Aare Barrister Oladotun Hassan, a trained lawyer and the National President Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide, an organization that is affiliated to the umbrella body of Yoruba Council Worldwide (Igbimo Apapo Yoruba L’agbaye) which also has the Women Wing that is the Council of Yoruba Women Worldwide. The organization is a body that is projected on development, peace and unity of not just Yoruba land but of the entire Nigeria, Africa and Global community.
The vision and ethos of Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide is centered on righteousness that is Omoluabi Ethos in Yorubaland and the projection of dividends of democracy, ensuring good governance and how best it can stabilize the society.
The Council also passes the right message on the projection of Yoruba culture and heritage and believing that with right message the world can go round peacefully, which is its key fundamental goal. This council has been in existence since 18th March, 1999.
In this exclusive interview with ISAAC IFEANYI AGWAZIM, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of TOP SOCIETY MAGAZINE, Aare Hassan spoke exclusively and more widely on the council affairs, Nigeria and youth related issues. Enjoy your reading:
As a youth advocate, considering the fact that youth of today doesn’t want to work, but wants to make it big by all cost, what are the morals words towards impacting their lives?
Actually, there is a whole lot of moral decadence in our society, there is a whole lot of degradation of values even from the families, from the home front a lot of degradation have really affected the delinquencies especially from the juvenile, we have a lot of juvenile even from that age of adolescence. Nowadays, we call it ‘civilization but I call it corruptive elements that have really affected our society. From the entertainment, the visuals that are being displayed, the kind of music youths listen to today, these are influential.
They are the society changers that have really corrupted the minds and we are finding it difficult even no matter how we try to speak out. I could recall that when we were growing up there are several interesting yet educative programmes like Speak Out, Feyikogbon, Tales by Moonlight and more, People watch and listen, you grow with the programmes. But sadly, nowadays you listen to different musicals that have really pulled us behind.
So, that is one of the things we are centred on. In Yorubaland today, we are projecting virtuousness and how best you will be able to portray a good character, you know, character teachings and things like that. We are doing a lot on that and that is why we organize the World Omoluabi Day and several other programmes in the area of projecting the Omoluabi identity.
The first edition was at Ile-Ife on the 21st of May, 2019 and the second edition, we had a visual conference due to COVID-19 and thankfully, a whole lot of people have been keying into the vision and we know achieving it in a day is not a dash, but we also know that with other great minds, we can achieve the projection of the vision we are having today.
Looking at today’s politics, just few days past Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu felt disappointed of being used and dumped by the APC and the powers in Aso Rock, rumours have being flying of his intention to float another political party. However the pendulum may swing, will the Yoruba youths give him their full support?
Let me add something first, as the leader of the Yoruba Youths Worldwide, I would like to emphasize that our organization is not a political party though we promote political ideologies, we project good governance, we project political participation and we want the youths to get involved but we don’t dictate to the level of having totalitarian decision, we are not despotic on what we want youths to learn as far as politics is concerned but needless to say, whoever within the region that has an interest in serving the people, we would look at the person, we would vet and we would also have interface to ensure that the person is really prepared.
Politics is about preparation, it’s about being principled, it’s about having what it takes to lead and these are key areas we look at. In view of what is going on in the All Progressives Congress today, we don’t have to look at the political players but the people who are affected, the citizens are more disappointed because we expected more from the APC based on their change mantra, than what we are seeing or witnessing. What we were looking for, we are getting worse than the PDP, it’s more or less the kettle calling pot black, it’s more or less the shade of black and gray, it’s more or less to say if there is no political ideology, we cannot move the nation forward. It’s more or less we have a political association, an assemblage of people calling under the toga of political party without any ideology that would impact positively in the lives of the people and that is why the All Progressives Congress is more keen for power than governance.
Governance is now lacking and that is why if they brought governance to forth, the political party will not be suffering the ailment its suffering today. Asiwaju invested more than any other person in the projection, development, maintenance and establishment of that party. Irrespective of the fact that the party came in from the amalgam of APP, CPC, APGA and politicians who I refer to as chameleons in coat when they come under the same political umbrella, they all synergize to the colouration of where they belong to.
APC is just a train that carries the good, the bad and the ugly. They don’t know the kind of people they want to join the party and that is why a lot of people fell by the way side and people are still falling every day.
For it not to end like a Things Fall Apart, where the centre holds no ground, the centre of the political base that we are currently facing today, what the party needs to do is not the reconciliation they are talking about, the party needs restitution. The party needs to cleanse itself. I wonder why the party should be yearning for reconciliation. Asiwaju was announced as the Chairman of the Reconciliatory committee of the party last year and funny enough, the same person they recognize as the reconciliatory chairman is the same person they are reconciling with this year. What kind of ideology is that? But if the party is leaning on ideology, if the party has its principles and ethos, and they follow their constitution to the letter, pull themselves together and talk right senses into themselves and brace up to the yearnings of Nigerians, they’ve left Nigerians off their attention and they are more concerned about the amount of dollars, amount of appointments that go into their regions, the amount of annexing wealth for individual few oligarchies at the expense of over 200 million Nigerians.
From the East, from the North East, the West, the South-South every space as far as Nigerian is concerned is suffering, we are more or less in an intensive care unit that there is no hope for survival except God intervenes and I know the way APC is going about their own situation is because they are not following the rule of law.
The president has no such powers to disband his political party. It is too inimical if somebody is saying that, and as far as I am concerned, this is a democratic setting, we are not under military where you use veto power to deliver your decisions.
Decision of a political party is done under a convention. It is only another convention that can disband a political party through all the NEC or NWC of the party. It is not that the party’s meeting should be done in the government house. It is a political party, you go to the party’s secretariat and decide. The venue of that decision itself is an aberration and if you don’t call things to order, we would continue to lean on the wrong side of the law needless to say, Asiwaju is not carrying people from his own side along, we must let him understand that he has fallen apart with lots of his protégés, he thinks nobody is ready to tell him the truth.
A lot of elders in Afenifere said that Asiwaju was riding on a Lion’s back when he was bringing the President in, but as politicians, they hide a lot of things inside of them, they pretend a lot. Whereby they are going through pains, they would still be telling you they are going through happiness. So, the essence of Asiwaju floating a new party is more or less consolidating on failures. But why not let us come together.
You stressed yourself for over three years to form the All Progressives Congress, how many years are you going to stress up again to form another political alliance? Must every table be destroyed because you cannot achieve anything on it and form a new table? No, you need to come to the drawing board.
If the political party is going on brim of breaking away at the level they are now, they need to come for reconciliation as I said because the reconciler is a judge in his own course. Somebody that has been appointed, somebody with appointment could not reconcile because he is the genesis of the challenge of that ailment. So Asiwaju really needs to free his political ambition first.
If he needs Nigeria, the time that we are in now is not the time for political campaign. For 2023, it is only God that determines the future. Asiwaju needs to add to his words. A central fact finding committee must be set up immediately and urgently whereby every governor of the APC must be ready to release the allowance for that fact finding mission to do things together, resolve grey areas and ensure that the party constitution needs to be followed to the latter for they must key into it together.
There must be a central rekindling of the party affairs. They setting up of that committee must cut across all boards. The committee must firstly revert those things that have put the party on its wrong footings because if they go on any convention, by virtue of the way President Muhammadu Buhari disbanded the NWC, if anybody had to go to court, the judiciary will be the determinant of their fate, whereby exploiting their internal mechanism diligently and politely would make them achieve a lot.
But if they still insist to stick to their guns, I bet you the party’s situation might be more disastrous and the centre might not be able to hold and even the smallest of every ward in the political party would suffer for it. Let me alert Nigerians that the way we survive PDP’s implosion may not be the way we would survive APC’s implosion.
Definitely, our hands must be on deck for us not to see APC implosion as an inevitable incidence but it must be an avertable curse and every Nigerian must be ready to see to it that is if we must survive democracy, it must be continual.
The party must not be to instigate a crisis or war, the party has being able to promote some inimical issues among every border line from different ethnic groups. The Northerners are more in governance today than the Southerners.
A lot of appointments are being shielded even some key Northern elders are complaining that it’s not that this government is more centralized to the North, daily it’s like a floodgate is being opened and if there is no share of balancing, I quote from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s statement that if you are not ready to live with your neighbor, meaning other regions, don’t think of going into power.
This means if you are not ready to share the same bed or to sleep on the same bed with your allies of other regions, don’t think of seeking for power. The people at the helms of affairs are not ready to accommodate themselves, the Igbos are not ready to accommodate other regions, they believe they hold the key positions and they are deceiving themselves because the things you got on a platter of gold would soon vanish and those are the things we want them to learn.
I also want to urge Asiwaju that he is the leader of the party. He should be the one going around and not them coming to meet him because that is the duty of a national leader. He needs to act on that leadership position and he needs to sacrifice a lot. Even if it is going to cost him his political ambition for Nigeria to survive, his name would be written in gold.
Not that his ambition will unite the nation, but he can also achieve more if he brings everybody together, heal every wound and ensure that Nigeria comes first in all these things we are doing and believe me, we are going to achieve greater exploits.
As a legal practitioner, do you agree with me that our judiciary system has been hijacked by politicians?
I would want to really say that the judiciary, the executive, the legislature are in an island of failure, and in an Island of defeat, everybody on that Island are boards of the same feather, yes the judiciary is trying its beats, but look at the height of executive rascality that behold the former CJN, the way the coup was drafted.
The judiciary is just a collection of some men wearing some wigs to do the abracadabra, a kind of unforeseen magic the way they ease out the CJN and the height of political coup and surprisingly, we are learning, Nigeria is a wounded Lion that is just surviving but, the judiciary is not about the lawyers alone, it’s an amalgam of everybody, the plaintiff and the defendants are all participants of the judiciary.
If the plaintiff brings a case and wants the judiciary to help him cement it very well, and it’s properly done, we would not be at where we are. The fact remains that Nigeria needs total cleansing, the restructuring is not about breaking the nation, it’s about ensuring that the right thing is done, it’s about ensuring that the right people, the right perspective and everybody is being led by the law.
Looking at the recent rate of internet frauds being perpetuated by youths in the country, most especially the case of the arrested Hushpuppi, what message would you pass to the youths of these days who wants to make it through shortcuts?
You know, poverty begets a whole lot of children. It’s not just about economic poverty, its poverty of the mind. Poverty of the mind comes with a whole lot of issues, it is one of the things that led the likes of Hushpuppi and other internet fraudsters who have brought lots of damages into our image as a nation.
Nigeria has been battered before now that it is a ground for breeding criminals. If care is not taken, internet fraud might become a culture, it’s now becoming a systemic issue.
We cannot keep silence. It’s about national orientation of Nigeria to come out with loud voice now and begin to do documentaries and raise opinions and values for changers and models that the nation would keep reading about because we cannot learn about money without learning about values.
I remember when we were growing up in school there was moral instructions. Our pastors must pull down the messages of prosperity at all cost because it’s really costing us as a nation. Messages from our religious leaders must change. Value orientation is the key for society to live aright and I think that is the best way as far as this country is about.
What is your general message or advice to the youths?
My first message is, be yourself, obey your parents, be law abiding, be a good citizen and have a good character and that is what Yoruba call Omoluabi. With all that, we can achieve the best for our nation. Thank you very much.