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2019 polls: Nigeria’s next President should be someone who believes in restructuring- Tunji Offeyi

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In this interview, Tunji Offeyi, a global affairs analyst talks about the 2019 general elections, who he thinks Nigerians should vote for, the Federal Government’s fight against corruption and other salient national issues. Excerpts

With the conclusion of the primary elections, we now know who represent what party for the 2019 presidential election. Do you think the flag bearers are what Nigeria needs to reverse her fortune?

Its unfortunate we have found ourselves between the devil and the deep blue sea.For President Buhari’s gross incompetence we have Atiku’s allege corruption to worry about. So its bad news both ways.

Mixed reactions have trailed INEC’s handling of the Ekiti and Osun elections which many saw as a test run for the 2019 general elections. Can INEC in your opinion give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections come 2019?


I very much doubt. The halo on INEC has since fallen off with the charade that happened in Osun. I am no fan of the dancing senator but justice is blind.Love him or loathe, he shouldn’t be robbed of his victory…So its deeply troubling.The way to 2019 is full of thorns.The signs are not good.Hoping we don’t have the Cote d’Ivoire experience in Nigeria.I repeat the signs are not good!

The Not Too Young To Run Bill was recently signed into law. What do you think this portends for the future of politics in Nigeria?

It is a welcome development.Kudos to Hon.Tony Nwulu and Senator Abdulaziz Nyako for sponsoring the Bill at the National Assembly.However that is not where It ends. Slashing down the age by 5 to 10 years in different electoral offices is a sensible approach.Come to think of it most great leaders like Tony Enahoro,Awolowo and the likes started young.Bode Thomas was really-really young but look at their giant strides.It then makes the saying that the age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the wisdom of King Solomon very apt.This is part of the change we have been clamouring for.It is now up to the Nigerian youth to grab the bull by the horn.No more excuses. Go out there and form your own party where you don’t need millions to pick a form,where godfatherism won’t deny you of your dues.Enough of being keyboard warriors.Participate actively in the process!Way to go!

Nigeria just celebrated her 58th independence anniversary. Looking at the journey so far, what do think of Nigeria under military rule and Nigeria under democratic rule?

We are still a young country but that is not so valid a reason to remain perpetually under developed.That said having witnessed both rules I subscribe to the cliché that says ‘the worst civilian rule is better then the best military rule.’Despite the challenges you have freedom,rule of law as against military fiat and decrees so any day its civil rule!It is just not negotiable!

A former senator publicly confessed to aiding in the rigging of elections. Recently also a new phrase ‘vote-buying’ was added to the political dictionary. What do you make of these?

Its all part of the nonsense going on in the polity.To avoid prosecution in Nigeria.You only need to join the APC. As for vote buying, it is sad but not surprising as the politicians are taking advantage of the hunger they created in the land to buy the conscience of the poor.See, it is hard to tell a starving person to reject the dollars even though it’s dirty money.These are victims themselves.That noted I will implore Nigerians to try and  sacrifice their comfort and not sell their souls to the devil at the polls in the name of ‘stomach infrastructure’that will in the long run worsen their situation.

You just made a statement that one only needs to join the ruling party to avoid prosecution in Nigeria. Does it mean you agree with the belief that the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight is one-sided?

It’s obvious, even a blind man can see that right now in Nigeria.They only go after their members that are not ‘playing ball’. But it’s all the same drama of the absurd!Their is no sense of justice in our republic.That is the bitter truth.We can’t go on like this!

Do you think the endorsement of Atiku Abubakar by former President Olusegun Obasanjo is in anyway a sign that the opposition may cause an upset in the presidential election?

To be frank I won’t be surprised if Alhaji Atiku springs up a surprise.Yes the OBJ endorsement is a big factor in his favour.It is a blow to Buhari below the belt.Generally speaking any candidate that take the campaign to the people with economic loaded manifesto will easily defeat struggling Buhari in a free and fair atmosphere.Nigerians are simply fed up with the man and his mediocre government.

Without mentioning names, advice Nigerians on who you think they should vote for in the 2019 presidential election.

I will say vote for a Nigerian with good conscience,international exposure,skillful in the art of politics and knowledgeable about the economy.A believer in restructuring.Ready to trade off his power as a President for regional autonomy.A well read character who has studied at the highest level and worked globally willing to share this experience with his countrymen to lift up our fatherland to an enviable and greater height!

You were recently appointed as a School Governor by the Potteries Educational Trust. Tell us about this.

Oh surprised you got to know about that development.Yes got the appointment letter a few months ago and ever since we have been doing our best alongside other board members to move the college forward.We literally  are decision makers to make sure the school we are assigned to function properly in terms of management. I am actively involved with the Finance and Budget Committee of the governing board.As you know here in England probity and accountability is very vital, not to be joked with,and this syncs with my thinking so I gladly accepted the appointment.Come to think of it, it is also a privilege when your community noticed and appoints you amongst many to a position of trust.You want to do your very best to justify the believe they have in you.That’s exactly what I am doing.So its worth it.

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