By Remi Adefulu
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the Oshodi/Isolo FederalConstituency at the House of Representatives in 2015, Ahmed Oseni, has absolved the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu from any kind of involvement in the imposition of candidates in the party.
In this interview, he spoke on other national issues.
Your party, the APC came with a lot of promises, but today, a lot of Nigerians are complaining about the economic situation. They believe your party has not lived up to its promises; what is your take?
I am going to start with the Federal Government. I was a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari when he was campaigning for the presidency. I thought that after God, the next person to solve Nigeria’s problem was President Buhari. “I said thank God a messiah is coming to us; thank God our problem is solved.”
I fought with a lot of people. I preached the gospel to them to support him. To be sincere, our expectation was high, but today, the output is low. The Iroko stands but what happens to the Mahogany and the other trees in the forest; are they ready to support the Iroko?
You assign a lot of activities to them, but are they performing diligently in the interest of the nation? The president cannot be the minister of finance, minister of interior, director of boards and parastatals; he has to delegate such responsibilities to other people. Are they going to do it diligently, the way he has in mind to serve the nation?
If anything happens, everybody keeps mentioning the President because everything comes to his table. But, he cannot run around doing them all. In our system of government, poor output will be recorded, but good reports will come to his table. Nobody will do something bad and come to report to you that he has done something bad; he will definitely give you the good report. But, it is the outcry of people that helps you understand that your policy is wrong because if it is right, people will be pleased with it.
Human needs are insatiable but at the same time, if the situation is average, no man is going to cry. I remember when we were in school in the 90s. I was in secondary school during the Babangida regime down to the Abacha’s period, when riots used to happen. Our parents used to warn us not to go out or join the protest, but now the society has turned to something else; parents even encourage their children to join protests.
While I was delivering a speech, people asked why the #ENDSARS protest became volatile. I responded with an adage that says, “An idle hand is a devil’s workshop.” We have bred a lot of idle minds in our homes, so expect the larger population of youths to come out because they don’t have where to go. An average home in Nigeria has up to five graduates doing nothing, so what do you expect?
Government will make promises but one man cannot execute them. Although, among the people that make promises, some have good minds, but some are political businessmen. Yet, there are others who are called to serve and they really want to serve the nation. But, sincerely, it is not as if the party does not want to deliver on its promises, but some members in the senate are a bunch of people that are there for political business and they will not allow proposals to fly. That is why some of the promises have not been met.
Imposition of candidates has become a major issue in your party and a lot of people have been agitating and complaining against that. Why do leaders impose candidates on party members?
Let me use my party as an example; the national leader of my party tends to be a man that has the heart of the nation. He is a type of man that does not make decisions alone. He believes there are leaders everywhere and he never decides for any locality. Leaders are picked according to the interest of the people. I was asked by someone during the #ENDSARS protest why people are not calling the name of the president or the governors but Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Don’t they realise that the man is not the president or governor; neither is he a minister nor a director in any parastatal? He is a national leader.
People call Asiwaju’s name because the nation believes in him and wherever he goes, they follow. I am glad he was able to prove that because he was the only person among them who made himself accessible to people via telephone conversation, picking direct calls. You can never call a president or governors and they pick your calls.
The APC’s apex leaders don’t impose candidates on members. They delegate the process of selection or election to party leaders. But, what happens to the leaders at the grassroots is that they tend to go for their personal interest and once they go for their personal interest, they impose candidates. And once they impose candidates, they tell the people that it is the apex leaders that imposed the candidate on them.
What the apex leaders do is to ensure that the candidate nominated is loved at the grassroots, so that it will be easier for the party to win the election. No politician wants to sweat before getting a mandate; they make sure that people’s mandates are given to them with ease. So, they always tell party leaders to bring someone that is acceptable in that locality; someone who can pull the crowd, whose voice is the voice of the people.
Sometimes, some party leaders select delegates due to their personal interest considering their own personal benefit and assuring apex leaders that the entire community accepts the delegate. You know that the apex leader will not go to the street to confirm because he believes the party leader is the mouthpiece of the people. Whatever that comes to him as a report is what the people in that locality are saying and once he endorses him, collectively by the voice of people, they have chosen him.
The party leader will not go back to the locality and say the person he wants has been approved, but will rather say the apex leader has chosen who he wants and they must follow him.
What is your interest in politics?
My desire to go into politics is a bit broad; I am going to look at it from different angles. One, let’s think of what our society is today. I remember in those days, our parents could sell their last cloth to get their children go to school because they believe that it is their license to success, but today, the reverse is the case. We have got a lot of people that have certificates; a lot of youths that are helpless not because they are not qualified, but because the society is not encouraging anymore. And, also the rate of unemployment is worsening every day. A lot of families find it difficult to provide even one square meal for their children, and at the same time, they still want their children to live and acquire the standard of education or livelihood with those families that will be able to provide for their children.
I discovered that if I have a foundation and I am trying to help people, I will only be able to do that in accordance with my resources and the limited resources will reach limited people. The highest people that can help people in the society should be the people in government. If we have to adopt a lot of things from the Western world, why don’t we adopt charity from the Western world? Even governments in advanced nations or some developing nations believe in charity; they believe in giving to society. In their budget, they have provisions for children, the aged and the handicapped. They are their priority. Even if they fall into the class of unemployed, they give them stipends to sustain them.