A political analyst and public affairs commentator, in an interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, spoke on the outcome of the recent governorship election in Ondo State, which was won by Rotimi Akeredolu. He also dwelt on the cracks in both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which he said would affect the outcome of the 2019 elections. Excerpts
How do you see the recent Ondo governorship election and the emergence of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the state’s governor-elect?
I congratulate Chief Akeredolu for his dogged spirit. It is not easy to defeat an incumbent government, Governor Olusegun Mimiko being of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I also congratulate the APC for striving to remain on top. It shows that people still believe in the APC Change programme despite all the economic challenges. With the emergence of Akeredolu, I believe there will be tremendous change in Ondo State. I always go to Ondo. I do not see much change during the eight years rule of Governor Mimiko and PDP in that state. It was based on this that people of Ondo wanted a change. They went for Change. Now, they have got the Change. So, the APC should manage its success in Ondo State well. It is the bad governance of PDP that made Ondo people to go for APC this time around.
With the crisis that engulfed the PDP in the state whereby its two factions, the Ali Modu Sheriff and Makarfi factions presented candidates, leading to court cases and the party’s loss, do you think this factionalisations will not continue to destroy the party even before the 2019 election?
The law of life is that division leads to failure. We even have an adage that ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’ The factionalisation of PDP has caused it Edo and Ondo elections. The party’s electoral loss in the 2015 elections could be traced to factionalisation. It made its governors to dump the party and defect to APC. This led to the loss of PDP, not only at the centre, but also in several states. That is what cost PDP Ondo State too. The two factions exist in all the state chapters of the party. That is why you have been having crisis in all the state chapters of PDP leading to the sack of sitting party executives and emergence of parallel executives in states.
I make bold to say that this crisis in PDP will continue as there is no end in sight. Right now, PDP has no accepted National Chairman. Both Makarfi and Modu Sheriff are factional Interim Chairmen. I see this factionalisation continuing till the 2019 elections. After the 2019 elections, PDP may manage to have few state governors and will remain in opposition in the centre for a very long time. What happened in Ondo State is a sign for worse things to come for PDP.
Do you see the APC victory in Ondo and Edo states as a consolidation on its 2015 performance even when its promised ‘Change’ is still not being felt by Nigerians?
‘Change’ is not easy. It is a gradual process Nigerians believe in the Change and they are ready for the sacrifice irrespective of the fact that there is problem in the land. Nigerians are ready to persevere until real change comes is achieved. Nigerians believe that President Buhari’s integrity will go a long way to process the Change they want. But, he may not be the one to perfect that Change. God used President Buhari to bring the Change process. But, he may not be the one to actualise, perfect it and consolidate it.
Do you see the President Muhammadu for President in 2019 project feasible bearing in mind the suffering of Nigerians since the beginning of his first term?
Going by the steps he has been taking so far, President Buhari’s 2019 presidential project seems not realistic. I do not think it will be possible for him to carry the APC flag come 2019. If that happens, APC may lose the election. Nigerians expected much from Buhari. but, he is too slow. Nigerians are now complaining. He does not practice core democracy. He seems more like a military Head of State. He is tilting towards dictatorship. There is no way he can wipe out corruption completely. There is a lot of corruption even at the grassroots. It is not only top public officers that are corrupt. Even the lower and middle cadres are corrupt people who are not in government are also corrupt.
So, President Buhari should face proper governance that will put food on the table of the people, provide jobs for the unemployed and make life better for the common man. If he continues the way he is going now, there is no way the APC will win the 2019 elections with him as the party’s presidential candidate, unless what will happen will not be an election, but selection.
If ’Change’ does not give Nigerians testimonies, I do not think the ‘Change’ is sustainable through him. Look at the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode. He is touching lives. He listens to the people, especially members of the State House of Assembly. In proper governance, you do not hurt people, you heal them. The APC government at the centre under Buhari has been hurting people. It is only in the states that few of the APC governors are doing well. Nigerians need a government that that will take care of their welfare. Now, the prices of goods are skyrocketing. Already, the telecommunication companies are planning to hike their tariff by December 1. That is few days from now. According to them, this is due to the stiff condition given to them by the Nigerian Communications Communication (NCC). All these are telling on the people, increasing their pains and suffering. It seems they are regretting their decision to vote in favour of ‘Change’ in 2015 elections.
With the Nigerian politics still an APC and PDP affair, how can small parties with good agenda make it to the top in 2019 and beyond?
It is possible for smaller parties to to come up at the centre. That was how APC emerged in 2015. Nigerians want good governance. The parties that gave rise to APC were in control of some states as small parties. So, the small parties of today can also merge to take over from APC if it fails to deliver. Besides, PDP is in tatters and cannot do much in 2019 elections. The situation on ground in the APC caused by its non performance and suspicion among its leadership, and the PDP, due to factionalisation, provide the opportunity for smaller parties to come together if they work hard. Within their smaller units, let them touch lives and make themselves relevant. But, they should eschew selfish interests and agree to work and collaborate with the others. There is misunderstanding in APC which they do not want to resolve. They are no longer using wisdom to apply to the power they have. This is an opportunity for smaller parties with good agenda to come together and issue both the APC and PDP quit notice in 2019 for a third major party will surely emerge soon.
Do you support Nigeria taking the $30 billion foreign loan?
The National Assembly should look at the issue critically, if we really need the loan or not. If we really need the loan, they should approve it. But such approval should depend on what the government wishes to do with the loan. If it will improve productivity, industrialisation, education sector, create employment, we should go for it. But, if not for these, I do not see why they should take the loan. Even if the loans will be interest free, we still have to repay them.
The economic experts should be invited to look at it more critically. Nigeria is already in a mess. We are already in recession. If the loan will bring about economic revival, let us take the loan. As a person, I believe that if all the money recovered from treasury looters are well utilised, it will revive the economy. The loan should be the last resort. If the loan will help us to explore and exploit the untapped mineral resources, it is good. What the nation needs is a turn around. Nigeria needs help. Even America and other big nations take loans. Proper management is the problem. State governments and companies and other organisations take loans. We need experienced and God fearing people to manage the loans if we finally take it.
Source: Independent news