EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:’Obasanjo is Nigeria’s Most Corrupt former President’-Seun Anikulapo Kuti*Says: ‘ex-Presidents Abdusalami Abubakar, Sani Abacha top Thieves ever seen in Nigeria’ *Regrets: ‘FELA would have been Nigeria’s President if Alive today’ *States: ‘Nigerian Political Parties are the Same, Govts of Insensitivity & Interest’ *Laments: ‘Every Govts use our commonwealth to satisfy Power-Brokers in Nigeria’ *Echoes: ‘Most Nigerians living in Abject Poverty, Elites drink most Expensive Champagnes’

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

‘Obasanjo is Nigeria’s Most Corrupt former President’-Seun Anikulapo Kuti

*Says: ‘ex-Presidents Abdusalami Abubakar, Sani Abacha top Thieves ever seen in Nigeria’

*Regrets: ‘FELA would have been Nigeria’s President if Alive today’

*States: ‘Nigerian Political Parties are the Same, Govts of Insensitivity & Interest’

*Laments: ‘Every Govts use our commonwealth to satisfy Power-Brokers in Nigeria’

*Echoes: ‘Most Nigerians living in Abject Poverty, Elites drink most Expensive Champagnes’

*Daring: ‘Opposition Party should win next Election, Jail all Corrupt people in Buhari’s Govt’

*Explains: ‘There is No Stigma in Nigeria’s Society for being Corrupt’

SEUN Anikulapo Kuti, a reigning afrobeat musician and civil activist needs little or no introduction. He is the leader of Egypt’80 band, a music band put together by late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti in Nigeria. Seun has successfully taken the Egypt’80 band on World Tours, countless road shows and several concerts across the world preaching against societal vices in the nation and African continent by using the vehicle of music. He is bold, confident and very intelligent on issues affecting humanity. In this rare interview with GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/CNN iREPORT Journalist, he appraises the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, talks on Corruption, how past governments in Nigeria failed Nigerians and many more….

 

Seun final nowQ: How will you appraise the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in view of the hardship and inflation on-going in Nigeria?

A: If we are going to be honest about the hardship and inflation in Nigeria, this is not a problem that was caused in the last six or seven months, this is a problem that has been happening in Nigeria in the past 14 to 16 years now. Everything has been faulty, but we had petrol dollars fund to cover it up. And everybody was been fooled to believe that. But there is no more petrol dollars slush funds in Nigeria. This is the real reason the adverse effect of this pains is affecting the people, especially the middle class families. The people are now shouting inflation. Truth remains that lack of petrol dollars to patch up the crack is what is causing this worrisome effect.

Q: There are allegations all over the social media that BUHARI is fighting anti-corruption war by using his political party opposition members, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as guinea pigs, while his own party members, All Peoples Congress (APC) assume saints status…

A: Really, I don’t see any difference in political parties in Nigeria, be it APC or PDP, they are all governments of insensitivity and interest, just like every other government. That is the way Nigeria can be run. You continue to run a federal system that does not delegate powers to the regions. That is how it is going to be. Every governments will continue to use our commonwealth to satisfy the power-brokers in the country to stay in power. For me, all politicians are the same, I don’t see any opposition. Everybody wants oil wells. Right now they (government officials) are fighting oil marketers. Government claims oil marketers are not been fair with their price, but oil marketers are in the government too. Most of them (oil marketers) are also government officials. So, who are we fighting? Politicians in Nigeria are corrupt. I believe somebody should go to jail.

Q: Recently, Rivers State government came out with a shocking revelation that during the last administration of Rotimi Amaechi (now Minister of Niger-Delta), a whooping sum of N82million was squandered on Professor Wole Soyinka’s dinner. And Soyinka has debunked the claims that he had no knowledge of how much was used to host him to a lavish dinner, but insist if such sum was truly used for his dinner, then Amaechi government was corrupt…

A: I know of only one cake in the last administration (Goodluck Jonathan’s government) that costs N77million, if you remember very well. Just one cake. The federal government party in Abuja-just one cake. I don’t know what anybody is saying here now. Nigerians have short memory. If one cake can cost the sum of N77million, why can’t a whole dinner party costs N82million? This is what I am saying that the excesses in Nigeria were too much and various governments were just spending money as if we are ‘out-of-class citizens’ in a country where we are under-developed and most people are living in abject poverty. They live a life of elite consumption. If they want to throw party, they want to drink the most expensive champagnes/wines, having the best caterers, best security; best house and listening to the best music. There is no check and balancing in their consumption. Whether Soyinka was hosted for N82million dinner or not, I don’t think that is preposterous. In a country where one cake was N77million?

Q: Can you expatiate on this issue?

A: I hope another opposition government wins the next election and jail all other people corrupt people in this government (Buhari’s administration) too. Until they jail all of themselves then the society will be clean of corruption.

Q: But President Buhari recently told Nigerians that none of his appointed ministers are corrupt, where every Nigerian knows Rotimi Amaechi (former Rivers State Governor) story appointed Minister of Niger Delta…

A: As I earlier said to you, the previous governments had many opportunities to correct the wrongs by using the Nigerian Constitution to investigate Amaechi and lock him up. I don’t understand why action was never taken on the matter. I am an ordinary Nigerian, a citizen of this country. I cannot defend any politician. I will not say Amaechi is not corrupt, yes Amaechi is corrupt. If the present administration (Buhari’s Government) refused to prosecute Amaechi, then you will know they are selective. I am not into politics. If they are using corruption to send themselves to jail, it is all for the nation’s betterment. Let us hope that more people are sent to jail. The more they go to jail, the better for us as Nigerians.

Q: Don’t forget when the present ruling party, APC had their Presidential Election, which brought Buhari to power, Amaechi single-handedly made the highest donation…..many see it as pay back time for Amaechi.

A: If the president heard that a government spent such huge amount, he has the executive power to checkmate it. We all witnessed what the last administration did when he knew that Timipre Sylvia, former governor of Bayelsa State was against him. We all saw what the last government did to the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) when he was going against him. Corruption is a crime against the people.

Q: The problem had been that all Nigerian governors are protected from prosecution by section 308 of 1999 Nigerian Constitution. This is why they can’t be arrested whilst in power as incumbent governors.

A: Which political party owns the Senate in the last administration? What party owns the House of Representatives in same government? If the lawmakers had wanted to enact a law that would have removed the section 308 of 1999 Constitution they would have done it. Remember, the last administration then in a personal war with ex-CBN governor, former Bayelsa governor used his power to veto his intentions. When security agencies were looking for Sylvia, he was hiding in a hotel in Abuja. He was arrested by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Did you remember that news? If you can do that to a sitting governor that offended you, why can’t you do same thing to a former governor of Rivers State? I have no sympathy for them at all. I don’t see any opposition in Nigeria’s political parties. They (politicians) are killing people with their action. I have no problem with it, if they go to jail. Like Governor Nyesom Wike is doing in Rivers State, let him probe past governments in his state. Let him bring justice to bear on the past administration in Rivers State. Governor Wike should follow his investigations and speedily bring justice to bear on the corrupt people. Let us start from logical point of view. I read in the news how the media brings in weak editorial as views on serious issues that will be difficult for a layman ti understand. Their coming to power has confounds them so that they (media) can get what they want to get. In Dasukigate’s $2.1billion, we saw how money was shared to the media. For those kind of things to continue, that means they will need to be confirming with the people in their state reports. Every government in Nigeria has been representing their own personal interest. If Nigerian are intelligent, they should not have politician-friends, but politician-acquittals in the political world, which we cannot make our friends. Why are we not making them our friends? There is no stigma in Nigeria’s so city for being corrupt. Politicians are corrupt: they attend the best parties, invite their chairman of the day in special entourage; people sit with them, people are happy to see them, people take selfie pictures with them, they are extravagant. So, why will they (politicians) not want to steal? Nigeria’s war against corruption has not even started until we see these corrupt politicians sent to jail. People are just angry that Buhari is locking up their pay-masters. Difference between PDP and APC is: PDP members are very generous with cash, they share money among themselves, where as APC seems tight-fisted with money.

Q: Going by the new CBN rule with a refusal to Nigerians using their ATM Naira card abroad, there are allegations that Nigerian politicians keep buying every United States dollar available in the black markets and bury same foreign exchange in their bunkers or underground homes instead of taking the money to the bank, leading to dollar scarcity…

A: The next step for Buhari’s administration is to start looking at peoples’ houses. That is where all our dollars are being stashed.

Q: If Fela Anikulapo Kuti were to be alive today, how do you think he will critique President Buhari’s government?

A: Fela would not have told Buhari anything, but he would have been Nigeria’s President (Laughs). Fela is not a vindictive man. Only if Buhari is found to have committed a crime, that is when action would have been taken against him by Fela. I believe people who have committed crime against Nigeria, they would have had problems with Fela. You have to understand that there is a constant betrayal by people from Africa. True, kit is difficult for Fela to have reacted in a certain way. Fela would have bee quite tough if he was able to become Nigeria’s President.

Q: What ways can Nigerians be free from the present economic hardship, inflation and suffering in the country?

A: This is the time for Nigerians to just tighten their belts. In the past 16 years, Nigeria has made hundreds of billions of dollars via petrol. Our exchange, crude oil alone was sometimes in 60 billion dollars and we as a country got nothing to show for it. We must realize that we must find a way to develop ourselves, away from the consumption mentality that our elites have imposed on the society. We have to look for a way to develop ourselves instead of consuming what other people make.

Q: In the social media, names of some Nigerian former presidents have propped up when issue of corruption is mentioned. As a civil right activist using music to fight societal ills, who is the most corrupt ex-president in Nigeria?

A: Olusegun Obasanjo is Nigeria’s most corrupt former president, followed by Abdusalami Abubakar and Sani Abacha. They are the three top thieves that Nigerians have ever seen. They took stealing to the extreme. Abdusalami ran Nigeria for eight months, no one checks him up because he handed over to a civilian rule. There was no check and balance at all. It was only when Hamza Mustapha, Abacha’s chief security officer started talking that we all saw a tip of the iceberg of what happened next when Baimayi came to give evidence. We have bee in dire straight in Nigeria, people have to realizes this fact. We are being taken for a very dangerous ride, and everybody has to start looking fo ways to stand up against it. In our society we have the power to effect a positive change. I know it may be difficult for us to believe we need the consumption that they always advertized to be important. If we as Africans can always enforce our own moral values in the society, we will be able to fight corruption in our own way. The elites make people to feel that without money you are nothing in the society. In Nigeria, the society believes no matter how little you are, if you are not making money, then you are nothing. People cannot even imagine, because there is no imagination in poverty.

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