Segun James discovers why Chief Tunde Daramola, the Lagos State Chairman of the African Democratic Congress has traversed the major political parties in Nigeria
You are a pharmacist and a close political supporter of assassinated Lagos politician, Funsho Williams, can you tell us about your foray into politics?
I am a Pharmacist and Management Consultant. I worked at Abott Laboratories, a multinational pharmaceutical and baby product company based in the United States (US). I joined the company as a Product Manager in 1981 and rose to the level of Marketing Director in 1988. I started my own pharmaceutical company. I was one of the first Nigerians with a Masters degree when I came back to Nigeria after my studies in Long Island University in the U.S.
In 1984, I was appointed a Board Director of the Lagos State Development and Building and Development Commission (LSDBC). It was while there that I had a close contact with late Engineer Funsho Williams, who I met at the New Jersey Institute Polytechnic, while he was also in the U.S. By this time he was nursing the ambition to run for the governorship of Lagos State. He must have discovered something in me because he embraced me and I started working with him. That was how I found myself in politics.
I was part of his Network Alliance (NA), where I was the Secretary. I was there during the Alliance for Democracy (AD) primary between Bola Tinubu and Funso Williams, where we were robbed of the governorship ticket. The arrangement we had with Tinubu after the primary was not honoured. We felt that we could not realise the governorship ambition if we remained in the AD. In 2001, we joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to pursue that ambition. In 2003, we got the ticket of the PDP; in fact, it was Network Alliance that brought life into PDP in Lagos State. We lost the 2003 election the then Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was in cohort with Tinubu. There was a result on the internet which was suddenly changed. In 2004, when the PDP was making appointments, somehow, Funsho Williams was short-changed and the ministerial appointment was given to Senator Seye Ogunlewe.
In 2003, I left for America because I didn’t want to work with certain elements in the party that short-changed Funsho. It was while there in 2005 that I was invited to contest for the state secretary of the PDP and I won, I was secretary of the PDP in Lagos till 2008. In 2006, while we were on the political rallies for the local government elections, we witnessed the sad assassination of Funsho Williams.
Why did you leave the PDP for the APC?
In 2014, some of us felt there were injustices in the PDP and there was need for political correctness. In spite of all appeals to reasoning, the administration of the day felt they could continue without anybody stopping them. That was when the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) emerged. We later decided to go to the All Progressives Congress (APC), there was an agreement for the nPDP to form an alliance with the APC. Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed, but none of the agreement was honoured. As a matter of fact, democracy was jettisoned. It was a coven style approach to issues. You are in the cult and you must listen to the cult leader.
It was a deliberate design to ensure that we were never empowered. Remember the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives had to bend backwards to swallow their vomit by going back to the old PDP that they left to be able to secure their positions.
However, those that thought they could run the APC like a cult and wanted to dictate everything ended up in the tiger’s belly. The seed of discord was sown when it was discovered that there was a secret agreement between Buhari and Tinubu for Buhari to be president and Tinubu vice president. It was President Obasanjo at his behest that finally nailed the coffin that there was no way there would be a Muslim / Muslim ticket because Nigeria was a sensitive country. They ended up pacifying Tinubu by asking him to nominate the vice president. That was what brought about the nomination of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
You have traversed several political parties from AD to PDP to APC and now the African Democratic Congress (ADC). Why these movement?
There is no ideology-based political party in Nigeria. All the political parties are after is power. Their ideology is simple, win the centre and control the people and the wealth of the nation. Of course, this is turning wisdom upside down, because it is supposed to control the wealth for the benefit of the people but unfortunately, it is the other way round. Grabbing the people and the wealth is all that has been happening politically in this Fourth Republic.
I left the APC for the ADC because I discovered that the ADC has a philosophy to embrace youths and women and you do not require a godfather for you to be all you can be. It emboldens participatory democracy. It gives freedom for you to choose your leaders. In ADC, they have given us the freedom to set our structures. Our National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided that anybody under 40 years male or female will pay half the price of Expression of Interest form and Nomination fee.
Recently a group came up to buy the APC expression of interest and nomination form for President Buhari. Now the Electoral Act says that no individual or group can contribute more than N1million to the campaign of any politician. What is your take on this?
It is fraud, who is Buhari fooling? If his son had an accident with his power bike that cost millions and spent well over N200 million in hospitals, his nephew is said to be the youngest billionaire in Nigeria? Who is contributing money? Who is fooling who? Nigerians should not fall for this scam again that Buhari is not corrupt. They say show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. We are no longer fools, Nigerians should wake up and that is why ADC says ‘Arise Let Us Shine Together.’
It is about four months to the elections, why ADC is yet to hold its convention to elect a presidential candidate?
I am a NEC member and I will tell you that ADC will have a convention in Osogbo on September 15, but I cannot say whether the presidential candidate will emerge there because there are usually other conventions to be done for the presidential primary. But this convention wants to adopt a newly rebranded ADC along with the reconstituted executive and constitution along with the new logo.
The ADC is part of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) promoted by the PDP. You are both contenders in the same fight for taking over the country. What exactly do you hope to achieve from the coalition?
It is good when you acknowledge your mistakes. I’m sure former President Jonathan is wiser than the Jonathan of 2014. If Jonathan had respected the agreement to return power to the north, I’m sure he would have been a different Jonathan today. The PDP has been bruised and they are undergoing their healing process. CUPP is to prevent the destruction of Nigeria. This administration is advocating cattle colonies. That is another scam to enslave us to the herdsmen because the moment you give them cattle colony they will install their chiefs there and before you say jack, they will start fighting over the land. What is government’s business in cattle business? Didn’t our forefathers raise cattle, goats and chicken? Is cattle now petroleum that the federal government has to take over its distribution? It is a private business. There is a hidden agenda in cattle colony.