Adetokunbo Olufela Durotoye, a public speaker and leadership coach last week announced his membership of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) under whose platform he aspires to contest the 2019 presidential election. He spoke with journalists on his desire for a new Nigeria and other issues. Here’s Fela Durotoye interview excerpts:
You are known as a public speaker and leadership coach. How does it feel to be a politician?
I know what it is to be a technotician, which is what we are in ANN. I don’t know whether I will need to learn what it means to be a politician but we are technocrats here and technoticians who have a deep understanding of political structures and realities and we also are not just focused on politics and the power of it but really the deliverance of good governance for the benefit of the people. So, I know what it means to be a technotician.
What is your background and professional calling?
I am professionally a business management consultant. My focus is business strategy and my area of specialty is on corporate transformation. I started my professional career in 1992 as an investment manager and consultant with focus on venture capital and project finance. I worked with Ventures and Trusts Limited that time the sole investment consultant to the European Investment Bank. Thereafter, I went to an MBA. Then I came back and joined a company called Phillips Consulting. I worked in the Total Quality Management Unit and then I went on to set up a customer service unit.
From Phillips Consulting, I eventually set up my own consulting firm called VIP Consulting and we focus mostly on service delivery, performance management and over time into service culture delivery and that is how companies begin to do culture transformation. So, that is the journey of my professional career. I think that the whole concept of motivational speaker has come from just my natural style of delivery. Even if I’m teaching on business strategy or customer management, people say ‘ I am so inspired’.
The world came to know me more as a motivational speaker because when they see me on public platforms, that is what I am trying to do. To inspire a generation that is going to believe in Nigeria; to inspire a generation to believe that we can build a new Nigeria; to accept the responsibility to build it and to actually go ahead to do what we can to build it.
What about your followers, are they ready to go with you on this journey?
I believe that many people who have followed me are leaders in their own rights. I believe that we are all concerned about the well-being of Nigeria, but most importantly, we share the same values and our passion for good governance and the understanding that we need political parties that are truly free and fair in terms of democratic processes.
I didn’t take the decision to come to ANN by myself , it was a collaborative decision after we had evaluated several platforms and we had collectively determined that ANN is the platform. So, while you see me here, there are many other people, in fact quite a few tens of thousands at the very least who have joined the ANN and will be joining the ANN immediately.
The general impression out there is that you are eyeing the presidency in 2019. How true is that?
I do aspire to serve my nation and I believe that to be able to do the most that I can, it will require that we have the kind of leadership for the nation that I believe I can offer in terms of priority of vision, in terms of a set of clear values that can bring about the kind of behaviour and culture of a new Nigeria.
More importantly, in terms of the fact that I am someone who has spent the most of my life helping others build their businesses, find their careers, and I don’t know if there is any other platform that will enable me serve the people as well as possible as the presidency. So, I am grateful to Nigerians for their encouragement and if my party, ANN gives me the nomination, I will be honoured to serve my people as president.
Are you led of God to seek the presidency?
I am a child of God and I think that is the highest calling that anybody can have. As a child of God that is led by the spirit of God to not only share the good news, but the fact that God desires for each and everyone of us to fulfill the mandate for which we are created and to share the good news of salvation unto every man.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to constantly share, and I share not only in churches but I share on every platforms, including religious platforms. I have been invited even by people of other faith. The principles of God are quite simple and they apply to all. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have always received to share my faith and the principles that we require to all succeed as God wants to.
Don’t you think your political involvement will now make you compromise your time-tested principles?
I have always said that I believe that the only thing that we hold valuable, most priceless are our values. I share with my team that on this journey, by the grace of God, I will not have to compromise about this. I said if I have to compromise on my values and I lose my values and identity to win an election, then i have still lost everything. And it will be worse still if you compromise on your values and then lost the election because that could be a tragedy.
But I believe very strongly that it is possible for us to hold on the values that we profess and still be able to win an election because there are more people who value people like me. There are people out there of all tribes and societies who want people of integrity to manage the affairs of our country.
People who will not steal, people who are faithful in their commitment to their duty, people who hold excellence and professionalism as a value, there are people who truly value people like myself. And once people like me step out there and join with other people who are like me but have already gone ahead of me, I believe we will not have to compromise our values to win this election.
You want to aspire for presidency under ANN, if after the primaries you are not chosen by delegates, will you abandon the party?
Of course not! Especially if the party has and carries out its promise which we have checked out, of truly free and fair democratic elections. It will be my joy to see the best candidate emerge from all the list of aspirants. My commitment is to a new Nigeria, not just an elected office.