Update: Ex-Minister Ogunlewe Tells Tinubu To Beware Of suspicious APC Reconciliation Assignment from Buhari New York[RR]Abuja-Lagos–Since President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Head, Consultation, Reconciliation and Peace Building team to reconcile all the aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), many cynics have dismissed the move as a bait to get the national leader […]
New York[RR]Abuja-Lagos–Since President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Head, Consultation, Reconciliation and Peace Building team to reconcile all the aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), many cynics have dismissed the move as a bait to get the national leader to do what he did in 2015 again in the next general elections scheduled for 2019.
In this interview, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe expresses a deep reservation for the assignment, saying it requires proper risk analysis. Excerpt:
How do you see the assignment given to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by President Muhammadu Buhari to reconcile the aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)?
The reconciliation they are talking about is too belated. What are they reconciling? Since Buhari came into power in 2015, he has refused to make appointments into the boards of parastatals and agencies. Many of those who worked for the success of the party have been abandoned. They don’t know what is going on in the government. They have no say in the affairs of the government. A lot of them spent their money to campaign for the party with the aim that they would get contracts from the government, but they have been sidelined. I know of someone who put down a huge sum of money even without the knowledge of Buhari to fund the campaign. But today, he is worse off because there is nothing for him. These are the people they need to reconcile with. The reconciliation Nigerians need now is more than individual reconciliation. Poverty level, out of school children about 15 million of them in the Northeast alone, rising unemployment, education for the middle class, health service delivery, fundamental rights of Nigerians as entrenched in the principles of state policy are some of the issues we need to consider at this point in time and reconcile ourselves with, not individuals. In my view, it goes beyond individuals. The entire structure of governance has collapsed. We need to think of what the people can benefit from this democracy. For now, they have not benefited anything from democracy. They just vote, after the voting, that is the end. Those are the areas we must reconcile.
What is the sincerity of the president in assigning him this responsibility, especially coming at a time when the next general election is already at the corner?
Maybe they need him to do what he did in 2015 for them again to be able to win the next election. I think Tinubu is too clever to be deceived. He will have to do his analysis very well before he takes the risk again. I wish him all the best. It is up to him. He knows the game; he knows the benefits he has derived from this government. If he thinks he has derived enough benefits from this government for him to go into that kind of risk again, it is up to him. But most of the people he put on the frontline to do the runs for the last election have not benefitted. Up till today, they have not constituted the boards of parastatals and agencies, which is one area where most politicians benefit from. What are they going to reconcile? They are all neglected. The level of neglect of members of APC is unimaginable. They are not enjoying anything at the local government, state and national levels. They are supposed to be members of boards, but they are not. So, what are their benefits? What have they gained?
If he decides to withhold his support, what alternative option do you think is available to him in this circumstance?
I don’t know. It is up to him, it is up to him to assess his game vis-a-viz his financial contributions to the success of the party. I don’t know the details. It is up to him. If he wants to take the risk again, I wish him the best of luck. What do you think his people have benefited from this government to make him now lead that kind of coordination again? I can’t speak on his behalf; I can only wish him all the best. But I think it is a belated assignment.
Looking at the present scenario, where is the Yoruba headed in 2019?
What we now desire is not the same thing as the past. All candidates must tell all the regions what they have in store for them before coming into government. That has been lacking in all our campaigns. They will just say change. Change means different things to different regions. What changes are you introducing to the South-west? North-east is about the poorest zone in the country. What changes are you introducing to them? What are the changes required by the South-east people? All this idea of making policy statement during political campaigns should stop. What are you going to tell people that need employment? What are you going to tell people that need education, medical services? What do you have for the people that run their companies on generators? Those are the things they must address. Each zone must have a transmission company. Why must electricity be centralized? They have to decentralize it. The person that is campaigning must tell us all this. Cleverly, President Buhari did not mention anything about restructuring. He did not even know enough of what was contained in the manifesto of APC to the extent that he denied knowing that all these were included in the manifesto of the party. Probably, they did not get him involved in drafting the manifesto. Each candidate must tell us what he or she wants to do, not through surrogates, not through campaign team again. We want to hear from the candidates what they want to do with this restructuring they are talking about.
How has Buhari fared in his respect for party supremacy?
What is party supremacy when you heard the Chairman of the party saying they only provided platform for members of the National Assembly, they don’t have control over them, when the party recognizes national caucus, but the president prefers the National Executive Council (NEC), which is not part of the party’s structure. He is also not carrying along members of the National Assembly in his policies. So, the National Assembly is going on its own, the party is going on its own. You cannot believe, when Audu Ogba was the chairman of the PDP, he was attending Federal Executive Council meetings. Why can’t they allow Oyegun to be attending FEC meeting? Why can’t they be holding caucus meetings which will embrace all the leadership of the National Assembly in anything they want to do? You treat members of the National Assembly as if they are not members of your party. The country cannot grow like that. It is not possible.
The party is now planning to organize a national convention.
(Cuts in)….It is not possible. It is too late in the day, they will scatter. They should not even try it. There is too much division in the party for them to try it. It is too late in the day; they should just carry their bags and go away.
Why do you think they did not deem it necessary to hold the convention all this while?
Go and ask them. What is my business with them? I am not a member of their party. That is the way they chose to run the party. Cabal has captured the party. The wife of the president said so, El-Rufai said so, Buba Galadima, one of the greatest advocates of CPC, said so. Where is Galadima today? He is playing second fiddle. They have neglected those people that sweated for the party and put in those that did not do much. It is a pity. That is their headache.
What you are saying in summary is that the eclipse of the APC in 2019 is imminent?
It is imminent because they have not addressed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). That is the way to assess any government all over the world. We are not addressing those 17 goals. Let everybody go and read those goals properly, then you will know whether they have succeeded or not. You have to rank them with the sustainable development goals for you to know what we are talking about. We have scored virtually nothing. Everything is zero under sustainable development goals.
But President Obasanjo has dismissed the PDP which everybody looks up to as an alternative platform.
Nigerians will vote for individuals in the next election. They will not vote for the parties. Let’s see those who are going to come out of the political parties and the agenda they have. We have to disaggregate policies from the parties. Party will play a little role in determining who is going to be the next president of Nigeria.
You spoke eloquently on Sustainable Development Goals. What was the score card of the PDP when it was in government in terms of the realization of those goals?
That was the problem of the entire Nigerian government. We prepare our budget without focusing on development goals. It is not a party matter. PDP did not do it too. 86 per cent of Nigerians are poor now. Nigerians are not benefitting from government. If you want to reduce poverty, what must you do? How can we have 15 million children out of school? Where the children of my Maiguard are attending private school, is that a country? How do we explain that knowing that all of us attended government schools? Nigerians are not happy at all. All of us are unfair to Nigerians.
The long and short of what you are saying is the failure of successive governments to attend to the basic needs of the people. How do you think Nigeria can move forward from where it is today?
The role of government has been well defined by the United Nations. If we address the 17 development goals, the country will move forward.
How can the people hold government accountable for its action or inaction?
There is what is called fundamental state policy in our constitution. They should just make those principles justiciable. That is, if you don’t provide house for me, I can take you to court. If you don’t give me education, I can take you to court. They didn’t do so in the constitution. That is the first thing we must do. Government must provide the basic things for every citizen. For now, that is not so. Everybody is unto himself. And that is why we are not moving forward as a nation.
What fresh thing is PDP bringing to the table this time for people to vote for your candidate in the next general elections?
One, the person contesting must be below 60 years old. Two, the minimum level of education must not be less that a university degree. The person must also be cerebral. He must know the needs of the people. He must be familiar with the 17 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The world has gone beyond what we are talking about now. It is a pity that we have to be at this stage of development in 21st century.
You have technically knocked out most of the presidential front runners in the PDP with your submission.
(Cuts in)…. Those are my own criteria; they should tell us what they have to offer to the people of this country. When Chief Awolowo opened Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (WNBC) and established a television, there was no television in the whole of Africa. When he built the Liberty Stadium, there was no stadium of its kind in the whole of Africa.
When he built Cocoa House, there was no skyscrapper in Dubai. What is wrong with us? At that time, we had Housing Corporation, we had industrial estate all over Ikeja. Everything we are enjoying now were created by the past visionary leaders. What have we created? We don’t have dreamers anymore. We must develop dreamers that will lead us out of the present quagmire
Credit: Sunday Sun