A member representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency of Osun State in the House of Representatives, Honourable Busayo Oluwole Oke, speaks with JACOB SEGUN OLATUNJI on the tasks before the state’s governor-elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke, as he takes oath of office today.
As a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, how prepared are your party members in the state for the administration of Senator Ademola Adeleke, who will be sworn-in as the governor of Osun today?
The PDP members in Osun State are in a very joyous mood. They are very happy and appreciative of what God has done in their lives, because we have been in darkness in the last 12 years. We have been out of power in the last 12 years. It has taken the combined efforts of some of us, who have the privilege of being in government to support our leader, Dr Deji Adeleke and the party to survive these 12 years. So the entire members across the length of Osun State are very happy. They cannot wait for the 27th of November for His Excellency, Senator Ademola Adeleke to be sworn-in as the governor of the state.
But how is your party making efforts to sustain the confidence reposed in it by the people of the state?
In Osun State, we don’t have any problem. Osun State PDP is one now. That is why we were able to win the election. If anyone is making efforts to be loved by everyone in the state, such a person will just be wasting his or her time, because you cannot be loved by all. But the truth is that we are united in Osun. And you saw the result. Osun is one. We do not have any problem in Osun.
What of the case at the tribunal?
The case at the tribunal is good. It is good for us, because he who alleges has the onus of proving his or her case. We have responded to the petition and you would have seen INEC’s response; you would have seen PDP’s response and you would have seen Senator Ademola, the governor elect’s response. You would have seen the security agencies’ report; you would have seen the NGOs’ reports. So the burden of proof is on the APC and its candidate. Ordinarily, I would have expected my big brother, the APC candidate and outgoing governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, to have done the needful by congratulating Senator Adeleke, because we are in a democracy. In an election, you win some and you lose some. On this occasion, for the PDP, a party out of government for 12 years to win an election, it showed that truly, Osun people want a change. It is as simple as that. Whether we like it or not, Governor Oyetola has had his time as governor of the State. It will remain in history that he has been governor of the state. But Osun people said, let there be a change and it happened. What I expect my big uncle to do is, because he is from my mother’s side, to call Senator Adeleke and hug him and congratulate him and then we move on. To contest an election is your desire to be of service, that is, to serve.
Do you think PDP is really on ground to govern the state well again?
Yes, PDP in Osun State, go and find out what PDP has done in Osun State. There is nothing you can point to in Osun State today that is not done by the party. The only thing I would praise Oyetola for is the new university he has just established in my place. The University of Ilesha, because I saw the letter with which NUC gave them approval. But every other thing was done by PDP. The six existing universities of Osun are PDP’s products. Go and check, there is nothing to point out to that has been APC’s achievement in Osun State. In the area of human capital, you cannot point to anything in Osun State. What we have had in Osun State is what we would refer to as policy somersault. Former Governor [Rauf] Aregbesola came, he had good intentions; he is my senior brother. But you know in financial parlance, I would say he over-traded in the sense that he had very big ambitions and plans, but not minding the resources available and he put his hand into so many ideas. You know he is a man of ideas and likes implementing his ideas whether they would fail or work.
What would be your advice as a chieftain of the party to the incoming governor?
Senator Adeleke, if you watch him, is a very happy man. When you see a man that is happy, he is a good man. When you see a man that loves to praise God, he sings, he praises God. You need to see him worshipping in churches or even mosques. You can see he is a happy man. People do not know Senator Adeleke. He is a successful man. His children are doing well. Adeleke has been the Director of Guinness Nigeria. He has made his mark in business both at home and aboard. But because he is humane, he is a very humble person, people do not know. He is a very humble man. When you see a man that is happy, loved by the people, and who loves people around him, and is always joyous, it tells you he is a team player.
Is that why he dances always?
Dancing is a way of praising God. You are a Christian, go to Psalms. You praise God by singing, dancing and clapping. There is nothing wrong in dancing. Even in the UK, America, dancing is a form of exercise. We are encouraged to go and dance. There are dancing schools, music schools. It is a trade.
He is a team player. He believes in people. And PDP as a party is imbued with members with huge capacity in all fields. And he is a listening person. He listens to advice and counselling. You can see the outburst of the traditional rulers in his support. So he is a man that would shock people. He is a man, who has been underrated by those people who do not know him. But we are very close to him and know his capacity. You see when you allow a successful person to govern, he will deliver, because he is not looking for food to eat. In my discussion with him, he has his plans. If you see someone who is talking about education, security, health, agriculture, housing, he knows what he is doing. Senator Adeleke is not coming to Osun to start building a house, or buy a car. All his children are grown up. So what does he need your money for? What I see is that they want the legacy of their family to be sustained, because they have done so much for Osun. Check the state out. How many politicians have the kind of investment the Adelekes have in Osun State. In Yoruba land, anybody that wants to buy a cloth for you, you first of all look at the kind of cloth the person is wearing. Tell me, which governor has ruled Osun that has the kind of investment that the Adelekes have? They are not going to take away from you. They are only going to add value. That is why I supported them, because they can add value to me.
So, what’s your advice to Osun people and PDP members?
My advice is to pray for the successful inauguration and to support the governor. You support the governor and behave in a manner that the law permits. Act in a lawful manner. Pay your tax, support the government and pray for the governor and his team and that is what we need for Osun to grow. You would see shortly as he mounts leadership, there will be an airport in Osun and then they will trade. People will be coming in and out. Some of us would go back to Osun and increase our investment, because he is going to give you a peaceful and enabling environment. And those are the prerequisite requirements for growth and development.
Outside Osun, how do you think the PDP can wax stronger in the South-West and Nigeria?
Predominantly, let me tell you this: the South-West belongs to PDP. APC took over some Southern states through the court. Go and find out. Except in Lagos, APC took over the South-West through the court. But when you ask people genuinely, they are predominantly PDP. And the upcoming elections will prove what I am telling you now. But for Lagos, well I wish PDP all the best. But I am telling you that the remaining states are PDP states.
What are the chances of the party in the upcoming general election?
We are winning. PDP is winning the next presidential election. Go and write it down.
How about the crisis with some of its governors, especially that of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike?
What crisis do we have? Let me tell you. As a younger member of this party and as a foundation member, I know these leaders. When two leaders are fighting, do not go into it. You know why? Because when they will call themselves together and resolve their crisis, you will not be there. When Wike and Atiku will sit together and iron out issues, you will not be there and I will not be there. The issue will be amicably resolved very soon. In Yoruba land, we have a saying that a fight fades off. So we are nearing there. Everybody would be tired of fighting.
Are there underground efforts being made to bring the crisis to an end?
Yes, we are working round the clock to resolve our differences. You know in politics, it is not everything you say in the open. Go and write this down, PDP will be stronger, united and we are winning this election. There are lots of factors that point to it that we are winning this election. Except a state or two in the North-West out of the seven states, PDP would win five. In fact, there is just one I am doubting and that is Jigawa.
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How would you access this current Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), having witnessed many elections in this country from the first republic, what would be your input for improvement?
The present INEC under the leadership of Professor Yakubu Mahmood has done well. He is the first chairman I have seen that has abandoned the fire brigade approach and embraced planning. And I don’t expect less from him. He is a teacher; he lectured the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) before coming to TETFUND as the Executive Secretary and before becoming INEC chairman. He has experience; he is humble, fearless and thorough. So, he has done what he should do. Planning. Look at the BVAS. Look at all the technology he has introduced. He has done well and I commend him.
But some people are calling for his removal?
Those are beer parlourgists. They are just wasting their time.
What is your fear about the recent attacks on INEC facilities nationwide?
It is because those people are jittery. Some people are jittery that PDP is winning this election and they are going about to scare people.That is why we are having all these attacks on INEC facilities and its personnel, but they have missed the target; the general election will hold as planned.
How can we ensure that the attacks on INEC do not disrupt the polls?
It is for security agencies to work more on intelligence gathering, because when you see an attack, it is being planned somewhere and there would be one or two people who have privileged information. They may be afraid of sharing the information. So the security agencies should work more on intelligence gathering.