A leader of the Yoruba group, Afenifere and a top member of the defunct Action Group, led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in the first republic, Chief Ayo Adebanjo says the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has only himself to blame over the position he has found himself in the party despite his hard work.
“When people are coming together, they are doing so for their personal purposes. When they wanted to start this APC, we knew the foundation was not right. We complained about their compatibility. We said they were not compatible. They did not agree with that and continued. On the surface, they appeared compatible but the truth remains they were strange bed fellows,” Adebanjo told Vanguard in an interview.
“Jagaban knows very well the position of the west but he thought that he would be clever enough to use the north to achieve what he wanted. There was no agreement on how the country should be run. He should have settled all these problems of equity and fairness with them before doing business together.
“But they came in with vested interests just to come into power. They did not agree on how to share power and all that. It was not the right thing to do. They are now trying to share power after getting into power. They never agreed on how to share it before getting into power, it is a basic flop in their arrangement. That was the mistake he(Bola Tinubu referred as Jagaban) made.
On whether things can be corrected, Adebanjo said: “I don’t know if they can. It is left to them. I think they can correct all that made them incompatible. One of the corrections is going for the recommendations of the confab. That is the basic thing that the country needs and my campaign then was that we needed a change of the constitution. When you change the constitution, most problems will be solved. Go and read the recommendations of the confab. When we implement them, a lot will change.”
Speaking on the crisis rocking the National Assembly, Adebanjo said “It is very disgraceful that they are fighting, that is one. The National Assembly should learn how to perform as an independent body, there should be no interference. What is happening there, happened before and heavens did not fall. We know how Tambuwal became the Speaker of the House. The leaders of ACN at that time said it was democracy.
“The then speaker, Tambuwal and other PDP members swallowed their pride and carried on for four years. So, they should swallow their own pride and carry on. Why are they quarreling? They said it was democracy when Tambuwal emerged. It is still democracy now. They should swallow their pride like PDP did and move on. You should be judging your candidates. They should compare what they are doing now and what they did in the past.
“I would like to give all of them time to perform. Buhari as an individual is a performer. He has a good character. So, some of us are saying that maybe the people around him are the problem. It happens in every government when people who breed confusion surround the persons holding the mandate. So we should not be dwelling on the past records, we have passed the campaign period, we are now in the period of performance. For me, I want to give him time.
“There seems to be this issue between Buhari as a person and the APC; the party will stand on one thing and he will stand on the other side. For instance, during the election of the key national assembly leaders, when it happened the way it did, he said okay, it is the rule of law. But the party seems not be happy with his position.
“The ball is in your court, you are the judge. All these things are before you journalists, put them together and bring them to the public. You are the people who mirror what is happening, mirror properly and send to the public. That is the only way to help the country,” he said.
Commenting on reactions that President Buhari was operating a northern agenda, Adebanjo said: “The new President will put his own people. He can choose from any part of the country of his choice. He has the right to do that, but there should be a balance. I still say that you are the judge. You are one of the stakeholders. If there is anything you are not finding funny, say it. There are so many things that are involved.
“Where people are allowed to govern not with their ideology or principle, it can never work. People that gathered in APC are people of different sheds of political opinions with one agenda; to remove the government of the day for them to get there. But there was no agreement on power sharing when they get there and that is the problem. That is why I said, let us wait and see, it is too early to judge.
“This was our own analysis before the election, when we saw the people gather to remove the Jonathan government. I am not saying that the Jonathan government was a perfect government. Yes, it has all sorts of things that we should disagree with. There was corruption but now it seems Jonathan was the special one. There was always corruption. I think the only thing this regime needs to do is to implement the recommendations of the confab.
According to him, the need for the recommendations to be implemented was why he said he was not going to vote for Buhari. “That is why I said that in-spite of Jonathan indifference, he should be voted for because that will help to balance the in-balance in the country. But Nigerians said no, I cannot force them to do that. Those recommendations go into the problems of the country.
“If you read very carefully the stand of Afenifere in this matter, you will know where we are going. All the problems we are talking about in the country, the lies in the reshuffling of the country, they are all there. Now, we are talking about the atonement of one region or the other. All these things have been dealt with in the recommendations of the confab. This are some things that are supposed to be constitutionalized.
“The issue of corruption that they are talking about is because there is too much money in the centre which is still occurring now. We have removed all that. What I was complaining of is what is happening now. You have conducted the election under the old constitution. You now say that you want to play the guide of the states, how do you do it?
“If you keep using the revenue formula of the old constitution, the imbalance will continue. And that means more money will be going to the North than to the South because they have more local government areas there and you are going to divide the thing on the basis of that. Is that justice? And once we all refer to the constitution which we have agreed is unfair, the problems will continue. So, since you are getting the result of what you refused to do, don’t complain,” he said.