Category Archives: Interviews

The Godswill Akpabio’s Interview…’I Don’t Have A Single House Abroad’

Ayotunde Ayanda and Femi Soleye-

Two-time Governor of Akwa Ibom State and former Senate Minority leader, now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress party, Dr. Godswill Akpabio, in this explosive interview takes on his critics, why they are after him and his numerous achievements as a Governor. He dares anyone to come forward who knows of any of his properties in Dubai, UK, or anywhere in the world. He says I’m the most investigated Governor.

Gov. Emmanuel and Hon. Luke have severally applauded you as their leader. If you have this magic charm on them, why were you not able to win them over when you changed camp?

It is simply because our visions are personal and no matter how close you are to your brother you can only do your best to convince them. If you are a Muslim you follow the age-long teachings of Prophet Mohammed, and of course, as a Muslim, your end will be paradise and as a Christian, your end will be heaven. Really, political affairs should be voluntary, there should not be a compulsion and a leader should not force a subject to follow his own line of thought. What a leader sees in the followers sometimes still baffles a lot of people, not just in Akwa Ibom, but in Nigeria. I was spiritually birthed into a political family and our age-long tradition in the South-South has always been with the North politically. If you cast your mind back, to even the days of the recently buried Shehu Shagari, may his soul rest in peace, you will notice that. For the first time, there was a son of South-South in 2015, our former President Goodluck Jonathan, who contested, but lost the opportunity to midwife the zone into the central politics of Nigeria. So you have the South-West working together with the North, and there was need for someone to think of how to integrate the South-South into the mainstream politics of the nation, particularly as the zone produces 90% of the wealth of the country. That is the thinking of a leader. This does not mean that if you are comfortable in your current state, say you have a state you are running, for instance, if you are a state governor, you are a senator, you are this or that in your zone and you are comfortable, you don’t have to follow your leader. But a leader sees further more than you and so I don’t think there was a need for me to talk to anybody, not even my family members, it was just an inspiration that I had, very spiritual in nature that there was a need for me to re-ignite that age long unity that has existed between the South-South people of Nigeria and the North, and now particularly with the coming on board from 2015 of the South-West into the central politics. The South-West you know predominantly used to be in the opposition, even during the days of Action Group and the days of ACN and all that, so now under the APC, the South West is at the centre of Nigerian politics. I don’t think it will be a good idea for the South-South to be left in the lurch. We have been left out for four years because we had a son of the soil contesting. So it will be foolhardy of any leader not to carry his people into the centre of politics in Nigeria. That was the reason why I made up my mind, for national interest, to join and stabilize the polity and that was the reason I felt it was not necessary to attempt to make it a compulsory thing for either of my followers, my brothers or my relations to follow me. However, in the course of things evolving, almost 85% of those who believe in me have joined the APC. At the outset I did not really talk to anybody. I thought I saw up to five members of House of Assembly and four House of Reps members declaring for APC. I turned around and saw a lot of elders, in fact, one of them managed to climb the stage, by name Shugoto Iroro, a political titan, somebody who has been doing politics from the days of South Eastern State and Cross River, I saw him on the stage and he said you are a leader you can’t go alone, we are many here, give me the microphone, give me the opportunity to let them know that you are not alone. I started laughing and said Chief, I never said I was alone; I only said I was moving, I did not say I had defected, because that is when I will need other defectors to come. I have only walked away. I am like a woman politically that has a generation behind her. So when I said I have moved it means that a generational group of young leaders in the North and particularly in the South-South have moved and that has created a void.

Some people think one of the good things your movement from the PDP to the APC will do for Akwa Ibom is that for the first time there would be a proper election in the state. A previous elections, results were just written, as opposition was weak, so maybe in the upcoming election in the state APC and PDP will be equally matched. Do you agree?

As a journalist, if they say there was no election in Akwa Ibom, that results were just written, it means you have never voted here and you are not from here, that is the first thing. Secondly, you mean there was dereliction of duty and you never reported it, that elections did not hold, names are just written or results written? You can see the fallacy of that. Of course, go back and look at the results of the elections, you will see some instances results were so close. We did primaries at a time in Eket, the man that defeated the incumbent, a sitting member of House of Assembly, Ayan O Ayan, the incumbent sitting member of House of Assembly defeated him with only one vote and when I undertook local government election, the first local government election I did, a local government fell into the hands of ANPP. So you can’t say elections in Akwa Ibom are always written. There was another altercation and parties in the state struggled. Other parties even went to the tribunal. So that assertion that election results are always written is wrong. Ome thing you need to know is that if you are in a good politician you will know that you cannot rig election where you are not popular. Such results cannot stand. If the people are in agreement that the NPN was the party they wanted and there was rigging because no election, it is perfect, you will see that it will pass smoothly, but if for instance, if the results are always written, how come somebody cannot come from APGA and come and write results and take it and go and announce APGA in a place like Akwa Ibom? Do you understand what I am saying? If a political party like APGA is very popular in Anambra State, PDP cannot go and write results and announce and I will say that is why if you noticed, the governorship election in Anambra state has never really been won by PDP, are you saying PDP does not have the power, even when we have the incumbency? The presidential incumbency and Anambra that was in opposition was still winning an election. How come in Lagos, when President Obasanjo was struggling to see whether he could take South West and turn them to PDP, he could not take Lagos State under our leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu. It is not true that election results in Nigeria are always written, there is no proper election. Anyone who is saying that is saying that because the person wants to underrate the prowess and political sagacity of Senator Godswill Akpabio, his ability to annex and work closely with the people in 2002 as chairman of mobilization to ensure the re-election of Obong Victor Attah as the second governor of Akwa Ibom State. You want to underrate that effort, if you want to underrate that effort, it is when you will say there was no election, but it was through mobilization of youths and women through strategic campaigns to ensure the re-election of Obong Victor Attah in 2003 and in 2007. Fifty nine people contested and the exercise lasted five good days, some people slept on the streets. So if there was no election in Akwa Ibom, why would there be such a very prolonged primary to the point that even the governor preferred another candidate, Dr Mike, who despite all the intrigues still lost. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation at that time preferred another candidate but lost, even when he was at the federal level; and the governor of the state came in person to lobby delegates to ensure election of his anointed candidate and he lost, then I emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP out of 57 aspirants. By that time in 2007, between December and January, it became so hot that I ended up in the hospital many times. I could not go home because I was afraid those powerful people who lost the election may attack me, but the populace was on the street sitting on the floor. I appreciated the people of Akwa Ibom across the state and my acceptability across the state. So if I won that election. How come you now tell me that election result was written, because even the incumbent did not support my election in 2007 and yet I won the election in 2011. Didn’t you hear about the struggle between the PDP and the then ACN, when there was a lot of tension in the state? At the end of the election we won, we only lost in one LG and even in the LG we had almost 48 to 49%; we won in 30 of the 31 LGs. Who told you there was no election in Akwa Ibom? In 2015, PDP lost the presidential election 11 days before governorship election, it was not an easy task for PDP at state level. I can tell you that many states failed like Jigawa and many other PDP states; they could not withstand the tornado of President Buhari in 2015 but Akwa Ibom PDP won, we stood our ground and we voted for the current governor of the state, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and I was also restored the senator against my brother, Chief Chekwas Okorie, I pollled 472,000 votes because of card reader and he had 14,000 votes or there about. I would have had more than that because normally we had over 700,000 registered voters in my senatorial district, which has the highest number of polling units in terms of population, even more than Eket and Uyo senatorial districts and Uyo has about 900 polling units, we have about one thousand two hundred and twenty-four and Eket has about 800. I know these statistics as a politician. The reason I am mentioning this to you, under normal circumstances as a former governor and someone that is looked at as the son of the soil, there is no way my people would have given me lesser votes than they gave my predecessor who had a lot of votes when he was going for the Senate. Former President Jonathan had a little over one million votes in 2015, the total registered number of voters is about 1.7million. So if you are writing why can you say let me give the president 1.6million or 1.7million votes? There is no system that is perfect, even in America, you can’t have a perfect election, there will be slight issues here and there, even in any operation you try to give room to 5 to 10% mistake, but on the whole, you will be insulting INEC, FEDECO or NEC, insulting the current INEC Chairman and Professor Attahiru Jega if you say elections in Akwa Ibom were not fair enough. What kind of propaganda is that? It is the defeatist tendencies of those who say they will make an impact when the whole state has moved you did not hear what I said? I did not say I had defected, politicians use the word defect, I only moved in the national interest to join the current President to stabilize the party. When I say I moved, it is pregnant with meaning. It means that the entirety of those you might call the political class, those who vote, not the elite who enjoy the government because government gives them monthly allocation and the masses who know what it means for their lives to be touched when a good government is in place have moved with me. If you thought I was alone, then why did you have such man with the crowd that you have never seen in the history of defection in Nigeria? So are you saying those thousands of people that turned up are not with me. It took 17 minutes to get to the venue because of the sea of heads.If you are saying those who are holding positions in government, you talk about the Speaker the Senator, like I will always say salvation is personal, they are in a position to access what may be their interest that will be best served by staying with the current government of the state. Therefore there is no need for me to tell the people to leave the government. Stay in the government, so that we will still have a government in place between now and May 28, when they are going to hand over to the APC governor on May 2019. So don’t leave.

‘I’M DISAPPOINTED LADOJA LEFT PDP’ SEYI MAKINDE

I’m disappointed Ladoja left PDP’  Seyi Makinde

A leading contestant of the PDP for the governorship election in Oyo State come 2019, Engineer Seyi Makinde in this interview with Papermacheonline Tunde Ayanda discussed many issues, the reason behind Governor Ladoja’s exit from PDP, his chances and how he planned to win the elections…

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT YOU TACTICALLY DROVE LADOJA OUT OF PDP, IS THIS THE REAL SITUATION?

I will say that I’m disappointed that Baba left the party. you all see  that I made a lot of efforts to reach out to him, there is no way a son can send his father out of his abode. But I will say we have put the disappointment behind us and we forge ahead.

If you look at the party structure, about 80 percent of the local government party chairmen are still in the party, that is thirty out of the thirty six, they are still in the PDP while the other are still on their way back to the party and this goes as well to the State executives .

Yes we had a minor disagreement concerning the state Congress and everybody appealed to Baba, even the national leadership of our party chartered a flight from Abuja and came to Ibadan to beg him. I believe everyone tried their best for Baba Ladoja to  stay in our  party(PDP) . But the fact is that you can take a horse to the river but you cannot force a horse to drink at the river, I think we’ve tried our best and we’ll continue to reach out to him,  if there is opportunity to bring him back in the future .

He is my father politically and he is also a prominent high chief in Ibadan, so one cannot disrespect him and nobody can say how is Ladoja’s own in the politics of  Oyo State . Having said that we have to continue to do what we have to do and we’ll continue to do our best.

Of course other parties visited me as well but I don’t go to the press to discuss whatever they might offer me,  I would rather address the issues that has to do with how do we serve our people,how we want to turn things around and how do we want to build a good model out of our state. So let it be on records that I visited him and I prostrated for him and I don’t see anything wrong with it because naturally I should do that for my father.

HOW WOULD YOU REACT TO THE BELIEF THAT YOU THROW MONEY AROUND TO HAVE YOUR WAY IN THE PARTY?

The fact is I contested for the senatorial seat in 2007  and I lost, 2011 election also I lost out at the party primaries and in 2015 general election I contested for Governorship post and I lost, I don’t think I’ve had my way, so I don’t understand the idea of me throwing money around to have my way in politics,  people always find a way to give a dog a bad name so that they can hang it.

Yes I believe I have to give back to my society, I believe I have to help the needy,if you could help a needy child off the street I believe it reduces 419 and armed robbery in the street and each child you turn around for better is an addition to the economic power of the state, so in respective of what people are saying I will continue to do my best .

PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT WITH THE EXIT OF LADOJA, THAT YOU INHERITED AN EMPTY PARTY AND ALSO THERE IS THIS NEWS FLYING AROUND THAT GOVERNOR ALAO AKALA REJECTED THE GOVERNORSHIP TICKET THAT WAS OFFERED TO HIM IN ORDER TO COME BACK TO PDP, IS THIS TRUE?

Well as I’ve mentioned earlier, it is not an empty party because more or less the executives of the party and party leadership from all local government  are intact and if you look at 2015 general election result you will see that Gov Ladoja also contested and lost,also in 2011.  So a tree does not make a forest, a lot of ordinary people are coming together and coming back as a strong party. So if anybody said PDP in Oyo state is an empty party I will say that is very far from the truth.
And concerning Gov Alao Akala ,I visited him to convince him to come back to the party. Yes I visited him because he became the governor under the platform of People Democratic Party (PDP),and PDP is presumed as his natural habitat, this is also the kind of visit we see from the political environment, we had some discussion  concerning some issues that has to do with politics   but the fact is what was reported in the press was far different from our discussion.

WHAT ARE THE AREAS YOU WANT TO TOUCH IF YOU EVENTUALLY BECOME THE GOVERNOR?

I was born at Oluyoro Catholic hospital while I attended St Paul and St Michael Anglican Primary School Yemetu and Bishop Philips, Iwo road, Ibadan before I was admitted to University of Lagos. You see I did not fall from the moon, I grew up in this environment and I know the major problems facing our state having spent most of my life within this state. The major problem we are facing is poverty, people have not been able to live above the poverty line and I’ve done many things personally to help my people but I believe with the instrumentality of the government we can do more than being an individual, we can take care of more people and that is the cardinal principle of what  Seyi Makinde stands for in politics.

Just like in 2015 , we have five major areas campaign which we still notice  has not been dealt with properly and the first sector is Health as they always say that “health is wealth”  a healthy population will be wealthy, the second sector is Education we’ve all seen the challenges we have with educational infrastructure, its sad that some schools don’t have table nor desk while some are using tyres to sit in their schools which is unfortunate.
I remember vividly when I was admitted to Bishop Phillips Academy in 1980 I was giving Chair,Table,Text books,Note books Biro’s ,Pencils  and Ruler despite the fact that we had an unprecedented enrollment that year and five years later I had the best result in the history of Bishop Phillips Academy as at the time I graduated. Right now I am a subject matter expect so, I can stand and boast that I am a product of free education and the question now is are we giving the same opportunity to the children right now? The answer is No

UNESCO gives advise that  at least twelve percent of a state  budget should be spent on education but the education was only taking just 5 percent in Oyo state 2018 budget and we were really far from the  campaign as we all know education is one of the most important sector one needs to face.

We’ll also continue the idea of 30 student in a class and our own government will not going to focus only on mega school, we are going to pay utmost attention to rural education as well and we are going to focus on the environment that we revive the state economy.

IF YOU EVENTUALLY PICKS THE PDP TICKET, HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU ABOUT YOUR VICTORY BECAUSE OTHER PARTIES ARE ALSO PRESENTING SOME FINE, QUALIFIED CANDIDATES

we only have two political parties in Nigeria , and the parties are PDP and APC. So am confident that we are going to come out victorious because people are totally tired of the ruling party and people of the state want something new and fresh .

THE LEADERSHIP OF PDP ARE CONSIDERING COMING UP WITH CONSENSUS CANDIDATES, DO YOU THINK THIS WILL GO DOWN WELL WITH PARTY MEMBERS?

People Democratic Party has its constitution and the constitution stated that all position must be contested for  at properly organized primaries election, however we have other arrangement where people come together and say we have a particular candidate we want, that is when the consensus candidate may come in, but in all ways the constitution must  reign and supreme.

I contested for the post of Senator in 2007 and I lost to major political interest of Baba Adedibu of blessed memory . I lost, in 2011 I lost primary ticket to re contest as senator again but nevertheless I  assumed I was a two-term Senator of Federal Republic Of Nigeria you may think senatorial seat is just one third of governorship position. So having gathered many experience in the past I believe we are going to do better come 2019.you actually don’t need a lot of big names to win an election.

YOURSELF, AKALA AND LADOJA ARE STILL NOT IN THE SAME PARTY. IS THERE NOT GOING TO BE A REPEAT OF WHAT HAPPENED IN 2015?

The case will be different, many of the forces working with PDP in 2015 general election are still on ground and with my own force. I believe the story will be different.

PEOPLE BELIEVE YOU ARE TOO CALM AND SOFT FOR OYO POLITICS AND AGAIN DON’T YOU FEEL LADOJA LEFT PDP BECAUSE OF THE CLASH OF INTEREST AS HE SAID HE DOESN’T WANT TO CONTEST FOR GOVERNOR?

Talking about clash of interest I don’t know ,may be but until you are done with primary election all of those are just speculation.  One thing I know , Baba told me he is not going to contest the governorship position but all what he wanted was all the state and local government party executive.

Then talking about toughness, I guess you were trying to ask if I have the mental toughness and fiscal toughness. I don’t know, but the answer is I’m like them when you are not looking. Though we all have different ways of playing politics, but let me state it clear that I have physical and mental toughness to contest the governorship election and run this state efficiently if I win the 2019 election.

‘As A Child I used To Beat My Elder Brother’ -Femi Adebayo

in this interview with ayotunde ayanda Nollywood actor Femi Adebayo recounts his childhood memories and the role his father played in making him an actor…

You are a Special Assistant to the Governor of Kwara State on Arts and Tourism, how do you fuse your job as an actor with being a governor’s aide?

We cannot rule out the fact that they will affect each other. They are two different lines, but I see being an assistant to the governor as a call to serve my people . It is an opportunity to give back to the society. We never can rule out the fact that when we remember our days in the primary school, the best way to teach is entertainment.

So entertainers are seen as people closer to those at the grassroots. They tend to listen to you and that is like a drive for information to be passed to the people. So, I see my call as coming from the Almighty. Then secondly, for easy relationship between our people at the grassroot and the government, I give priority to that now.

So I can tell you that it’s like 75 per cent to 25 per cent. I give 75 per cent to my appointment and 25 per cent to the entertainment industry.

You were supposed to take a role in the film “Diamond Ring” and the role was eventually taken by Teju Babyface. When you look back, how do you feel losing the role?

I simply believe the role isn’t mine because it wasn’t as if I had gotten the script. When I was on the set of Owo Blow then, Uncle Tade (Ogidan) was impressed with my acting. So he told me the story of Diamond Ring and said he would want me to be part of it. Unfortunately, when they wanted to roll Diamond Ring, it was one of the times I was writing my Law exams. I could not make it and, of course, it could not wait. I never regretted that I did not play the role because I still believe I am achieving what I want to achieve, both in the entertainment industry and the other aspects of my life.

‘I asked Jonathan if she can manage Okonjo Iweala well’ -Obasanjo

PT: Thank you sir for granting us this opportunity to talk about your book. Some people say it is selling like hot cake, I don’t know if it is true but that’s what people say. How has it been? What has been the financial reward from there?

‘My JUNE 12 Story’ -Abimbola Davis

There is no way you want to talk about Nigeria and its democracy that you will not mention June 12, and there is no way you will mention June 12 that you will fail to remember Otunba Abimbola Davis, why? He was part of the dramatis personae of the play that shaped the political history of this country. He has a story to tell  and that was what he did some days ago when he divulged all that transpired and which many didn’t know during the historic June 12 era…

 

Otunba, you have become silent these days. What has been happening to you?

It is the same thing that has been happening to you that has been happening to me, nothing serious. I have been concentrating on my business and my life, maybe. That is it.

What have you been doing and what are you doing right now?

I’ve been doing quite a lot of things, I’ve been busy. You know I represent a section of the royal family of Dubai in West Africa, consulting for them in both the business and political angles and my company, Capital 3 has been doing a lot of consultancy services, what we call structural consultancy and we have been developing businesses for a couple of organizations as in retail businesses. That’s all.

 

 

 The name Otunba Abimbola Davies is one that comes to mind any time the June 12 1993 election is spoken about. When you cast your mind back, how do you feel about the actions you took back then?

The same way! Nothing is bad and nothing is good, things are the same. It depends on the way you see them.

What was actually on your mind back then? What did you have against the conduct of the election?

Not the conduct of the election. You have actually mixed records. I had nothing against the election, I had something to do with the process entirely and the project itself is whether I wanted the election to happen or whether I wanted it not to happen. It had nothing to do with Abiola so you have to get that straight.

Otunba, can you shed more light on what happened?

How did you come about what happened, when somebody was telling about the history now? Go and find out what happened

So that the records can be set straight…

There are many ways to tell a story. Let’s put it this way, the first question asked is what I had against and I was trying to tell you that I had nothing against the elections. Abiola was not even in the picture. ABN was just about looking at Nigeria, looking at the politicians. I don’t know if you are comfortable and happy with what the politicians are doing in the country today. So if you have to juxtapose that with what happened then, then you will now justify whether we were right to say the military should go on then.

‘Majority of lubricants in Nigeria are sub-standards’ MD Automaze, Michael Odunlami

 

 

In this interview with the Managing Director of Automaze, Michael Odunlami he dissects the huge challenge motorists and lubricant manufacturers face in Nigeria and what he believes is a remedy to it. He also speaks about the driving force and efforts of oil giant, Rymax in ensuring that the Nigerian market meet the standard in high quality production of lubricants.

Let’s meet Michael Odunlami
I am Michael ‘Lekan odunlami, the MD of Automaze Nationwide Llimited which is the representative of Rymax lubricants in Nigeria. I was educated in the United Kingdom, I returned to Nigeria some years ago to start a career in business and that was how Automaze started.  Automaze Limited is about 7 years old and our business is situated in Lagos. The business is centered on vehicle maintenance, repairs and lubricants.
To give you a brief history of Rymax lubricants, Rymax was founded in the 80s in the Netherlands with headquarters in Arnhem, Netherlands. The brand is relatively new given our vision but possesses great potentials to be a leading brand in the world. We engage in all lubricants ranging from automotive to Agricultural,Industrial, Aviation, Construction, Mining etc. though we only offer automotive lubricant in Nigeria currently. Rymax is presently in more than 30 countries of the world spread across 5 continents.
It is an independent oil company solely dedicated to producing high quality lubricants to meet the highest standard in the world. Our quest for excellence is the reason we go extra miles to exceed our customer expectation and needs through investment, research, training and constant innovations and we hope to expand our business to other sectors in the near future.

 

Why is lubricant the only product Rymax has in Nigeria?

 

lubricants is the core and only business at Rymax  in Holland which is why the company is able to focus on quality and constant innovation in the lubricants sector. We couldn’t offer any other product to Nigerians because lubricants is all that we do. Like I said earlier, we only focus on automotive lubricants in Nigeria. In this category we offer various grades of engine oil and ATF and very soon car care product like coolants and the rest. Our range of vehicle engine oils covers mineral oil, semi synthetic and full synthetic engine oils. The mineral oil comes in multi grade in SAE 20w/50 called “Scylla” in the Rymax brand, while semi synthetics come in SAE10w/40 called “posidon” under same brand and 5w/30  & 5w/40 in full synthetic grades called “Syrinx”. This might sound a little difficult knowing the difference between these products but the simple analogy is that the higher you go in the grades, the better for your vehicle in the areas of fuel efficiency, prevention of wear and tear as a result of less friction, avoidance of sludge build up in the engine and most importantly enhancing a healthy and long lasting engine in vehicles because of the quality of detergents and additives in the products. The notion by people that “oil is oil” is nothing but fallacy. Engine oils have TDS (technical data sheet) which explains the technical details and also MSDS (material and safety data sheet) are the information required to judge a good quality engine oil but I wouldn’t want to go into technical details at this juncture so I don’t bore you or the readers. In the area of ATF (automatic transmission fluid), we have various products available like Dexron III, Dexron VI and Dexron III FS .  In other to help our clients we direct them to our website where they can locate and locate Oil Advisor. This helps people to know the right lubricants for their vehicles. One would be asked to input the vehicle detail and then submit. In a matter of seconds, we are able to recommend the right engine oil as recommended by the vehicle manufacturers. 

‘Femi Kuti and I remain good friends’ -Funke Kuti

The beautiful mother of child saxophonist, Made, Funke Kuti in this interview speaks of her artiste management company, her present relationship with estranged husband, Femi Kuti and other personal matters…

 

 

It’s been some years now that you’ve been running FK Management, can you share with us the experience?

It hasn’t really been that long especially when you understand that you actually need a certain amount of time for a new company to incubate. I won’t lie but it was difficult at the beginning but through my determination and perseverance things have started picking up. It’s so interesting and rewarding building a new business from the scratch and watching it grow.

How do you decide on the artistes you sign on the company?

Before we sign on an artist, we asses their ‘star’ quality.  It is not enough to know how to sing or rap – you need to have that ‘Wow factor’ that will set you apart. You have to be able to deliver on the music angle,have stage performance skills, people skills, should be presentable .