Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Tunde Oladunjoye is Ogun State Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee. He speaks on the outcome of the governorship election, his party’s position on Allied People’s Movement (APM) and other sundry issues.
Your governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun is now the governor-elect of Ogun State, how do you feel?
We believe that it is God’s doing. It is an expression of the collective wish of Ogun electorate and their expectation about the outcome. One, our party won. Two, it was very free, very peaceful, unlike what we were apprehensive of, in terms of violence, in terms of tension and we thank God it went peaceful to a large extent. And you can see that since the announcement of the result, it has been jubilation galore among Ogun people.
The Allied People’s Movement (APM) alleged infractions during the poll, claiming the outcome of the governorship election was tantamount to raping the state. What is your take on this?
Like I have said in my reaction to that claim, the governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) demonstrated immaturity with his premature rejection of the figures, even before INEC announced the final result of the contest. The Ogun people knew who the victim was among the candidates. We all saw what happened the day Mr. President visited the state, when our governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun could not even hang any flex, paste posters or any other campaign materials at the main bowl of the MKO International Stadium in Abeokuta. The testimonies are still there. Go there; you will see how the whole place is littered with the posters and banners of the APM. There and then at the stadium, Governor Amosun boasted and threatened fire and brimstone, so how can the same person now turn around and complain that we, the weak party won. We were able to surmount all those threats and boast. If you look at our campaign you would see that our candidate never abused or insulted the governor anywhere, he kept on telling the electorate his goals for the state. And even when the president came here, despite the threats, the abuses, Abiodun was still cool. And I must say that one of the reasons why we won is that Governor Amosun promoted our candidate and won a lot of sympathy for him. He promoted him in the sense that he kept on attacking and attacking him, that people started asking that what has this man done? What is the problem? You are attacking a man and the man is not attacking you back. With what happened on the day the president came to campaign in Abeokuta, I knew our party would win the election because the people were wondering why the governor was so desperate to remain in power through his anointed son so to say.
Now that APC has won, what is going to be first step towards ensuring good governance in the state?
The incoming administration needs to build a lot of things that have gone bad. What has happened was a dent on political history of Ogun State but we had no choice then. For the governorship election, we had four Commissioners of Police in Ogun State. A Commissioner of Police that was supposed to supervise the whole state was made to supervise a senatorial district. Also, Ogun State was made the centre of election monitoring in the whole of South West because it was seen as a dark spot. There was nowhere in the country the president campaigned and was stoned. So that was a bad record which was connected with the attitude of the number one citizen of the state. So, we are going to find a way of restoring peace in the state so that we will put the ugly incident behind us as soon as possible.
APC also alleged election results manipulation in some locations during the poll, are you considering going to election tribunal?
It will depend on the final decision of the party. The immediate thing is to say that we want to go to court, the infractions were very glaring. In Ewekoro, it was outright vote buying with the minimum of five thousand naira per vote. In Ifo Local Government Area, there were a lot of malpractices, especially in the areas that are not within the town.
In Abeokuta South, APM candidate was arrested with cash and I think some of those assembly seats won by APM were won through fraud and once we are able to finally establish that, we will go to the tribunal to ask that it should be given to the rightful persons.
Members of APM were in APC, is your party considering any move to bring them back into the party?
All the APM said was that after the election had been concluded in March 9, they would be back in APC by March 11. I must advise that they come back and if they do not come back, we must ask them what is holding them. But what our party has demonstrated is that there is not going to be any special untouchable person in our party, no matter who you are. President Buhari subjected himself to the supremacy of the party, so if you are a governor you have to respect the party and the earlier we continue to insist on discipline, the better it is for us. We believe that what the party is doing to discipline any party member is a good thing and I want to say that these people (APM) should retrace their steps so that the party can possibly reconsider its sanction against them.
As a party that is taking over the rein of power from May 29, what is your message to Ogun people?
The first thing is to again thank the people for giving us a second chance by voting for Prince Dapo Abiodun. I also want to, on behalf of APC, apologise to the people of Ogun State – civil servants, labour leaders, students and all segment of the society – that had been wrongly treated by Governor Amosun. He did so as a member of APC and he’s still claiming to be a member of APC despite his suspension. We pray that there will never be a repeat of this kind of administration in our state.