•Let Southerners boycott cow meat
Chief Shuaib Oyedokun was the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Secretary to the Oyo State government. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP.
Oyedokun whose political antecedents date back to the Second Republic believes that the PDP will take back the reins of government considering what he called the poor leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with BAMIGBOLA GBOLAGUNTE, he said President Buhari has bitten more than he can chew.
You have seen it all in Nigerian politics, since the First Republic, how will you compare the politics then and now?
Politics at that time was purely like that of Greek, where politics originated from. At that time, we had parliamentary system of government which was all inclusive and beneficial to the people. This means collective participation and it was less materialistic. When I was a councilor, we were still working and all we had was sitting allowance and not a bogus allowance like we have today. But now, people struggle for materials and not for the people. I will therefore recommend a parliamentary system of government. It will benefit us if we can return to parliamentary system. I will also recommend that the take home of political office holders be reduced. This is done in other places. Political office holders work and serve on part time basis. Our system should not be winners take all. What we have in Nigeria is what I will call “demonic” unitary system. Our politicians don’t really need to cross carpet, but the way we do it today is like we are practicing parliamentary system in presidential setting, and there is lot of confusion in this.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a recent letter advised President Buhari not to run for the 2019 presidential election. What is your take on this?
Obasanjo is an adult extrovert. He says things and does things according to the dictates of his mind at a particular time for a particular purpose and his writings are always very poisonous. Have you ever read his books? He is down to earth in everything he does. Obasanjo knows what he is saying and he knows what he is doing. The rest depends on all Nigerians to have a good debate on what Obasanjo said.
With this, what advice will you give President Buhari considering the situation of things in the country?
Sometimes it is not safe to criticize the ruling government or party because in doing so, one may undo his own party, especially when you are eyeing the same office. Buhari bit more than he can chew and that is the problem he is having now. The issue is that Buhari has a legacy to leave behind. I am not used to blaming leaders because the followership is not co-operating based on the system we are running. The legacy he can leave behind to correct whatever mistake of the past is for him to correct the system and that will need complete re-orientation. The solution to the problem in Nigeria is restructuring.
How will you react to the incessant attack by Fulani herdsmen and the proposed Fulani Colony in the states of the federation?
This is a very interesting issue and I will talk outside politics. Let us forget about the menace of Fulani herdsmen because we already know that. The issue is that must we necessarily eat cow meat.
Let all the southerners boycott cow meat and reject cattle in the south. Where there is no one to be oppressed, there will not be oppressors. I look at the meaning of colony and I found out that it means movement of people of other tribes to settle in another place that does not belong to them. For instance in my home town, Inisha in Osun State, we have a lot of colanuts and Hausas often come to take it to the North.
However, the problem we will have in this kind of dealing is religion and ethnicity. There are lots of suspicions in the proposed colony. If the herders want to do their trade and they settle in a place in form of ranching and pay royalty to the owner, that is good because it will promote commercial activities in such locations. The facilities will also be provided for them there. That is business and I subscribe to that.
What we should do now is to sit down together and plan together to see this country going. Don’t let me deceive you; the underline factor is that we should be careful about the Fulani colony. Can’t we stay on our own and can’t the North stay on its own and the East. It is condemnable to take the life of fellow human beings as we have it now.
I know my own religion (Islam) doesn’t allow taking life, same with Christianity. No religion preaches crisis or killing and we should know this. Traditionalists have not been involved in killings, so if the “imported” religions are no longer sweet for us, let us embrace our fore-fathers’ religion.
How will you assess the last two and half years rule of President Buhari?
There is no government that has not done its little, but because we are heterogeneous, we don’t feel satisfied. However, what I notice in this government is that we have a little growth but there is no development. We can see buildings and no development. What are the benefits of these gigantic structures to an average Nigerian? Even the APC members are now complaining. Go into the markets and commercial buses and listen to the views of the people. Everybody is now condemning the government of Buhari. The economy has been ruined and many people have lost their jobs. Is that a government?
How will you compare the government of the APC with that of the PDP?
The PDP combines growth with development. During our time, there was growth and there was development. However, PDP suffered from being complacent. The publicity was so poor during the PDP rule. PDP believed that people should see things by themselves, while the APC is good in propaganda. APC also used the advantage of the social media and this worked for them. Things have changed eventually and the same social media are now being used against the APC. Let the people judge.
What is the current state of affairs in the PDP? Has its internal crisis been finally laid to rest?
At the national level of the PDP, we now have perfect peace. We have effective national executive under Prince Uche Secondus. Also, the Board of Trustees of the party is intact and everyone relates well
as there is no more faction in the party. I believe the few states that have crisis will have the problems resolved before the end of February
What is your relationship with Senator Iyiola Omisore?
We have a good relationship now. He is a member of my team. Omisore is a member of the PDP Elders committee in Osun State. He was our governorship candidate in Osun State in 2014 and I led his campaign with other leaders of the party. He sends me messages and I also reply him. However, the people in our party will decide whether he can be the candidate the party will present in the next governorship election in Osun State.
What is the likely fate of the PDP in the next governorship election holding in your home state (Osun) later this year?
That is why our people are fighting themselves now. If it were not hopeful that PDP will win the election, our people will not be fighting themselves. Already, we have 19 aspirants who have signified intention to contest the governorship election. If not because they see that there is hope of winning the election, they won’t waste their money. We are sure of taking over that state.
What is the state of the Yoruba nation in the contemporary Nigerian politics considering the fact that many interest groups have emerged?
I used to be a member of egbe ilosiwaju omo Yoruba under the leadership of Late General Adeyinka Adebayo, at a time Jemibewon and myself were Chairman and secretary respectively of the group. I understand that somebody among our forefathers cursed us in Yoruba land and that curse is really working against us till today. We are so divided now that only posterity can bring us together. However, I commend those in the Awolowo’s dynasty, especially his daughters and the few remnants of Awolowo’s political dynasty. Every one in Yoruba land now wants to be called leader and it should not be so.
But with the emergence of Otunba Gani Adams as the new Are Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, don’t you think the situation would change?
I see the emergence of this young man as an act of God and a blessing for the Yoruba nation. His coming on board was divine. How the young man started and what he has been doing has made me to be convinced that he can lead the Yoruba people. He is able to lead us well and he is generally accepted by all of us in Yoruba land.
How confident are you that the PDP can win the 2019 general election?
We are now in an abyss of poverty in Nigeria and this is known to everyone. What will the APC use to campaign? The vehicle of APC has been involved in an accident and we are ready to take over. Obasanjo has said it all in his letter to Buhari, so, I don’t need to repeat anything he has said again. APC is like a big vehicle that has fallen into a ditch. I will just need to encourage members of my party to work hard and intensify efforts to ensure that we win future elections. APC is a settlement for dislodged politicians.
What is your position on the return of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the PDP?
Atiku Abubakar is an astute politician and a strategist. After Obasanjo, he would have been the next President, but as fate would have it, he went to another party. He is one of the most formidable persons in the PDP that can be considered for the post. However, one cannot say boldly, until other aspirants come out.
What is your relationship with Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State who is also contesting the presidential election?
Fayose, though my man, but I disagree with him on different occasions. He was one of those who signed the zoning arrangement. He was a signatory to the zoning arrangement and he was the first to break it by showing interest in the race. However, I know he has a target but it is too early for him.