Says Lagos ready do things differently from APC
Popular crooner, Bankole Wellington, has submitted his expression of interest and nomination forms to contest for the Etiosa Federal Constiteuncy of Lagos State under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with a declaration that Nigerian youth must move from protests about bad governance to grabbing power.
Speaking at the weekend to journalists at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja shortly after the submission, he said the 2023 general election provides the Nigerian youth the opportunity to bridge the gap between themselves and those who have been in power for years.
Wellington, who was one of the leaders of the EndSARS protest in Lagos, observed that if they continue to shout at the sidelines over the failure of governance, the Nigerian youth will never make the desired impact.
He therefore urged them to join mainstream platforms to have the chance to rescue and rebuild the country.
He said: “I believe that with the PDP, there’s a genuine intention to give young people a seat at the table? I believe that we have a chance to build a bridge between those who have been in the political terrain for many years and those of us who’ve been protesting from the sidelines.
“And at the end of the day, if all we do is shout from the sidelines, then we’ll never actually change anything, will never have any impact.
“But if impact is truly the goal, if making a difference in Nigeria, is truly the goal, then we must engage with Nigeria. And that’s been my message to young people to say, listen, we can sit and complain and shout from now till thy kingdom come or we can join a mainstream platform that gives us a chance to play a part in the rebuilding and the rescue of our nation.
“And I believe that the PDP is welcoming us with open arms and open doors. And it’s an opportunity for us to join hands together and rebuild Nigeria and rescue Nigeria.
“And so I’m very grateful to the party for the warm reception. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to come, have a seat at the table and I believe that working together you know, God will help us to do what he has destined us to do.”
While noting that the EndSARS protest he participated in was peaceful, the aspirant observed that the problems of Nigeria have persisted for decades and cannot be resolved through such unsustainable mass action.
He added: “For a lot of young people, what you saw was a peaceful protest and I think it’s important to make the distinction that, you know, most of the people that I know, and that I was involved with, throughout the protests were those that were the peaceful protesters.
“So, I think that for a lot of the protesters, it was about speaking up against oppression, being frustrated enough to stand and to speak out for change.
“My message to them now is that the truth of the matter is we cannot protest about every problem that Nigeria has. They are too many. If you play a Fela song today, the song that he wrote in the 70s, it might sound like he wrote it last week, because the things, the issues are the same, if not worse.
“So, when you think about protests, protests are necessary and I’ve been a part of many protests in Nigeria. But at the end of the day, we can’t protest about every problem. There are too many problems. It’s not sustainable. We can’t protest forever. So, we have to move from protest to power.
“And I think that that’s what we are trying to do now, that’s what this campaign represents. It is the motivation and the encouragement for young people to understand that, that same energy that we used, that same mindset, that same frustration, that same anger, that same feeling of despair we channel it to power now because that’s actually the biggest protest that we can do.
“I think that’s the biggest statement that any protest tries to make. And if we successfully do that, in 2023, and beyond, then I think it will force everyone that is in power that is given the right, the honor to serve, to sit up and actually serve and actually listen to the voice of the people and actually respond, you know, and actually show empathy, and compassion and character and competency.
“And those are the things that I believe that we are looking for as a nation. So, you know, again, for me, the message is simple. It’s time for us to move from protest to power. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
On his chances of defeating any candidate that Bola Tinubu’s All Progressives Congress (APC) may present, he said Lagos people are now ready to move away from the old ways of doing things.
Wellington stated: “I think for me, first of all, you know in a David and Goliath situation, I’m more comfortable being David. You know, the stakes are high, the big machine is against us, but I do believe that what we may lack in money we have in meaning, we have a mission, we have an a message.
“And I think that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. I think that if Lagosians are truly happy with the way everything is happening, then maybe you know, we don’t stand a chance.
“But somehow, I suspect that that’s not the case and that people are ready for something fresh, something different, something unique, something that speaks to the heart of someone who wants to serve and who wants to see the nation better.
“So, I’m content to stand on my own two feet with the support of the PDP and the support of our young people and the support of my community in saying that, because I know that we represent something different. I think that that’s what my people have been waiting for.
“They’re waiting for a representative who truly cares about the community and who has a track record to show. They’re waiting for a representative who truly cares about Nigeria’s young people and who has a track record of being a stepping stone for those young people.
“They’re waiting for a representative who is not there for selfish interests or selfish ambition, but is truly there to serve and to help build. They’re waiting for a representative who will be transparent and accountable for them so that they will know what their representative is doing for them in Abuja, but also seeing what he’s doing in the constituency.
“And I think these are the things that we represent. And I believe that by the grace of God and with the support of the people, we will get the mandate. Yes, it will be history in the making, it will be the first time that PDP has ever won this seat in Etiosa. It always seems impossible until it’s done.
“I believe now, like Nelson Mandela said, the only people that change the world are the ones crazy enough to think that they can. I’m crazy enough to think that we can pull off an upset and and have a lot of people that are crazy with me. So, we’ll see what happens.”