A prominent member of the APC in Ogun State, Chief Bode Mustapha, in this interview with Femi Ogbonnikan, said despite his disappointment about a few things in the party, he would remain there for as long as certain credible individuals are there too. Excerpts:
How truthful is the rumour that you and some aggrieved members of the APC have concluded plans to pull out of the party for a new platform?
It is all a lie. If I am happy welcoming Chief Olusegun Osoba back to the APC, why should I pull out? One thing that is important to me is my belief. I am a progressive. As long as the APC remains a progressive party, of course, I would stay in the APC. If the APC moves away from being progressive, I will have no choice than to move away from the party. But as it is today, the party remains a progressive party.
Where you find the likes of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who I know very well; he puts a lot in the NADECO days to fight for this democracy because I also happened to be in exile also for about nine months. And we all knew his (Tinubu) activities while in exile. And the people like him and we have the like of Chief Olusegun Osoba too, who almost got killed in the Abacha days, which again, I was privy to.
I know very well what happened at that time. If they are in that party, I will stay in that party because they are true progressives and they have cut their teeth at being progressives. I have to admit that due to being led astray as a result of misinformation and other reasons, I might have been tempted to go over to the conservative fold to vent my anger, but see what is happening with the PDP. I thank my stars. It was best decision to leave when we did because they don’t have the interest of the masses at heart at all.
But what could have informed this so-called rumour?
I don’t know. People can say whatever they like. At times, some have even carried rumours that I am dead or that somebody did this or somebody died but I think they are simply rumour mongers.
Do you subscribe to the clamour for the shift of power to Ogun West, which has never produced a governor since the creation of the state 40 years ago in 2019?
I support them 150 per cent. You see, if you want to go into equity, you go with clean hands. As an Egba man, I will never have accepted, if since the creation of this state 40 years ago, if an Egba person had not been governor. From Egba, we have had an elected governor. We have Chief Olusegun Osoba, who is from Egba. We now have the incumbent, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who is from Egbaland from Ogun East.
I don’t believe in anything called RIYE (Remo, Ijebu, Yewa and Egba). There is nothing called RIYE. To me, it is a scam. The constitution recommends three senatorial districts. Ogun East senatorial district has produced Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, of blessed memory, and it has produced Otunba Gbenga Daniel, but Ogun West has never produced a governor of this state. Why should they not produce the next governor? I am a believer in Ogun West getting the governorship slot. And God sparing our lives, whatever it takes me to give them support, whatever little support, I can give them, I will give to them.
An area that has produced the likes of the late Chief Jonathan Odebiyi, the late Dr. Tunji Otegbeye, Dr. Samuel Ayinde Ibikunle, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola, the late Prof Abimbola Olabimtan, Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, Prof Anthony Asiwaju and many more. Do you want to say they don’t have capable people? Please, nobody should claim monopoly of knowledge. Our senatorial district, Ogun Central, and Ogun East should please not play at having a monopoly of knowledge.
Are you saying if Ogun West candidate emerges in the 2019 governorship contest, you would throw your total support to the candidate, regardless of where he or she is coming from?
First of all, I would analyse who the person is. You see, you can’t just jump into bed with any person. Therefore, I would have to analyse the person first. I would discuss with him. How is he going to rule this state? What is to become of the political class under him? Are they to be marginalised as we have noticed in this state? Is he going to come back and tell us, yes I am bringing technocrats from London and United States of America or from Canada?
Or is it those people who offered to work for him that will be recognised and work with him? What is his stake in respect of the party, because what I am trying to say is that we should respect the party? So, he has to tell me about his stake on the issue of the party. I am not saying he should take my ideas and suggestions hook, line and sinker, but let us sit down and dialogue. And of course, some of those things, he will have to put them into writing.
What is your take on the current agitation for restructuring of the country?
I believe, definitely Nigeria needs to be restructured. I have no doubt in my mind about that everybody is asking for it. Everybody needs it. We may not restructure immediately but we must set it in motion.