By Tunde Thomas
The All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos State has vowed to use the forthcoming local government election in the State to bury Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Making this declaration in an interview with Daily Sun, Chairman, APC Lagos State, Chief Henry Ajomale vowed that APC would humiliate PDP at the poll.
He also spoke on why Tinubu forgave Obanikoro among other issues of interest.
What is your assessment of the two years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government?
It has been two years of refreshing change for Nigerians. Although some people are complaining of hardship, but what those complaining should realize that this is not APC’s doing. Whatever pains some Nigerians are passing through is a product of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s bad leadership, and abysmal failure of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
For 16 years that PDP was in power, starting from 1999 to 2015, I would like to describe that period as years of the locust for Nigeria. 16 years of PDP in power was a complete waste. Things however took for the worst under Goodluck Jonathan. In actual fact, Nigeria would have become a failed state under Jonathan. The ship of the State was heading for the rock. The situation degenerated to the extent that Jonathan was described as a clueless leader. He didn’t have clue to anything, mention it: power, security, infrastructural development. Even at a point federal government could no longer pay salaries of its workers, and fuel scarcity was beginning to resurface before God used Buhari and APC to deliver Nigeria from PDP’s 16 years evil rule.
Unfortunately, some Nigerians have short memory, they’ve forgotten that some of the problems we have today were inherited from PDP’s locust years, years of waste and President Muhammadu Buhari has been making yeoman’s efforts to clear PDP’s mess.
We thank God that today, it is no longer business as usual as the APC- led Federal government unlike during the dark era of PDP has been promoting accountability and transparency in governance. The era of impunity is over, people are now being asked to account for their deeds, something that has never happened before. My appeal to Nigerians is that they should exercise patience with President Buhari and cooperate with his administration to enable him provide good governance for Nigerians. He has started very well and he is well on track to achieve more, what we all need is to give him our cooperation.
But some Nigerians are saying that nothing has changed, and that if anything has changed at all it is that things have changed for the worst as many people are complaining of hardship, what’s your take on that?
Those who are saying that nothing has changed are just being mischievous – they are apologists of PDP. They are not engaging in constructive politics.
In Nigeria today, things are changing for better every day. About three years ago when PDP was still in power, how many Nigerians can sleep with their two eyes closed? The Boko Haram insurgents were everywhere wreaking havoc. They were bombing everywhere killing innocent Nigerians. Nobody was safe, and blood was flowing freely at motor parks and garages as a result of Boko Haram bombings, and PDP government in power then was helpless.
The Boko Haram terrorists were so bold and daring at the time that they were attacking and bombing Army Barracks, and even the Police Headquarters in Abuja was bombed by Boko Haram. But today the situation has changed since a more capable government in form of APC has taken over reins of government at the centre. It will be very unfair if Nigerians failed to give kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari for taming the monster called Boko Haram. Lives of Nigerians are now more secured.
Again, look at those Chibok girls that were abducted under Goodluck Jonathan’s watch as President, President Buhari has brought joy and succour to the families of the abducted girls as his administration has secured the release of many of these girls, and Buhari is still working on how to secure the release of remaining ones.
Look at the huge sums of money being recovered from those who looted the nation’s treasury running into trillions of naira, has that happened before? Did PDP’s government bring any looter to justice? No. These are some of Buhari’s achievements, and again look at the ongoing war against corruption – Buhari’s ongoing war against corruption has exposed many Nigerians who looted the nation’s treasury and yet some people are saying that nothing has changed; to me those saying nothing has changed are being mischievous, and they are mostly PDP’s apologists. Today things are looking up for us in Nigeria, nobody should ever wish for us to return to PDP era. That was an inglorious era that plunged Nigeria into evil rule and bad governance.
On the issue of war against corruption, President Buhari’s crusade against corruption has been described as being one-sided, that what we have seen so far has been arraignment and trial of PDP members, how do you react to that?
That’s another falsehood being peddled against Buhari – the war against corruption by Buhari has been all-encompassing – there has been no discrimination at all. If you have case to answer, you are summoned to defend yourself and clear your name, and if at the end of the day you have case to answer, then they put you on trial.
If Buhari’s war against corruption is selective, then why is the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki on trial, is he not an APC member like Buhari? What about the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Babachir Lawal that has been on suspension over allegations of fraud, is Lawal not an APC member? Is he not a close associate of President Buhari? Some people are just being mischievous, and their stock in trade is to feed some gullible Nigerians with falsehood.
It was reported that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s supporters are urging him to have a shot at the Presidency again in 2019 claiming that he would beat Buhari hands down should Buhari seek a re-election, what’s your view?
Jonathan coming back? That’s a big joke. I would rather advise Jonathan not to allow some selfish Nigerians who are out to make money from him to deceive him. If Jonathan or his supporters ever contemplate coming back for Jonathan, I can categorically say that that’s a project doomed to fail from beginning. I will advise Jonathan to spend his time in retirement in his Otuoke village peacefully. He should not allow some people to deceive him. What are the credentials that Jonathan want to flaunt for his comeback attempt? Even some of his own kinsmen in Niger-Delta recently publicly declared that six years of Jonathan’s administration as President of this country was a disaster to the Niger-Delta. But I want to quickly add to it that six years of Jonathan’s Presidency was not only a waste to the Niger-Delta but to the entire Nigeria. Jonathan was a big flop. Nigeria almost became a failed State under his clueless leadership.
What’s your reaction to the recent defection of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro to APC?
I’m not surprised at Obanikoro’s defection to APC. You know he was one of us before he decamped to PDP. When we were in the defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD, he was with us. He benefitted a lot from the party because Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu loved him – Tinubu made him a commissioner in his cabinet when he was governor of Lagos State and later Obanikoro was also given senatorial ticket by AD and that was how he became a senator on the platform of AD – but suddenly for reason best known to him, he decamped to PDP.
But all along nobody took offence to his action because we all knew that Obanikoro will one day come back. Obanikoro is like the prodigal son in the Bible who bite the fingers that fed him, but just like the biblical prodigal son was forgiven by his father, we have also forgiven Obanikoro – that’s to tell Nigerians that Asiwaju Tinubu has a large heart. Tinubu is very accommodating. With what Obanikoro did to AD, ACN and later APC when he was in PDP some would have thought Tinubu and other APC leaders would not forgive Obanikoro, but Tinubu doesn’t bear grudges. He forgives easily. He is not an autocrat or a dictator that some people portray him to be. With Obanikoro now in APC, the next big fish we are expecting in APC is Chief Bode George. He is coming to join us very soon, to join APC in helping to transform Lagos State into Dubai of Africa.
You mean Chief Bode George will be crossing over to APC, are you just joking or something …
Cuts in … I mean it. Mark my words, Chief Bode George will soon be in APC fold. George is on his way to joining the APC, and we will welcome him in a big way. Look at some of his recent comments, how he has been praising Governor Akinwumi Ambode to high heavens, commending the governor over developmental projects he has been executing in Lagos State. George is an eminent Lagosian who is passionate about the development and growth of Lagos State, and I praise him saying the truth about Ambode’s administration, that Ambode’s administration is an excellent one. But as I said earlier, it is not a joke, Bode George will soon follow Obanikoro to APC and we are waiting to receive him into APC fold.
What is your take on the clamour for Lagos State to be accorded a special status in view of its being a former Federal Capital?
That clamour is justified. It is long overdue. Lagos State should have been accorded a special status long, long time ago but it is unfortunate that some people are introducing elements of politics into it. Apart from being a former Federal Capital, Lagos State has a very large population, and there is always pressure on infrastructural facilities and social services. But thank God that the State has been blessed with visionary and dynamic leaders who have been able to put the situation under control. Today, Lagos State population has been conservatively put at over 20 million, and it is only Lagos State that receives thousands of migrating Nigerians daily. The State is a melting pot for Nigerians, there is no State in Nigeria that doesn’t have a family member in Lagos, and this is why the issue of according it a special status should not have been politicised. If Lagos State is accorded a special status, all Nigerians will benefit. All residents of Lagos will benefit.
My advice to our people is that we should always try to separate politics from reality. I expect the members of the National Assembly to do the needful on this and I also expect concerned stakeholders including elected representatives from Lagos State in the National Assembly to engage in lobbying in order to win over their colleagues in the quest to ensure that Lagos State is granted a special status.
The recent primary election of APC to pick chairmanship candidates for the party was marred by violence following protest by aggrieved party members who opposed imposition of candidates by APC leadership. How are you handling the aftermath?
That’s another false allegation being sponsored by the opposition against the party. APC never believe in imposition of candidates – we organized that primary in an open place with a view of promoting transparency. No one is imposing any candidate on anybody.
APC is a party of democrats and the party believes in providing level playing ground for all aspirants. No particular candidate is favoured above others but where delegates from a particular area say they believe in consensus candidacy, we don’t oppose their wish. Any talk about any leader in APC imposing anybody should be regarded as an idle talk. For those mentioning Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s name, may God forgive them. They are being unfair to the man. Tinubu is a democrat. He doesn’t believe in imposition, and he has never imposed any candidate on us. To show you how democratic Tinubu is, if we have a meeting and we his supporters and followers have a superior argument over his own position, he doesn’t impose his own decision on us. He goes with whatever decision is taken by the majority. Tinubu is not only a democrat but also a team player. He detests imposition and autocracy.
On the forthcoming local government elections in Lagos State, some PDP leaders have declared that APC will not find it easy and that PDP is poised to spring a surprise by trouncing APC. How prepared is your party?
Which surprise? Anyway truly PDP will be surprised, and what kind of surprise are they going to get? PDP will go into oblivion in Lagos State after the council polls because APC will defeat them thoroughly. In fact PDP is already dead in Lagos State but APC will use the council election to finally nail PDP’s coffin in Lagos State. After the election nobody will hear of PDP again in Lagos State.