Chief, a legal practitioner is a former gubernatorial candidate in Osun State. In thisinterview with Omololu Ogunmade, he spoke on issues of national importance
With the APC coming on board, don’t you think the chances of the PDP retaining power in 2014 are seriously threatened?
You know APC is still a long way from surmounting the registration and functioning as one party (as against three and a half) hurdles amongst several other hurdles ahead of them. But assuming they get all that right (which I doubt), a lot depends on the candidate that PDP and APC field. I think we can all make an educated guess on who is likely to be the PDP candidate but APC is still everybody’s guess. Should APC present General (Muhammadu) Buhari, PDP will win by a landslide.
However, if they can come up with a less controversial candidate that is acceptable to the Christian and Moslem North and majority of Nigerians coupled with a popular and acceptable running mate from the South-west, then we’d have a real fight on our hands. If I were the APC, I wouldn’t rule out toying with the idea of a Christian Northerner and Moslem South-westerner like (Babatunde) Fashola.
What is your take on the state of emergency declared by President Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States?
In Law, we say Res Ipsa Loquitor which means the facts speak for themselves. I don’t think anyone can argue that the incidences of Boko Haram and other terrorist attacks have reduced drastically. Also, gauging the mood of the nation, all but the most hateful, malicious and resentful of the President’s critic think otherwise. I believe the response to General Buhari’s interview where he criticised the state of emergency on Liberty Radio was a conclusive proof that he was on his own on that track. You know some people just can’t bring themselves to commend their opponents even when they do what is right.
Governance in Nigeria is at its lowest ebb with little or no benefit accruing to the people. With poverty on the increase, is there really hope for the masses?
That’s a good question. You will agree with me that bad governance in Nigeria has been an equal opportunity employer. It is not the issue of party to be specific. You have good governors in all the parties just like you have bad governors in all the parties. Unfortunately, the mass media, either out of intellectual laziness, partisanship or inducements, fail to carry out any critical analysis on governors and local governments. They would all rather focus on the president as if it is only the president that is governing the country. There are 36 states as well as the 774 local governments. None of them see celebrating the construction of flyovers which is an everyday thing in Lagos and many other states outside the South-west as mundane. They concentrate their energies on the goings-on in the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (which to my mind is an inconsequential appendage of government) at the expense of serious issues.
I have had the privilege of attending at least two small meetings with the President and I find in him a humble, God fearing man who is not motivated by money and with the very best intentions for the nation. That is not to say like every other human being that he doesn’t have his own failings. Now, we can all join hands and assist him in moving this nation forward or we can spend our time (like some people and some sections of the media do) seeing nothing good in him and constantly denigrating him. I personally cannot remember a government that is freer in allowing you to complain and faster in trying to proffer at least an answer, if not a solution to your complaints.
Your party in the South-west is in disarray. Is this not a sign of a looming failure for the party both in the 2014 and 2015 elections?
All the PDP has to do is to present credible and loved candidates in the next elections and we will regain the South-west. Most ACN governments in the South-west have disappointed even their most ardent supporters. So, not only will the choice of such persons heal and unify the party, it will give the populace something to cheer about and look forward to. Unfortunately, the system as it is tends to throw up divisive characters. We all know how very big money tends to be made in this country and because the party primaries tend to be almost entirely about money, the best candidates hardly ever emerge.
Unfortunately, apart from Lagos State which I believe has come up with a winning formula; all other states are just paying lips’ service to this serious issue and playing to the gallery.
Many are of the belief that your governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, is performing. Do you have a contrary opinion?
Now, that is one governor who has elevated propaganda, demagoguery and dissemination of falsehood to an art form. His is not government unusual, but government abnormal. Let’s take his latest gambit - the Computer Tablet or Notebook that he calls Opon-Imo, meaning Knowledge Tablet or Notebook. He claimed it was the first in Nigeria and Africa. But former Vice President Atiku Abubakar exposed that lie when he said they’d been using it in his schools in Yola at the primary, secondary and university levels for years.