The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Ogun State, Tunde Oladunjoye, in this interview with DAUD OLATUNJI discusses the party’s chances in 2023, as well as the recent threat by the state’s former governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, that the incumbent governor, Dapo Abiodun, will not be re-elected.
What is the stand of the APC in Ogun State on a statement by former governor Ibikunle Amosun that the 2019 election was rigged and 19,000 votes were allocated to Abiodun?
We are not surprised by the utterances of a man whose ego is taller than his cap. The party has issued a statement that has been widely used. We don’t keep in focus a falsehood that even the Ogun people themselves have described as utter arrogance and a blatant lie.
Do you agree with former governor Amosun who also said no governor in the state has beaten his record?
(Laughs) You did not hear him well. He said he had beaten the records of four former governors put together! So, who are we to join or help him out of his fantastic fantasy and grand delusion?
Do Amosun and his loyalists pose any threat to Abiodun’s reelection?
Were there any threats in 2019? Even as a sitting governor, with all the state’s resources and immense influence at his disposal, what was he able to do? Is he greater than the discerning people of Ogun State?
Despite his expertise in empty boasts and manipulations, was he able to surpass the determination of the enlightened Ogun people?
Amosun, with due respect, is ‘Elesin Ana’ (no longer relevant). His political relevance and validity have expired just like his tenure.
The Hausa people do say ‘Seriki Goma and Zamani Goma’ are (ten kings with ten different styles and reigns). May we never see another inglorious and vainglorious tenure during which a sitting governor sponsors another governorship candidate against his own party!
In 2019, the APC was not even this strong. Today, the party is stronger. Highly notable personalities, including governorship candidates, who contested against Prince Dapo Abiodun, are now in the APC. The former governor’s camp is being progressively depleted. His political ‘strikers’ are now with Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Some of those you will say can never leave him have deserted and gone to the Peoples Democratic Party, leaving the few remnants in the moribund Allied Peoples Movement. He is so unpopular now that he is begging his followers for the APM tickets, and to his utter dismay, his offers were being rejected.
The incumbent government has always complained that it inherited many things from Amosun that have been hurdles for it to perform. What are those things?
The fact is that Prince Abiodun has, in a rare exemplification of leadership, braced those hurdles. The stones Amosun left behind as stumbling blocks have been used as stepping stones by our governor.
It was widely reported in the media that Amosun did not leave what you can call a handover note for the current administration. He awarded and paid 100 per cent, up-front, for the elitist model schools; about 16 of them and not one of them was fully completed.
He abandoned projects, including roads and bridges like Kuto Bridge, and so on, littered the landscape with unpaid deductions, gratuities, arrears of pensioners’ benefits, backlog of salaries in the tertiary institutions, elephant projects, and planned dissolution of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta and so on.
The hurdles here are so many and daunting. Even if there were a giant hurdle by nature in terms of the coronavirus epidemic, a meticulous governor, assisted by the mercy of God, has been sprinting over the hurdles like Tobi Amusan.
What is the chance of the APC in the state in the coming election?
It is very bright. The APC is the leading party in Ogun State. We have restored peace in the polity. You know what the situation was before March 2019. Ogun is now very peaceful as a result of the inclusiveness policy of Prince Dapo Abiodun.
There can be no progress or development. Our leader’s practise of politics without bitterness has brought down his near-non-existence of political tension and heat in Ogun State. We have located and spread projects across the three senatorial districts, unlike the lopsidedness of the immediate past. The housing projects of this administration are unparalleled. The projects are sold out. This is the first time in history that a government housing project has been oversubscribed within a year. What about the fire stations’ construction, refurbishment, and provision of modern equipment, along with the boosted morale of the firefighting personnel?
The party is thought to have handled the crisis with the Amosun group poorly during the reconciliation period; what do you think about this, sir?
That’s a false belief. When you are dealing with someone who sees himself above everyone else, like a former governor who publicly declared that he is more than four former governors put together, you will realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do to pacify someone like that.
Perhaps a slot as a third-term governor directly or through a surrogate would have done the magic, but that’s not possible, not even under the Nigerian constitution.
People in Alagbole, Akute and other boundary areas are complaining that the governor is not attending to their needs, especially on the roads. What is the party doing to encourage the governor to fix the roads as an election is coming?
Your question has been overtaken by events. Let me tell you that the governor does not need the prompting of the party to do what he was elected to do. He has been doing this, and facts on the grounds attest to this.
Despite the paucity of funds, lack of cooperation from the Federal Government, which owns most of these roads, the Governor has moved men and machines in and the road is being reconstructed and asphalted.
Some people are also saying that the governor is towing the line of Amosun. Amosun concentrated on Ogun central, and he (Amosun) is also said to have concentrated in Ijebu. How does the party react to this?
This is completely untrue.
Do you have data to prove that they are balanced in development?
Of course! Among the data we have are also the resident journalists in Ogun State. You move around, and you know that the projects are not lopsided. If I must remind you, the first two road projects delivered by the Prince Dapo Abiodun Administration are located in the Ogun West Senatorial District. The roads are Raypower/AIT roads leading to Lagos.
What about the housing projects? They are spread across the four divisions of Ogun State, namely Ijebu Ode, Sagamu, Abeokuta and Ilaro.
Some members of the state House of Assembly recently threatened to change the leadership of the House, which has APC as the majority. Did the party caution them?
We were not aware of the so-called threat. We don’t overtly or covertly teleguide the Ogun Assembly, and the party can only intervene on matters brought before it.
After the primaries, some members were aggrieved. What is the party doing to retain them in the party?
Reconciliation is ongoing at various levels. We are persuading people to see reason and realise that you can only have one candidate per ticket. Our governor is seriously helping the party in the form of appointments to some of these people. Those who collected forms during the last LG elections but did not win are being refunded for the money they paid for the nomination forms. We can do that because that’s in the purview of the governor and the party at the state level. We will not relent in our efforts to address issues and genuine complaints.
There were crises in some places during the primaries, such as Ado-Odo/Ota and a few others, as the party waded into the matter. A few candidates have taken the party and the candidates that emerged to court. Any sanction?
I have just answered a similar question. As you said, few of the candidates are in court; I won’t want to comment further. All I can say is that conciliation is ongoing. Our Governor did not write any names or impose candidates, and he will not tell those who did not emerge to “go to hell,” as someone who wrote the names of 40 candidates for all elective positions and still told contestants to go to blazes, claiming that was the “Ogun Standard.”