Dotun Aderibigbe a seasoned grassroots politician is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State. In this interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he accesses the ongoing constitutional amendment by the National Assembly and the anti graft war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Do we necessarily need to restructure to guarantee good governance?
Yes we need restructuring. But we need to ask the question, the People calling for restructuring, what do they know about restructuring? What is their motive?
As we all know, the core North never supports restructuring of Nigeria, example was shown in the way the lawmakers voted. Because we know the British constituted the country in their favour, so the North can never allow restructuring.
These guys would never allow anything to affect what they are enjoying, they would never allow it. But Nigerians should realise that power is never served fully prepared, you have to take it with force.
Although the Senate President said the process is still on and the Majority Leader said they should not have put everything together, I think what they did is a disservice to Nigerians.
What we need in this country is a revolution, not necessarily a violent one. Look at the state creation for example, Kano State have be carved into three states, with each having about 50 local government area while Lagos remains the same and we are trying to have some here, but the Supreme Court said we cannot.
The argument of some of the lawmakers is that before you devolve power to the states you have to change the revenue sharing formula?
That is rubbish, it is not the issue, what has devolution of power got to do with that? What we are asking is that devolve power so that the states can tap their resources, pay royalties and use the revenue to take care of their needs, pay salaries rather than go to the central and beg all the time.
The problem is that it is the unitary system that we have been practicing for a long time and the country cannot move forward, that is holding us back.
Would the recent amendment aid our democratic process?
The amendment process is laudable, but the first thing should have been amending the constitution, you cannot be clever by half. Bear it in mind that they need to bring the amendment to the states, remember some time ago the states assembly rejected financial autonomy because the state governors control all the money and they tell them how to vote.
As for the local government election, like we all know all parties in power win local government elections, because they are in control of the state electoral body, it is a sign of weakness in the system.
The independent candidacy is good for our democracy, because here people would say they are born for the party. That would move us a long way forward, but we need voters’ education if we are to get it right.
There has been call for the scraping of the NASS or we have a single House do you agree?
Look I am a student of relativity, the other day Senator Adeola Olamilekan was saying this is the best senate we have had in recent time; we have passed over 95 bills. That is the way he sees it. How many days do they even sit?
Most of the people in the House of Representatives do not know why they are there. A lot of them are there for their pocket. We are playing with our democracy, we are not practicing democracy in Nigeria.
We need to domesticate our democracy to suit our needs.
Most of the People don’t know why they are there. If we are to curb corruption it has to start from the National Assembly. Look how much they send on constituency projects, what is constituency project?
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar recently identified lack of internal democracy in political parties as reason for bad governance, do you share that view?
Those talking have personal ambition; it is not a new thing. A lot of them talking are part of the problem, it has always been like that. It is endemic, they do it every time. Internal democracy died during Funsho Williams contesting at AD primaries. The whole thing starts from choosing the delegates.
Is over monetisation of the political process part of the problem?
Yes that is true, but it does not bother me, until people start emerging though the right process there would not be responsive governance.
The people know who they want, what we are even saying is that if you are to impose: come to the grassroots and hear from the people, what they want.
In some cases like the recent LG election the people don’t even know all the candidates not to talk of them coming out to debate in the Media. So the people don’t come out to vote because they don’t see the right people they know on the ballot. Our political process is not issues driven, we don’t campaign here.
Do you believe in the anti graft war?
We don’t have any anti graft war. We voted for Buhari because of his personality, unfortunately we have not seen altruism in the process. We hear there are cabals in Aso Rock and everyone is fighting for his interest.
I think the anti graft war should start from NASS. Nigeria is in a mess what we need is to strengthen our institutions.
There has been decline in the number of women holding elective positions and the affirmative bill was rejected, what is your view?
When you say politics is dirty and people are not coming out that is the problem. We need to change the perception we have in the country, that all women who go into politics are promiscuous, the issue is the perceptions.
A Nigerian man would never allow his wife to go into politic, thinking that where she has gone for 1 am meeting all the men have slept with her.
In the just concluded local government election in Lagos State, they said women should not buy form, that theirs was free, how many women are there now as chairmen? It is not about the affirmative bill, people need to change their mentality.