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Fadahunsi: Why PDP Lost Power at the Centre

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Prince Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi, a retired Assistant Comptroller-General of Customscontested the recent senatorial election in Osun-East on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, which he lost. In this interview with WESTERN POST’s Coordinator in Osun, Kwara and Kogi, TUNDE OYEKOLA, Fadahunsi spoke about the abysmal performance of PDP, which lost power at the centre to the opposition All Progressives Congress, attributing it to leadership problem, ethnic factor and lack of commitment to the cause of the party, among others. He also stressed the need for the new regime of General Muhammadu Buhari to quickly revamp the economy and put the right calibre of persons in his cabinet to run the new government…

What is your comment on the recently-held general election?

I have no comment on the election. It is an experience, but I hope there will be improvement in the conduct of elections in future.

Are you satisfied with the conduct of the election and the way it went?

Democracy does not produce the most powerful man, although it can produce powerful people but where it produces a powerful individual, that is autocracy. Now, those who think they are powerful have forgotten God. Particularly, I’m referring to Rauf Aregbesola, the Osun State Governor, he has forgotten history so soon. When he was doing the political struggle to become the governor, he alleged political victimization against the then governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, whom he alleged persecuted him and banned him from entering Osun State. Some people like us assisted him to come to his own state, according to him. Now, Oyinlola has gone and he’s no longer in power. It is now his time and he is now in control of absolute power, which corrupts absolutely. He has forgotten that power belongs to God. The same Almighty God that removes that power from Oyinlola and gave it to him after a lot of persecution can remove that power from him in a night and give it back to the persecuted. He should remember that he’s just a common human being. When political power is given to anyone, he should tread softly because misuse of power is lack of political knowledge. Well, I won’t say much, let him continue to misuse the power, let him continue to oppress the masses, let him continue to deny the workers their salaries and let him continue to use the State Boys to suppress the wishes of the people, he should be aware that the people are praying and one day Almighty God would take the power away from him.

 

What do you think was responsible for the poor performance of PDP in the just-concluded general election?

To the best of my knowledge as an insider, I believe leadership struggle and crisis was the major cause of the defeat of PDP in the 2015 general election. Some of our leaders are not committed to the cause of the party and its development. Struggle for power and resources were the major concern of the leaders within the party. Our leaders indulged in self aggrandizement at the expense of the interest of the masses.

There is also lack of commitment to the cause of the party and its development and attempts by the PDP governors to impose their successors at the detriment of other candidates also seriously affected the party. Again at a point, President Goodluck Jonathan saw himself as the President of Ijaw, rather than that of Nigeria. He cornered all available positions for his kinsmen. During former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo’s and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administrations, positions were spread across the country, but in Jonathan’s era, all are meant for his kinsmen. He was told about the lopsidedness, but believes he could manage it, but we all see where he has landed the party.

Unlike what happened in APC where the governors see themselves as part and parcel of the party, which enhances the party in forging ahead, the PDP depended on funds from the federal government, which was not forthcoming. The ministers were not funding the party in their states. Could you believe that Ogun State has two ministers? They don’t even know Akinwumi Adesina who is the Minister from Ogun State. Any time we went for party rallies, they would still be introducing party leaders to Akinwumi.  If he had been funding the party in that place, he and Buruji (Kashamu) would have snatched the government from Amosun (Governor Ibikunle Amosun). How many will I count? One of the dancing ladies in Ibadan, Jumoke Akinjide, I challenged her because one woman was challenging her that she refused to fund the party.  I asked her whether it was it true or not, she said don’t mind them. So, that is what has caused the failure of PDP to function. Now that we don’t have many representatives in the incoming government, may be the few that we are having will use the resources at their disposal to fund the party and form a strong opposition to APC government.

What is the next thing for you now?

I will continue to do politics and remain in PDP. Would all of us rush to APC? If you read the newspapers, Buhari said there would be no room for defectors in his government. If somebody says there is no room for you in his house, why won’t I stay in my house and repair it. I think there are two parties in Nigeria, PDP and APC, so if somebody says there is no room in his party, I think the best option is for me to stay in my party and contribute my own quota to repair it. After all, their own room or party was once dilapidated, they stayed there, repaired it and they won, it is a matter of time.

What advice do you have for PDP Leaders?

They should fold their arms and watch what will happen. They should continue to put their house in order. Already, the umbrella had been perforated by the leadership under Bamanga Tukur, they should watch those that will remain in the party, that is those whose loyalty are not in doubt. They should sit back and reorganize the party.

There is an argument that those defecting to APC may compound the problem in APC, what is your take on that?

There are many rooms in APC. The owner of the house said there is no room in the house for people and you are rushing there. Look at those people who had gone there for a long time, where are they today? Look at Elder Peter Babalola, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, may be through the help of former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, he may get something better. If not that Isiaka Adeleke had money, through his younger brother Deji, Adeleke, he would not have been anywhere. Look at former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in Osun State, who is also the Asiwaju of Iwo, Barrister Gbadegesin Adedeji, where is he now? So, if you look at those people who had already left and joined APC a long time ago, and you say you are still going there. You have to stay and nurture your own party. It doesn’t take time. So, politically we will stay here.

Do you foresee another political party coming out of the ruins of PDP?

You will agree with me that half of APC are PDP defectors. It is not easy to repair a house; it is either you demolish the whole house and build a new one or you repair what you have. If you are re-building a house, it is easier than renovating a house because it is very expensive than to build a new one. I am very sure that all those people that ran away will come back. They are not going to get anything there, because this bad boy in Kaduna, El-Rufai has told them, he has told Tinubu that despite the billions of naira that he (Tinubu) has spent, that this is their time. This is Hausa time, and if you know the man from Daura that has just clinched the presidential slot, he is above 70 and cannot be changed. He said they are not going to probe, let us wait till May 29, by the time he gets to that Presidential Villa, and he opens the book of accounts. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo pledged the other time that he would never probe anybody, up to two months ago, we were still recovering Abacha’s loots.  Unless there is no looting there, that is why the man will not probe. I think he has phobia for corruption, though it is the corrupt people that brought him there, he will leave those people to pursue others. For us, we will be praying for him. We in the PDP are not going to oppose him blindly; we are going to engage the new government in constructive and serious criticisms. We are having some of our members in the state assemblies and House of Representatives who will help us to do the job very well.  Also, in the state Houses of Assembly, we are having representatives. We have some in Lagos State House of Assembly now. It is only in Osun that the Jagaban of Osun is very reluctant, which resulted in fierce shooting of guns during the State Assembly Election. Close to one week, there was sporadic shooting everywhere especially in Ifetedo in Ife-South Local Government of Osun State. But we have prepared our mind that if you hear gunshots, don’t run, if you run, it may hit you.

Do you foresee any bright future for Nigeria under Buhari?

Buhari will begin to step on toes of Nigerians shortly after he gets to office.  The political environment from where Buhari emanates will play a major factor when he gets to office. Buhari is of Hausa\Fulani extraction including El-Rufai who can insult anybody. Yar’Adua was also Fulani and when he got to office newly, he brought everybody on board but by the time he settled down, he became a Fulani man. By June this year, this Fulani man from Daura, Buhari, will assume office. I can bet you he will now turn to real Fulani man.  When Jonathan got to office, he had no slippers. He was the Daniel of the whole world. We voted for him. When he settled down, he became an Ijaw man. It is only Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that was the president in that villa that his Chief of Staff is from Kwara and Jos at the same time. The only person that was close to him was the Director of SSS, one Kayode Aare from Abeokuta and one Mr. Taiwo who resumed as his Private Chief of Staff in the house, the remaining aides were mainly Ibos and Fulanis, which included Dangote, El-Rufai, Kema Chikwe, Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani. But Jonathan spoilt the whole system by cornering all available key positions for his kinsmen and drove others from other tribes away from his government; that was the beginning of the problem for the outgoing administration. Had he known, he would not have allowed them to use the money they garnered under his government against him and his government. Now, those people that left the PDP are those winning the election on the platform of APC. So, when Buhari gets there also, like he had been telling Nigerians what he wants to do, whether you like it or not, he will do it and he will offend a lot of us, he will offend his sponsors. You know kingmakers will want to elect an Oba because of the bribe they want to collect and they will want to have another king in the next two years and collect bribe from another person. But, it is the king that will say, ok, if you know how to take bribe, he will know how to discharge them. Secondly, the economy of the country is not favourable at present. When it was about 130 dollars per barrel of crude oil, we didn’t do well. We would have saved a lot of money in the nation’s treasury. But we didn’t. It was the Saraki group when he was the Governor of Kwara State that challenged the Sovereign Wealth Fund savings with the CBN before the Supreme Court gave its ruling when the Olusegun Obasanjo administration started saving the money. Obasanjo left about 33 billion dollars in the Excess Crude Oil money reserve account. And the Supreme Court held that the Federal Government cannot keep such money, that every money that goes to the account of CBN as revenue must be shared. That is why we don’t have a kobo in that account again. By that time, these governors led by Senator Saraki, who are now in APC, immediately they shared the money, they went to Dubai to purchase lots of big mansions of about 50 bedroom flats in Southern Dubai, where we have Atlantic Ocean, where a room is about ten thousand five hundred dollars ($10,500). Though the properties are being managed by Dubai people, but Nigerians are the owners.

Many people have continued to lend their voices to how Buhari can thread the path towards a better Nigeria, what is your advice for him?

There are many advisers and there are many state elders. But are they genuine advisers? The man, who has been looking for power three, four or five times, knows what to do. Now the economy is going down and with the heavy load on presidential government, it is going to be very difficult for Buhari. He cannot revamp the economy of this country in a year or two, and to even pay salary, his government will have to go to the reserve and the reserve is going down, and if the reserve is below 30 billion dollars, there will be no cash to bring in foreign goods.  So Buhari’s government to succeed must look for a good manager to manage the economy. I don’t know whether the President-elect has studied the economy, but the economy manager they are going to have must be very intelligent. The President-elect must be ready step on toes to succeed because the journey to success may be difficult but surmountable.

There is the National Political Reform Conference report submitted to President Jonathan, which is yet to be implemented, what advice do you have for Buhari on this?

I learnt that President Jonathan has refused to sign the amendment to the constitution because he doesn’t want to create problem for the incoming administration, so, I will advise General Buhari to take time to study the confab report and implement what is good for the country.

Are you not afraid that the nation might be heading for a one-party state?

There cannot be only one party in Nigeria. Nigeria is not politically stable to that stage. Sharing of political offices will cause problem in APC government because it is already congested. Those that ran away are surely coming back. The man has declared that there are no vacancies there. They will come back. Nigeria cannot do with one party.

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