For Navigating Nigeria this week, Citizen had a chat with Abdul-Hameed Adeshina. He’s a media and public relations expert and a proud card-carrying member of the APC. He spoke on a lot of things including his party’s scorecard over the last eight years, BAT’s gaffes, the fuel and naira scarcity and why citizens — not the government — should protect government property.

Editorial Note: Navigating Nigeria is a platform for Nigerians to passionately discuss policies and politics with little interference to individual opinions. While our editorial standards emphasise the truth and we endeavour to fact-check claims and allegations, we do not bear any responsibility for allegations made about other people that are founded in half-truths.  

Are you familiar with Zikoko Citizen?

Unfortunately, today’s the first time I’m hearing about you guys.

We hope you take the time to check us out. You claim to have been a long-time member of the APC. Why should young Nigerians vote for your party at the polls?

Young people from the age of 15 should choose the APC as their sure banker. Reason’s that the APC is progressive. We’re a party that cares for the young and the aged. The party has a structure in place for the betterment of not only youths but all Nigerians. 

We have a lot of young men in our party, in governance, that are doing well in life ever since they joined. We have a good template for the betterment of every youth in the country.

This view you hold, is it a consensus as a member of the APC, or a personal one?

We have many political parties in Nigeria. The APC, PDP, LP, APGA, and NNPP. Now, look at all these states. Which party produced the youngest governor in Nigeria? It’s APC and that person is Yahaya Bello of Kogi state. Lagos state is one of the largest economies in Africa led by Babajide Sanwo-Olu. You can categorise him as a youth. He joined us, I think, at the age of 32. He’s among the best-performing governors in Nigeria today. 

So when I say APC has a structure for the youths, I’m not saying it to promote my party. I’m backing it with facts and figures. Go to Kogi state and see what Yahaya Bello is doing. 

How would you rate the APC’s performance over the last eight years?

We have a scorecard. When talking about infrastructure I’ll rate the APC 100/100. On security which hasn’t really been fair, I’ll say 60/100. On jobs, 85/100. 

100 per cent in infrastructure? 

Before we came on board, Goodluck Jonathan said he’d be the first president to construct the Second Niger Bridge. Funds were allocated for that project. We came on board, said we’d do it and we’ve done it. That’s number one.

Lagos-Ibadan expressway was started and funded by the OBJ administration. They did nothing. Our administration has taken it to almost 95% completion.

People who live around that axis won’t agree with you

The last time the Minister for Works, Babatunde Fashola, gave updates on that expressway, he said the project would have been completed if not for some conflicting projects being done by Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde.

We have federal and state roads. Fashola spoke to Makinde to inform him that it’s his projects that are delaying them. We know what that road was like in 2015, so 95% is what I’d give.

Hmm. Besides these two projects, what else? 

Funding universities, building roads, and provision of jobs. Recently, the president came to commission a rice mill in Lagos making it the largest producer of rice. The Kaduna-Abuja expressway is there.

When the PDP was there we travelled by road. Now we have railways working perfectly. Our administration brought back the lost glory of railways.

The Abuja metro has been grounded. Kaduna railway has been attacked by bandits. Warri-Itakpe railway has also had its issues

You’re bringing up a narrative of some people sabotaging the nation. Government and the people have duties. It’s for the government to provide social amenities, and it’s for the citizens to protect government property. We’re taught this in the first year of university. It’s the citizens that should be blamed for this.

I tweeted that God’ll judge the people doing this evil to us. We cannot say because people are sabotaging government efforts we then put the fault on the government. No, it doesn’t work that way. It’s our promise that we’ll do something and we’ve done it. There’s a difference between “we will do it” and “we’ve done it”. We’ve done it.

Security is also part of our success story.


When we came on board we all knew how rampant kidnapping and banditry were. In April 2014 nearly 300 girls were kidnapped in Chibok under the PDP-led administration. In 2015 we told Nigerians to vote for us on two basic issues. For a prosperous economy and to fight insecurity. Before we came on board, 13-14 local governments were under Boko Haram. Today, it’s a thing of the past. 

At every level, there’s a different devil. We’ve fought the devil of bandits, of  terrorists, but now we still have the devil of kidnappers which I believe will be resolved before May 29, 2023.

We experienced increased herder-farmer clashes under the APC. Are you satisfied with how this government handled this issue?

On this herdsmen issue, they’re not Nigerians.

They operate in Nigeria

That’s it. They’re not Nigerians but they’re terrorising our people. I don’t want to use the narrative that they’re Fulani herdsmen because there are instances where security operatives arrested them and they’re not Fulanis. You could just term them kidnappers. There’s nothing like Fulani herdsmen. We have Yorubas as herdsmen, we have Igbos as herdsmen.

But I never mentioned that

Ok. When was the last time you heard about this? 

So you’re saying the government intervened?

Not only the government, we the people. Citizens should also be given kudos for being supportive towards the men in uniform.

BAT has spoken in recent times about fuel and naira scarcity. Do you think this will affect your party’s chances at the polls?

It will not and it cannot. Do you know why? In 2015 there was no fuel scarcity like this, all the way till 2021. Before, we experienced fuel scarcity during festive periods but people gave us kudos for how we managed it under this administration. There was no fuel scarcity three to four months ago. Why’s it now, close to elections, that we’re experiencing this?

Abuja has been experiencing fuel scarcity for longer than six months

Yes, Abuja could be experiencing fuel scarcity but not as it is now. Practically every state in Nigeria is experiencing fuel scarcity and we have fuel. There’s enough fuel. The NNPC director said it. Punch published this article that some people are sabotaging government efforts to make life easy for people. You’re collecting fuel from the NNPC, why are you hoarding it? It’s not the fault of the government. It is our own evil agenda towards ourselves. 

It’s not the fault of the government. There’s fuel, people are hoarding it. There are filling stations that have fuel 24/7 and sell as low as ₦180 per litre. Why’s the price of others different?

The new naira design is a good approach but the timing is what I’m personally against. The APC governors met with the president who told them to give him seven days to review the decision.

The reason for this naira redesign is to stop kidnappers from operating. We’ve tried using the National Identification Number (NIN) and tracking them with SIM cards but it doesn’t work. Ok, they collect cash ransoms. What if we try a cashless policy? How would they receive ransom when they know cash isn’t in circulation? That’s what brought about the policy, as well as to reduce the amount we use in printing money.

Nigeria is not that developed in terms of technology to use the cashless policy. The pepper and flour sellers don’t know what technology is.

Kenya has M-pesa, a cashless policy initiative that has appeal among the classes of people you describe. Don’t you think the implementation is the issue here?

I’ll use this medium to apologise to Nigerians that are feeling the pain. Like I said in one of my tweets, I’ve separated myself from any policy that brings pandemonium and hardship to the people that elected us.

BAT has made several gaffes prompting laughs on social media. Do you think this could affect his chances, and whether he’s fit to lead?

Lots of questions but I’ll answer every one of them.


Let’s talk about the gaffes. Asiwaju is a politician and wants to be the talk of the town. In his recent one, he said, “vote for me, your eight years (in school) will be eight years.” Honestly, I don’t think that should be a matter of discussion in the public because this is Nigeria and we’ve seen a lot.

Let me now tell you something. You can’t be working 24/7 and not make mistakes. Could be when you’re working, walking or even eating. Asiwaju was in Osun and left around 9:50 p.m., got to Ekiti where they wrapped things up and moved on to Nasarawa. It’s not easy.

But other candidates are moving around as well

They’re making the same mistakes. There’s no top presidential candidate that hasn’t made a funny mistake. Is it Atiku, or Peter Obi, who? Was it not Peter Obi that went to Nasarawa and said it was a very big country? How’s Nasarawa a big country? People don’t talk about that.

Atiku that’s telling us he’s strong went to a state and told his supporters to vote APC. There’s none of them that haven’t made such errors because they’re all working hard. If you’re supposed to sleep for six hours in a day and you sleep for two, your head will be hot. Your thinking might even be different. You might be pressing your phone and dozing off. One can’t cheat nature. You can’t use these things as factors to determine who Asiwaju is.

Lol. A former member of the APC presidential campaign council Naja’atu Mohammed, has said BAT isn’t fit for office. What’s your take on this?

If you’ve read Hajiya Naja’atu’s profile you’ll know she’s not a doctor and has never worked in the health sector before. So her comments on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu are false. She’s in no position to know who is or isn’t fit. The only person who can speak authoritatively about my state of health is my doctor.

She left our camp for Atiku and she said Yemi Osinbajo was her choice. If Osinbajo believed her she wouldn’t have left our camp for the opposition. It’s a paid job. When you see a paid job you’ll know.

We can talk about one of the former aides of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, showing the world how corrupt Atiku is. Nobody’s talking about that.

Well, that has been discussed a lot on social media

This is 1-1. Someone left their camp and came to ours because they believe in us. Likewise, someone left our camp and went to theirs. Our political ideology is quite different from others. If someone brings us any evidence we show it to the world and back it up with the law. If she believes BAT isn’t fit let her come up with evidence. All she’s doing is just public relations (PR). I’m a PR expert. 

You’re based in the UK. Some might say your support for the APC is only possible because you’re not in Nigeria

This isn’t the first time I’m hearing this. Let me tell you something. I was supposed to go to Onward Primary School, a private school. I was given money to purchase a form but misplaced it. It was then I settled for a public school, Methodist Primary School in Iragbiji, Osun state. My secondary school was Iyana Community School in Oyo state. I went to Community Grammar School, Sasha. Then I went to the Federal Polytechnic, Offa. I also went to Kwara State University.

Now, tell me. What’s wrong with me coming overseas for another degree? I’m not the first person to come to the UK to live or study. Why’s my case different? They’re talking about suffering. I schooled in Kwara. I had classes around 8 a.m, I’d leave Oshogbo around 5 a.m, take a bus from Otefun to Ilorin. From Ilorin to Malete. 

I’m not an ajebutter, we’re in it together. I don’t see the UK as paradise. What I’m telling you is that in Nigeria people are enjoying themselves more than in the UK.

How so?

Let me tell you. If I fail to go to work tomorrow, I might become homeless in the next three weeks. Do you know why? If you don’t go to work you don’t get paid. If you don’t get paid how can you have electricity? Water? Transport? You have to work. Unlike in Nigeria where in some places it’s difficult for NEPA to disconnect you from power. People just make assumptions.

This young man talking to you is coming home to vote. When I was in Nigeria I did giveaways on Fridays on my Twitter and Instagram. 

So you’re coming to Nigeria to vote?

Insha Allah. I’m just waiting for permission from my manager. Once I get it I’m coming home to vote. Let me say that ever since I’ve been in this game of politics I’ve never, in my life, received a penny from any political leader. This is going all the way back to Rauf Aregbesola who I worked for, day and night. Same with Gboyega Oyetola, never collected a penny.

Reno Omokri came to the UK the other day to disrupt Asiwaju’s speech at Chatham House. I know what I brought on the streets (to counter him). All the things I’m doing fall under professional PR work and people pay millions for it. I do it for free, for my country. And I’m not the only one. 

There are other people overseas who are paid millions to support Atiku and Obi and they’re not coming home to vote. Why’s my case different? It’s only when I’m campaigning for BAT that people say I’m enjoying the good life. If I’m enjoying the good life are my parents at home enjoying? We’re middle-class people and I can support my party anywhere I want. That’s my submission on that.

One of Buhari’s legacies is the Electoral Act which he’s received commendation for. Do you think BAT will improve Nigeria’s electoral system if he gets in?

Asiwaju, despite not being president, has fought for democracy. Asiwaju wasn’t president when he fought the PDP in Osun state when Aregbesola was being cheated. He wasn’t president when he helped a PDP governor reclaim his mandate in Oyo state. He doesn’t care what party you belong to, he just wants the rule of law. He’s the only man alive who fought the president for eight years and won.

Are you referring to his time as Lagos state governor and his spat with President Obasanjo over federal allocations?

Yes, with Baba Obasanjo then. Asiwaju respects the law which is why till today there’s no case of corrupt practice against him. I can say this anywhere.

Corrupt practices he’s yet to be found guilty of, you mean

Yes. He was charged by the code of conduct tribunal but they found nothing. Don’t forget this was when OBJ was in power, if he was guilty they’d have nailed him with whatever they had. 

One criticism against the APC is nomination forms are very expensive which makes it hard for youths to take part

At the beginning of this year the party leadership offered a discount. Any youth from 25-35 would get a 50% discount on nomination forms. We also made it free for women contesting. In some instances, some didn’t pay. We have the consensus and direct primaries and depending on whatever’s used some people might not even pay. 

Does the APC have confidence in INEC’s ability to conduct free and fair elections?

President Muhammadu Buhari has provided everything needed for INEC to conduct free and credible elections. In terms of security, the president has pledged to do his best. We experienced it in Ekiti and Osun. So come February 25, I urge everyone to come out and cast their vote. There won’t be any form of intimidation, violence or ballot snatching. I have 99% trust in the leadership of INEC led by Prof. Yakubu.

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