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By Bashir Adefaka
SEnator Moshood Lekan Balogun, an astute politician was a member of the Senate between 1999 and 2003 is pivotal to the political currents in Oyo State. His stiff opposition to the re-election plans of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala in concert with others contributed to Alao-Akala's defeat last April.

A member of the Olubadan-in-Council, Senator Balogun was 69 penultimate week. Fresh from the celebrations he answered questions from Vanguard on the problems of Nigeria, solutions to the problems and propounds his new thoughts about a revolution in the country. Excerpts:

HOW is life at 69?
Well I feel like I'm 40 or 35.  I don't know the difference between my life now at 69 and what it was 45, 30 years ago.  And those who know me quite well will probably confirm to you that there is no much difference.  Except that I am now a little bit other.

With your experience in life could you make a comparison between the days of yore and today?

I have observed that things are no longer like they used to be.  We neither retained the good things of the past nor replaced them with better ones.  And even at the level we claim to be, we haven't made much progress when I look at the variables that are supposed to be measurement off progress.

Senator Kola Balogun: Nigerians are complacent
By the time I came back from the United Kingdom to Nigeria in 1973 I had about three jobs waiting for me in Nigeria.  It was like you could choose.  Today, many more people even have degrees and they have no jobs.  There are many more professionals in law, engineering, social sciences and so on and yet they either have no jobs or they are still searching for jobs.  These are obvious indices for measuring progress and the reverse of the experience of our days is the case now.

And what do you think is responsible?
Bad leadership, absence of ideological focus in the country, stupidity, corruption, nepotism, name it.  All those vices are present here.  They were also there in those days but not on the scale they are today.  And what I call the Nigerian temperament complicates the problem.

I am not a dynamic reader of newspapers but once in a while I am.  And so I read recently in the newspapers that two in five Nigerians are mentally drained.

Two out of every five Nigerians having mental problem?  That is a lot.  Another research work even revealed that three out of five Nigerians are mad people. Then you can understand why, when you see the aspirations of leaders to accumulate wealth on a large scale; to accumulate billions of dollars and property in every choice area of the world.

That is why you see the primitive thinking of our people. Or why would you like to kill somebody like you for whatever reason?  Why would a Christian want to kill a Muslim because he is not a Christian?  Why would a Muslim be so fanatical about his religion and says he wants to kill a Christian because he doesn't share his faith of Islam?  But everybody cannot be the same.  When you look at our life style especially in Nigeria, you will discover that nobody chose those things for him or herself: religion, ethnicity, language, nationality and so on.  And we have no reason to kill ourselves or quarrel with anybody on account of these things.  You should deal with people with justice and goodness therefore.

In a way, Boko Haram and the crisis in Jos are functions of our madness attitude.  It's all about the primitive aspirations of our leaders.

All these would have contributed to make our position in the world more complex as we move a bit forward and far backward and they explain why we are not making progress.

So you agree that at 51 Nigeria is yet to make progress?

We feel great to be 51 but nominally, because we have nothing to show for it and you are right.  I feel it's been one step forward, two steps backward.  We are losing and we are retrogressing.  It's not about twelve or more years of democratic rule, I spoke earlier about our temperament.  We don't even have the right approach talking about democracy.  There are lots of scandals surrounding the operations of our democracy.  Look at the level of the scandals, the scandals of the national and state assemblies.  Ministers are not working and they are not ashamed about that.  Is that the mindset of wanting to be developed?

So here we are operating democracy nominally and we are operating it only on papers.  People don't even know their rights because if they do, that's the way to stop you. Therefore, people recognize and respect you for the position you occupy and the money you are able to control and not because of quality contributions they know you are capable of making to the development of the nation and the wellbeing of the citizenry.

No. Which explains why we haven't really had anything to celebrate at 51.

But I think that revolution is pending. I swear!  There is impending revolution.  We can't carry on like this.  There are some good leaders, few of them but what can they do?  They are so few.  I know some agents are thinking of changing the history but they can function effectively and make impact on the system only if they are committed.  They will be like a vanguard group, who will not care whose ox is gored.  Right now I know that the good people are not yet to braze up but I am sure, with the way things are going, there will be a vanguard of such people.  And if you don't want the vanguard to take the centre stage, then there will be chaos and that is what I mean by impending revolution.

But would a revolution be inevitable even if the sitting administration heeds the calls for a national confab?

Revolution is inevitable.  The President's acceptance of the calls for national conference may be part of the revolution.  He may also serve as the revolutionary instrument that will lead us to the proper solutions.  He's not confined to the dustbin of retrogression.  He may break out of it.  Fortunately he's highly educated and that factor may help him to see through the process in trying to respond to the beckoning of history and become part of the revolutionary concept.  Goodluck is there today there is not going to be Goodluck there tomorrow.

We are not talking about violence and we don't pray for that.  We need a mental revolution, we need fundamental change of attitude of Nigerians.  We have a lot of brilliant people; sons and daughters of Nigeria scattered abroad; they are there using their brains for development of nations like America, Britain and so on.  Why not bring them back here and see what they can put together for their own country, Nigeria?  Yes, we aspire to serve but aspiring is not enough.  Of many recent past aspirations, what have we got out of it?  And do you think people will continue to tolerate this kind of situation forever?  Of course, no!  Something will give way because people, I'm sure, cannot continue with this level off national retrogression.

What lesson does Gaddafi's fall mean for African and especially Nigerian leaders?

There are two wrongs in the case of Gaddafi.  Muammar Gaddafi led his country for a time seen to be too long but if you compare the parameters of development, you will discover that Libya was far ahead of Nigeria.  Ahead in the sense that, for instance, when you are getting married you get a flat as accommodation and that is your right as a citizen of Libya.  That doesn't happen here and I cannot see it happen for a long time to come.

But if you rule your people well and they choose to submit, regardless of the number of years, is not an issue.  Why would France and the United States of America collaborate against Libya?  If Nigeria was to do that against its next neighbor - Benin Republic or Niger Republic, the first thing America will do will be to question the right of Nigeria to do so and then say what Nigeria doing is not proper.  But they were in Libya.  The thing is that they have arrogated too much power for so long.  They will design for Africa what Africa should be… I think there is no justification for what they did in Libya except their own interest.  All they wanted in Libya was the oil.  They don't like the transitional regime either.  They didn't like Gaddafi and they didn't even hate the Gaddafis.  But because they were prevented from accessing the wealth of the country, the oil, that was it.  Now they have access to Libya and that is all.

In comparison to Nigeria, Libya is far ahead.  Nigeria is also an oil producing country, but the more oil boom you have, the poorer you become.  When prices of oil were up, Nigeria was richer but when prices of oil came down, Nigeria became the poorer for it.

in power
A lot of us, unknowingly were happy that America toppled Libya and thereby freed Libyans from Gaddafi.  But that is not it.  Those who are against the blacks in America and parts of the west, are they good people?  Who appointed them the police off the world?  They are oppressing black people.

True, Gaddafi overstayed in power but the Libyan uprising would have been a proper revolution if the Libyans themselves were the ones who said no and they had risen to revolt against their leadership and it would have been welcome.

You are an on the Olubadan-in-Council and a notable High Chief in Ibadan.  Olubadan reportedly banned members of the council from partisan politics but you remain active. Why?

To say Olubadan banned his chiefs from playing politics is talking arrant nonsense.  What he banned was his chiefs attracting disrepute to his council.

By the time of the ban, Chief Adedibu was notorious for the kind of politics of thuggery that was unacceptable to the Olubadan-in-Council and that caused the statement and it was not a blanket ban.

If you were a vulcanizer before you become a chief and your job requires that you pull off your agbada, buba and so on, once you become a chief, the Olubadan expects you to have an office and you only now instruct your boys on what to do about removing tyres, patching and so on.  That is not a problem.  But when you become a chief and you are still found pulling off your agbada, buba and cap, especially in public places, that is disrepute that the Olubadan would not condone.

That was what the Olubadan was saying that you should do whatever you are doing well 'but don't bring disrepute to my council.'  I think therefore that, to say the Olubadan banned his chiefs from playing politics is misinterpretation of his statement.

Even now that I am father of everybody, all the ACN boys are still my children but I remain definitely a PDP chieftain because that is the political party whose card I carry.  And nobody can tell me not to do that.  Nobody can.  The Olubadan's instruction is basically that you should not be a bad vulcanizer once you become his chief; don't be a bad lawyer once you become his chief and even don't be a bad journalist (laughs) once you become his chief.

Comments are moderated. Please keep them clean and brief.

Showing 10 of 47 comments
Well, Balogun, I can agree with you that the revolution has already comes to you. Why you didn't talk about it while you are serving? what change have bring at your time as senator? what do you think the revolution will judge on you as a one time senator. Have you followed the history of your political blue-moon? I wish to hear these kind of words from someone bit more pure than you.

30 minutes ago
Infact that,s lovely one from Balugon,am going to be first person to join the revolution in nigeria. it is long awaiting

36 minutes ago
I can safely call myself a middle age Nigerian. The time I got discouraged about our national success was after the death of Abacha and some of my mates are getting involved in politics. My age groups was mostly affected by the economic troubles we faced from the time of Shagari up to date; therefore, I was expecting them to wise up and seek for a change but rather when ask about their motives; they simply answered that this is the best and easy way to make there own money. It is not surprising that all these politicians from national to local government are millionaires after serving and no social amenities/facilities have been improved till date. Corruption/Embezzlement is now a badge of honor.

Let's face it, most people in the country will condemn any politician that served and retired the same with no vivid wealth. Riches have become our success story and our tribe man can never do no wrong; likewise politicians that comes from other tribes are failures and stupid. Politicians do not se themselves as servants of the people but their task masters who know more than the bloody masses.

As a society, we need to change the way we think, our so called leaders grew up in our society; hence, they are the image of the society. Bring in hundred revolutions, the problem will continue except we change our thinking/orientation. From the time of independent, every coup/change in government that occurred promised good governance and better future. Where is the CHANGE?

44 minutes ago
With the level of corruption in the system, Nigeria will never move forward if there is no revolotion. Its long overdue, its the only solution to get us out of the woods. God save Nigeria.

1 hour ago
What the senator said about america dictating to Africa what to do is very correct. Africa is what it is today because america and its allies want it this way. They transfered the technology that the Asians have today to them, but left Africa in the dark because Africa is richly blessed. There is no constant power supply today in Nigeria because america and its allies want it that way.

Look around Africa and tell me of any country that its leader defiled america and its allies that is free from conflicts. Does Zimbabwe ring a bell? Look at what happened in Liberia!  What happened in Libya clearly opened my eyes as to why Arabs will always hate america.

Our destinies are in our own hands.
1 hour ago

Ex Govt people talk only when the boom boom is not fourth comming again so shut-up as you all contributed to the situation of Nigeria today.


2 hours ago
1 Like
Adeyemi Abiodun David
Senator Balogun, I don't want to say anything against you, becos I believed you could be both right or wrong! Wrong on the issue of Libya and Gadaffi, but somehow right on that of revolution in Nigeria. Its coming anyway!

Let me say it again here that for those our Christian faith fathers and church pple asking God for revival in Nigeria, sincerely speaking, I don't know what that means, becos, churches are growing seriously and people are turning to church enmasse, (though, I can't see true repentance) but there is no righteousness. And on that note, I would like to say that, there can't be true “Revival without Revolution”! For God's move to take place truly in Nigeria, there must be a serious removal of evil foundations and evil leadership both in secular and spiritual spheres!

'Revolution beget Revival', take it or leave it! It's coming very soon.

Good day to you all!!!!