INTERVIEW: I would’ve performed better than Buhari – Ex-Presidential Candidate Sonaiya

Remi Sonaiya was the candidate of KOWA party in the 2015 presidential election. In this interview with Kayode Oyero in Ile-Ife, the 61-year-old politician and retired professor of French Language, Linguistics and Applied Logistics at the Obafemi Awolowo University, speaks on her political vocation, the Buhari administration and other issues.

Excerpts:

PT: Why politics when you are a pure educationist?

Sonaiya: I was concerned about the falling standards all around, especially as I had studied in the same university where I was teaching. I was concerned that students who belonged to my children’s generation could not have the same standard of education I had. I realised that politicians determined the quality of our lives. I decided to quit the university and join politics.

PT: Looking at your scorecard at the last presidential election, are you glad you did?

Remi Sonaiya KOWASonaiya: I am very happy I participated. I had no illusions going in. I knew it would take time to bring about a shift in the political culture of money and violence which had been so entrenched in our system. I was glad that I had votes in every single state in the country. I believe the chauvinists too would come round when they realise we need a change.

PT: Talking about the present administration, do you feel you and KOWA party would have done better if you were elected?

Sonaiya: Of course, I would have done better by God’s help. For example, I would have consulted widely in selecting members of my cabinet, so that we would get the best people to manage our affairs in different sectors. Party considerations would not have been primary; the interest of the country would have been. And I would have gotten the cabinet in place before my inauguration, so that we would really hit the ground running. It’s strange to nominate people for ministerial positions and not have them assessed by the Senate on their competence in specific areas.

PT: KOWA party seems to be a silent opposition.

Kowa-PartySonaiya: KOWA is not a silent opposition party. The fact is that in Nigeria if you do not have plenty of money it is difficult for your voice to be heard. We are very active in the social media, where we have quite some amount of following. We are gradually building up the party, and we are very hopeful that soon we will become more visible as more people join us and contribute to funding the party. KOWA does not believe that parties should be funded by money from government coffers.

PT: The present president has a track record of three attempts before the fourth and successful one. Come 2019, God sparing our lives, do you intend to contest for president?

Sonaiya: Of course, it is the person who emerges as the party’s candidate after we must have conducted our primaries who will represent the party in the presidential elections. Who knows, maybe it would be me.

PT: Politics is a male-dominated area, especially the race for president. And you contested. What drives you?

Sonaiya: What drives me is a passion to see my country be well governed and her citizens live a dignified and prosperous life, as in so many other countries that I have had the opportunity to visit. I believe there is nothing fundamentally different from us and other human beings in terms of the abilities we were created with. How come we won’t use them to improve our lives? How come we allow a handful of people to get away with so much theft and condemn the overwhelming majority to a life of penury? I am driven by a passion for truth, righteousness and justice. When there is righteousness in governance, the people will rejoice. I also believe Nigeria owes itself the responsibility of getting her act together and taking her rightful position of leadership in Africa. I long to remove the shame which has for long hung over us.

PT: What is your message to African women?

Sonaiya: African women should be bold. There is no need to be afraid of politics. Let us begin to see participation in the political life of our nations as a duty we owe our nations, ourselves and our children, just like we participate actively in the running of our homes. If half of the population is missing, we are being short-changed. Women have their peculiar contributions to make which will complement those being made by men. It has been shown that in societies where women are present in governance, such societies become more stable, more prosperous, leading to better standards of living.


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  • Capt

    Anybody would have done better than this government. Their miscalculations are very predictable

    • Logico 2000

      @IamMikeOko:disqus

      Why Muhamadu BUHARI looks like a failed president

      President Buhari has no intellectual map
      and made no headway in making Nigeria better but has instead made it worse
      by not resolving any problem he inherited, not even the hundreds of Chibok girls
      in captivity. Buhari reportedly paid ransom to Boko Haram to buy back a batch of
      the Chibok girls, rather than rescued them with any military valor, despite his
      deploying thousands of soldiers in combat. Buhari now looks weak and feeble in
      consequence. Without being rid of Bukola Saraki – a wangled Senate President
      for two years running, Nigerians see Buhari as worse feeble and utterly ineffective.

      A slew of other corrupt acts lately uncovered
      by EFCC implicating five bank chiefs makes Buhari look more useless.
      The Managing Director of Sterling Bank, YEMI ADEOLA was uncovered to have
      actively hidden away from bank books a sum of 153 million dollars stolen from
      the NNPC but Yemi Adeola remains in office in violation of public ethics and public
      confidence. No fine has been imposed on Sterling Bank for this criminal act and
      the entire board and management of Sterling Bank all remain in office with total
      impunity.

      Ditto, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi prances around
      with some hilarious staff of office in Kano, despite that the audit result of the
      federal government of Nigeria shows him as centrally involved in stealing over
      one trillion Naira in Central Bank of Nigeria. In public eyes, Sanusi Lamido is
      the worst incongruity existing under a Buhari regime professing anti-corruption
      policy. So long as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is not brought to justice according to
      law, President Buhari will look like a fake Messiah whose reputational fortunes
      can hardly be retrieved from the gutters.

      • Logician2000

        ….(2) Why Muhamadu BUHARI looks like a failed president

        No fine has been imposed on Sterling Bank for this criminal act and
        the entire board and management of Sterling Bank all remain in office with total
        impunity.

        Ditto, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi prances around
        with some hilarious staff of office in Kano, despite that the audit result of the
        federal government of Nigeria shows him as centrally involved in stealing over
        one trillion Naira in Central Bank of Nigeria. In public eyes, Sanusi Lamido is
        the worst incongruity existing under a Buhari regime professing anti-corruption
        policy. So long as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is not brought to justice according to
        law, President Buhari will look like a fake Messiah whose reputational fortunes
        can hardly be retrieved from the gutters.

  • Xxxstealth

    Premium Times Editor,

    I am more concerned about foreign policy, as Buhari doesn’t seem to understand the still resonating damage
    General Olusegun Obasanjo did to Nigeria. In stark terms, General Obasanjo’s ignorance exposes Nigeria to
    potential liabilities for violating the international laws on asylum.

    Obasanjo gave asylum to ex Liberia President Charles Taylor.Yet, the same intellectually bereft General Obasanjo
    bounded Charles Taylor and flew him back to Liberia – the very place declared as a threat to Charles Taylor,
    warranting the grant of the asylum in the first place. What Obasanjo did is taboo in international relations.

    • No-Comment

      “In the President, in whom much hope was invested and misery was reaped, the man died.
      In the President, who made promises of alleviating poverty during campaign but rather
      exacerbates the level of hunger in the land, the man died. In the President who
      promised to declare his assets but goes to odious lengths to explain why he
      could not do it any longer, the man died. In the President who promised
      to reduce the cost of petrol but ended up increasing it astronomically,
      the man died. In the President who promised to increase the
      value of our Naira but rather devalued it beyond recognition,
      the man died”.

      ……………….REMI OYEYEMI

      (January 3rd, 2017)

  • Ohnigeria Godsavenigeria

    Even me who is not a politician would have performed better than this vindictive, highly bigoted, clannish, calamitous ineptitude that have wrecked Nigeria within 18 months.
    These are the steps I would have taken if I am the one declared winner by jega.
    1.I would have in my acceptance speech, given a love laddened soft landing message to my predecessor and his government and assured them of my sincere desire to focus on the job at hand and not distracted by vindictiveness.
    2.I would have followed up my speech by appointing a broad based transition committee comprising the most trusted stake holders of Jonathan’s government with my very intelligent teams comprising Nigerians of highly intelligent and resourceful pedigree who are committed to Nigeria and not political party, tribe or religion.
    This would have guaranteed a seamless transition from the past government and mine.
    3.I would have issued statements to forge a united Nigeria around me by giving a well thought out love overwhelmed speech given soft landing to those who were denied opportunities to vote in the election and those whose preffered candidates lost in the election, especially the SS and SE, much more as my opposition has resolved not to challenge my victory in court.
    4.I would have followed up immediately by constituting my shadow government team of most intelligent, resourceful and versed Nigerians anywhere they can be found not minding religious, party, clannish or tribal affiliation that would have reflected the federal character of Nigeria in truth and sincerity to carry all Nigerians along and give a clear sense of belonging to every zone of Nigeria.
    4.immiediately after my inauguration, I would have followed up with an invitation to the leadership of all the six zones of Nigeria for a mini summit with my cabinet, ecomic team and my anti corruption team, with the religious leaders, to forge consensus on the most viable way forward for Nigeria nation.
    5.I would have declared national emergency against corruption with a brand new untainted and highly intelligent anti corruption team that will compromise of citizens with great knowledge of security, economic, legal, etc loopholes that aid corruption.
    I would set out a very clear anticorruption strong door that will never recognize political party, religion, social status or friendship with government in power.
    I would have set up what I call national assets verification, proof of ownership, claims and forfeiture tribunal where every Nigerian who have served government in any capacity, religious leaders, social activists,traditional leaders, business men and women, civil servants etc must go to declare their lives acquisitions, prove sources of acquisitions and forefiet any one they can’t prove legitimate means of acquisitions.
    5.i would have made further acts of corruption a capital offence from the date of my inauguration and an 18 months maximum time frame to try corruption case. 6.I would have immediately after my inauguration announced a clear picture and direction of my economic policy and would have settled down immediately without gallivinating around the world in pursuit of shadows.
    7.I would have borrowed 50% of the idle pension funds and commenced immediately to tackle power supply, down stream petroleum refining, security, agriculture, and road construction all over Nigeria and made Nigeria a huge construction yard.
    . now most of my projects would be nearing completion, and this talk about recession would not have happened.
    Many many more I would have done to forge the power of unity amongst Nigerians by being a sincere father to all Nigerians and with that, there will never have been a resurgence of militancy in Niger delta nor agitation for biafra nor Fulani herdsmen murdering Nigerians.
    I would never have used propaganda, lies and falsehood as my tool for governance that made investors to pick race that crashed our forex market and economy. Etc etc etc.

  • paul irumundomon

    When it comes to looting, stealing, lieing, decitful, cheating, wayo, and manipulations, the ratio is 1:1, between men and women in my country Nigeria.

  • obiora

    But that did not reach pass mark.

  • Kickboxer

    Madam, I am beginning to question your ow intelligence if you use the word “performance” when discussing brainless Buhari. If brainless Buhari were kept for 50 years in Aso Rock he would still be redundant. So, to compare yourself with brainless Buhari is the lowest a human being can go.

    Brainless Buhari should be used as a poster child in MANAGEMENT SCHOOLS & DEMOCRACIES as an example for how not to run a compay/country and whom not to hire

  • Mosley

    You lost because you did not lie to Nigerians that you make N1 equals $1 and fuel @ N45/litre, or increase the price of crude oil in the international market.