Chief Abdulhakeem Adebiyi, MD/CEO of Ojokure Oil and Gas, Lagos, is a traditional chief and stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. He speaks with BIOLA AZEEZ on current political happenings in the country.
WHAT’s your take on discussion on the restructuring of Nigeria?
Mergers and acquisitions are good approaches and moves to ensure progress. In Nigeria, we all came together in a merger. No section of the country should be dissatisfied in any way. As far as I am concerned, the Niger Delta Avengers should be given an avenue to express their feelings. To them, 90 per cent or so of the resources of this country is coming from their region and they should have a say, and derive maximum benefit from it. They could have a point. They should be listened to. The issue of alleged lopsidedness in federal appointments should also be addressed.
Give them a sense of belonging. Not by the size of their community—what they contribute to the economy of the entire country is very key. As far as I am concerned, restructuring could be done in different ways. I don’t believe in any restructuring that will disintegrate the country. But you can restructure for a better Nigeria. Restructuring is all about sitting down and doing the right thing. There are so many wrong things that should be corrected.
What is your view on the ongoing trial of Senator Bukola Saraki?
Sincerely speaking, it’s quite unfortunate. I never believed that all this could happen. See, this is same party we all built. You need to know how much in money, time and every resources you can think of which the resent Senate President had contributed. Just because he’s the Senate President today, all those had been thrown off. They then feel it’s an opportunity to deal with him. All I will tell you for now is that God is with the man. He’s very innocent of all this. If he’s not the Senate President, all this wouldn’t have happened. But I can tell you that, by the grace of God, nothing will happen to the man.
I am the Kure of Offa. I’m in support of the Senate President, not because he’s the Senate President, a former Turakin of Ilorin, but because of his personality and what he’s done for people.
Do you think the ongoing trial can be settled politically?
We are all politicians. And they are making a whole hell of a mistake. The matter can be settled and they all know it can be settled. It’s a very simple case. Imagine a Senate President and somebody that has contributed to the success of the party in the entire North Central zone of the country being dealt with that way. I’m so much surprised a thing like this could be happening. And for the settlement, there’s nothing impossible.
If you observe, none of the party executives at the national level is saying anything on this issue. That shows that they know what they’re doing. If Bola Tinubu is not saying anything, I can tell you the secretary or treasurer of the party will not say anything. We need to have a rethink. Assuming a party man does a wrong thing somehow, is that the way to address issue? Don’t they know what a party means? It can be settled. Please recollect what Senator Kabiru Marafa, the man who was at loggerheads with the Senate President said few days ago. He said immediately the party gives its nod and says they should take it easy, they will. That’s a big statement. Meaning that it’s the party that is not interested or not ready for settlement. All this I believe is not expected of our leaders.
Issues that can be resolved, I don’t think they should be postponed. We should not forget the merger in the old PDP during last election: it facilitated over two million votes. Had Saraki not come with his fold, would the over two million votes have been achieved? We should have a rethink before its too late.
The party leaders should make meaningful moves to get good results. The man is an approachable person. They should sit down and agree on the way forward. See the way he’s been handling matters in the Senate without rancour. The leaders of our party, starting from Senator Tinubu, should sit down, think far back on the relationship with the father of the present Senate President and his contribution to the party before it is too late.
Do you subscribe to the idea that aggrieved party members should form another party?
There’s no need for that now. In politics, you don’t do that. You still give room for possible settlement. My belief is that they resolve it before it gets too late. You know, before we left PDP, there were political moves made by the Senate President, the present governor of the state and other notable people in the state. It’s because it was too late that we left. And you can see the result of that. So, before its too late, they should make a move. I’m in love with APC. It’s a good party. But we need to sit down and agree on things.
If the Number Three man could be so treated this way, then who am I?
Some argue his travails is all about 2019. Do you agree?
A: you see. Yes it is. They are just scared of him. That’s the truth. Yes, we’re playing politics. When you say you are scared of him, it’s normal in politics to have ambition. But has he ever told anyone he wants to contest in 2019 for president. So, wh are you scared of him? You shd be sure of your own capabilities. And let me be frank with you, all this crisis in the APC if Preisdent Buhari has intervened at the right time he should have intervened, we should have not got into this level. At that time he was saying he would not intervene. How can a head of a party say he would not intervene when everyone was looking for ways to be senate president? For him to have called a meeting and agree with notable leaders. He kept quiet. He’s won his own election. These are things that created problem from the word go. And he knows all of them have absolute respect for him. He could have been an ample opportunity at that time for him to call a meeting. But allowed everyone to test their power. And when you talk of power, please don’t underestimate the senate president. He has his followers all over the country. For me I think we should all be steadfast and united as a party.
Q: what has been your efforts as a party man at complementing development efforts of the local and state governments and the senate president in Kwara South?
A: as one formerly in the banking sector before venturing into active politics, I have been a loyal Sarakite like my late father, Alhaji Shuaibu Afolabi Adebiyi, who was one of key friends of late Olusola Saraki. Starting from Offa, I have been involved in all those activities that could promote popularity of our party and the political leader. I constructed Offa streetlight on Olofa way, two boreholes each in all 12 wards of Offa. In all local governments of Kwara South senatorial zone, I participated in their development projects. Eg, grading of roads, boreholes which had earned me chieftaincy titles I such areas as Ipe, Ira, Oro, Ikotun, Ekiti. We thank God for that. We should contribute to development. People should imbibe spirit of giving and not think they are competing with Saraki. No. We should all complement efforts of government and the political leader in the state. To me leaving Saraki group is like leaving politics. It’s a place to be.state. My father did it and am also doing it. To God be the glory.