Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caretaker committee chairman in Osun State, Dr Adekunle Akindele, speaks on legal terms before Senator Ademola Adeleke, as he prepares to take over from Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on November 27 and why the party threatened to boycott the coming local council election in the state.
… ‘Why Osun PDP will boycott local council election’
Governor Nyesom Wike said one of the conditions for peace to reign in PDP is for the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorcha Ayu to resign since a Northerner has been elected presidential candidate. What’s your take on this?
I do not agree with Governor Wike. We are now in the middle of the game and we can’t be shifting goal post. We have barely six months to the general elections and at this point in time, Nigerians are actually expecting what we can do to rescue them from the situation they are now. By now, we should concentrate on rigorous campaigns and selling of our manifestoes to Nigerians.
If you want to change the party leadership at the national level now, we are suggesting that you should zone it to Southwest; there are six States in the Southwest and I can tell you for free that if you zone it to Southwest, there are more than two or three persons that will contest for it; that alone is a problem because there will be intrigues, which before you resolve them, it will time.
So, my take on this is that whatever we need to share, let us wait and do that after the presidential election. I am a believer in equity and I know that as it is now, the equilibrium is not balanced but the bigger picture is that at this point in time, Nigeria wants PDP and we have to be very careful to do all that we needed to do, so that we can gain power to rescue the country from the present situation. Those calling for Ayu’s resignation at this point are not sincere and I want to sound a note of warning to some party members that if we are not careful, we are going to play into the hands of the opposition.
APC incumbency. Does that bother your party?
There is no power of incumbency when it comes to the 2023 general elections. We have experimented it in Osun State. Oyetola is the incumbent governor here, Buhari is at the presidency but we were able to defeat them. The point is, Nigerians are sick and tired of APC government at any level, they are ready to kick them out to breath fresh air. The Electoral Act has helped and I want to give credit to the INEC and its Chairman, Prof Mahummud Yakubu for the innovation.
What about Peter Obi whose popularity has been growing, isn’t that a threat to PDP?
Peter Obi is just what we call in local parlance, ‘audio presidential candidate.’ I am not disparaging him, to the best of my knowledge he has no structure and even the state that he governed for eight years, he couldn’t sustain it. At a point he was in APGA and later PDP and now in Labour Party (LP). You could imagine, three parties within a space of a decade. So, he shows some level of inconsistency and outside that, I don’t see him as a serious contender. I would rather advise him to join hands with PDP to rescue Nigerians from the doldrums we find ourselves. He doesn’t have to forsake his presidential ambition; we can work out an alliance. He was in PDP and at a point, the vice-presidential candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. He is now in LP and you could see, he doesn’t need a soothsayer to tell him that he doesn’t have a chance. He is a social media creation. That’s why I said he is an audio presidential candidate. The youths following him are just there talking, but how much of Obi do they know? That’s the truth about it.
Will PDP’s government probe the outgoing administration?
The governor-elect is not vindictive. But the governor is in a position of responsibility and anybody can be called to question at any point in time because there are laws that must be obeyed. It is not a personal thing. He is just a governor of the state holding forth for the period of four to eight years. If any previous government or governor is found wanting, it’s constitutional to ask questions and it’s not personal. The incoming governor or government will not hesitate to do that’s even when Adeleke leaves office, any succeeding government can ask him question.
Are you saying the incoming governor will not give appointment to people who are based outside the state?
Yes, everything about the government of Senator Adeleke has to do with local content. Whatever appointment, whatever contract and the Osun people should do projects in Osun and that’s why I said we have to try as much as possible to avoid capital flight. If you are building a project in Osun, you can’t go to Lagos and buy cement, you can’t go to Ibadan or Akure to go and look for artisans. Osun money should be spent within the state.
What are your expectations from the government of Adeleke?
Within 100 days in office, people should be expecting to see Osun being turned around in all ramifications. Part of the dividends the people should be expecting is prompt payment of salaries of workers because they must be paid their wages, gratuities, construction of infrastructural projects that will drive change and turn around the economy of the state for good. The people should be expecting industries that will drive gainful employment. We will change Osun from civil service state to a viable and industrialised state. With the 5-point key agenda of the administration of Senator Adeleke, agriculture will be revived and farmers and youths will be motivated to go into mechanised farming.
Osun APC is challenging Senator Ademola Adeleke’s victory and at the same time, Prince Dotun Babayemi of the PDP has gone to the Supreme Court to invalidate the nomination of the governor-elect as the candidate of the party. How comfortable is your party?
WE are very comfortable because we are holding on to the overwhelming mandate of the people of Osun. I have said it severally that Governor Oyetola and APC are bad losers and they will keep losing. Senator Adeleke is loved in Osun and he is ready to transform the state. Both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), international and local observers confirmed that the July 16 governorship election was free, fair, peaceful and credible. So, we are not perturbed at all because we know that no one can scuttle the overwhelming support of the people.
For Babayemi, I can’t speak on his issue because he is no longer a member of PDP. He is on his own because he has been expelled by the executive members of his Ward 2, Otun Balogun, Gbongan.
Your party said it will boycott the October 15 local council election in Osun, are you still standing on that threat?
Yes. We won’t partake in illegality because what Oyetola wants to do is against the law. The Electoral Act has given 360 days for notice and if you check the remaining days when the issue of this election was touted, the OSIEC has no constitutional period to prepare for the election. We have already approached the court to prevent this illegality from taking place and I can’t comment on it again. I am very sure that when the government of Senator Adeleke takes over on November 27, he will correct all wrongs.
Is there any of the policies in Governor Gboyega Oyetola that your party will continue with?
I have never seen any good policy in Oyetola’s administration. His policies are retrogressive, they are anti-Osun people, and most of the things they do here is capital flight. Consultants are running the government and these consultants are alien to Osun people, they come from Lagos. So, I have not seen any policy that is good in this administration and obviously, whatever that is not good, I don’t think the incoming administration will adopt it.
What are the expectations of your party (PDP) as the battle shifts to national election come 2023?
The APC candidate and his handlers as we speak don’t even have anything to campaign with. They should be talking about Buhari and Osinbajo’s administration for the last seven and half years, but they keep referring to Lagos State. And when the PDP is talking, they talk about Obasanjo’s era where Atiku was an active participant and major player in that government. You could see what they did, they paid our debt, there was peace, there was adequate security for all Nigerians and things were actually fine and good.
But APC government, instead of campaigning on what Buhari government has done, they will refer you to Lagos State. How many people in Nigeria know what is going on in Lagos? Lagos is just one state out of the 36 states of the federation. So, practically, they don’t have anything to campaign with. And obviously, Nigeria will pay dearly for it if we fall into their hands once again.