Aare Abdulsalam Abdullah, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and ex-Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State, in this interview with OLAWALE OLANIYAN, spoke about the chances of the re-election of Governor Seyi Makinde and why Alhaji Atiku Abubakar remains the best presidential candidate in the general election.
As a stakeholder in PDP, are you contented with the state of your party both in Oyo and at the national level?
There is supremacy of the party. Governor NyesomWike of Rivers State and other members of G5 group seem to be thinking that they are above the party. In politics, one may be wronged but one needs to follow due to process to air one’s grievances. They may have plausible reasons for their action, but, they are not following the proper channel. One would ask that if Wike had emerged as Atiku Abubakar›s running mate, will he do all he is doing? No.He started because he did not emerge as Atiku’s running mate; the G5 are simply playing politics. The G5 are expecting that the party will expel them so they can freely join any other party but the party leaders are wiser than them, they would not suspend or expel them.If that will happen, it will be after the election. The impunity of the G5 may affect Seyi Makinde’s re-election, Makinde has done a lot in Oyo State in terms of development; yes, people like him, but he is making a grievous mistake. Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, of blessed memory, was very popular in Oyo State but failed in his second attempt. This was due to gang up and conspiracy. Makinde thinks he is more popular among the electorate but he has many more enemies in the party. Mulikat Akande-Adeola’s group is out, and has many substantial followers in Ogbomoso. Azeem Gbolarumi›s group is there, Jumoke Akinjide, Femi Babalola (Jogor) and Adebisi Olopoeniyan’s groups are also there. Assuming these groups now merge with any other party, do you think Seyi Makinde can subdue such coalition in the election? No way can he survive it.I›m telling you this from experience. During our time we were facing some factions within the party, we thought they were walkovers because the electorate loved Alao-Akala then. Everywhere we went, people will be shouting ‘Oyato’ meaning ‹Special one› but when the result of the election was out, we were shocked. The same thing happened to the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
This was a man who was a governor for eight years, yet, he could not win a senatorial election in 2019. So, there is power in coalition, merger and conspiracy. The same coalition brought Seyi Makinde to power in 2019 and he should have learnt from this theory and be smarter than how he is going about it. Wike has no election but Makinde does. What stops Seyi from going to Wike and say, we are not in the same boat, I’m 100 per cent in support of you, but this election, I will need to support Atiku Abubakar. It is not too late for Seyi Makinde to retrace his step with what happened at Mapo Hall on Thursday, Seyi is a gentleman we all love, what stops him from calling Honourable Mulikat, Gbolarumi and others and work together towards realising his dream?
If you are in a position of authority today, what advice would you give Makinde?
The key advice for him is to retrace his steps and reconcile with Atiku as soon as possible. He has no option, let Wike understand that for him to successfully win a second term ticket, he [Seyi] needs to reconcile with Atiku. Atiku will now call Jumoke, Mulikat, Gbolarumi and others in Oyo State and assure them that we are now one in PDP. The presidential election is coming first, if Atiku wins, Atiku›s faithful in Oyo State will not care if Makinde wins or not, they may gang up and support another party to boot him out of office.
As a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, what is your view on how civilians usually disregard court’s rulings?
This is part of the impunity we are facing, the judiciary is supposed to be the hope of the common man, but today, you will discover that the institutions, especially the government, are in the forefront of disobeying the court orders either at the state or federal level. In the forefront of disobeying court orders, the government does it and goes away with it likewise the individual.
But what is the best electoral act that we need to improve our politics?
The 2022 electoral act is okay, we can still try that because it guards against the ballot snatching and it’s a step forward if we can abide by the rules, there is a process in that respect and after the election, we can see how it goes because politicians are very tricky.
How do you think we can solve the problem of ‘stomach infrastructure’ now that we are set for the general election?
The fact is that the average Nigerian has a price tag to his name that is the fact. People are hungry, there is a thing they call compartmentalization in politics, the people have just been manoeuvred to such an extent that they enjoy slavery. Look at what is happening, how much was a bag of rice when Goodluck Jonathan was there, ditto fuel? Look at the situation now, why are people keeping quiet? With what happened during ‘End Sars Campaign’ that means that if Nigerian youths are serious, they could say we don›t accept an incompetent government, but now everybody is quiet. A bag of rice is about N35,000 and nobody is talking and why are we not talking? That means everybody is satisfied with what is happening. With this I’m coming back to Obasanjo, it was he that raised the salaries and allowances of these politicians. If someone comes from abroad today and has money to throw around, he can win any election. I bet you. Look at this forthcoming election, it is not as if the competent person will win but the rich will win.
People should open their eyes and cast their vote for Atiku Abubakar except they don›t love Nigeria or they want problems for Nigeria. And when you talk of Muslim-Muslim tickets, we keep asking ourselves why will they do that? I›m a Muslim for instance, should a party come up with a Christian/Christian ticket, how will the Muslim feel? I belong to many Muslim groups, they are happy but I asked them why were they happy? So if next time Christians come up with Christian/Christian tickets will you align with that political arrangement? But Senator Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) took Christians in the country for granted.
They took liberty in the fact that Nigerian Christians are liberal, that with them anything goes. You dare not do that with Muslims in Nigeria, the protest will start from the North, so what you cannot tolerate, why are you doing it with others?
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