•‘The North may rig the South out’
•Says daughter’s murder would have been swept under the carpet had ‘strings not been pulled’
By Dayo Johnson & Dapo Akinrefon
Leader of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, speaks on the 2023 presidency and the speculation that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is planning to take a shot at the nation’s highest office.
Although Tinubu spoke recently that he had not made up his mind on the issue of running for the presidency on the heels of the removal of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as APC National Chairman, said to be loyal to him, the speculation has refused to go away.
Fasoranti also discloses that he was told by the “powers-that-be” that no investigation would be carried out into the murder of his daughter, the late Mrs. Funke Olakunri.
What are your thoughts on the state of Nigeria?
Of course, I am not satisfied with the state of the nation.
So what should be done?
There should be a change of mind on the part of leaders and people who are in charge. Corruption is on the high side. There is no discipline and people are doing what they like. So, Afenifere is watching and will continue to speak against the ills in the system.
There have been repeated calls for restructuring to solve the many problems in the country, but some people are opposed to this agitation…
What I think is necessary is for us to come together and chart a way forward. There are corruption and killings here and there. My daughter was murdered, nothing has happened. And there seems to be some people who are protected.
What do you mean by saying some people are protected?
For the fact that we pulled some strings, that murder would have gone without any action taken. She was on her way to Lagos but when she got to Ore, some people waylaid her and killed her.
The authorities were not keen on investigating until we cried out and pulled some strings, otherwise, nothing would have happened. When I cried out and demanded that something should be done, the powers-that-be were reluctant and they told me that nothing would happen.
But for the fact that we pulled some strings again, nothing would have happened. She would have been killed in vain. There are some protected people and sacred cows when atrocities are committed and nothing happens to them. In a situation like that, the citizens are not safe, they are not satisfied. They are disgruntled and they begin to wonder where to go. We have no other country but Nigeria.
But are you satisfied with the arrest of the suspected murderers of your daughter?
We are watching and we hope something will happen. We are trying to pull some strings and press some buttons and hope that something will happen.
Still on restructuring, some leaders are calling for a return to regional government, do you support this move?
No. We are asking for restructuring. We want an arrangement that would make regions to control their affairs. This centralization is very weak and not good for us. When things happen here, you have to refer them to Abuja. We want regional police that can take action quickly.
While growing up, you had a vision for Nigeria. Now that you are old, would you say this is the Nigeria of your dreams?
It isn’t and that is why we are crying. That is why Afenifere is crying that something better should happen. For instance, if anything happens and you need police attention, they should be able to handle it locally. You don’t have to refer to Abuja if anything happens. We are crying for regional police.
Do you think Nigeria can still be better in your lifetime?
I think so if we all cry out with a united voice. People are not happy and there must be a solution. But government seems to be deaf to all these cries.
But if you were to make a wish for Nigeria, what would that be?
To remove all the leaders who are not performing. We have to change them and that can be done by voting them out.
You talked about voting out non-performing leaders, but voters are induced during elections…
Corruption is our problem. If the rate of corruption can be curbed, it would be better for us. People are weak, they want money and if they are given money, they change their minds to vote. That is one weakness Nigeria has even within the political parties. The love of money is killing us.
With the agitation for power shift in 2023, where should the presidency zoned to?
Power is now concentrated in the North, but if we restructure, people will manage their affairs locally.
But do you believe in the zoning of the presidency to a particular region?
Rotational is better because if you want to follow one pattern, rigging will take place and the powers-that-be will continue to rule. As we have seen now, power will remain in the North unless something is done. They will rig. They will use money to influence voters. It is either we have an agreement to rotate or something happens.
Do you believe in the candidature of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu if the presidency is zoned to the South?
I am not a member of his party but I have interacted with him. He means well, we may try him.
Do you think Amotekun is making any difference?
If it is taken seriously, it is a good initiative. Amotekun is an attempt to address insecurity. I think Ekiti is taking it seriously but our man (Akeredolu) has some problems. Maybe he will be able to do it but he is facing challenges at home.
It has been alleged that the governors may use Amotekun as a tool to clampdown on the opposition. Do you agree?
I hope it will not happen, because there will be an outcry if they want to use it against the opposition.
Would you suggest that other regions have this kind of outfit?
Yes, if it is properly handled.
As one who has a passion for education, are you satisfied with the quality of education in Nigeria?
Because we have mass education, the standard has fallen. Exam malpractice is on the rise and there should be some punitive measures against education cheats and people who cheat during exams.