Adelaja Adeoye, real estate developer, was a former national publicity secretary of the Action Democratic Party (ADC) and currently a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, he spoke on the state of the nation and the judgement of the Supreme Court affirming the election of President Bola Tinubu. Excerpts:
What is your take on the Supreme Court judgment affirming the election of President Bola Tinubu?
The Supreme Court as the highest court in the land has given their judgement affirming President Bola Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 Presidential election on the merit of all arguments presented by all parties involved.
Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Peter Gregory Obi of Labour party should now join hands to move Nigeria forward.
Like I have posited, court is the last resort for common man, and court should be able to protect the right of individuals, but if the ruling falls against you, there is no need to talk bad or incite the public against the court, or continue to make statements that are capable of undermining our nascent democracy.
If you run for an election today, and you didn’t win, you can run another time and win, as there will only be one winner per election.
As the Supreme Court has ruled, Nigerians should now concentrate on demanding for quality leadership and governance from President Bola Tinubu, and all the State Governors; they must be held accountable, because that was the main reason they were all elected. We want a Nigeria we can all be proud of.
What is your take on the state of Lagos PDP, the chairman was suspended at some point?
Lagos PDP has different people with diverse political interests and what has made the party to remain like this is the fact that it does not have a father figure that can pull everybody together to manage the internal affairs, so that at least majority of the members can move in one direction to lead to electoral victory. I learnt that it was some group that purportedly suspended the Chairman, Philip Aivoji, but a court has recently dismissed the suspension.
The truth is, Lagos PDP members need to come together and rebuild the platform for effective outing in the future, so that the entire internal rancour can be managed. Fact is that, there is no political party where there is no internal wrangling, as long as interest is involved, but managing those situations is what is needed in our party.
What is your take on the reforms of President Tinubu, removing fuel subsidy, amid the high cost of living in the country presently?
The truth is that fuel subsidy removal was long overdue. Nigerians are really not benefiting but some small group of rent seekers and racketeers, who are collecting these funds, and still diverting the fuel to other countries to make triple gains. But now, all interested investors will import with their funds and sell at competitive prices to Nigerians.
The funds allocated for subsidy has now been re-appropriated to other sectors of the economy such as Agriculture, Education, Transportation, etc. The truth is irrespective of our political party affiliation, we must place Nigeria above our sentiments.
When we see any policies that will benefit the country in the long run, it should be supported rather than playing politics with them. So, I support President Bola Tinubu for removing the subsidy.
There is criticism trailing the floating of the naira by President Tinubu considering the current free fall. What is your take?
The free fall of the Naira was occasioned by the change in the Macroeconomic dynamics, which resulted in the temporary economic situation we found ourselves in. The pressure on FX can be reversed by forward looking politics of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
I believe that the new CBN Governor, Yemi Cardosso and his team, together with those in the Ministry of Finance will find solutions to the free fall soon. It is indeed a bold move to scrap the system of using about $9b to defend the Naira every six months, which this present government inherited, these policies seems like a temporary measure, but it is not effective and it is also draining our reserve, so taking them out will only hurt us for a few time, while lasting solutions are provided, to make the economy bounce back for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Nigerians have called for reform of INEC; what changes would you like to see in the Commission ahead of future polls?
INEC needs to be reformed as a matter of urgency, because we cannot have an electoral umpire whose implementation of their own Electoral Act is not consistent. INEC will say something today and do something else tomorrow. So, the entire process must be reformed to reflect the electoral act and the wishes of Nigerian people by delivering free, fair and credible elections to reduce the frequency and number of pre and post-election litigations.
Nigeria marked 63 years of independence recently. How do you assess the journey so far?
Nigeria is our country, like other countries have their own peculiar issues, we are still a work in progress and I believe gradually and steadily, Nigeria will emerge stronger and better, we must not lose hope at any point. At 63 as a nation, we must continue to work to elect leaders that will have the fear of God to make things work for all the citizens.
Jandor recently approached the Court of Appeal to appeal the judgement of the tribunal. What are his chances?
The court will decide, sometimes, it is important not to say anything over a matter that is already in court.
You have remained silent since the general election; there is speculation that you have joined the APC. How true is this?
I am still a member of the PDP in Lagos and Nigeria. I don’t have any relationship or link to the ruling APC. Fact is that I am not a career politician but a professional in politics. General election has come and gone, and people like us have other endeavours we are pursuing aside from politics, and we have to put our focus on those things. Unlike the typical politicians who play politics all-round the 365days every year.