‘Founding Fathers are Responsible for PDP Crisis’

0
 Interview

 

A former Commissioner for Agriculture in Ogun State, Mr. Tunji Akinosi told Femi Ogbonnikan that the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party are responsible for the crisis in the party. He also spoke about the governorship bid of the Yewa/Awori people of Ogun West. Excerpts:
 
As a former South-west zonal youth leader of the PDP, is there any
hope in sight at resolving the current intra-crisis rocking your
party?

I am sure the leaders of the party are trying their best in resolving the problems that we have in the party. I must say, personally, I am disappointed with the so-called leaders of the party. I watched with dismay, the so-called interview Prof Jerry Gana granted. And it was adisappointment on his part as a leader, and the so-called elders of the party, who are supposed to hide themselves or put themselves in a corner and lock themselves up for the disappointment of the 2015.
They were the players that failed us, severally, and they are still the ones that are shamelessly putting this party in disrepute. It is shameful, but I hope, that they have the last ditch of chance to bring this party back. And if they don’t, it would be unfortunate, that the so-called founding fathers that have held various offices and taken so much out of this party to put it back after 16 years.
 
Isn’t what is happening now an ominous sign of the death of the PDP?
Well, like I said earlier, the people that pride themselves as founding fathers and I dare say, the founding fathers have been over-blown and over-rated. If you sit down in Abuja, and say, you are a founding father, I am also a founding member of this party, in my own ward. So, if they had got into the party, like I said, and they want to kill it, there is no problem. Once this party dies, the likes of those leaders, politically are also dead. So, they are digging their graves.
Like I said, there is a tiny light at the end of the tunnel that is still giving us hope, but some of us will not be the ones to lose out if this party dies. If it dies for the purpose of us bringing back a new political party that will be devoid of these traders – those that call themselves leaders –definitely we will take from the Holy Bible, which says, “the dry bone shall rise again”.
 
Aren’t you considering defecting to the oppositionAPC to remain relevant politically?
I have always been telling so many people that relevance is relative. I have never changed party from 1999 till date. I am a founding member of the PDP in my ward and I have been in the PDP ever since. The APCthe people are running to has not got any dime while serving in the current government. And so, I do not need to run into any party. The APC is not a better party in comparison to the PDP, as it were today in Abuja. My senatorial district (Ogun West) has not got anything in terms of development from the APC-led government.
My ward is worse. So, if as it is today, you are asking me, if I am not contemplating join APC, definitely there is nothing I am going to do there. Is it the economy that as today a dollar is N370 from N160 or N180 about a year ago? Is that what would make one happy, that I am moving into another party? No! I have not considered orseen anything that would make one say you are jumping ship even when the PDP, like I said, is in the way it is.

Do you foresee Ogun West producing governor in 2019?
Well, I am from Ogun West Senatorial District as you said, and I have often been telling my people that something good does not come easy. The sentiment of my people saying, “In the last 40 years it has not been our turn”, nobody, even in Churches or Mosques, will ask you to come and be anything on a platter of gold. In 2019, we have foreseen it as a year that the Lord will say it is the turn of Ogun West. But it will not be the turn of Ogun West just like that.
Nobody will just give you like that. Our people that are involved or that have got to be involved in governance and governorship aspiration are supposed to start coming out now. I am certain and I have said it in somequarters, if we have a person of Ogun West extraction that has what it takes. Or what does it take to govern? Everybody that is anybody can be governor. Do you have the financial capability of becoming a governor?
If we are still going cap-in-hand begging somebody in Ogun Central, begging somebody in Ogun East to come and sponsor our own governorship aspiration, then we are not ready for the governorship project. The people of Ogun West that are well-to-do; that are not politicians may want to support their kith and kin to becomegovernor, let them come out and give that support.
But we need a support base, financially. If we have the financial support base, the human support base is there in Ogun West. But the financial support base is what is needed now. Nobody goes to the Ogun Central, nobodygoes to Ogun East and now keeps begging, please come and support us and when we get there, we will give you something. Politics has gone far beyond that. So, I am appealing to our people to leave sentimentapart. Let us put on whatever it is that we want to put on and I think, we should go to the field and fight it out.
 
But do you share the view that the problem of Ogun West is self-inflicted?
No, I do not. There is nothing like self-infliction in the Ogun West
issue. Until we get to the seat of power. I have said it earlier that the current State Government has done nothing in my Senatorial District. If you are interviewing an Ogun Central indigene, he or she will tell you the governor of the state is the best because he is from Ogun Central, and he has done so much for his people. So, until our own person gets onto that seat, we may not have development in our senatorial district.
The military administration and those that have governed the state before 1999 and had the chance of doing us good did not do us good. You have given Ogun West five local governments. You have given Ogun Central six local governments. You have given Ogun East nine local governments. Check out the last census figures of 2006, the difference was between 32, 33, 34. The ratio was32:33:34. So, if that was the ratio in terms of population, in terms of land mass, we are not the least. And why are we the least in terms of the number of local government? But you see, if development has come into egbaland and it has come in to Ijebu/Remo land, the Yewa/Awori too, must not be taken with levity.
We find ourselves in a disadvantaged position in terms of local governments spread. So, in any of the political parties, if we do not negotiate, even when the whole Ogun West citizens say we are supporting our person, and we go to primaries, and in any of the political primaries, we would always not come out tops because if the Egbas say, they want to go with their son, and if the Ijebus say, they want to go with their kith and kin, we would always be the third.
But this is politics now, and that is why I say, let every one of us, stand up and join the fray. I have told my own people that if the party that I am in, God-willing, sparing our lives till 2017, 2018, is not fielding an Ogun West person by the grace of God, I will leave that party and go to any party that is fielding an Ogun West candidate. That is the only way, we should show the people outside, that we are serious. So, it is not self-infliction. It is the way former handlers of the state had designed it.
But this is the time where people design things for you
and you will either say you are redesigning yours or no! If your tailor
says he has designed a cloth for you and you do not want to wear it,
it is either you jettison it or buy another clothing material and
sew another. We have re-sown our cloth in Ogun West. It is now for us to start wearing the cloth the way we have deemed it fit.
 
It is also often said that your kinsmen and women are too timid to take the plunge whenever it comes to healthy competition with aspirants from the two other senatorial district. Is that also not correct?
I disagree with them that we are timid people. We are a people that may not want to take calculated risk. My people don’t like taking risk and that is what we have overcome from 2011 to date. And I dare say that in 2019, you are going to start to see a difference in Ogun West people, I mean, serious-minded people from Ogun West.An Ogun West that will be devoid of partisanship; an Ogun West that will say, for all it takes, all sons and daughters of this senatorial district would come together and form one solid front, to say, we are taking that plunge. It is not timidity.  It has nothing to do with being timid.
 
How about the alleged lack of unity among your people?
The issue of unity is what so many people have talked about. I think we are now more united than ever before. People say lack of unity is borne out of the fact that we are poor, no! I am not a poor person. I am from Ogun West and I am not poor, both financially andintellectually. It does not come to say that is our reason for not being united. Our reason for not being united majorly was borne out of the fact that we do not take ourselves serious.
We think we are a senatorial district of five local governments that if we need help, we should either go to Ijebu to look for help or come to Egbaland to look for help, and things like that. But most of us have learnt now that those that coined the saying: ‘charity begins athome’ were not wrong to have done that. Our own charity is beginning at home now. And I am saying to you, God-willing, God being on our side, in 2019, a Yewa/Awori son, an Ogun West indigene would be thegovernor of Ogun State by the grace of God.
It is also often said that your kinsmen and women are too timid to take the plunge whenever it comes to healthy competition with aspirants from the two other senatorial district. Is that also not correct?
I disagree with them that we are timid people. We are a people thatmay not want to take calculated risk. My people don’t like taking risk and that is what we have overcome from 2011 to date. And I dare say that in 2019, you are going to start to see a difference in Ogun West people, I mean, serious-minded people from Ogun West. An Ogun West that will be devoid of partisanship; an Ogun West thatwill say, for all it takes, all sons and daughters of this senatorialdistrict would come together and form one solid front, to say, we aretaking that plunge. It is not timidity.  It has nothing to do with being timid.
 
How about the alleged lack of unity among your people?
The issue of unity is what so many people have talked about. I thinkwe are now more united than ever before. People say lack of unity isborne out of the fact that we are poor, no! I am not a poor person. Iam from Ogun West and I am not poor, both financially andintellectually. It does not come to say that is our reason for not being united. Our reason for not being united majorly was borne out of the fact that we do not take ourselves serious.
We think we are a senatorial district of five local governments that if we need help, we should either go to Ijebu to look for help or come to Egbaland to look for help, and things like that. But most of us have learnt now that those that coined the saying: ‘charity begins athome’ were not wrong to have done that. Our own charity is beginning at home now. And I am saying to you, God-willing, God being on our side, in 2019, a Yewa/Awori son, an Ogun West indigene would be the governor of Ogun State by the grace of God.