Tunde Daramola is a pharmacist and former national exco of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he spoke on the recent judgments by the Appeal Courts, Bola Tinubu administration and other issues: Excerpts:
What is your assessment of the Bola Tinubu administration so far?
I don’t believe this administration is about the people, more about self and I wish the masses well, because nobody is going to care for the masses of this country.
If the masses know what is in stock for them, I’m sure they would act differently. The play book of this administration is a familiar one. We know them when they were in Lagos, about 20 years ago they pauperised the masses, is it rent? It went up. What about food? It also went up.
Transport went up and also doubled. I can use my estate as a talking point, rent was under N700,000, N500, N400,000 for a three bedroom twenty years ago, it is now four million naira.
How much was rice? So this administration is about stifling the masses and making a few comfortable.
Just like I said, what they did in Lagos is a repetition of what they would do at the federal level; make the judges comfortable, make the lawmakers comfortable, capture the two and you can do whatever you like because the judges have juicy salaries.
Within five six months judges salaries were raised and what is the situation of the masses? I am worried about the state of the masses, why is Labour fighting for Joe Ajaero alone when it should be fighting because of the masses?
Labour went on strike some weeks ago over the removal of fuel subsidy and the government promised to provide palliatives. Was that not enough?
Labour and their likes were the foot soldiers of this administration when they were in the opposition. Democracy in Nigeria is in danger. This nascent democracy is in danger.
But the administration said the removal of fuel subsidy was inevitable. Don’t you agree?
The same administration that removed subsidy was contemplating collecting 40 percent of internally generated revenue from universities when they are rarely funded.
The excuse they gave for removing fuel subsidy was to fund education, healthcare, infrastructure, but we need to point to one area that has been funded apart from Judges, lawmakers and the presidency. It was recently that they denied the presidential yacht.
Some people say it is too early to judge, don’t you think so?
By the time they wake up, none of them would be able to talk, because they would have been starved to death. Morning shows the day. A Yoruba proverb says that; sight that you may own till old age, does not have mucus in it.
Look at health, transportation, education and food, what has this administration done to bring down the cost for Nigerians since they came on board?
But they promised to give N5 billion to each state as palliative. Don’t you believe in that?
That is money to the state governors; I said this administration is only taking care of the judges, lawmakers and the executives. Once these people are taken care of they don’t care about anybody.
I’m not a prophet of doom, but I hope I am proven wrong.
Are you saying the economic policy of this administration is not working?
Which economic policies have you seen, except to pauperise the people. If there is a policy, it is supposed to reflect on the masses. The play book which we have seen since they took control of Lagos is contempt for democracy.
It has shown in the way we do things. Look at the way the last off-cycle elections was organised, it is shambolic, a celebration of absurdities. They should be doing what they promised to do; that is to take care of the masses, but we have not seen it.
The cost of transportation has not gone down, food prices have not come down. The embarrassment of this government would have been to stop the importation of fuel, the naira keep dropping and we have no productive sector to help the naira.
You make life juicy for legislators, judiciary at the detriment of the masses. This is a dashing of hope and not a renewal of hope.
We saw on social media where people in some parts of Lagos were regretting voting for President Tinubu.
Do you mean nothing good would come out of this administration?
They have not started very well, by buying a vehicle of N165 million for federal lawmakers and the minimum wage is how much?
How much did he add to it? N55, 000 for five months, that is dashing people money, it is to keep the masses pauperised.
What is your take on the recent off-cycle gubernatorial polls?
That was not an election, we did not need INEC because democracy is about one man one vote, that is the idea thing, but one man one vote does not apply in Nigeria and as such the charade that was held is a celebration of absurdities.
Would you have said that if PDP had won the three states?
It is a cash and carry event. We had NIN which was supposed to give numbers and be like a social security net for Nigerians, because you need to know the number of people qualified to vote. But we don’t use it.
Results were tabulated in the result sheets even before the election started. Whether PDP won in Bayelsa or APC won in Kogi, it is predetermined, just buttering the bread of INEC officials.
My fear is; the hold on the nation’s political landscape is dicey because the present administration believes in total hold. We are likely to have one party state and that is very dangerous. That is part of the reason I said this democracy is in danger.
Are you saying the current PDP’s national officials are compromised?
Most of the people in leadership are recycled, I don’t want to belittle anybody, but you remember Douye Diri was in the presidential villa shortly after the Supreme Court judgment. Leadership is about self and not people, unless the people realise the magnitude of the situation and react the masses would continue to suffer.
People said APC is already preparing for 2027 and the INEC chairman should step down? What is your take?
The INEC chairman would not step down because he knows his hand is not clean; my fear is that the incumbent administration should not begin to weaponise security agents against their critics.
I am afraid by the time they are unable to deliver anything to the masses they would become dictatorial and anybody that says anything against them would be picked up.
What are the reforms you would like to see in INEC before 2027?
President Tinubu is part of those that install this INEC chairman; there is nothing independent about this electoral body.
One of the things to do is that, it does not make sense to produce a winner in an election who cannot be challenged until after he is sworn-in and by that time such a winner would have solidified all his powers. I find it ridiculous Atiku and Obi thought that the judiciary would overturn the presidential election.
Election was held in February. We can have that election in November and all the litigation would be resolved before inauguration.
With that people are not compromised. The first thing this administration did was to make life juicy for judges and lawmakers, that is why I said labour unions are not serious for the masses.
What is the way forward for PDP?
PDP should do a thorough in house soul-searching and become a vibrant opposition because there is going to be a lot of lapses in this administration. APC met the dollar rate at less than N200 and today it is more than N1, 000, it jumped from N400 to N1, 000 within six months.
I foresee a lot of propaganda in this administration and if care is not taken, this administration would weaponise security against opposition. I did not expect the judges to overturn Tinubu’s victory, he has solidified his victory and that is because they are at his mercy.
The reasons given by the Supreme Court was just an excuse to butter their bread. Don’t let us go into that judgement, it is a compromised judgment.
Have you quit active politics?
The redemption of this nation is beyond politics, a lot of people in politics are in it for survival. Thank God I don’t need politics to survive, I’m a pharmacist.
I consider myself an accidental politician, the majority of the people in politics are there to make money, and others are there to make names, they are few. Some people come to make money and some to touch people’s lives.
There is a difference and I was not ready to sell my houses to make more money until such a time people wake up and realise they have been hoodwinked.
The people shouting ‘Emilokan’ yesterday are the same people crying about the state of affairs now. They voted for this administration but it is late now.
Another prediction I want to make is that; it would be hard to dislodge APC from power, particularly this administration they run a mafiaso kind of leadership. Write it down, even Muhammadu Buhari who handed down power to him would regret it.