Kayode Salako, is the National Coordinator of Change Agents of Nigeria Network, civil rights activist and the proprietor of Bosworth College International. He is also the husband of actress, Foluke Daramola. He is someone who is after Nigeria’s change and has created a platform on which he can help the government bring that change to reality.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with him and he told us how the journey started…
What does the NGO, Change Agents of Nigeria Network represent?
It is a platform I created in 2011 to call for change that is being enjoyed in Nigeria today. I started calling for that change three months after Jonathan was sworn in as president. I believed that Nigeria deserves change even before Buhari contested for the past of the president.
Change Agents of Nigeria Network, is the movement advocating for a new Nigeria. That new Nigeria is what God gave to Nigerians on Friday, May 29, 2015, through Buhari. What we do in Change Agents of Nigeria Network is we talk, we hold rallies, educate and sensitize Nigerians about the need for change in Nigeria.
Nigerians deserve to live a better life in their country, they deserve uninterrupted power supply, they deserve security, they deserve good education and facilities. If all of these could be in place, then change has begun. We might not have seen the dividends of the change or the way we expect the change to be, but that Nigeria is out of the hands of PDP, then that is the beginning of change because I believe strongly in Buhari. Change Agents of Nigeria Network is a big movement to advocate change in Nigeria.
What is the membership strength of Change Agents of Nigeria Network?
I cannot tell you what the membership strength is per se because I do not want to call out figures but in Change Agents of Nigeria Network, we have a lot of Nigerians. In fact, anybody that believes in the evolution of change, is a change agent and is automatically a member. You do not need to be a card holder.
Who are the key members apart from you and your wife?
We have a lot of people there, myself and my wife and others. I do not want to mention names because if I do, I can offend some people. So, there is no need for mentioning names. The only people everybody knows are just two and they are Olukayode Salako as the National Coordinator and the National Publicity Director, Foluke Daramola-Salako. Others are tAsiwaju Tinubu, a change agent, so he is a member, Fashola is a change agent also, so automatically he is member.
A lot of people said you are not happy with Fashola for not rewarding you after spending about N25 million of Fasholamania Project in 2007?
I have never sat down anywhere to tell anybody that I am not happy with Fashola, because I did not run Fasholamania Project for Fashola to start looking for me or for compensation. Fashola never asked us to form any movement for him, we did it to support the government and to promote the ideals Fashola brought which were of course new. We felt we should stand in support of Fashola and that was what we did. Yes, I spent a lot of money. I thought that by the time we ran it to a certain level, the governor could be attracted to it and would want to identity with us. I did it because I was passionate about Fashola even till date because I love his style of leadership. Any leader who wants to govern Nigeria well cannot do less than what Fashola has done. He handled governance well and I believe such a leader deserves the support from his people but unfortunately, the tradition in Nigeria is that when you run a project to support the government, the expectation everywhere is that the government must do something to compensate you either with money or a contract. My motive behind Fasholamania was just because I loved his style of governance and I felt his government deserved a support movement that will always be there for the government.
Fashola did not identify with me but I am happy I ran Fasholamania to the level I became known. If it were to be money I needed from him, I would have been hanging around the gate of his house or probably the governor’s office. Though I need help and I believe that if I am destined to be great, all I need do is to prove my works to God and He will definitely send helper who will pull me out. I will not go out of my way to start begging him to compensate me. Whatever Fasholamania had done to his government, we did it for the survival of the state.
As an activist, why did you decide to go into academics?
I started as an educationist before going into civil rights activistism. I am not really a civil rights activist, I am more of a commentator, good governance agitator. Though I am an activist. I do not live on that. All I have been doing in activism is to make Nigeria a better place for us. I want to be recognized as one of those who fought for the change in Nigeria to be a reality. For as long as Nigeria is not where she’s supposed to be and I am alive, I will continue to fight for that change until the day I see that Nigeria has gotten to where it should be. Even in my old age, I would leave the legacy behind for the younger ones.
I have been an educationist for 26 years. I have trained a lot of people. In 2007, when Fashola became the governor, that was when I came up with the idea of Change Agents Nigeria Network. I cannot be found where there is no good thing. The PDP offered my wife and I money in dollars, but we refused it because I knew nothing good was going to come out of it.
What do you think about Buhari’s administration, seven months after he got in office?
Nigerians should not expect Buhari to run Nigeria the way previous governments ran it. If they expect him to run it like that, then there is no change. There can only be change when Buhari runs the government different from the expectations of Nigerians. Once we can have leadership that is disciplined, responsible, not materialistic, prudent and has conscience, there is a tendency for change and already we have such leadership. The fundamental principle for achieving change in Nigeria is that, the leadership must have the listed characteristics. PDP ran Nigeria like a zoo, like an animal farm. If leadership is prodigal like Jonathan’s then the resources will only get to a few.
Assessing Buhari’s administration in the past seven months, I must say that I am 100 percent satisfied. I have not seen anything I can criticize about government because the type of Nigeria PDP left behind was a Nigeria that had 1,000 diseases, a Nigeria that was dying. So, for anybody to have expected Buhari to change Nigeria in eight months, such a person is not intelligent. It is just like when you are moving into a new house, you do not just move in and start enjoying the house. The first thing to do is sweep the house, remove cobwebs and then you clean the house with soap, water and mop it up. Next, you call a carpenter to fix necessary things. So, the same thing applies to what Buhari is doing. He has to clean up the mess and the mess was so devastating. So far, Buhari has done well, his ministers are still ever the best, the budget is okay too. 2016 is when he can start implementing the change but in the last seven months he cleaned up the press on ground.
What do you think about the controversies around EFCC and some former officials’ alleged treasury looting?
The current EFCC we have is different from the one Jonathan left behind. This EFCC seems to know where all the looters are. They seem very serious to help Buhari fight corruption. The body language of the president is influencing the current EFCC. The most vibrant politicians are in APC and they are in government of Buhari. As far as I am concerned, EFCC is in order because the people they have been going after are the commonwealth looters.
As a celebrity couple, what is marriage like?
Marriage is a divine arrangement for two people to live together, rub each other’s back and to be partners to each other. The first thing in marriage is conviction. They must be convinced that they are meant for each other. Second, is understanding. They must know each other very well. Third, they must communicate with each other always, they should not hide anything from themselves. This is what has kept me going with Foluke and after that is contentment. The ambition of the wife must not be more than her husband’s. Last, marriage is meant to be enjoyed not endured. As a celebrity couple, we do not use showbiz life to run our marriage, we are enjoying our marriage. Though it is not perfect, I can boast that I am married to one of the best and submissive actresses in Nollywood.
How do you handle all the controversies surrounding your wife and your marriage?
Life itself is controversial. What you did not do, people will say you did, what you did, they will say you are not the one that did it and what you did well they will say you did not do well, likewise what you did not do well, they will praise you. One thing that has sustained my marriage is that we are convinced and I trust her. There is nothing any journalist can write about my wife, that I will believe because the journalist doesn’t know my wife as much as I do so that is how I handle the controversies.
I handle the controversy based on the trust I have for her. I am not an angel and she does not expect me to be an angel. Foluke Daramola knows that I am not a perfect man and nobody should expect that because I am married to Foluke Daramola, I cannot have female friends.