I Want to be The President of Nigeria – Majek Fashek

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I Want to be The President of Nigeria – Majek Fashek
Posted On: 16th June 2013

Majekodunmi Fasheke, known more as Majek Fashek, is a well- known Nigerian reggae musician, whose popularity reached the zenith in the late 80s with his popular song, “Send down the Rain.”

For many years, he was not only a darling of reggae music lovers, but also those who like good music. He later went to the United States of America, from where different stories trailed his life. He spoke on many issues in this interview.

It seems reggae music is going down in Nigeria. Unlike other genres of music, there has not been any new thing in reggae music. So, as a reggae musician, how do you intend to revive it?

Reggae music cannot go down, because reggae music is like a gospel music, we just need the right people to play it, that is it. But, why reggae music is going down is just because we don’t have the right people to play it. In our time, we had competition, Kimono, me, Oritz Wiliki, we had what I can call destructive competition like what they had in juju music then.

Some people are saying Majek is from Ilesa in Osun State, others are saying you are from Benin in Edo State. Can you clear the air?

My father was from Ilesa and Abeokuta, that is, my father’s parents were from Ilesa and Abeokuta, but my mother came from Benin. No mixture.

Let’s talk about friends; before Hajia came into the picture, people said your friends abandoned you. How true is that?

I came to save Nigeria.

I mean how do you feel about being dumped by friends, I am not asking you why you came to Nigeria…

Hold on, forget about friends. I came to Nigeria, I am revisionary, and why do you think I am sitting down here? People are coming to enslave Nigeria again, and I am here to save Nigeria and you are here talking about friends. God sent me to come and save Nigeria, they want to come and overthrow Nigeria again through subsidy. If that subsidy succeeded, Nigeria would have died.

Your music, Send Down the Rain, was a hit then even up till now. What gave you the inspiration for that track?

It was God. God did everything. See, let me talk about Nigeria. People are suffering, people are dying and yet government is not doing anything about it. Government is expected to be paying our electricity bill, people pay their bills, yet they are not enjoying it. I want to become the president of Nigeria but I need $100 million to make that dream come true.

Is presidency for sale?

No, it’s not for sale, but I want to be a revisionary president.

But I am sure if you have $100 million, you would not bother to run for presidency again?

No, I am very serious o; I want to be the president of Nigeria. We are leaving in hell in Nigeria. One doesn’t need to die before going to hell. We are already in hell in Nigeria.

Odedina Taofeek
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100 Nigerian Centennial Heroes Series AWO, MY HERO

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100 Nigerian Centennial Heroes Series AWO, MY HERO
June 15, 2013

‘When Awo was building Cocoa House, women went nude,’ says Gov Amosun

Today in our series on “100 Nigeria’s Heroes,” Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State shares his thoughts on heroism.  When it comes to picking one man as his quintessential hero, Amosun had many to select from different fields of his experience.  But when you pin him down, one hero stands out of his list.  He is the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo—a true Nigerian hero, a leader who lived ahead of his time and who is still revered among his people.

***

Truly, when you look at where we are today, you ask yourself: Why are we where we should not be?  When so many years back somebody somewhere, because he has thought so many things through, he could see beyond now, he could see beyond his own yesterday.

And that was why even when he was building the Cocoa House some sixty years back, people said he was crazy.  Even women went nude asking: What do you need a 25-storey building for at this time?  And behold today, that is the only thing that defines our landscape in the entire Oodua states of Southwest Nigeria.

And look at television, for goodness sake.  Nigeria was the third nation on earth to have television—only after US and UK.  He saw it in the US and UK and he said he wanted it too in Western Nigeria.

Before China, Japan, France, Germany and most European nations could have television, Chief Obafemi Awolowo brought television to Nigeria.  When you look at the totality of what this man has done, you cannot but say he is a Nigerian hero.

I have more than one hero, but Awolowo stands out.  If Awolowo had ruled Nigeria, we would not be where we are today.  I can say that authoritatively.  It was agriculture Awolowo used to redefine everything. There was no oil that we are running around for today.  It was agriculture he used in building roads and creating various infrastructure.

Today, some of Awolowo’s roads are still there, even though in bad shape now and need renovation.  Then look at the University of Ife.  It was Cocoa money they used.  Look at Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, look at Bodija, look at Ikeja Industrial Estate, look at GRA, all of those were projects that were financed by agriculture.  Look at Free Education programme in the then Western Region which was revolutionary.  Look at health.  Look at our courts today.  Somebody somewhere sat to envision all these things.

They were not this old when they thought these things through.  Bode Thomas died at the age of 33.  When you look at the totality of those things done, then you will have to give it to them.  And know that if you are determined, if you are resolute, a lot of things would happen to you.  Today, what have we done in agriculture?  We are not creating wealth, we are not doing anything.  It is so sad.

My father, my hero

At the personal level, my father is my hero.  I am just like a miniature of my father. He is an incurable optimist.  And he believes that if God says yes, nobody can say no.  He doesn’t believe in impossibility.  His name is Alhaji Sanusi O. Amosun.  When they took my father to the railways, in this Ibara in Abeokuta, they got there and he was praying.  The white man pushed him, asking him to stop praying but he would not be pushed.  For one week, the scenario was repeated.  They kept pushing him and he was still praying.  After about one week, they left.  So the first Ileya festival they wanted to have, everybody said they would not come and they didn’t come.  They sacked all of them.

But then, I cannot forget the people who stood by me, without whom we won’t be where we are today as governor.  People who stood on the line of fire for me.  I am not just making this up.  People who heard gunshots and they were felled by the gun, but were still rushing to replace them.  Those would be my heroes.

Heroism for me would be people who are ready to give all their all for a cause that they believe in.  People that because of those their efforts, their belief, they would impact in others things that ordinarily they would not believe is possible.  People who selflessly sacrificed everything, who were ready to pay any price for what they believe in.

Odedina Taofeek
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2015: Jonathan, Obasanjo And Lamido

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2015: Jonathan, Obasanjo And Lamido

By: Musa Samaila Rufai on June 10, 2013

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in the news recently, as he was quoted to have endorsed Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa state for the 2015 presidential election. Considering the profile of the former president, who fought for the realisation of third term agenda in 2007, his endorsement of Lamido seems suspect and reveals the desperation of the former Nigerian leader to remain relevant in the affairs of the nation’s politics.

It is a fact that the rumour mills have been agog with reports that Obasanjo, who plotted the Yar’Adua/Goodluck presidential ticket in 2007, has fallen out of favour with the former Bayelsa state governor who was later sworn in as president following the demise of Yar’Adua in 2010.

While the Ota farmer was reported to have been engaged in a game of meddlesomeness to control the then ailing President Yar’Adua, the resistance of the then First Lady, Hajiya Turai, was to curb the excesses of the former president who was determined to control the presidency from his farm.

With Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, Obasanjo then thought the coast was now clear, and that there was no stopping him from running the nation through an assumed proxy. It was even said that with Dr Goodluck Jonathan as president, Obasanjo was thought to have come back to the corridors of power through the back door.

As Jonathan was attempting to consolidate his position and ensure he takes full charge, he was mindful of issues that introduce festering relationship with Obasanjo. As someone who has come to appreciate the values of the African tradition that places premium on respect for elders, Jonathan was willing to do everything to ensure trouble-free relationship with OBJ.

 After his victory at the 2011 presidential election that was described as fair and transparent,  Jonathan began to extricate himself from the undue influence of persons that could distract his  commitment to the Nigeria project. This action by the president, of course, was seen as a deliberate attempt to be independent. People like Obasanjo saw this as not only a political affront, but a ploy to undermine and diminish his influence within the corridors of power.

The emergence of Jonathan had finally laid to rest several issues that have been thrown up in the polity. Before now, it was unthinkable that a minority could assume the presidency of the country. Jonathan did it. Jonathan exposed the hypocrisy of the Northern region as a cohesive area believed to be hegemony for Nigeria’s political dominance.

With that singular feat, the old Northern hawks, who are being rattled by his emergence, have woken up from their slumber and are working hard to turn the tables against the present administration.

To get the old political horses of yesterday back to relevance, a desperate attempt is being launched by the progenitors of the old order to re-launch their relevance and that of their wards. This they are doing through re-awakening the dead but powerless group that are seen as determinant of where the pendulum will swing to in 2015. The old North, oblivious of the rapid transformation that has been experienced in the country, is launching its last arsenal to recapture what it lost in 2010.

Taking advantage of the Northern outcry to recapture power, Obasanjo is attempting to test his popularity. By asking Jonathan not to contest in 2015, he is invariable calling on him to embrace the Mandela option of a single tenure. One recalls that despite several pressure mounted on Obasanjo by prominent Nigerians to step down in 2003, he refused and went ahead to contest for the 2003 presidential poll. Even after he exhausted his two terms of four years, his kitchen members were engaged in campaigning for yet another third term for him.

The recent sordid revelation on how Obasanjo plotted to realise his third term agenda is fully documented in Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s ‘Accidental Public Servant.’ What moral right does Obasanjo have to advise Jonathan to embrace the Mandela’s option which he turned down in 2003? I think something fundamental is wrong and we need to see to it that the populace, who will ultimately determines the fate of  President Jonathan if he chooses to run, are told the truth.

There is no doubt that despite Obasanjo’s criticisms of the Jonathan administration, it is clear that the present government has done much to move the nation forward. More than anything, the insecurity that had trailed the affairs of the country is being tackled. What with the discovery of a large cache of arms by the Joint Military task Force in Kano. The JTF has now commenced in earnest a deliberate move to flush out insurgents in the country. The peace that once pervaded the North is slowly returning, while sponsors of the insurgence are on the run.

Obasanjo, who had accused the Jonathan presidency of not acting decisively, is not even commending the president who have demonstrated patience and endurance and given the insurgents a long rope before acting. Those who though Jonathan will continue to be patient despite the destruction of lives by the terrorists have now realised that there is always an end to everything. If they thought they would deploy the issue of insecurity as a campaign issue, they have discovered that current moves by the federal government to tackle the violence in the North is slowly shooting up the profile of the president as someone who can be trusted to deliver on his promises.

Obasanjo may be right to pursue his dream and campaign for his candidate if he so chooses. To state that one can find a job for someone, but may not be able to assist the person to do the job is a slap on the sensibilities of Nigerians. Was this not this man who was virtually exhumed from the gallows of death after the demise of General Sani Abacha in 1998 and made to assume the presidency? If God can make a way for a prisoner to be president, is it a greater feat for God to make a governor a president? Obasanjo should stop playing God and face realities.

He is free to drum up support for Lamido and others, all in a bid to get relevance in the present dispensation. But he should allow Nigerians to choose when the time comes. To start flying on the wings of the night and engaging in endorsement galore is nothing short of desperation.  When Obasanjo plotted the Yar’Adua/Goodluck ticket in 2007, was he not aware that someone like Lamido could perform better? It is unfortunate that it took Obasanjo over six years to realise this. That only shows the quality of political leadership in the country.

Jonathan has never declared for 2015, but the current gale of opposition mounted by expired political jobbers and their paid masters is something that is alarming. One expects Obasanjo, who has been the beneficiary of God’s mercies, to be on the side of truth and equity. His recent endorsement of Lamido and open castigation of the Jonathan administration does not befit his status as a former Nigerian leader who is supposed to know better.

Power belongs to God and He gives to whosoever He will. No man can give to another. If power is given by man, then the third term agenda of 2007 would have scaled through. But because it was not permitted by God, it could not pass through.

Those in a hurry to show Jonathan the way out of power should be patient to allow the man declares for the polls.  

—Rufai wrote in from Abuja and can be reached musarufai2011@gmail.com

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President Jonathan’s Coup By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

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President Jonathan’s Coup By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

Correct Me If I Am Right By Rudolf Okonkwo

The whole premise of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is that he will surprise us all. The more people lose hope in his stewardship, the stronger he believes in the divine nature of that impending wonder.

That is why you hear him often say that, though he is the most vilified president in the history of mankind, he will soon become the most adored. That’s why he keeps promising that, very soon, just very soon, you all will see the long awaited dividend of democracy. (I’m happy to report that, 14 years later, we have stopped calling it nascent democracy.)
President Jonathan knows, just like everyone else, that nothing in his past is inspiring. There is no role he had played in his life that excites even his most ardent supporter to believe that he has it in him to transform the lives of Nigerians. Even his biography, the story of a shoeless folk like you, has fallen hollow. Nigerians have suddenly realized that they were sold a dummy. Babangida and Abacha did not have shoes at one point. None of that made them care about ordinary folks once they got into power. Instead, they did what most poor folks do when they gain access to wealth- they used both hands to accumulate them.

For a man so underestimated, President Jonathan hangs his whole faith in his ability to surprise us all. Recently he interpreted it this way: that his name has brought good luck to Nigeria. I bet he meant to say that his name will bring good luck – unless we are still too blind to see how lucky we are. The only place that good luck brings surprises is at the pool kiosk or the lottery stand. You don’t run a country of 170 million people with the conviction of a lottery player.

Such belief in one’s ability to surprise does not develop overnight. The humiliation that Jonathan endured under the government of President Musa Yar’Adua was enough to instill such celestial mission in him. Also for reasons best known to him, the president has the confidence that those he has surrounded himself with have the ability to deliver the goods that will erase the unflattering opinion of him in the public space. That is where the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan rests- in the pie charts, graphs and Powerpoint presentations of a transformation in progress.

The most generous observer will look at the optimism of the president and conclude that the little nza bird dancing in the middle of the street must have some spirits beating the drum for him right inside the bushes.

It has been two official years since the president was sworn in for a full four year term. How has he been doing?
I bet it is not too early now to judge. I remember attempts in the past to assess his presidency have been rebuffed by people around him as too early. We were told that he needed two solid years to make an impact.

Today marks the end of his second year in power. Let us look at his enduring achievements as presented by his supporters. Here they are in a nutshell:
The president has set up a power sector road map that has improved electricity. If not in your neighborhood, well, you live in the wrong neighborhood and should just be patient. The president has revitalized the rail sector that once again it is possible to travel from Lagos to Kano by train. If you haven’t tried it, do not claim that it takes days and that the trains are old dirty bolekaja. The president has renovated and repainted the airports across the country.  Even the air conditioners and the escalators are working, unless it is their days off. Yes, fertilizer and oil subsidy scams are over so food and petrol should be cheaper, unless you live in the wrong part of town. The media is now free to be lost in the freedom of information maze, so they should stop complaining of not having the president’s asset declaration forms. And the greatest one – elections are now free and fair, no intervention from the president- unless the stakes are really high, like the governor’s forum election.
As for corruption and other promises and checklists of things to do, the president wants you to know that the decay started over four decades ago and it won’t be wiped out in just two years. Wink, wink: he needs more time.

Expectations are so low in Nigeria that what should be a routine role of local governments is often assigned presidential height of achievement to be documented in books. Meanwhile the all important mission of establishing an enduring change remains unreachable.

Nigeria is like a poorly designed and constructed road constantly washed away by runoff water. Periodically scrapping the top soil, coating the surface with bitumen and gravels without building a reinforced culvert wide and deep enough to withstand once every fifty years kind of rain, is mere waste of time and resources. That is essentially what we have been doing in the last 14 years. And that we will continue to do, irrespective of who wins in 2015. Until we go back and fundamentally restructure the road itself, we have built nothing that will endure one rainy season or two.

Two years after, it’s charitable to say that President Jonathan is searching for a legacy. He knows that he has just two years to find it. By all indications, the glorious transformations he has been made to understand will happen soon will not happen. His excuse that enemies, who from the very first day wanted him to fail, distracted him will not fly. President Jonathan’s hands are tied by history. And from history, he can find an escape to immortality.

On March 31, 1968, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson went on TV and made a speech from the White House that shocked Americans. Johnson was a president who took over from J. F. Kennedy when Kennedy was killed. Many in Kennedy’s administration felt that Johnson was not good enough to replace Kennedy and run the United States. During the speech Johnson said, “What we won when all of our people united must not be lost in suspicion and distrust and selfishness and politics. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as president.”

Making a similar speech and reminding us that he has been, at some level, the Lyndon Johnson of Nigeria, will be President Jonathan’s coup.

Odedina Taofeek
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