In this exclusive interview with Emmanuel Akaolisa of The News Chronicle, Mr Sunday Adenuga, Presidential Candidate of the Boot Party and National Chairman, speaks on the forthcoming 2023 general elections in Nigeria, what the Boot Party is doing and other current affairs
TNC: Good afternoon Mr Sunday Adenuga, we want to first of all congratulate you on emerging as the Presidential candidate of BOOT party, it is not an easy feat you have achieved in a country like Nigeria, the giant of Africa. So I would like to know what boot party is about, the name BOOT sounds quite unique and interesting, so what is the idea behind the name?
Adenuga: First and foremost thank you for your interest in our party and also for organizing this interview. I am the presidential candidate of the BOOT party and also the national chairman of the party. BOOT is an acronym for ‘Because Of Our Tomorrow’, we have a ‘Boot’ as our party logo because if you want to work for tomorrow and the future generation you need ‘boots on ground’ for the work. We found the party in diaspora in the year 2019 based on the need to sustain the hope of our future, without any selfish interest. We thought that it is not enough to stay away from Nigeria and send thoughts or criticize the politics of the government, but to come back home and work for the country.
Our key objective is to force change for good in the leadership of the country and develop Nigeria and Nigerians. People might ask what I mean by developing Nigeria and Nigerians, the truth is that you can develop the country but the people remain undeveloped, we can see that today when other presidential candidates boast of their achievements like bridges, roads and so on, but then ignoring the people which is the most important.
Over the years, Nigerians have been neglected, our key goal is to develop Nigerians. To do that, there are clear objectives that need to be met and we can say we have achieved one of those – which is to create leadership system like the BOOT’s that will put different ideology to what we have today for the betterment of the country. We have leaders in our country today that their only objectives are personal interests, they only focus on themselves and their families, not ordinary Nigerians, and that has cost us a lot.
I remember the meeting we had at the leadership level of INEC where I challenged them that they are responsible for the #ENDSARS Protest, yes, because if they call themselves INEC and don’t scrutinize and criticize who they front for leadership, if they do not see emergence of leaders as important as development of the nation, what is then their work? They are to blame. Transparency is a very important factor in the process of bringing leaders in, as well as the independence of the body, if the people that bring in leaders are good and conscious at what they do, there would be no frustration that could lead to protest of any kind.
Nigeria is not the worst in the world or Africa but what is the worst about the country is the suffering of the citizens, we have what is called work poverty in the country, where people work but still do not earn living through their work. So that is what we want to fix about this country. Our other objective is running a system that is free from corruption and bribery; we do not pay anybody for power, no godfathering and so on. We want to create a system that the government that comes behind will carry forward.
TNC: We will like to know how your personality and life’s journey has been, what makes you fit to be the next president of Nigeria?
Adenuga: I will say I have been blessed, my family and generation too, having been through primary, secondary and tertiary school in the 90s. I started my career early enough, I would say it has not been easy, during the course of my career so far I have been in at least 32 states of Nigeria so I understand what it is to be a Nigerian. I have also worked in and with government agencies, so I believe our party and candidates are ready to lead and influence the leadership of this country for good. Out of other parties in the country, we are the only party that mandates our leaders to leadership coaching program.
TNC: How do you intend to fix the insecurity challenging this country now as the president of Nigeria, because it seems to be going from bad to worse, we see banditry, kidnapping and so on, what are your plans to fix the troubles?
Adenuga: Let me first speak about one thing I have found out about my colleagues, other presidential candidates, they normally talk about the problem without talking about the solution; not only in the aspect of leaders, average Nigerians also find themselves in that spot. Our approach to tackling the problem is working in consulting, discovery, analysis and then solution to the problem. Our problem dwells in just talking about the problem without giving solution.
About the security challenges, we are going to have to find out the symptoms and the cause of the insecurity in question, which is basically caused by the neglect of the average Nigerians. When the government comes down to the level of people, they know their problems and the problems facing the nation and make sure that the lives of those people are good to keep them away from indulging in terror acts.
Another point is addressing the setting, the policing sector in Nigeria needs to be unbundled because what we have is not working, we need to have the community, state and national police sector for it to work. What we have in police sector now is like a nation with just president, without Governors and local government administrators; or a nation with just supreme court, without magistrate, high or appeal court; it cannot work. So the policing sector needs to be worked on, by localizing it and making it efficient. That is my own approach to tackling the insecurity in the nation.
TNC: We can see that the INEC voters registration quite increased compared to what we had before, more than 12 million new voters were registered, although some people say that INEC should have given more time for registration even after shifting the deadline on multiple occasions. So what is your take on that and also how prepared do you think INEC is for the forthcoming election?
Adenuga: Well INEC is an institution enshrined in the constitution, obligated to make the electioneering campaign very smooth; with that said, I think INEC should do their work efficiently without fear, favour and pressure. Based on the extension of the date, I think anyone can register anytime but the restriction should be on voting, because their cards might not be ready for the elections. INEC has taken such stand because it will enable them to process the ones that have registered and get them ready for the elation.
In terms of preparedness, as it is today, going by what we see, majority of young people like me will agitate and talk about many things, but when it comes to that day of making decision, will they come out to vote? Judging from what we have seen recently in Ekiti, FCT, Osun, Edo, Anambra, Ondo and so on, the turn out of the youths are not impressive. But that being said, INEC needs to be very prepared because with the registration so far, I think the turn up will arguably be massive and that can be a very big task on their side, so they need to be ready and do everything to see that the election is smooth. We wish them well.
TNC: Finally before we round up, I would like to know how BOOT party plans to amass vote, for example we hear of people talking about structure, we see supporters of Labour Party also called ‘Obidients’ with their social media vibrations and physical rallies, but yet failing in Osun and Ekiti state. It is evident that it is not about the social media activity but people really coming out to vote, so how is your party planning to get its own vote in the forthcoming election?
Adenuga: The structure is a thing that should not really be neglected and most Nigerians do not know what the structure means. When you are a major player, you have to make sure you do not make yourself vulnerable or demonstrate ignorance, election at national level in a country as big and diverse as Nigeria cannot be won without structure, which are the committed people, those that are the real party memebers and candidate supporters.
So, as the newest political party in Nigeria, having existed for just three years, our key objective in this election is working with people, having been able to create leadership structure at the ward level, Local government level, State level and National level, without making unnecessary noise on social media, because politics is not about social media noise neither is election won online but the amount of work you have done at the grass root level. So commitments of our dear members give us confidence that we are going to win elections across the states. We are also well prepared in the resources to carry us on and fund the electioneering campaigns of our party.