|Senator Anthony Adefuye|
cum national secretary of the Yoruba Unity Forum revealed to Asabeafrika in this exclusive interview
inside his Lekki Peninsula—Lagos (South West Nigeria) home on Thursday August
24, 2017 some of the deep yet unnoticed issues that is troubling the Nigerian
nation and rendering her impotent in the comity of nations. The seasoned
politician and elder statesman who clocked 73 on Monday August 14, 2017 shared
some of his pains about Nigeria with us, proffering veritable solutions that
can lead to all-round-win-win success to countrymen home and abroad. The
Senator gave a new meaning to the ‘Restructuring’ theme and equally linked
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s
ailment to some of the actions of prominent personalities in the government of
ex-President Goodluck Jonathan under
the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The Lagos born Senator Anthony Adefuye had more to get him sad and angry at the
same time about the society he is living behind for his children and grand
children. Enjoy the excerpts.
|The GDA meets The Senator|
at Nigeria and you remember how things used to look in your younger days
compared to what obtains nowadays in the political circle, how do you feel?
|Senator Anthony Adefuye ‘I am happy Nigeria has 36 developed cities’|
now, and I am happy that we are progressing. I am happy that we have 36 states
capital which are fully developed, which means 36 towns have been fully
developed after our independence. I am happy most especially about the
infrastructural development in the South
West in particular. Even though the national allocation to the South West is one of the least, but you
will find out that the development in the South
West is one of the best, when you go round and see things for yourself.
This does not mean that the government of the South West is better but that is the truth, that you see on the
ground that there is equitable development in the South West. I want to say that Nigeria
is okay for everybody. We are better together than being divided. Most of the
countries in Africa who have
attempted to break away have since then been in civil war. None of them have
survived the impact of breaking away. When the PDP was in power, there was no agitation for breakaway.
Because Mr. Oshiomhole the former Governor of Edo state said same thing at a
public forum yesterday. Are you sharing his views?
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika…’Frustrated politicians are the ones agitating for breakaway’|
they lost out that they are now agitating for breakaway. It means that people
want to remain perpetually in government, not minding the feeling of the people
they want to govern. As soon as they lost out, they think this is the right
time for us to break out. Nigeria
will not break, and I want to say again, just like the president (Muhammadu
Buhari) said, the unity of Nigeria is
to have said that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable even when some elderly
politicians in the Southern Leaders Forum and other Nigerians think otherwise?
Are you saying they are wrong?
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable’|
saying somebody is wrong or right, I am just telling you my own opinion. We
were at the National Conference of 2014;
the first condition was that Nigeria’s
unity is non-negotiable. That was the basis of that conference, and the
president at that time was a Southerner. If the southerners feel so strong,
wanting to break away, why didn’t they break away when the southerner was
president? Why didn’t they break away when a southerner was president? Why
didn’t they break away when Obasanjo
was president? Why is it that when a northerner is now president that you will
be asking for breakaway? There is nothing wrong with Nigeria and there is nothing wrong with Nigeria’s constitution, it is just the leadership of the country
that we have to ensure that we continue to engage and elect good people to
manage the activities of Nigeria.
your own concept of restructuring? I ask General
David Jemibewon the same question couple of weeks ago in Ibadan and he had his own definition of
what restructuring should be. What does restructuring mean to Senator Anthony Adefuye?
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Certain wrong things made our people yearn for break away’|
are certain things that are not right, that has made people to yearn for
breakaway and so on. So restructuring is to try and correct those things so
that everybody will be happy in the Nigerian
|Senator Anthony Adefuye frowns at handing over oil wells to private individuals and not institutions|
tell you. For instance, why allocate oil well to individuals? You see when you allocate
oil well to individuals, if anybody writes it down and see that individuals
from the north or south are more on the list, there will be agitation. What we
need to do is to ensure that we don’t allocate oil wells to individuals. We
should allocate oil wells to institutions.
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika…’It was bad enough that Nigeria handed over big enterprises to empty individuals’|
give you an example. When the British
Electricity wanted to privatize, they did not sell to individuals. They
created institutions—British Electricity
Corporation and allowed everybody who
is British to buy shares. They
allowed people who are involved in the production of generators and all that to
buy shares. So, they could now appoint people to manage it.
eliminating elite economy?
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’It is wrong for us to put our commonwealth in the hands of privileged few’|
Now, when we (Nigeria) wanted to privatize our electricity, we just gave it to
individuals—called Discos; some
people had nothing, not even a penny in their pockets. So, you will now begin
to say ‘why give it to that man, why not
me?’ But if you have created
institutions—South East Electricity
Corporation, South-South Electricity
Corporation, South West Electricity
Corporation, North-East Electricity Corporation and then sell
these things to them, there will be no agitations. So, it is leadership that we
should try and manage ourselves. Now, if you get to government, and somebody
discovered that certain part of the country, because they were president, stole
all the money, looted the central bank, of course there will be agitation. Central Bank should be an institution on
its own. It is not a place where somebody will just come up with an idea and
say ‘this should be the price of the dollar etc’. Central Bank should be an
institution that will be on the same level with the best financial institutions
in the world and the operation will be so determined and transparent. Not a Central Bank that a Head of State can
just go in and take any amount he likes.
all try and state what the problems are, we shall find quick solutions. But if
we all begin to make hate speeches, then, there will be no solution. There will
be no solution at all. It will come to a time, now, that we should not allow
hate speeches and we should not allow criminals to dominate our domain. The
police and the army should be ready to act. And we have made one great mistake which
is giving amnesty to militants without conquering them.
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Giving Amnesty to militants was Nigeria’s biggest mistake’|
great mistake that is why people are becoming funny. People will say ‘oh, when we start kidnapping, they will now
give us amnesty, when we begin to do this, they will now give us amnesty’.
That was the beginning of our problem—that amnesty problem. So, people don’t
want to work again, they believe ‘ok, let
us also go and break the pipe in our
state and so they will give us amnesty’. There is nothing like ‘amnesty’. Amnesty
is when you go to war and you conquer your enemies and they are ready to
surrender and then you leave them instead of putting them into jail, you
release them and make sure they can live normal life—that is what amnesty is.
But here, we are paying thousands of people who are not working. We are paying
those militants huge sums of money and they are not using it to benefit their
people or their area, they are using it to accumulate arms.
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Most of the agitators for breakaway are members of the opposition party that lost out in power’|
This is the problem
we have. Now, you find also that when it comes to agitation, you look at the
people who are agitating, you find out that most of them belong to one
particular political group and when they speak, they speak with such hatred
that you will think that what they are speaking about is correct. How can you
defend a minister for petroleum for stealing two hundred thousand liters per
day? Nobody has mentioned this; everybody is just saying ‘is she the only one who has
stolen?’ because this country is being ruled by corrupt people. Nigerians should wake up and ensure that
they vote for the right people; people should be able to account for over
exposed wealth, people should be able to explain their wealth.
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Nigeria’s problems are huge and we must solve them before we can have a nation’|
The problem we
have in this country is quite huge and we must stand up to face it. Security
for instance is polarized, and then, you find out that if an average police man
on the road, can be given one thousand
naira and he will allow you to go for any crime, then you can imagine if a
kidnapper offers him one thousand dollars, he will allow him to
go and these are the problems that we have rather than people getting
themselves together and begin to say that ‘we
want to go, we want to go, we want to
go’. You want to go to where? You imagine, if Biafra goes away and we block the exit from the Niger Bridge, from Asaba, and we block it. And we block it from Benue—at the other side, where do they want to go? How do they move
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika…’Only stupid people talk about seceding’|
people just talk. People want to talk so that people can recognize they are
there, not because they are really there. People also have been so corrupt,
that the only way they can hide corruption is to begin to threaten government
with problems and so on and so forth. Now, so far, we have a very good
president is ill and the economy is in doldrums…
|The Senator engages the GDA on President Buhari’s illness|
Who is not ill? Who is 74 years old that is not ill? Didn’t we know he is 74
before we voted him in?
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Opening of Dieziani’s corruption file alone can send President Buhari into feats of illness’|
cannot be ill? Was he ill by the time we voted him in? Who knows what caused
his illness? Don’t you know that when you get to the presidential table and
they open file of Dieziani to you,
you can faint? You won’t believe it. If you get you get to the presidency and
they open the file of Jonathan to
you, you can collapse, no doctor will be able to threat you.
you are making a point
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’The PDP stole lots of money during the last election’|
just talk and talk and talk without thinking. People just talk; who could
imagine that during the last election such amount of money was distributed to
individuals? Where did the money come from? Why is it possible for somebody to
go into the Central Bank and take so
much money? These are the things that we should be trying to guide against, to
make sure that no single individual either president or so, will be able to
have access to our commonwealth and just take it away. Now, look at it, even if
this people who have stolen money had saved the money in Nigeria, we would not have problem. You can see that all of them
took the money outside Nigeria. What
should be the punishment for those who steal our money and take it across Nigeria and what should be the
punishment for those who steal our money and keep it in Nigeria? These are the things we should be talking about and not
about going apart or separation.
who recently tried to sponsor a bill that seeks to give amnesty to public
office looters who are ready to return their loot and invest in Nigeria. How
did you feel with such a bill as a former member of the red chamber?
|The GDA engages Senator Anthony Adefuye|
I am not saying what he said is right, I am not saying what he said is wrong.
But there is sense in what he said.
return the money to Nigeria, it means
you have returned the loot to the owner that is what it means. What he is
saying is ‘if you have money outside that
we cannot see, if you can return it here, even if you have stolen it, we will
forgive you’. But the money will be here, you and I can go to the bank and
borrow it and begin our development.
that he returned everything he stole and is that not a subtle encouragement for
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Every looter must return the entire loot before we can give amnesty’|
return the money and we find out that you did not return all then, there is a
forfeiture and punishment for those that horde such monies; it means you still
have money outside which you didn’t declare, then you are guilty of stealing and
taking the money away, the bill has to be properly vetted.
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’The bill to give corrupt politicians who want to return their loot soft landing makes sense’|
sense in it. The bill should be properly vetted. What the bill is saying is ‘if you can come forward and give us what you
stole, we shall give you amnesty’. What we are doing now is what we call
‘Plea bargaining’. And in plea bargaining, the owner still gets about 50%.
Those who stole our monies in the bank are still walking around today because
the deals were done in a clean way. One of them went away with Eighty Billion
politician. He is an MD of a bank. So, when we are looking at these problems,
don’t just look at politicians alone, let’s look at the banks, the bank is
where the criminality is being perfected. The banks! Let us stop having
individuals being the owner of banks. It means these individuals are in charge
of our commonwealth. No individual should be allowed to command such powers. If
you buy a bank’s share today, instead of the share to go up, the share will
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Our bank shares go down every time because private ownership is a fraud’|
are stealing our wealth; people are not looking at what they are supposed to be
looking at; they are looking at ‘let us
break away, let us break away’.
Most of the people who want to break away have no solutions of how they will
survive when they break away. When they give you a solution, they give you a
post dated solution—a solution of when we are still One Nigeria. They don’t know that when you break away the whole
thing will change, that Nigeria will
not allow you to use their port. You can be landlocked. Even their air space, Nigeria will not allow you to cross
their air space. People are saying V-A-T it is because we are One Nigeria that you are enjoying the
VAT that you are enjoying. If somebody breaks away, will he pay you the VAT?
break away from Nigeria for instance,
and then we develop Warri port, they develop Portharcourt port, which ship will come there? Only ships that want
to come to the west that will come here. So, where will the VAT come from?
that we need ethical and attitudinal restructuring that will benefit us as
individual nation and not as broken tribes
|Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika….’Ten Nigerians controls our commonwealth’|
you something, only ten people own Nigeria today
|The GDA presents the Senator a copy of General Sam Momah’s book ‘Nigeria: Beyond Divorce’|
who own the oil wells also own the telecommunications businesses and also
bought all the discos, also bought all the privatized institutions. I can name
them, is that a nation? These are the things we need to restructure. If you go
to Britain today, you cannot see any
bank belonging to an individual, buy your shares and the banks will perform and
if the bank did not perform and they call an annual general meeting, you remove
those who are there and you put new people there. That is the way Nigeria should run. Now, when we also
have ministers, when you appoint a minister, they will be looking for a juicy
ministry. Once a minister begins to look for a juicy ministry, it means he is
going there to steal. What is juicy in you serving Nigeria? If you are a minister it means you are a servant of Nigeria, if you are a member of the National Assembly it means you are a
servant of Nigerians. But they make
themselves masters of Nigerians. If
you tender today you are just wasting your money, because most of these
contractors have been distributed and allocated. The culture of corruption is
just massive; everywhere you turn to, there is one act of corruption or the
other going on. These are things we need to work at before Nigeria can become a
great nation, not talking about going apart.
Encounter with Sen. Anthony Adefuye titled “Why I am afraid to be addressed as