Dr. Olusegun Osinkolu, a Switzerland Management University-trained politician is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State. In this interview with Olakiitan Victor, he said Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has lost grip of governance in the state. Excerpts:
You have declared intention for 2019 senatorial contest. Why now when INEC has not opened up the space?
2019 seems long, but by my own nature and being a grassroots politician, I love proper planning. I don’t like jumping into things like other politicians, who never prepared for a seat and when they get there, they start wobbling and fumbling. As you know that INEC has not lifted ban on open campaign, but I have started empowering my people in all the five local governments in Ekiti North senatorial district. I started this journey seven years ago, but I am not particularly happy that our party primary elections had not been fair. This is my third time and I may be lucky this time.
Apart from being a thorough party man, I know all the nooks and crannies of Ekiti. And whoever knows that he is strong and acceptable to the people should come out. The era, where few leaders would just sit somewhere and impose candidates is over. APC is a new party with new ideas and with the mantra of change and new way of doing things. Let the best come out to represent us at the National Assembly and that was why I had declared my intention to represent the good people of Ekiti North senatorial district at the Senate.
What do you think cost you the senatorial ticket in the past?
I have been pursuing this ticket for about eight years and I am yet to know why I have been denied despite my popularity. But one thing has always come to my mind and that was the widespread impression among some leaders that I was not known at home. Some even called me foreigner even in my own state. Some said I am too young at that time and now I am over 50. But in 2019, the people of Ekiti North will decide their own fate. Enough of these intrigues by few leaders, who will sit somewhere and say: ‘This is the position of the party’. We will no longer accept such anti-democratic behaviour.
Are you not afraid of Governor Fayose’s popularity because he has always been the one winning elections for PDP?
I can authoritatively tell you that I will defeat whoever PDP presents even if my brother, Governor Ayodele Fayose is in the saddle, but unfortunately, he will leave by 2018. With the kind of politics I play, even the PDP members will vote for me. They know my antecedents as someone, who doesn’t discriminate or display bitterness based on your political affiliation. Apart from that, go to the streets of Ekiti today, Fayose no longer enjoys any popularity like in 2014. His popularity has waned considerably because of his character, anti-people policies and lack of understanding of principles and practice of governance. What I expect is for the APC to do the right thing, which is to present the right candidate and if this is done, I foresee no problem at all.
Do you factor in the interest of the likes of former Governors Kayode Fayemi, Segun Oni and Niyi Adebayo into your ambition?
As much as I agree that these three personalities are our leaders and I believe their opinions and the unity among them really matters, I also want you to know that democracy is about the people. The people made the leaders because they allowed them to be. They didn’t impose themselves as leaders, the people made them and they would listen to whatever the people want. But I want to confirm to you today that there is no division in APC. APC is now one big family and what we expect is for the party to conduct congress, so that all interests can be protected.
Ekiti has been in turmoil for some days because of the government/workers’ unrest. How do you feel about this development as a leader?
This is a very disappointing situation. Governor Fayose must own up that he has failed with the way he handled the labour unrest. I have been following events very closely and what I realised is that I saw a governor, who is not ready for peace or dialogue. The governor must be conscious of one thing, which is the fact that there is no excuse in governance. Whether the amount accruing to the state was enough to pay salaries or not, he should find a way to pay workers their wages.