Femi Ogbonnikan dialogues with Chief Bode Mustapha on his expectations from the new administration in Ogun State
Unsparing in his words, Chief Bode Mustapha, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ogun State chapter, speaks on the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun as governor. In this interview with Femi Ogbonnikan, Mustapha, former Director-General (DG), Senator Ibikunle Amosun Second term re-election Campaign Organisation, and now a close associate of Abiodun, bares his mind on the expectations of the people of Ogun State from the new governor, the mistakes of the predecessor (Amosun), the cause of the loss of some APC-controlled states to the opposition PDP, among other issues.
What should the people of Ogun State expect from Governor Dapo Abiodun, your close associate?
The governor is like a younger brother to me, not an close associate. Of course, people would expect good governance. They should expect a departure from the past. People should expect well thought out programmes that should be implemented,, not just to waking up in the morning and starting to make construction that makes no sense or building so-called model schools at a minimum of N1 billion each and there are about 26 all over the state and none of them is functioning, none of them is affordable to the ordinary man and they are located in places where if the people don’t take time their children or wards will become victims of abduction and kidnapping. Expectations are high and I just pray that God grants our governor the knowledge, wisdom and understanding to be able to key into expectations of the people of Ogun State.
Which areas would you suggest that the new governor should urgently look into?
I would advise that he should watch all the videos of the electioneering campaign. One is education and the second which is roads, the rural roads, not fancy roads. I remember when we went to campaign in Atan. We had to go through Erunwon, in Ijebuland. I passed a comment, that if a pregnant woman is taken through this road, she would be forced to go into premature labour. It is the same way all over the state. I am glad that the governor wants to bring back the Public Works Department (PWD), like the Ogun State Roads Maintenance Agency (OGROMA). It should be properly handled like when the first and only person handled the OGROMA in this state and did it successfully. If it is handled that same way, it will bring succour back to the people. Education is very key, because it is the life wire of any nation, because those that you educate today are the masters of tomorrow. Without solid education, it is going to be a waste of time. I also heard the governor saying that he plans to train and retrain teachers civil servants which is a very lofty and noble idea and I pray that he is able to push his way.
Health is also important, because health is wealth. I believe, once he can handle those three and, then, shore up the IGR of the state, that is if the N7 billion being touted is real, if he can shore it up or even maintain it, he would be able to do a lot more.
You had a raw deal with the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has the matter been resolved?
What matter is that?
The consultancy fee charge arising from the Paris Club refund…
My lawyers are already taking the matter up, with the immediate past Commissioner for Finance, and I am sure he would find the letter on his desk at the Sterling Bank. I sold all that I had. They have made me stand out in Ogun State. My integrity is at stake. If a man could write a letter, sign a letter and confirm that my company did a job and I have not been paid. And they said they haven’t paid, when we get to court he would prove all of that. Raw deal or no raw deal, I made sacrifices. There were attempts on my life. In fact, the day that the assassination was planned for myself and Prince Dapo Abiodun, I was the one who sorted it out and I had to call Prince Dapo Abiodun. We were coming from Ogun Waterside and I would never forget that day. I told him he should not go to Iperu, because I was told he should not, after I paid a ransom. My office was almost burnt. I lost the chairmanship of the NDIC. I could not careless. If God says I would be chairman of the NDIC or any board I would be. If that was the sacrifice from me to make to ensure that this state was going to come out of servitude, then, it was worth my while. Otherwise, generations yet unborn would spit on my grave, if I had allowed such a charade to happen. How could we choose a governorship and deputy governorship candidates the same day? When primaries take place and primaries are won, then, elders in the party would sit down, put heads together, agree on where to zone the deputy governorship ticket and, then, probably get, three, four, five candidates from there and vet them, in conjunction with the governor-elect and, then, have a running mate. It has never happened. I made up my mind, that over my dead body would it happen. It wasn’t by my power, it was by God’s might. I don’t have the resources that the immediate past governor had. He had his personal resources and he had the resources of the government. He had the machinery of the government, but we have God and God saw us through. I do not and I will never accept injustice. Having done all of that, I have now taken a back seat. I am an elder and I will be 70 early next year. I have played the role that God has assigned me. I stay away from the governor, not because of any misunderstanding or anything, but I believe that, we should all leave him to govern. He has his own mind and let us see what he wants to do. If he calls me for consultation, I will give the advice, very gladly and wilfully. But I will not choke him or run around him or pursue him all over the place, because he is no longer, just Prince Dapo Abiodun, he is now carrying the burden of the whole state as the governor. And he should not be choked.
APC is currently enmeshed in a crisis of confidence whereby the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has been blamed for the loss of some states to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Should Oshiomhole be blamed for the loss?
You can not blame the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. What happened in the last general elections proved that people are idiots in this country. The people should not be taken for granted. A lot of governors, whether still serving, or gone, played god once they get into office. I pray to God that such would not be the portion of our own governor in Ogun State. I would tell you for free. In a state like Bauchi, I was in the National Assembly and I have friends from Bauchi who told me that they would vote for Mr President, but would vote out the governor who was an APC man. I started my political career in Oyo state. For your information, I was a member of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), before we went to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) under Chief Samuel Afolabi to go and support Dr Omololu Oluloyo and to whom I worked very closely. Before the elections, the feelers that I got from Oyo state was that the people were sick and tired of the APC. It cuts across. If you look at a state, like Imo, now, a sitting governor wanted his son in-law to take over from him. It is not a family estate. It was very similar to what happened in Ogun State, for somebody to say he wanted to impose somebody on us. I can tell you for free, that if Senator Ibikunle Amosun had supported Prince Dapo Abiodun, he would have lost the election. In all these states I am talking about, people were sick and tired of somebody claiming monopoly of knowledge and playing god. I believe such persons should be demystified. I have given examples of Bauchi, Oyo, Imo and Ogun states. In the whole Nigeria, there are three regions, and that is a representation of three regions of Nigeria. And that tells you that very soon people will vote their conscience, whoever they believe would serve them right and not vote, just a party. That is the trend. You can not blame the national chairman at all or the national leadership of the party.
Armed banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen attacks are now the order of the day in the country and the ugly trend has been on the doorstep of the APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for being ineffectual. What is your take on this issue of insecurity?
It is only God that can fight insecurity. When you have a society in which the “don’t haves” form 80 percent and the “do haves” form 20 percent, you are playing with fire. When you have a society in which you have youths that are unemployed, then, they become the fertile breeding ground for insecurity and for other societal problems. Also, when you have an economy in which 70 percent of the budget is meant for the recurrent expenditure and 30 percent for capital expenditure, there is a problem. The presidential system of government is too expensive for this country to carry. We can’t afford it. Unfortunately, members of the National Assembly will never agree to amend the constitution to either make their job part-time or change their system to the parliamentary system of government. Until something gives, we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. Not only those in power or place of authority are saying it. It is very worrisome at this point in time. I just pray God grants Mr President and the security agencies the knowledge to navigate what I would call “shark-infested water” of security in this country.
Recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo raised a serious concern over an attempt to Islamize the country, following wanton cases of hersdsmen attack all over the country. In return, Obasanjo has come under scathing attacks. Was the former President not entitled to freedom of speech to express his fears,?
I wouldn’t want to comment on what ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said. I am not in the same political camp with him. I am not with him, politically, but as an elder and as a Baba to me, I will never speak ill of him or say anything against what he said.