Sunday, August 22, 2010

This celebrity Presidential hopefull: Bashorun Dele Momodu

You would know he is a journalist, after my text message, he called me, he was in Ghana, he was happy to talk to the much read Ayodele Samuel, i guess, i meet with him at the planet one center room 11 something but i my self enjoyed this interview like never before Otunba Dele Momodu is a man of many parts who needs no introduction. The business mogul,publisher, author, columnist and showbiz impresario, who has not hidden his disdain for the nation's misrule, opens ‘Pandora’s Box’, and says he will aspire to become Nigeria's president come 2011. In this exclusive interview with AYODELE SAMUEL, he discusses his 2011 presidential ambition and does not shy away from some controversial issues in the polity. Excerpts: You have a good job, yet you want to run for the presidency in 2011, why? A lot of people think I'm looking for a job. No. I'm not looking for any job because I'm not jobless. I have a very good job. I'm not the richest man in the world but I'm happy with what God has done in my life. I was born very poor, we don't have a single rich person in my family and it has never bothered us, all we want to do is leave a good name and legacy behind. Others think it is a publicity form, and I say that if it is about publicity I would have gotten it when NTA came to me in 1988. I am the master of publicity, so if I need publicity I know what to do, but this is not because of publicity. I just believe that Nigeria has reached a crossroads. We have the last opportunity to have a bloodless revolution. If care is not taken we are going to enter the next stage which I'm afraid of because the suffering in Nigeria is unprecedented anywhere in Africa. I have travelled the length and breadth of Africa and know that while other countries are making progress, we are retrogressing. It is dangerous. So some of us have decided to jump into the murky waters of politics just to try and see if we can bring the needed change to this country. It is very sad that Nigeria is where it is today, even when God has given us everything in this world to make us the greatest nation. How do we know? We are the biggest black population on earth. Do you think God will just create more people in Nigeria than other countries just for the fun of it? opportunities for us all the mineral resources, God gave good planning, very brilliant people. I have been in all the continents, I have been in over 60 countries and there is nowhere I have been that I didn't see Nigerians doing great things. So what is wrong with us? What is the problem? The problem everybody is giving is leadership, but then we have ourselves to blame, especially the youth. The youth occupy about 70 per cent of the total population of Nigeria if not more. 80 per cent of Nigerians don't belong to any political party and they don't vote, so how can you allow the remaining 30 per cent to hold us to ransom. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not realise that politics is important in time, all the churches did not realise that politics was important, even the mosque did not realise that politics was important, so we left politics in the hands of hooligans. Most of the people you find today are selfish people and a lot of them have been in it for 50 years and above, yet they are not satisfied; they are not ready to retire. We keep exhuming dead bodies when we ought to take examples from other nations. I will give you just two examples. In America, we have Obama who became president at the age of 47, now in Great Britain we have both the prime minister, David Cameroun and his deputy, do you think they are foolish? And I give the example of football, every winning side is usually made up of young players. But we bring 50-year-old to play. No matter how strong you are, at a point in your life the law of diminishing return will set in and that is what is happening in Nigeria. So until we fight those old men and get them to quit, we will not achieve any meaningful result. Most of those men were jobless before they came into government, and they will become unemployable. When they leave because they have nothing to offer. Nigeria is the only place where there is a data base of people who have failed in life, businesses, and in their families, yet we call them leaders. So what is leadership? Leadership is the ability to manage men and resources. What have they managed successfully? We can no longer be left in the hands of professional politicians, we must now leave it to the technocrat professionals to help us, and I'm one of them. And we are global players, most of the people you find in government are local champions, none of them knows beyond their immediate environment. You will hear Oyo politicians, Ibadan politicians, Ogun politicians. No, I want to be among an African like Kwame Nkruma, Nelson Mandela etc. So that is why I'm different. I came from an intellectual background in Ile Ife and all my life I have been like a philosopher. What do you think 2011 elections would be like? If Jonathan decides to run, I have no problem with it, but if we beat him in the election he should go. Nigeria is the only place where a political party has declared to rule for 60 years. We should banish the PDP from the surface of the earth. These are parasites that have ruined everything they can. For the past 11years, can you point out what PDP has done consistently? No water, no road, no electricity, no school, no hospital, nothing. I become the president of Nigeria and the commander in chief, you can be sure that I will motivate the youth, soldiers, air force, the navy. Tell me how many warships Nigeria has today, tell me how many air force jets we have in Nigeria? No nation can be protected when you have no security. You must be able to defend yourself against internal and external aggression. Are you on any political platform now? Yes I am. I have always been in the Labour Party. For the fact that I'm not in the PDP does not mean I'm not in any political party in Nigeria. You see, that is part of the problem of Nigeria — this arrogance of power. I don't want to do it the way they do it? No, I'm going to teach them a lesson by using what they don't understand. Does that mean you will be contesting on the platform of Labour Party? I will be contesting, that is the most important thing, but I'm in the Labour Party. Under the Labour Party then? I will be contesting to be the president of Nigeria. I have not got the ticket yet, so it will be stupid and arrogant of me to be definite because there are other people who also want it. So the party under which I will be contesting is not the issue. The issue is that I'm going to mobilise and galvanise those 80 per cent who don't ordinarily come out. That was what happened in the case of Abiola. Those who never voted came out to vote, that was how he won. If he had waited only for party members there is no way he would have won. That was what happened in America, those who never voted came out to vote for Obama, he was not only voted by the democrats. Those who have been voting in Nigeria are not up to 40 million with the entire voters’ register. So where are the other 100 million people? Those are the people we are targeting and we know how to reach them. The politicians cannot reach them because they have done nothing to empower them, inspire them, help them. I know what I'm saying. Taking past elections into cognisance, are you comfortable with the present INEC leadership? I have no problem with Professor Attahiru Jega. He is a man we all know very well; he is a very respectable man and I believe he will do well. However, in Nigeria, once your employers are the federal government or PDP, they can try anything; but it is now for Jega to say no if they try to tamper with his job. What do you think is the recipe for credible elections in 2011? The best thing is to field the best candidates— -candidates who are Nigerian; they should not be candidates who are local champions and ethnic jingoists. Those who think and believe in Nigeria are those we need not the type of people that we have at the moment. We need very good candidates who can set our environment aglow again. You could remember when Chief Abiola was alive, there were so many excitements, and there were so many colours. But when you have colourless candidates, nothing is going to happen. So I can tell you that with what I'm planning, you can be sure that even the blind will see it and the deaf will equally hear it. Why are you coming to contest after the June 12, 1993 elections in which you played an important role? It is very supernatural. 17 years ago our plane was hijacked by Babangida and his men; they tried in various ways to land the plane somewhere else. When a plane is about to take off, it must have its schedule and it must have a flight plan, destination and route. We already had our flight plan, the control power had been alerted, but unfortunately, the man who was supposed to be the captain was seized at gunpoint. That was Chief Abiola and the hijackers tried to land the plane somewhere in Abeokuta because they felt that when they got to Abeokuta they could get another captain, and that was Shonekan. Of course the man suddenly abandoned the plane. The hijackers looked elsewhere, so they headed to the North and went to Kano where they found the man called captain Abacha and he could not see the route very well, he couldn't handle the plane, so somewhere along the line, he had heart attack and died. We were just lucky that the plane did not crash. Another pilot took over and that was Abdulsalami Abubakar and he tried to land in Mina but they goto Minna before realising that there was no airport, so they ran away from Minna and headed to Abeokuta again. When they got to Abeokuta, they found a man who looked confident, and brave, and he said if possible he would land on the street of Owu, but the man was too self confident and at the end of the day, he also had serious troubles with the plane, and at the end of the day he could not land the plan. He had to hurridly and by force hand over to another captain, Umaru Musa Yar' Adua. The man didn't have good health, so how could he fly what healthy men could not fly? And he died because the trouble was too much. In fact, in his own case, he did not hand over to anybody, he just abandoned the plane and died like that. Then we had a man from the riverine area, Goodluck Jonathan. We all know he is a very lucky man, so the problem now is that we don't know whether he will be able to land the plane on the river or on the ring, we can't tell. That is why some of us came. We have seen that most of the people who were brought as pilots and captains have not had that rigorous experience of doing anything worthy of note; they were only lucky to be pushed by one person or the other. But in my own case I have been in the corridors of politics since I was about 22 or 23 years old. I have been moving in the corridors of politics but I have not been in the corridor of power. There is a different between corridor of politics and corridor of power. When you are in power, you see only three things, you see power, you see wealth and you see fame, but when you are in politics you see everything the more and you are able to predict what will happen at the end of the day. What I want to do next year is not just about election, it is a way of reviving June 12. They tried all the tricks for 17 years and they have failed. Nigerians that voted during the 1993 elections are still alive, and I believe they will come out now and revalidate their votes. I was forced into exile, but it is time now to reclaim our mandate by giving power back to the people of Nigeria.

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