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.

An encounter with Reverend Chris Okotie

I sent him a text for an Interview with him, he never replied until when i put a call through, his protocol as an presidential aspirant is high and strict to that of a serving president but trust i break even, i spoke to him, his grammar was much but i agree to his tense, in the reception of his mutmillon church at Ikeja we did this..... Reverend Chris Okotie can be called a veteran presidential candidate, as since the nation's return to democracy in 1999, he has always aspired to lead the nation. Against expectations, he is again contesting for the presidency in 2011. But why does the Okotie brand not sell despite his declaration that the Almighty has always been behind his bid? In this interview, the reverend with a knack for controversy, explained to Ayodele Samuel his plight and why the Okotie brand faces challenges politically. He also spoke on his plans for Nigeria. Again, you want to contest in the presidential election come 2011. Why? The tenacity and resilience that have accompanied this action are predicated on the fact that this is a divine mandate. I am a servant of God and I will not be presumptious to arrogate honours to myself that are inconsistent with the responsibilities I have. So I declare cleary that the Fresh Party is a mandate from the Lord, and secondly, I feel a sense of responsibility to my nation. The philosophy is God first, then my country. In 2003 and 2007 you said that God declared you would be president, yet you lost... (Cuts in) It is important that those who listen to people like me must understand that the language of faith is different from the ordinary mundane interaction that men have amongst themselves. When God gives an instruction the time frame is determined by Him. The most important thing is that he who is instructed must obey. Pharaoh was very antagonistic towards Moses for a long while, even though he knew that God sent Moses to set the Israelites free, until God had to demonstrate. Such is the characteristic feature that when God gives an instruction, sometimes it takes a while to manifest. So you are the Moses of Nigeria? Moses is in the Old Testament. We in the New Testament believe in the Messiah, that is our Lord Jesus Christ. So I wouldn't identify with Moses, I will identify with Jesus Christ. So if you ask what my philosophy is, I would say it is Messianic. The Messianic philosophy is sacrificial. Why did you lose elections? First and foremost it's timing. God has timing for the fulfillment of every promise. Secondly, the political irresponsibility of the PDP. As the government in power, they have not been able to organise credible elections and they have denounced the whole concept of democracy by their total disregard for law and order, and that is why we find ourselves in the present quagmire. Is that an indication that your party is afraid of the ruling party? Fresh Party is a small party, and I do not think we can be compared to the PDP. We do not have the strong platform to compete with the PDP. But I do know that the Nigerian people are greater than the PDP, and because we are going to the Nigerian people, we have hope. This time around, Nigerians will demand that their votes must count and things will change. You have not been enjoying the support of Christian organisations in your presidential bid, why? At the beginning, it was a noble idea. Some of my colleagues had not begun to understand the priesthood of Melschedee and how that is relevant in the political set-up. So now we have much more support than when we started. In 2003 and 2007 we had progression, and in 2011, I am sure that the support from Christians will be overwhelming. Again, I think that Christians have not participated fully as they should, and I liken it to ignorance. Once you are anointed in the scripture you can hold a political office, and that is where the Melchsedee priesthood defers from the ironic order. I think it is the right time Christians participated in the process. Secondly, we must make sure that God continues to favour us because God controls every nation through policy and prophecy. Do you believe the new INEC headed by Professor Attahiru Jega can conduct a credible election in 2011? I have never at any time doubted the credibility of Professor Iwu. I said it very clearly that I thought he was probably one of the best chairmen that we ever had. He was very courageous, very forthright and it was not his fault, but things happened the way they did because he was just one man in an organisation. From the revelation we've had so far, we find that actual rigging takes place in the field. Professor Jega has distinguished himself in academics, but on his ability to cope with the political setting, let's await. INEC is under the control of the executive. Again, the manipulation of the resources of INEC by the executive and the other bodies within the government makes it impossible for it to perform. I think that Professor Jega would be incapacitated, not because he does not desire to but the environment is not conducive and the PDP is a master at deception. They are masquerading under their desire to go for electoral reforms. I think they are enjoying every aspect of the political shenanigans. Do you think there will be free and fair elections in 2011? No I do not. Not because INEC is not desirous of doing it, but because the PDP has already destroyed the entire process. What is your take on PDP's zoning arrangement? It's of no consequence, PDP is not Nigeria. Partisan politics at that level has nothing to do with us. If they want to zone, that's up to them, if they don't want to zone, that's up to them, but I know that political parties should have principles at will to suite their desire. The constitution, however, does not say anything about zoning, so it's a PDP affair, and therefore, it is inconsequential. President Goodluck Jonathan has spent about a 100 days in office, how would you assess him? With due regard, I have said that President Goodluck Jonathan is a penultimate phenomenon. He is a gentleman that means well for Nigeria, but I do not think he has the material and requisite understanding of the complexities of a government like what the PDP has put in place. He was part of Yar'Adua's government and therefore, he cannot naturally be different. What I see is a political aphorism which is the characteristics of the PDP. I think Goodluck cannot and may not take Nigeria to the next level. He belongs to a generation that lacks vision for this nation, he is part of a government which purpose and philosophies are conterminous to Nigeria. I just know that in the affair of this nation we need somebody who is not tinted by the PDP. We need somebody who is more visionary, more articulate, who can interface the Nigerian dream with the concept of globalisation and in a millennium where the quest for harmony aids innovation. President Goodluck Jonathan does not have the political identity for that. I just want to say to the Nigerian people that they must remember that there is a God who has helped this nation on six occasions and that Nigeria is all we have. Nigeria is worth fighting and dying for, and in 2011 we will see the courage and tenacity that make us who we are. There will be manifest. I would urge them to look in the direction of Chris Okotie because I believe the answer lies in generational shift.