Chief Bode Sunmonu is the secretary of the Advisory Council, an ad-hoc committee set up to resolve grievances among members of All Progressives Congress in Ondo State. He speaks with HAKEEM GBADAMOSI on the activities of the committee and the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
THE buildup to the governorship election in the Ondo State is gradually gathering momentum. So, how will you analysis the situation on ground?
We need to take a look at where we were before now. You realise that during the period of the late Papa Michael Ajasin, Adefarati and Olusegun Agagu, from 1999 to 2009, we had peace in the state. We also had food to eat and jobs in abundance. But we took a dive immediately after the Agagu government. We started experiencing difficulties in the area of getting jobs and alleviating poverty. Insecurity became a major issue, and the reasons for all these was very simple because all along, we had not been lucky enough to experience good government and that has led us to where we are now. This brought the clamour for change and to transform the state, where people will find jobs to do, food to eat and where poverty will be alleviated or eradicated. We are, therefore, looking for who can do all these for us in the state; someone who can give us good governance; who can wage a war against unemployment; who will assist us to revive the basic infrastructural facilities so as to propel the development of state in the next political dispensation.
Are you saying the current APC government in the state has failed too?
This is not the issue of failure, we have our expectations. People have their expectations. If you go to town today and ask people their feelings about the government, most of them will tell you they are not feeling the impact of the government. The government, on its own, might be thinking it is working, but let us ask ourselves if the work is impacting positively on the people. People are not feeling the impact of the government. Though the governor has done his best, I guess his best is not good enough. The governor’s orientation and policies seem not to be addressing the issues to impact directly on the people of the state and that’s why we say we can do it better. The governor is a nice man and he is trying his best, but like I said, his best is not good enough.
The APC in Ondo State seems to be in crisis and the belief is that you cannot build something on nothing. So, how can you realise the ambition of the APC to retain power when the foundation you want to use is not intact.
I want you to know that what we are seeing in Ondo state APC is nothing new in politics, it is a game of power and everybody will want to do everything humanly possible. But we have our own internal mechanism that can resolve these little challenges and this exactly is what we are doing now. All of us realise that we must not destroy this platform if we really want to win the forthcoming election; even the national leaders of the party are aware of this. Already, we have two committees in place: the National Reconciliation Committee, headed by Chief Bisi Akande and the Advisory Council of the APC in Ondo State. The advisory committee met recently and we noticed that the issues surrounding the crisis in the party can be resolved. So, on how to move forward, a committee of five people was put in place. We were advised to call aggrieved party members to come forward and table their grievances so that we can move forward. I happen to be the secretary of that committee. We put up an advertisement and contacted party members, including the chairmen of party at the ward level, asking them to submit their memoranda on what they believe is the cause of the crisis within the party and how to resolve it. We have received encouraging responses and we are analyzing the documents, and maybe in the next one or two weeks, we will be able to advise the advisory committee on the way forward. At the end of the day, only one person will be chosen as the standard-bearer of the APC. I believe that once we are able to address all the challenges the people have raised in their memoranda, it will be easier to pacify the aggrieved members; to plead with them that we have only one party. I am sure they all love this party but what is happening is that people are jostling seriously for power, which is normal. So, it’s a family issue and we have nowhere to go because we do not have any other party and more importantly, the APC is the only party in Ondo State; it is the most viable party.
What will be your advice to the other faction of the party, the Unity Forum; they have promised not to recognise the Akande-led APC National Reconciliation Committee?
One thing I know about life is that when you are angry, don’t talk, and when you’re very happy, don’t make promises. So, I am sure some people talked when they were angry because they were agitating for what we asked them to come for. Their responses is coming a bit late, though it’s better late than never. You would have noticed in their communique that they passed a vote of no confidence in the national committee too. Who will then reconcile them? I’m of the opinion that the statement was made out of anger but we all need to come together; there is no doubt about that. I believe the challenges in the Ondo APC can be resolved through dialogue. There are no two ways about it. If you ask me, I will refer to the advisory council as the unity forum where all aggrieved members come together to resolve issues. If these people have been patient enough, maybe they won’t be say what they are saying now. If you read their communique, they stated that Chief Akande is on the payroll of the state governor (Rotimi) Akeredolu and I don’t know how that can be substantiated anyway and I don’t know what effect that would be to anybody. Akande is the chairman of the reconciliation committee and it is not the governor’s committee. It’s an independent committee put together to see to the challenges of the APC in Ondo State; it is find a way of resolving these issues and it is not as bad as people think; it’s a family affair like I said earlier. We will soon come together and talk it over.