The popular Nigerian singer-cum-politician, Bankole ‘Banky W’ Wellington, has said Nigeria’s major political parties – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) – lack ideologies.
The singer, who ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2019 general elections under the Modern Democratic Party (MDP), described both parties as a platform to “leapfrog into power.”
Mr Wellington said this during an interview on Daily Digest, a show that airs on the Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info, on Tuesday.
He said, “The battle in Nigeria is not between APC and PDP, it’s between the political class and everybody else because APC and PDP tend to be the same. Their members are just jumping back and forth, and the parties don’t have ideologies per se, they are just platforms that people use to leapfrog into power.
“So, there was that frustration with the political status quo. Also, wanting to stand up for something, represent a different set of ideas, and reach out to the younger generation that does not believe in either of those two platforms, to try and put ourselves together and push back against these things to show what is possible and what can be done.”
The singer in 2018 announced his political ambition at an event organised by the MDP tagged “Play Your Part.” On that occasion, he gave a rousing speech about keeping hope in Nigeria and said that he was driven by frustration and the injustices in the country to contest in the 2019 election.
He noted, “The first person I spoke to was my wife. I said we can’t sit around during election season and people who should be in jail or in exile are the ones on the campaign posters around and also the ones who keep getting into these powerful offices in the country.”
Although his wife, Adesuwa Etomi, an actress, believed in him, she expressed fear that the journey would get rough and dangerous.
“I said, well, it will always be dirty and dangerous if everybody who is good, credible, and with good interest at heart forever sits out of the process. This will leave the scum of the earth that we have here to occupy the seats and then we’ll turn around and complain that Nigeria is bad,’’ he added.
On the deregistration of the Modern Democratic Party by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the singer, who recently appeared at a virtual session alongside Bello, a grandson to former President Shehu Shagari, as part of a campaign to encourage voter registration, said it is a blessing in disguise.
He said it affords the affected parties an avenue to come together and build a stronghold “or start to infiltrate the major political parties and start to make those changes from within.”
‘‘But if you have over 90 platforms of people pushing, invariably we’ll just empower the two major parties to continue the way that they are,” the singer said without declaring if he plans to contest again in 2023.
In 2019, after losing in the polls, he wrote an emotional letter to his supporters via his Instagram handle tagged “The End? No. The Beginning.”
Banky W, who accepted defeat after placing third at the polls, appreciated his followers for standing by him even as a political newbie.
“Soooo grateful for everyone who has believed in our movement to give us a chance. “We have worked. We are top 3, and we earned every single vote we got. We will sustain the momentum and continue building this movement. We are not finished, we’re just getting started.”
The political platform, MDP, was founded in 2017 by some youth associations and is led by Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbegi, a youth activist and entrepreneur.
Banky W lost the 2019 election to Babajide Obanikoro, the first son of a former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, of the APC, Omotesho Bakare of the PDP came second in the election.
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