The Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State of Osun, Prince Bola Ajao, talks about the party’s perception on Governor AdegboyegaOyetola’s administration, the internal crisis rocking the party, among other issues in this interview with OSUN DEFENDER. Excerpt:
IT is over a year that we held the
governorship election in the state of
Osun. How have you been feeling, losing the election and the legal battle to the APC candidate, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola?
It is over a year that we had that election. To us in the PDP, it was a major political robbery and you will agree with me that the tribunal that was saddled with the responsibility of looking into the election petition did affirm that the PDP won that election, only for some legal somersaults or sort of to come into play. For us, to say that a judge did not come on a particular date of hearing for the particular matter even when the universal laws that govern sittings and meetings provide for a quorum were there, is unacceptable. The quorum was formed and the sitting of that particular day was judicially put in place, only for them to say that Justice Obiora was not on seat. It is all history now, it has come and gone and we have come to realize that life is a continuum. There is saying that statesmen always look forward to the next generation while politicians look forward to the next election. We are looking forward to the next elections which is barely three years from now as a political party and that is one major duty we have to do. By and large, election has come and gone, our nation and state must continue to thrive. Osun State must continue and we as a political party must continue to be looking forward to the next elections.
Your party is enmeshed in internal crisis, is it because you are preparing for the next governorship election?
There is internal crisis everywhere. It is just the dynamic life. Sometimes you can even disagree with yourself on what you want to do as a human being. The dynamics of life is nothing unusual. But when people are together, there can be some form of disagreement. With all sense of responsibility, I can tell you that there is no conflict or internal crisis in the PDP as far as Osun State is concerned. I would not subscribe wholeheartedly to the insinuation that there is Adeleke faction and Ogunbiyifaction. I would only want to see it as mild. It is not as serious as that. You can say we have the Ogunbiyi tendency or the Adeleketendency but there are no such factions within the party. It is natural that leaders of thought and opinion can subscribe and align to their kind of leadership, but as a party, we are empowered to streamline all of these tendencies and move ahead with things that will be in the interest of all party members.
How would you assess Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’s one year administration?
In all honesty, I would say with all sense of responsibility and decorum that this government is yet to takeoff.
There is no very positive signal that we have government in place. As far as we are concerned, there are no indicators to show that we have a functional government that is performing in place. Unemployment is on the rise, insecurity is something else, and hunger is ravaging the people of the state. If you say the governor is paying full salary, are you saying he has cleared all the backlog of salaries owed workers in the state? We have a gargantuan debt profile that is about N200 billion and that is hampering the effective takeoff of this government. These are the indices that we have at hand that make us to come to the conclusion that this government is yet to take off functionally.
It is expected that your party, being an opposition party would not see any good in the APC government. How sincere are you on your assessment?
Opinion can differ from individuals to tendencies and backgrounds but facts can be very sacred. The fact of the matter is that our people are still wallowing in abject poverty. We have a debt profile that is beyond redemption that generation of 20-30 years to come still have to pay. That shows that we have got a lot in our hands to pay. We are not talking politics here, we are talking about governance. My brother, there is poverty in the land. That is a fact.
The APC Chairman, Prince Gboyega Famodun describes your party as a social media party and a platform for contesting elections. How will you react to this assertion?
It is to be expected from the state chairman of the ruling party. With due respect, the APC chairman has a right to his opinion, but I want to believe that he does not mean what he said. We have been competing the political space in Osun with his party. How would somebody call a party that has National and State Assembly members and are very rooted in the state a social media party? We have been giving constructive criticism to the government, and I must let you know that we have a party and a government in the state and in the federal level that its’ political or democratic credentials are abysmally poor. Look at the elections we had in Osun, was that an election? PDP won that election square and fair, only for INEC to draw up rules and inconclusive elections to be thrown up, and for the APC to be bringing political thugs to scare our people and intimidate them in places where the rerun election took place. Look at what happened in Kogi state governorship election; that one is an assault on democracy and that is what we have been having.
There are some members of your party that defected to the APC in Iragbiji and it was learnt some others would still defect, how do you want to cope with the gradual reduction of your membership?
You may be aware at your end that people are coming to APC. We have our records; we have our organizations, efforts and tactics on ground that will come up in the open air very soon. Major political players from different political parties are coming in droves to the PDP to salvage Osun State from this quagmire. People of like minds politically have resolved to take the people of Osun out of the bog. Everything is in place strategically, operationally to see those like minds, political heavyweights, people who mean well for Osun State to come together and rescue the state from the mess we are in.
What will you tell the people of Osun about the government and your party?
We have a duty to respect the government in place by doing all we are suppose to do in accordance with the law. We appeal to the people of Osun to give peace a chance, do everything within the armpit of the law and all of us must come together whether PDP and other likeminded opposition members and prepare starts from now to rescue Osun.