*Explains how Jonathan accepted defeat ‘despite winning’ 2015 election
*2019: Why he wanted Saraki to be president
*‘I survived Covid-19 but won’t take vaccine’
*Gay son story: The day I knew about it, I wept
In this second part of his interview on Vanguard Live, former presidential spokesman during Obasanjo and Jonathan eras, Dr Doyin Okupe, speaks on the 2015 and 2019 elections, his Covid-19 story, the chances of the Igbo ever becoming president and his gay son, Bolu. Excerpts:
The Federal Government didn’t get her (Chibok school Principal) to account for the chaos on the abduction…
Look, I am not saying government did right or wrong. I am telling you about events that happened that were not reported. The governor of the state was repeatedly warned by the Federal Government and WAEC not to allow children in that school to do examination but they went ahead and conducted the examination against security advice.
And guess what, there was only one security guard in the school during the examination. You know that about 50 girls reportedly came back over time. Assuming the abductors carried 257 girls. In Lagos where we have molues (high capacity buses), you will need about five or six of them to be able to carry them. The bandits did not come with such vehicle. The girls told me they came with Canter which cannot carry more than 24 children even if they were packed like sardines.
The girl actually mentioned the word Gulf and I was stunned. How many Canters can carry 257 people and how can an entourage of 50 or 60 vehicles move without people in the vicinity noticing it? It is not true. The truth is that those that were kidnapped will reveal the truth in fullness of time. They were in Maiduguri for many days before being moved away and before Shekau was recruited to make a statement that he had these girls.
That means that there are too many unanswered questions?
There are too many questions. Let’s leave the matter
What do you think was responsible for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s loss of the 2015 presidential election?
Number one, I know that this is not going to be a popular position, former President Jonathan did not lose the election. The election was rigged massively and majorly from Kano State and many people wanted to kill Elder Orubebe (man who openly protested election results) without knowing the facts. The results from Kano were being changed almost on hourly basis, depending on the results that were coming in from the states. Former President Jonathan was just a good man that God sent to this country to avoid conflagration. If he did not give way from his own perception, there would have been a major conflagration in the country.
As you can see, people are now confessing that they were the ones that brought in foreign people, armed them and distributed them all over the country so that once the announcement was made, they would start chaos. That was what the former leader wanted to avoid and he was able to do so. You also heard the president of America make a broadcast and virtually telling Nigerians citizen who to vote for.
Did it influence the result?
That is not the issue. What is bad is not good; the president of America telling Nigerians who to vote for was an act of intimidation. The election was not lost but it was good that Jonathan accepted, and a new government came in place. The rest is history.
Just before the 2019 general elections, you were pictured with the Bukola Saraki camp. Why did you pick that side of the PDP out of many other structures?
Yes. Bukola Saraki is a quintessentially extra- ordinary human being. He is better than the rest of them. I just tell you that we are living like in a fossil generation. What are pulling this country back are ethnicity, religion and zoning. Nigeria is a 500 billion dollar worth investment. Which 500 billion dollar investment will be given to just anybody to run, without any question, without any back ground checks and capacity evaluation? Is it possible?
Exxon Mobil, Total, and even Dangote don’t do that. Go and check Dangote’s executive structure, you will see people with high degree of management capability. He doesn’t just bring in his brother from Zaria, Kano or Ijebu Ode. No, because that is a multi-billion dollar investment. So, why are we treating the country as if it is a mama and papa shop? We are crazy people in this country and we want the country to be ok.
Do you miss being in Aso Rock?
No. I don’t. I take this world as a stage; you play your part, take a bow and go. For me, I have been exceptionally lucky and privileged. I am one out of my father’s 40 children and see how far I have gone. I am satisfied and grateful to God for what I have been able to achieve, so far.
I am done politically. Truthfully, what I would like to be now is a life coach for people who want to make politics their profession, people who want to progress in politics, people who want to offer themselves for service in this country. I know where the pit holes and pitfalls are. I know where there are advantages and disadvantages. I have been in this game for 40 years and I entered at the upper deck
You are talking about the role of a godfather here?
Not godfather. Godfather is somebody who wants you to be in position so you can… No. I want to be like a dean of a faculty whose business is ensuring you have the correct education, exposure and environment. I have so much to give. I am angry because they are making it look as if nobody can do anything about this matter. That’s why I said if by 2021 the situation remains like this, I will contest for president.
So should we take it that you are in the 2023 presidential race?
Yes and no. Yes because the signs I am seeing are not encouraging enough to suggest that things will be handled properly and if they are not handled properly, I will step out.
Everyone is saying that power has to shift to the South in the PDP zoning arrangement. The South-East seems to be the favored in this matter.
The disaster here is that not all the zones in the country have had a shot at the presidency which is painful. If things were to go normally, the South-East would. There was a time in this country when everybody’s hands were put at the back, and only Yoruba candidates were allowed to contest, that Chief Olu Falae and former President Obasanjo, that was when there was a major national consensus, may be that is what is required now for the South-East to produce the president but the configuration of the country there are incongruence in this country and antithetical issues.
Let the truth be told, the core North has not forgiven the South-East for the death of Ahmadu Bello. Nobody is right or wrong. Since election is going to be by voting, if a very large group says we are not doing with this set of people, that issue must be resolved before we can have a South-East president. A large number of voters are holding those who are requesting to be president in unforgiveness.
I am surprised that the Igbo are not talking about it; that is the problem in this country. We are a country of deceivers. We deceive our God, ourselves and our followers. We have a constitution that is a lie and anything that is based on lie cannot stand. We lie to ourselves. Only truth and righteousness can exalt a nation. This country is full of liars from top to bottom. Igbo cannot be president because the elites in the North have not forgiven them for killing the Sardauna of Sokoto.
So you don’t think that Igbo will have the chance in the 2023?
Not until this matter is resolved.
A couple of PDP members have defected. What are you waiting for?
That is part of the lies in this country. Everybody is complaining about APC, yet, political leaders are joining it. Are you not surprised? That is the anomaly and absurdity, the incongruity I am talking about.
There must be something attracting them…
There is nothing attracting them. It is a simple calculation that the government in power is not likely to give up easily. And because they control all the instruments of coercion, when election is held, they rig it in favor of their candidates. This people in PDP are out of power for 8 years, many of them cannot imagine being out of power for 16 years. It is just personal pursuit of personal interest which is just one of the definitions of politics.
We should also say congratulations, you defeated Covid-19
Ah, I did not defeat Covid19; that was an error. God Almighty saved me from Covid-19. I can’t save my life it was just the mercy of God, nothing else’ Yoruba says that all the birds are of the same height, except the ones climbing on a ridge. I am perching on the ridge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That was what saved me.
Were you scared at some point?
I believed that I was in trouble. Christ said “call me in the days of trouble. I will deliver you”. I rested on his words, perfectly well and he delivered me.
It is always very interesting to hear politicians talking religious matters
My politics is different. The Doyin Okukpe everybody knows is the garrulous, verbose or you know the boss person stuff but I was only 12 years old when I developed my personal relationship with God. When you interview me next time, don’t talk politics, I will shock you. I am trying to write a book to be titled Me, My God and Myself. I have been in politics for 40years. I do not belong to anybody’s camp. I have never been sponsored by anybody, I have no godfather and I have gone to the highest level possible. That was made possible by God. I have survived too many things including prostate cancer. All I needed to do was to go into my room, kneel down and ask God. There is nothing I ask God that He did not give me, except for the governorship of Ogun State which I know, he will later show me why He didn’t give me.
Will you take theCovid-19 vaccine?
Laughs…. I will not.
This is a very serious question. Until recently, I have been advocating for a joint fight against Covid-19 on my facebook. I am a doctor. I know that a vaccine is a medical product which when given to a patient guarantees that the patient will not suffer from that infection again.
When a child has polio vaccine, sit him with someone who has acute polio infection, he will not catch polio. The same thing is applicable with measles and tuberculosis. But, this Covid -19 vaccine is not the same.
The manufacturers tell you that there is no guarantee that you cannot be affected after taking the vaccine. When you take it, you still have to wear face mask, maintain social distance. What kind of vaccine is that? I have nothing against the vaccine.
The worst case scenario with Covid 19 is that nothing will happen to 97% of people who catch them, the vaccine can also provide 97% cover, so no difference. Recently, 12 countries in Europe suspended the vaccine which proved me right. I am open-minded but let them resolve their issues. For me, I cannot take a leave of absence from my brain. That is what I think is also wrong in Nigeria. Nobody should make anybody look unpatriotic for not taking the vaccine or being unnecessarily funny. The decision not to take the vaccine should be personal. Benue State government issued a statement recently that they had 50,000 packs and nobody had taken one, including the state governor and his deputy. They said they were not forcing anybody to take it. That is the correct thing, anybody who wants to take can go and take and anybody who doesn’t want should just stay in his or her house and pray.
Tell us about your son
Bolu? I joked with him a few days ago. I told him that his father is going to be 69 soon and that if he sending money to me I don’t want any stupid money because I am a big man.
How is the family taking the situation?
We have always known that Bolu was like that. He is even much more than that. What children are capable of doing is incredible. Though unknown to me, all the other siblings were aware. Bolu had designed his life. He never intended to live in Nigeria. I never knew. Unfortunately for me, his mother took him abroad very early.
A greater part of his secondary education was in the United Kingdom. Bolu thinks and lives European. He is my son but his life is European. I also know that he is easily influenced by his environment. Before he came home on summer holidays sometime ago, he had been questioning the Bible, saying all sorts of things but, after spending about three months with us here, he was fire in terms of the scriptures and all that. His elder brother is a pastor now, very deep in religion.
Bolu is a little bit of fickle, depending on his environment. The moment he went to France, an extreme liberal society, he was the worst thing ever possible. The family knew he had that tendency over 3 years ago. The problem was coming to announce it publicly. That was when people knew. The day I knew about it, I wept. I have gone past that but we are praying for him. God says ‘my ways are not your ways’. Mark my word; he is on sojourn in a gay community in order to be an instrument of God. That is what is going to happen by the grace of God.