THE political topsy-turvy in Osun PDP occasioned by the removal of former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as national secretary of the PDP appears to be threatening the peace and cohesion in the state’s chapter of the party. What do you think is your chance with this crisis?
The crisis does not augur well for the PDP. The truth of the matter is even though most of us in the PDP often say that Justice Ayo Salami’s Appeal Court brought Rauf Aregbesola to government, the situation on ground since that time has changed. After you have had a governor in situ for three years and with the APC machinery, then anyone who says they will be sleeping is in a state of self-delusion. Whether we like it or not, the only chance left for the PDP to unseat this government is through cohesion and unity; all the aspirants and people like Oyinlola and all the party elders must work together. Anything short of that will be calamitous for the PDP at the gubernatorial election.
From the way things are, there seems to be no solution in sight.
Unfortunately so, and that is what is bothering me. I would have thought that with the Appeal Court judgment that there would be an attempt at reconciliation. I also think that, that judgment that reinstated Oyinlola would make the Osun State wing of the PDP to strenuously go round Abuja to appeal to them because what Osun was saying was that we would not want the position of National Secretary to elude the state and Oyinlola happens to come from the state, anyway. I would have thought that in the interest of Osun State and South-West PDP, for us to have peace, we should embrace Oyinlola back into the mainstream PDP. So, what many of us should be doing in Abuja is to appeal to the leadership for reconciliation because it is through reconciliation that the PDP can have a chance in the South-West. Anything short of that will not augur well for Osun and the South-West in the next election.
I was at the burial of Alhaji Ademola Razak (Landero), the immediate past chairman of the PDP in the state and his death brought together many members of the PDP such as past governorship aspirants such as Prince Oyinlola, Senator Olu Alabi, Chief Abiola Morakinyo and so on from all factions and different tendencies within the party. I couldn’t but hope that even though Landero will be greatly missed by us all, it would be appropriate if our mourning a departed chairman serves as an elixir to bring about better rapprochement, less rancour, understanding and cooperation within the PDP family in Osun State. That can only be better for the PDP, the polity, Osun and Nigeria.
You seem to have a high hope in your party; but don’t you sense that the end might have come for the PDP with the emergence of the PDM, the new PDP and the G-7 governors’ struggle?
I am not that pessimistic and I cannot afford to be if I am still in politics. That is why I am using the word reconciliation. Of course, you are right, even without all these crises, it is going to be a tough battle for the party at the elections and so with these polarisations we are not better off; that is why people like me are objective. I always make a distinction about politicians; there are these characters in politics who are professional politicians and the only thing they know is running around and telling lies to make themselves important so long as that will bring them personal gratification or notification. But if we are talking in terms of the party and the interest of the party and that of President Goodluck Jonathan, whom I support, then there must be cohesiveness in the PDP of the South-West because if we are united, the chances of the president are higher and so are our chances of winning in the South-West.
You said something about the interest of the president, whom you said you support but it is that same reported second term interest that is tearing your party apart. Don’t you feel that in the interest of peace, Jonathan should not run for second term?
Well, since you are asking me, I don’t think so. What I think is that in the interest of peace, those who are saying he should not contest should also have a rethink. Because it is not President Jonathan or you and I that forced him on us but circumstances beyond us all put him on the seat. Since he is there, he should be given a second chance. The PDP machinery should support and we should try and sell him to the Nigerians because they have the final say and he won the last election because they wanted him. I believe that if we all work together and we are not seen as factions, they will support him for a second time and after then it can go to another zone. I am not unaware of the zonal tendencies but we cannot just wish a sitting president away; he has the political and moral rights to seek a second term. If the arguments were that he is not performing well, one can listen to it but people are saying it must go to the North; I don’t share that view. The president should be allowed to run for a second term but having said that, it does not mean that those agitating cannot contest and if the president wins the primary, we should all support him.
You said it would have been different if the allegation was that the president has not performed well. But that is the position in many quarters. Do you think he has performed to deserve a second term?
There is a media hype about the president not performing but I can tell you categorically and objectively that he is performing. There is a lot improvement in the power generation sector and I keep telling people that the power sector transformation will take time. The man is putting in a lot more funds into education than any previous government but it is not showing because there had been so much decadence before he came in. More funds have gone into the aviation sector with renovation and improvements of airports to show for that. I passionately support President Jonathan to have a second chance at the presidency, and these are several other reasons; the Ministry of Works & FERMA are doing better now on our roads than before.
This President is also committed to democratic tendencies; look at his step on national dialogue and the rapport with the National Assembly.
Off course, I will like to see a more vigorous and rigorous commitment to anti-corruption crusade because corruption is not helping the image of our country locally and internationally but I hope you agree with me that corruption is like a cancer and in Oncology, we recognise cancer is not as easily managed as some bacterial infections which easily succumbs to the right antibiotics.
I am also not unaware of terrorism in the North-East, anybody who had doubts about the international connections of Boko Haram and Ansaru groups must now dispel such fears in view of the recent revelations from United States’ and other foreign countries’ reclassification of these groups.
Unfortunately because they operate within Nigeria, Mr President as Commander-in-Chief cannot order a full scale frontal attack on them because he has to be mindful of the lots of innocent law-abiding Nigerians who reside in those areas.
The opposition APC is going places, people call them progressives, some say they are the change Nigeria needs and the party is galvanising different and hitherto opposing interests, especially in the North. Don’t you see them as a threat?
I am not oblivious of the fact that they are a threat, I am an intellectual and I know that APC is a threat and that is why I am saying PDP must be more cohesive; we must unite. But then, when people call them progressives I just laugh. APC is an amalgam of strange bedfellows but it is convenient for them to call themselves progressives because Nigerians like catch phrases. The truth is, it is an amalgam of the most retrogressive and most reactionary people and few progressives.