs and to deal with the last administrators. Things like this don’t show a serious government.
I believe what Tinubu is going through right now is a hindrance to the advancement of the Yoruba and the people in the South west. It is time for us all to cut out partisan politics and political differences and come to an agreement on fighting our cause
Even the INEC is no more independent, they are coming up with inconclusive elections. They come up with different distrusted decisions. The whole thing has really gone worse. Our leaders in the country should come up and tell the truth, the country is falling apart in a fast way.
From your comments, do you mean President Buhari lacks proper understanding to run a government?
This issue is not even a Buhari issue alone. We, Nigerians are our own problems because, if you could remember, we were young when Buhari was the military administrator of this country and at the end we saw what we experienced; that’s supposed to have guided us in averting what is happening now by taking a better decision in the last election. And this decision that we have taken by having this man again, we are going to suffer it for years, there is doubt about it. Look at the situation of things and people are folding their arms without talking. We have our leaders sitting down and not saying anything. The worst part of it is that we will not see the damage done to this country now until another five years’ time and that is the killing part. The younger generation will be the one to suffer all the problems that are being created today. As you can see, a lot of businesses are not thriving again due to what has happened in the country and these are the businesses that take care of families and their children in schools. Economy is paralysed. Buhari really needs to get things right.
The APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is currently facing a difficult time in the ruling party, and people believe any move against him is against the Yoruba nation. What is your view?
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will definitely go down in memory as an astute politician Nigeria ever had. He is a politician that has demonstrated the potency of his political sagacity at the top. He placed his politics at what I can describe as the master level and for such, I personally give him a lot of respect when it comes to politics. Having said this, I think we can now see what is behind Nigerian politics, even when you are a factor to reckon with at any level, and unfortunately, this are the kind of things that happen in politics. You win some, you lose some. Sometimes you in all your efforts into a certain cause and at the end, you get the blunt end of the whole thing. Bola Tinubu definitely worked for the emergence of Buhari as the President of this country. Without him, Buhari could never have become the President of this country. We warned him in different ways. Even Yoruba leaders warned him concerning what he was venturing into. Apart from this, we also warned Nigerians about voting Buhari because we know his antecedents very well. So, you can now see when you work for something and you expected to enjoy the fruit of your labour but at the end, some people, who knew nothing about the struggle, just surfaced and you are sidelined. As it is, I believe the best thing is for him to retrace his steps and reassess what his next position will be.
Was Tinubu expected to control the National Assembly and other key areas at the Federal level?
Well, it is not a matter of Tinubu controlling certain areas. But from my own perspective, I believe that his being the leader of APC, which is the party in power today, would have helped our zone to gain more attention than we are doing at the Federal level. To be quite honest and candid with you, even during Jonathan’s time, we didn’t get much consideration from the centre and we thought with the fact that the same party now controls the centre and the states in our zone, things would change for better, but nothing has happened. I see a situation whereby if Tinubu had his way at the centre, South West’s voice would have been more recognized at the Federal level than it is today.
So, do you mean the alleged gang-up against Tinubu in the party at the Federal level is having negative effect on the South West Zone?
I believe what Tinubu is going through right now is a hindrance to the advancement of the Yoruba and the people in the South west. It is the right time for all of us to cut out partisan politics and political differences and come to an agreement on fighting our cause. Yoruba leaders should come together, the likes of Olu Falae, Tinubu, Aregbesola, Fayose, Mimiko, Bode George and others should all come together under the same umbrella to advance the cause of the Yoruba nation. We have seen it, we have played the game, we have played it to the North, South and we have seen clearly where we start. So, the only thing that the South West should do now is to come together as one, build a political structure, build a force that will be reckoned with at the centre and play the role that will direct us the way we are supposed to move as a people. What we have seen happening in the past, I mean party politics, has been used to create enmity between our leaders and because of that we have all been shortchanged in the scheme of things when it gets to the Federal level. Unfortunately, our own representative, who was Olusegun Obasanjo, during his time, was too nationalistic and overlooked our region.