Retired Customs Area Controller and member representing Ife Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Prince Albert Adeogun, recently submitted a letter of intent to contest the governorship election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State. He speaks with MOSES ALAO on his plans for the state.
YOU just declared your intention to contest the governorship election in Osun State. But you must be aware that there are still some hurdles to be crossed, especially the party primaries. With many aspirants already showing intention to contest, how do you think the party will handle the situation?
I am fully and well aware of that fact and God being with us, we will triumph. Talking about the number of aspirants, the more we are, the merrier. That is the beauty of democracy and that is why our party will conduct the shadow election to pick the best and the most suitable candidate out of the many aspirants.
But without sounding pessimistic, assuming you do not emerge as the candidate of the party, what will you do? Will you defect to another party?
I am very hopeful that I will emerge the winner and that is borne out of my faith in God. You know what faith means in the scripture? All my political antecedents are hinged on my faith in God; we have no other power. And God has a purpose for us. He has never for once disappointed us, so let us keep our hope alive while we listen and follow his leading.
But suppose you do not win, perhaps due to some extraneous influences, what will you do?
The leadership of our party under Honourable Soji Adagunodo is a credible one and we have been assured of a very transparent primary election. They are men of integrity. But let me stress that no election should be a do-or-die affair. Should the unexpected happen, I will not be involved in any post-primary election conflict. Also, I will not instigate anybody to do such, as our party once experienced such in Ondo State and that was our albatross. Doing anything like that would amount to an anti-party activity.
There are allegations from opposition party members in Osun State that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government has not lived up to expectations, what plans do you have to ameliorate the sufferings of the people if you are elected as the governor of the state?
What you regarded as allegations against Rauf Aregbesola’s government are not mere allegations.They are realities. If I come on board as the state governor of Osun State, my first priorities would be the welfare of workers and the masses as well as how to improve the economy of the state. It is an aberration to see some senior workers receiving half salaries and those receiving full salaries being denied payment as and when due. This is callous and inhuman. It would sound incredible that commissioners are being owed salaries. That is not good enough. These lapses would be addressed and life would be made better for the people.
The government has always been quick to point to the dwindling allocations from the centre as the reason for the irregularities in payments. What is your reaction to this?
That is deceitful; it is not a tenable excuse. States don’t have to rely only on money from the Federation Account alone; they are to generate fund internally. If we come on board, we are going to embark on a massive drive to improve the internally generated revenue generation. This would complement whatever is given from the centre. We will set up a think tank on this.
But let us face the situation currently playing out in Osun State, even the bailout funds given to state governments by the Federal Government, how was it spent? They are alleged to have been misdirected, which is why workers have continued to suffer.
With the APC being in power at both states and federal levels, are you not scared that the party will use its incumbency power to influence the election?
It won’t work. President Muhammadu Buhari, their leader, has failed woefully. He failed to deliver on all his electoral promises. See his record card on security, economy and education. Statesmen like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General T.Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon as well as clergymen from the two major religions have adjudged his government a failure. This is particularly in the area of security, which the APC used to wrest power. Almost on a daily basis, the Boko Haram has been striking in the North. The Fulani herdsmen are killing innocent people in Taraba, Benue, Zamfara and many others; they are apparently plotting to recolonise some states. But the president was looking elsewhere as if nothing has been happening until more leaders cried out. Is that a government? Who will vote again for a government that cannot guarantee their safety? This government is clueless, it has no positive direction. Look at the economy. But their propaganda is that things are now okay; it is all about deceit here and there, with the president even denigrating our youths as lazy. It is an insult on their psyche and I am sure the youths would tell him that they are no fools. They have reminded him how his son who is part of them nearly wasted his life on a motor bike.
Let us come back to Osun where some people are making a case for rotation of power. Former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola recently made a strong case for Osun West to produce the next governor. What is your reaction to this?
Oyinlola is not in our party; he is in APC. We in PDP will determine our candidate through primaries and whoever emerges through our shadow election will surely defeat APC. But in all honesty, if people are going by rotation, Osun East should have been the zone to produce the next governor; the zone has for long been marginalised.