INTERVIEW: Why I am disappointed in Buhari’s government

INTERVIEW: Why I am disappointed in Buhari's government

About a year ago, mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria began in Lagos.

The slogan, #ENDSARS, called for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police with a long record of abuses.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the veteran Nigerian actor, Jide Kosoko, speaks about the protest and his take on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration

PT: What new projects are you currently working on?

Kosoko: One major production will be coming from me very very soon, it is called ‘Ogun Ahoyaya’.

It is about the feud between King Kosoko and Akitoye following the invasion of Lagos by the British. Kosoko was a member of the Ologun Kutere Lagos Royal Family who reigned as Oba of Lagos from 1845 to 1851. It is a movie close to my heart. Being a prince in Lagos and a descendant of Oba Kosoko, the movie would showcase a lot that many are not aware of.

It is a historical play is centered around events in Lagos of the 18th century. It reflects on the legendary feud between King Kosoko and King Akintoye. Prince Kosoko is (was) the rightful heir to the Lagos throne. But due to the feud between him and Eletu Odibo (the Prime Minister), his nephew Akintoye is made king on the pretense that Prince Kosoko could not be located when Oba Oluwole died. King Akitoye realising who Kosoko is persuades his people to search for him, so as to make him return to Lagos.

PT: It is clearly going to be an epic movie…

Kosoko: It is indeed an epic, a super epic. Because we would be assembling not less than 1000 cast (actors), that is one, and of course, I am also going to work on some projects for Startimes too.

PT: One of the movies you featured in, ‘Shadow Parties’ is currently showing on Netflix. How does this make you feel?

Kosoko: I feel happy. It does feel good to know that people are still identifying with traditional stories-stories that touch the heart. This movie shows that dialogue is the best way of resolving conflicts. You can see the number of deaths that occurred in the film. You can see that at the end of the day it was resolved by dialogue, just like what is happening in Nigeria today.

We continue to blame every government, and for real we all contributed to the whole situation. The government plays a principal role in bastardising everything, but are we all doing it right? Are you a good citizen and must everything come from the government? Must you say that because you do not have a white-collar job you can get yourself into activities that further compound the problems? Most of these politicians we continue to abuse and are they not the same people we that run to for one assistance?

PT: What are your thoughts on President Buhari’s administration?

Kosoko: So many things are responsible for the situation we find ourselves. I can’t speak for the government but I can’t say Buhari (government) is totally bad. I’ve never said so, and I may not say so, but I am disappointed in some of his actions. I hate a situation where the APC government will keep reminding us of how bad things have been since PDP assumed power.

We are all aware of that, before you decided to come on board, deciding to assume power means you have a solution to the problems so that is my own concern. Buhari knows that discipline is his watchword, I wanted to believe him then, but he should know that in getting a corrupt-free society you would face quite a lot of antagonism.

It’s just like a dog eating bone and you want to collect the bone, it would be a tug of war. I believe him and personally, Buhari is not corrupt, but so many things are still going on. This means that prompt action must be taken to ensure that those things stop.

PT: You were actively involved in campaigning for President Buhari.

Kosoko: Yes I was.

PT: Any regrets?

Kosoko: No I can never. I will ask you and ask all the Nigerian youths going up and coming down saying different things. Let them show us who to follow, do you know who will do well, do you know? You don’t know, Professor Wole Soyinka was appointed the founding Corps Marshall of the FRSC, he ran away, he couldn’t stand it. So, tell me if you are able to confirm to me that Jide Kosoko is the best to govern us, then I will follow you. But nobody knows, we are all making trial and error.

PT: What does the arrival of Netflix, Amazon, and other movie streaming platforms in Nigeria portend for your industry?

Kosoko: You see when social media and the movie streamings sites you mentioned came into Nigeria, we were a bit scared that they would take our job from us but after series of workshops, conferences and seminars, we came to a decision that we should use them to our own advantage.

PT: What are your thoughts on the EndSARS protest which began about a year ago?

Kosoko: I want to advise our youths, look at that beautiful EndSars rally, I was so happy about it at the beginning but after the third day, I was no longer comfortable. Because they had made their point after the third day, and because they had started extending it to other things; I knew from experience that it wasn’t going to end well. The assignment given to Special Anti-Robbery Squad was a responsible assignment but the people responsible for the assignment failed to do it. Thus government needs to retrain them, there should be aptitude tests for people enlisting in the military and paramilitary.

I will appeal to the youths, to leave Desmond Elliot alone, when we talk in an emotional situation, we can say anything. If he calls them children, he is not calling them his own children. He is calling them children of the government. Then secondly, there are some stupid youths who don’t know more than abusing people on social media. All those youth abusing people on social media can’t make good leaders, they won’t take other people’s opinions. I still believe that there are right-thinking youths.

We need to pray to the almighty God to give us the right leaders.

PT: Let’s talk about the death rates in your industry. What is TAMPAM doing about this?

Kosoko: So many things are responsible for these deaths like individual attitudes, living standards, careless approach to health issues, and health challenges. Even people that take care of themselves still get sick, take more or less someone who is careless about their health. Thus the BOT through the Executive of TAMPAM is coming with a trust fund for our members.

PT: Is there any health insurance in place?

Kosoko: Our members don’t cooperate, there are HMOs but they are not cooperating until something goes wrong.

PT: What about the conflicts between TAMPAM and its members?

Kosoko: Sorry I would have to cut you there, TAMPAM is the most organised and the largest guild in Nigeria. Mind you, TAMPAM is not a regulatory body. We are currently working on sanitising the industry to ensure that things work out fine.

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