Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun-East Senatorial District in the last election, Chief Francis Fadahunsi, in this interview with select journalists argues that despite huge defection, Nigeria is not politically stable to have a one party system. SODIQ ADEKUNLE, was there. Excerpt:
Why did your party performed poorly in the just concluded general election?
As an insider, I believe leadership struggle and crisis is the major cause of the defeat of PDP in the 2015 general election. Some of our leaders are not committed to the course of the party and its development. Struggle for power and resources were the major concern of the leaders within the party. Our leaders indulge in self aggrandisements at the expense of the interest of the masses.
There is also lack of commitment to the course 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 sees himself as the President of Ijaw rather than that of Nigeria. He cornered all available positions for his kinsmen. During the time of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Musa Yar?Adua administrations positions were spread across the country, but in Jonathan era all are meant for his kinsmen. He was told about the lopsidedness, but believes he could manage it, but see where he has landed the party.
Unlike what is happening in APC which enhanced the party in forging ahead, the PDP depends on federal government which was not forthcoming. The Ministers are not funding the party in their states. Could you believe that Ogun state has two ministers? They don?t even know Akinwumi who is the minister from Ogun State. Any time we went for party rally, they will still be introducing party leaders to Akinwumi. ?If he had been funding the party in that place, himself and Buruji would have snatched the government from Amosun. How many will I count? One of the dancing lady 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 is it true, 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 next government, maybe the few that we have will use the resources at their disposal to fund the party and form a strong opposition to APC.
Did you foresee another political party coming out from the remnants of PDP?
Half of APC members 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 building a new one. I am very sure that all those people that run away will come back. They are not going to get anything there. 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 books. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo pledged the other time that he will never probe anybody, up to two months ago; he was still recovering Abacha?s loot.? Unless there is no looting there, that is why the man will not probe. I think he has phobia for corruption, although it is the corrupt people that brought him there, he will leave those people to pursue our own. For us, we will be praying for him. We in the PDP are not going to oppose him blindly, we are going to engage new government in constructive and serious criticism. We are having some of our members in the assembly 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 gun shot, don?t run, if you run, it may hit you.
?Do you agree that those defecting to APC may spoil it?
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, maybe 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 will not be 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 long time ago, and you will 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.
Are you not afraid that the nation might be heading to 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 run away are surely coming back. Nigeria cannot do with one party.
Can you predict any bright future for Nigeria under Buhari?
Buhari will begin to step on toes of Nigerians shortly when he gets to power house.? The political environment from where Buhari emanates will play a major factor when he gets to office. Buhari is Hause\Fulani extraction including El-Rufai who can insult anybody. Yar?adua is 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. By June this year, this Fulani man from Daura, Buhari 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 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 Aare from Abeokuta and one Mr. Taiwo who resumed as his private Chief of Staff in the house, the remaining aides are mainly Ibos and Fulanis which include 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, 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 want 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 kingmaker 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 the economy was about 130 dollars per barrel, we didn?t do well. We would have saved lot 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 Fund saving with the CBN before the Supreme Court which was started by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration. Obasanjo left about 33 billion dollars of the excess crude oil money in reserve. 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.
What is your advice for Buhari?
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 has 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. The almighty Minister of Economy, who was sacked by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo government was brought back as Minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy. This is the same set of people that Jonathan brought back to manage our economy and this was the beginning of our economic problems. So for Buhari to succeed, he must look for a good manager to manage the economy. I don?t know whether the President-elect studied 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 it is surmountable.