Monday, 28 August 2017

Why I am afraid to be addressed as ‘Senator’—Sen. Anthony Adefuye + How corrupt Nigerians built estates in Cotonou


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Senator Anthony Adefuye

In this second edition of our exclusive encounter with 2nd and 3rd republic Senator Anthony Adefuye inside his Lekki Peninsula—Lagos (South West Nigeria) home, the seasoned politician told us more on how corruption destroyed the fabrics of Nigeria and why it is necessary to kill corruption in all strata of our national life than talking about secession. The Senator who clocked 73 on Monday, August 14, 2017 also shared his recent travel experience in northern Nigeria with Asabeafrika and how some corrupt Nigerians built and abandoned structures (real estate) in Cotonou—the capital of French speaking Benin Republic. The encounter is very quite revealing. Enjoy the excerpts.

Whenever you travel on the high way and you see the deplorable state of our federal roads, including hinterlands and when you sight one mushroom university at every kilometer of a journey, how do you feel as an elder statesman?
The GDA engages the Senator
You yourself have said, if the maintenance of the roads were given to established, companies and you maintain them annually we won’t have any problem. But you create FERMA (Federal Road Maintenance Agency) and they want to do everything, why do you want to do everything? You create aviation and they want to do everything. If they want to do any contract, their wives will be the oil supplier; their children will become the ticket issuer. Those are the things we need to look at as a nation and change.  As it is now, we have more universities than Great Britain.
But we are talking about the human development capacity of those universities around?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Poverty and over indulgence in religion is one of the measurable indices of a poor nation'
When you want to measure a poor nation, this is what you watch out for—the indicators. You watch out for the number of religious organization you see there, the number of factories you see there and then, the quality of education that you see there not the number (of universities); now we have  more universities than Great Britain and even more than America because the numbers keeps increasing yearly. Now when we discharge these students, where are they going to work?
I am surprised, sir
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Hard work not religion, will put food on your table'
There are some states, they only have one factory. There are some states, they are purely agricultural but their university has no institute of agricultural research. They don’t have any, so what is the education about? You open a university and all you are teaching them is history, philosophy, international relations, we haven’t gotten our priorities right. When we were young, we had technical colleges, we had polytechnics, and we had universities. So we were trained to serve our country. Now, we are training over one thousand students’ religious studies, so how would they add value to the country? People are saying religion, religion; does the religion bring food to your table? What brings food to your table is hard work and agriculture, technology, industry and so on and so forth. Most of these universities that are being established, you will hardly find any of them with any technological institution where our students can be trained.
What does that tell you about the future of the young generation of Nigerians? I mean the so called leaders of tomorrow?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika.....'We the old generation will soon pass away'
Look, we are the old generation, we shall soon pass away, and there is a great future for you the young ones
How, sir?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'I believe in youths of this generation because they are enlightened'
Because you are all educated, you know what it takes. When I talk to you, you understand. When you talk to these old men they don’t understand. They don’t understand, they will refer back to when they had regions, when they had free education; that is what they think about.  They do not think about today and tomorrow. But my happiness is that the generation coming is better than us and they have better training, they have better understanding of the situation. I just hope that all these hate speeches would not have buried it in them, and they will carry it over. You find nowadays that Yoruba marry Igbos, Igbos marries Yorubas, and Hausa marry Igbos and vice-versa; before, it was a taboo for you to do so.
Yes, in the olden days—they will say ‘omo ibo ni?’ (Which tribe do you hail from)
An artistic Portrait of the Senator
So the future will be bright if these old people can leave it to grow
So you think the old people are still suffering from the hang-over of their own era of civilization?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika...'Our Political Elders are suffering from 'loss of political power'
No, they are suffering from loss of power. They have allowed people who are not supposed to be in politics to take over from them; and they were the ones who encouraged them to get there. They did not build the future for their supporters,  they allowed anybody who has money to take over and that is what we are suffering now, everywhere, you find all those respected politicians have no voice anymore because money bags have taken over.
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'People have lost the mentality to vote right because of hunger tragedy'
What happened, I told you before that ten people owns the whole of Nigeria, so they could decide to sponsor anybody they like to defeat good people. And because there is this hunger tragedy on, there is this hunger bite—that a hungry person is an angry person and an angry person is a disorientated person. And you see that when it is election time people say ‘well, you have to pay me before I vote for you because when I vote for you now, I will not see you again’. I think people should change that idea and vote for credible people who will serve them.
Today, when you look at the Nigerian Senate chamber and you see disco dancing characters like Senator Dino Melaye, and the likes of Senator Bukola Saraki and many others, how do you feel as a former senator of the Federal Republic? What was that chamber like in your own days?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika...'At times, i feel ashamed being called a Senator'
You know once you are a senator you are always a senator. Sometimes I am afraid of being called a senator because people just think you are in the present senate and you are one of those who have squandered their money. But I want to say the senate of that time is different from the senate of today.  When we were in the senate, we were being paid by the federal government and our salaries were same as that of the permanent secretaries.  So how can we be manipulating bills? When you want to come and defend your bill, you don’t come personally, you will come with a group and it will be under the television lights and you present your bill. But now, you have to pay money ahead to say ‘I am coming’ and everything is just cash and carry.
They call it lobby
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'The Senate of our era was a different senate'
Yes, now it is officially accepted, they call them lobbyist, just like it is done in America. We don’t know where we are going; this old generation should spend their time to make Nigeria well rather than to break Nigeria down. If today, you break Nigeria, none of this generation of mine will benefit from it.
You mean no member of your generation will benefit from a broken country?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'No member of my generation will survive a disintegration if it happens'
Because the war will go on for many years; medicine will not be available for us. Most of us keep life going with medicine, once there is a civil war, it will be cut off. We won’t be able to get medicine to live again, only the young ones will survive.  That is what they don’t know, some of them think they can run away, you will find out that this young people will chase them where they are and gun them down because of the trouble they have caused. The situation is different now, that you will send riff-rafts to go and attack somebody, people will not attack that person they will come and attack you that send those riff-rafts.
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'I will rather say the truth and die rather than lie and die'
That is what is going to happen. So I think people should be careful with what they say with their mouth, people should be very, very careful. Now, that is why sometimes, I don’t want to grant interviews because when you grant the interview and tell the truth, quite a lot of people that have been so blindfolded with falsehood, they see you as  someone who is against the norm. That is the problem. But, weather you say the truth, you will die, weather you don’t say the truth, you will die. As we all believe, the God Almighty is there to judge you when you come over. So, when you are an old man and you think that you can say anything and get away with it, remember that God Almighty is watching you and at the end of the day you will be with Him to get your final reward.  So, I think all of us should join hand together to make Nigeria better. About three weeks ago, I took a trip on my own to even see this north.
(Cuts in) You mean Northern Nigeria?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Secondary School students should be encouraged to make excursion trips to 5 or more states before graduating'
Yes. And I took a car from Kaduna to Jigawa and I found out that the agricultural development there is massive, it is massive. I also found out one thing, people say in the media as if Christians cannot exist in the north. From Kaduna, I can say categorically to you that 60% of Kaduna people are Christians and they displayed their sign boards all over the road. All churches and nobody broke down anything
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'In Kaduna, i saw 60% of Christians living peacefully while i saw agricultural development in Jigawa'
(Cuts in) So where are all the bad news coming from that Christians cannot stay in peace with Muslims in Kaduna?
Senator Anthon Adefuye to Asabeafrika...'I don't know where hate speeches come from'
 
I don’t know! We don’t know who the politicians are now, whether they are the religious ones, whether they are this old people we are talking about or the young ones. So a lot of falsehood has been sold to common people. I was so afraid of being kidnapped, of being molested because I am a Christian from the south. But I was shocked that I went to the garage, chattered a car and when people get into the car and I begin to speak English, some of them will say ‘Ah, Yoruba ni mi o’ (I am a Yoruba man)
Yoruba ni mi?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika...'On my trip to northern Nigeria, i saw a buoyant and peaceful north'
 
Bee ni, and they are fully dressed in Hausa regalia. And you get to another place, you think the man you are speaking with is a Hausa man and he says ‘I am from Nnewi’. So, I don’t know, most of the people who are speaking have never gone across their own township or their own state; they don’t even know what is happening beyond their states. If you see Yoruba people, they will tell you ‘oh, people in the Delta are suffering, they are dying’ but you take a trip and get to Bayelsa. In 1999 it was only one road that led to Bayelsa and the capital—Yenagoa. I had a friend who was a member of FCDA and we went to do thanksgiving with him in 1999 and there was only one road. Go to Bayelsa today and you will see a lot of fly over that led to different crannies. Go to Cross River.
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Nigerians shall endeavor to know more about their neighbors'
Go to Akwa Ibom, ten lane roads almost everywhere. Beautiful hotels, beautiful resorts. But people speak but they don’t even know Nigeria; a lot of people travel abroad for their holiday, they have never tried to travel down to Cross River State or Akwa Ibom to see the available facilities there. They have never been there. Only the common people who look for their daily bread, those are the ones who go around and catch the education. What I will suggest is that when children are in the secondary school, they should be taken to two or more states apart from their own state; they should be taken on excursion to know more about other people and their civilization. When you are in the secondary school, you should know at least six states, they should be taken on excursion so that they can know each other. There should be exchanged programs for people to travel around to know each other rather than waiting for someone to come and tell them lies, lies and falsehood about Nigeria.
Let’s look at the Muhammadu Buhari presidency in two years how will Senator Adefuye describe Buhari & APC government in two years?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika...'If Mr. Buhari failed to win 2015 elections, Nigeria would have ran into a season of great strife'
Look, if Buhari had not won this election, we would have either been in civil war by now or there would have been great strife in Nigeria. He has managed the economy into recession and almost out of recession. No government has ever done that in that short period of two years. If you look at the amount that was stolen, you will wonder ‘where did they get the money they are now spending?’ I don’t know if you have ever been to Cotonou?
Sometimes ago
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Nigerians built many abandoned estates in neighboring countries'
You will see a lot of estates being built by Nigerians in Cotonou,  empty, nobody is occupying them and when you get there, they will tell you ‘this belongs to Mr. A, this belongs to Mr. B’, but they are all Nigerian owned. People are saying that Ghana is now progressing, what is progressive in Ghana, it is the stolen money of Nigeria that is being utilized in Ghana, in East Africa; it is Nigeria’s money that is being invested there. The situation was so bad that they even caught the chairman of Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) who used his air craft to freight stolen monies into South Africa.
You mean Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor?
The Senator explaining more points to the GDA on how christian leaders joined the corruption band wagon'
He was ferrying money in his presidential jet to buy arms; so, if a government has come in and there have been peace and tranquility in the country, I think we should hail them. Anybody who is saying anything apart from that is not a friend of Nigeria. Most especially when the man has been sick and things were still going on. You imagine Jonathan was sick (like Buhari), those people would not have stolen only the money they stole, they would have stolen the seat of power to London and operate from there. Because if the man was healthy and they could steal what they stole, what would happen to the treasury if he was sick.
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Despite Buhari's illness, Nigeria was still running fine'
But the man was sick and things were still going on smoothly, people were happy, people were praying for the president to come back and he came back. Now, let us look at the profile of this president, he has been the president of this country for two years, he has not a single oil well. He has been the petroleum minister; he did not allocate a single petrol station or oil blog to himself.  He has been a president before now, yet he is still living in old house which he built in his village years ago. Look at it from that perspective and you discover that this man is only here to save Nigeria—he is on a rescue mission. We are so lucky to have him and then, we have his deputy too, who is a Godly person.
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'We must all join hands with President Buhari to make Nigeria work'
If it was some other persons and the president fell sick, it could have been another crisis. So, we have to thank God, that God is still with us; whatever we do, God stands by us—he is with us, I pray that God will continue to guide us and people will change  for the better.  The problem that is most worrisome is that this corruption has crept into these religious bodies.
Apart from moral corruption, the issue of the church without mercy is there. There are many churches today who established schools but the poor in their fold would never be able to benefit because of the fee. Is that not bad as well? What do you think Christian Association of Nigeria should do?
An Art work of the Distinguished Senator
I cannot condemn religious bodies because I am one of the beneficiaries of these religious bodies. When I was young, the people who built schools were these religious bodies, the Catholics, the Anglicans, the Methodist the Ahmadiyyas and so on and so forth…
But school fee was never a burden in your days?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika... 'Pentecostal churches flaunt wealth a lot and it is bad'


It was free at the primary level but they built them and we attended them but if you look at these religious bodies now, once they build a school, even members of that religious body will not be able to afford to patronize the facility. I think these religious bodies especially the Pentecostal churches should change and begin to service the people. Most of the orthodox churches are still building schools, they are still building hospitals and so many other amenities; they do not flaunt wealth, these Pentecostal (churches) flaunt wealth and this should stop
(Cuts in) Do you know we now have churches that establish airline businesses and other humongous business concerns?
Senator Anthony Adefuye to Asabeafrika....'Pentecostal Churches must care for their members'
Yes, if they have all these and they engage their members, if it is to create jobs, there is nothing wrong in it. But if it is to create wealth for themselves, in a situation whereby a pastor is having two to three private jets when your members have no shoe, I think that is abnormal.
(Cuts in) Not only shoes majority of them can’t afford standard meal
The GDA engaging the Senator
So, let us all work together and build Nigeria into an enviable nation. I am sure with our population; we will be the third biggest economy in the year 2050 if we work together.
At 73, what is your advice to Nigerians especially those in Diaspora who are too afraid to come home because of the fear of kidnap and other social malaise?
The GDA handing over a copy of General Sam Momah's book, 'Nigeria: Beyond Divorce' to Senator Anthony Adefuye
What I will advice people is that we should find out the truth before they take action; when they tell you they are killing in Nigeria, they are kidnapping in Nigeria. So also are they killing in America, so also are they kidnapping in America. It is common to everywhere in the world. Nigeria is not a special place where they do kidnapping in fact, they started just some few years ago and the special grace of God we are going to overcome it. So, let Nigerians abroad come home and help rather than throwing stones to us in the house. It is all those people who have stolen money, they are the ones who have access outside and they are the ones who are poisoning their minds (Nigerians in Diaspora) with all sort of news, they are the ones who are doing all those. But by the grace of God, we shall overcome.
Thanks for your time with us, sir.  
You are welcome!


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