…Says APC dead in Ondo?
By Tunde Thomas
MEMBERS of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) including the leadership of the various organs of the party have been advised to give peace a chance by supporting the appointment of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the Interim Chairman of the party.
Making the appeal during a media chat in Lagos recently, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Joseph Akinlaja representing Ondo East/Ondo West Federal Constituency in the lower chambe urged PDP members not to allow Sheriff’s choice to become a source of rancor or bitter acrimony within the party.
He also spoke on other national issues including the ongoing war against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari, economy crisis, Mimiko’s administration, forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State among others.
The emergence of Senator Modu Ali Sheriff as the interim chairman of PDP has become a source of division among some PDP members with some backing his appointment and others kicking against it; how do you see that development?
There is no cause for alarm. It is all part of democracy in action. Irrespective of whatever opinion any PDP member has about Sheriff’s emergence, we all still remain members of the same family.
I will however appeal that we should all let sheriff be. This is not the time we should allow any division in our rank.
Sheriff’s appointment is an interim one, and he is qualified to hold forth pending when formal process would be followed to elect a substantive chairman.
PDP’s fortune is on the rise, we should not allow anything to divide us. We should not play into the hands of our political enemies.
Some people have declared that the PDP is politically finished with the 2015 presidential election loss to APC, while others say that the party should not yet be written off; how would you rate PDP today?
PDP is still much alive, waxing stronger and stronger. Even recent elections in Rivers and Bayelsa states have shown that PDP still remains the party to beat. You can’t expect the party to be in power till eternity; we have put the loss of 2015 behind us and we are rebuilding the party, we are restrategising and I believe that come 2019, PDP will beat APC hands down in the general election. PDP will surely bounce back in 2019.
Why do you sound so optimistic?
Do you even need a soothsayer to tell you that PDP is coming back as the ruling party? Many Nigerians are clamouring that PDP should come back.
One year after APC took over power, Nigerians are already tired; they want PDP to come back. They are missing PDP. They believe that PDP is the party that knows how to address various problems confronting them.
Many Nigerians that thought they were tired of PDP now know better. They can compare the difference between APC and PDP now.
How would you assess the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari so far?
What I will say is that Nigerians are still expecting dividends of democracy. Something has to be done about the erratic power supply. Even Mr President had acknowledged the problem in that sector when he recently declared that power supply problem is no longer a laughing matter.
Then what about the jobs promised unemployed youths! One year after, unemployment is getting worse; then you also have the problem of fuel supply. The main essence of governance is to provide succor for those being governed, and Nigerians are still yearning for dividends of democracy.
But many have lauded the anti-corruption war by the administration ….
War against corruption is good, but even at that, I believe that the war against corruption should not be seen to be selective. So far, all the arraignment are tilted against the PDP. How many APC members have been arrested by EFCC and put on trial? Are we saying that APC is party of saints?
War against corruption should go round, and it should not appear as if it is only one political party
and certain individuals that are being targeted.
Gubernatorial election is coming up in Ondo later this year, how will you assess the chance of
the PDP against the backdrop of recent defections of some top notches of PDP in the state to
In Ondo State today, APC is politically dead. Forget all those propaganda. APC is only good in
propaganda, but on the ground, they are mere paperweights.
I pity those PDP members that defected to APC. By crossing over to APC, they can no longer
be relevant politically again.
PDP is solidly on the ground in Ondo State.
Don’t forget that we control 21 out of 26 seats in the state House of Assembly. Our current governor,
Dr Olusegun Mimiko has been doing a yeoman’s
job. He is a revolutionary, a silent achiever. He has transformed Ondo State. His achievements in office
are unparalleled in the 40 year history of the state and I stand to be corrected. Even prominent
Nigerians including some former governors of the state, eminent elder statesmen, and international
organizations including World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF have commended Mimiko.
Let’s put politics aside, when a man has done well, we should commend him. Mimiko has proved to be the
Awolowo of our time in Ondo State. Even independent observers can go to the state to verify my claims about
giant strides taking place in Ondo State under Mimiko’s administration.
But the same Governor Mimiko you are commending has been described by some critics as a dictator, and bad
administrator, what is your take on that?
Those saying all manner of things should be ignored. Some of those critics who were his former aides and political
associates that crossed to APC are bread and butter politicians. They left PDP in annoyance and out of
frustration because Mimiko refused to steal Ondo State’s money and share it with them.
Some of them even say that Mimiko is too tight-fisted.
Yes, Mimiko is tight-fisted because he doesn’t believe in looting the treasury and sharing Ondo State’s money with
few selfish individuals.
Rather than stealing or looting or sharing Ondo State’s money with these shameless politicians, the governor
has embarked on massive construction of roads, hospitals and cottage industries.
The governor believes in empowering the people by providing job opportunities for them. He believes in creating
jobs rather than sharing money.
Ondo State recently turned 40, how would you describe the journey so far?
We have every cause to thank God that we are alive today.