Chief Mrs Yetunde Babatunde, she is the chairman Yafadot group of companies, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Ojodu, Lagos State and a member of the Presidential Campaign Council, in this exclusive interview with Fabulous Magazine, this erudite woman bared her mind on the aftermath of the Presidential and House Of Assembly elections and her expectations from INEC
Good Evening Madam, for the sake of our readers, can you please kindly introduce yourself
My names are Chief Mrs. Yetunde Babatunde, Iyalode of Ojodu land I am a member of APC in Ojodu LCDA. I am a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, I am a member of the Contact and Mobilisation Committee, and member Logistics Committee, South-West-South-West.
We noticed you on the field on Saturday during the Presidential and National House of Assembly Elections. How would you describe the process?
Well, so far so good, in my area which is my unit, my ward and local government Area, it went well. And that is because we have a very good leader there in the person of Hon. James Faleke who is fond of taking care of his people. There was peace, everything went peacefully all round my ward and Local Government, and everything was OK.
Can you throw more light on the performance of INEC and the equipment they deployed for the election?
Well, their equipment were effective in some areas and did not do well in some other areas. Also, the INEC personnel came late in some areas which I learnt was due to transportation challenges. It was so in my Unit 002. But immediately they arrived, they went to work.
Madam, this is the third day after the election and there is pandemonium everywhere. What is your advice to the candidates and the electorates?
Thank God, so far so good. First of all, I want to advice the INEC personnel to be transparent transmit the result as they are. They should not try to do any mago mago or rigging the election, they are not helping this country. Look at Lagos today for instance, everywhere is boiling. Lagos is not at peace. It is boiling. So I will start from INEC. They should be truthful to themselves, Nigerians. And the job we gave them to do. If they try to support anybody, they are not helping us. Right now, everybody is waiting on them. We are waiting for what they are going to tell us.
Now for the candidates, I want to advise them, in a situation when you see somebody going for the fifth or the sixth time: I want to advice don’t you think you are asking for too much? If they say our youths are not too young to run, shouldn’t them give them chance? Even if you think they are not ready for now, let them accommodate them and bring them closer. Teach them what politics is so, they will be ready to take over from you. Nobody owns this world. That will bring a lot of peace into our society. They should not be thinking of only just the elders and elders alone. Teach them. There is one Yoruba adage that said a secret that they are doing and chasing children away will not pass the test of time. Teach them how to become the leaders of tomorrow. Let every political office holder now learn how to bring the younger ones closer. They should try giving others the opportunity. There are a lot of people who have been in politics for a long time, they have not been given the chance to be anything. They should be thinking of how to bring them closer, pave way for them so that by tomorrow they can be there.
Right now, there is an inter-tribal issue because somebody made a statement that, It could be true or otherwise but according to what is circulating he said if Tinubu did not win the Presidency Ibo people will go back to where they came from. Already this afternoon Ladipo Market was allegedly burnt down and some other areas too. Last night, if not for God that kept Ojodu, it would have been another story of Ojodu burning. What do you have to say towards this?
Let me say this: This politics, people see it from different perspectives. But the way I see it, either Ibo, Hausa or Yoruba, we are one and we should see ourselves as one. We say we want one Nigeria; is this the way we are going to get the one Nigeria? Yoruba, Ibo or Yoruba, the leaders should call themselves together and address the situation in Lagos State. That statement that if Tinubu do not become the President…. Where is it coming from? We have thousands of Ibos that I know were born and bred here. If you now tell them to leave are you asking for another civil war? As it is, I am appealing to everybody to calm down and the leaders as a matter of fact should quickly come out and address the situation. We should see ourselves as one and be fair to everybody. I will still say this, all the leaders we are voting for now should see everybody as one.
This thing is not just today: problem, it has been brewing for a long time. Are we been fair to each other? There are a lot of us that has one thing or the other hurting us. We are Yoruba who are supporting some politicians who are Yoruba but we must realise that we have some other people there. What is happening now is a wakeup call. It is telling us we have to find a way to build brand new Nigeria. If you a Yoruba, you will think I am the one with this leader so other people should not come. These are the things that are bringing trouble here. Either you are Ibo, Hausa or Yoruba, we should be fair to each other because we are all living in Lagos. Ibos are here, Hausas are here and Yoruba’s are here. If we are thinking as one Nigeria, we should all see ourselves as one.
Ma, with regards to the currency redesign or swap that has been causing a lot of hardship for Nigerians and the government as allowed it to linger and they want to do that till March, what do you think about this?
Thank you very much, this is one of the best questions I have been expecting. I must confess that as for me, what the President did was a right one. But people might have problems about the timing because this is the time for elections. But if you look at what has happened, let us give it to the President, I have been in politics for a very long time: this is the first time I am seeing people coming out to vote without expecting money: are we not going to celebrate that? Must we be using money for elections all the time? I use to look at it that anybody contesting and using money is buying position because you don’t merit it. This is because if you merit it, you will not have to use money to get that position.
That is number one. But they are still using money. Like in some areas I saw it but do you know by now, they would have been a day millionaire because there are people they will give money to go and share, they will just disappear with the money. Even in my committee. In another committee which a friend of mine belong the Director there, when they send money, he will tell you they sent it to a wrong account. Every four, four years when we want to have elections some wait and see it as a chance to make money, kilo de? These are the malpractices we must stop in Nigeria we are number one in Africa, what are we teaching other African countries if we continue like this?
Then the money swap, it has come and it has gone. They have done what they wanted to do. Where the problem came is where we are supposed to look into. This is because the Central Bank forgot and they were looking the other way when people started selling money. Go to the banks and you will hear them calling. These are the people buying the new naira notes from the banks to swap. You are working and you keep your money in the bank but you cannot have access to new notes. They were careless, the CBN was seriously careless. If they have put up a law that nobody should buy or sell new naira notes. Emefiele looked away when banks and people were buying and selling new naira notes. These is the attitude which has nothing to do with the system.
We know them oo. Especially in Yoruba land. When you go to a party and you see them changing money in new naira notes. These are the monies as a customer who keeps money in the bank, you cannot have access to your money. That is what exactly happened. If Buhari had not done what he did, he would have left this country indebted because he would not have left one Naira in the coffers of the FG. I listen very well and hear is excuses where said over seventy percent of Nigeria’s money is in the hands of some few individuals who are holding it and will not even take it to the bank. They are not using it for business to better the economy and that is why they were saying there is no money. A lot of people were using their money by hand. They take it outside the country, invest it there and when they bring it back, it still goes the same way. So, the money swap was not too bad.
Right now, what are your expectations?
I am waiting and expecting INEC to announce the new President which I know will be Bola Tinubu Jagaban. That is what I have been working for in the last four months. I know if he becomes President, he bring in good policies that will lead to good governance.