Without Omisore, Osun PDP Is Nothing – Idowu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Without Omisore, Osun PDP Is Nothing – Idowu

Posted: Jul 8, 2016 at 3:58 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Hon Afolami Idowu, journalist turned politician and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart in Osun State, in this interview with EJIKEME OMENAZU, speaks on the travails of Senator Iyiola Omisore in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the crisis in PDP, situation in State of Osun, among other issues.


We learnt you have an ambition of becoming your party’s Publicity Secretary. How true is this?

It is true that I wish to become the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State. I have already been elected during the party’s state congress. But there was a crisis leading to the emergence of two factions. Everyone knows that Senator Iyiola Omisore is the umbrella for PDP in Osun State.

How would you react to the recent arrest and detention of Senator Omisore by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)?

Omisore seems to be the PDP in Osun State. Without him, we will not do anything. But, the ruling party at the federal level, the All Progressives Congress (APC), wants to silence the opposition. That informed the clamp-down on Omisore. If we have a one party system, what will happen to Nigeria? When President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, he was very liberal and allowed the opposition. President Jonathan was the most liberal president even in Africa. During Jonathan’s stay in office, he never abused his powers. In the same way. PDP as a party does not abuse President Muhammadu Buhari. We do not denigrate the president. We see him as a symbol of Nigeria. President Buhari should therefore respect the Rule of Law. It is baffling that someone like Senator Omisore was arrested on a Sunday and served a court order, given a stringent bail condition to the effect that he produces a Director of a federal ministry or parastatal who must own a house in a place like Asokoro in the Federal capital Territory (FCT). A house there is worth about $1.1 million. How much does a director in the federal public service earn to be able to own a house in Asokoro? This government says it is fighting corruption. How would such a director get the money to acquire such a house in Asokoro?

I am not against the arrest of Omisore. But, if he committed an offence, he must be properly arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction. The Presidency should not influence the judiciary. If he accuses people of using government’s money to sponsor election, how did former Ekiti State governor, Fayemi got the huge amount he contributed to President Buhari’s election fund? He said he borrowed money from UBA for his campaigns. Why did he not close down UBA? People are sentimental in this country. The media trial of the opposition politicians should stop. The government should allow the judiciary to do its job and allow separation of powers to operate within the arms of government. Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as tough as he was, never tampered with the judiciary.

What is your take on the current situation in the PDP where both Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Markafi are laying claims to the party’s chairmanship, an issue which has become subject of several litigations?

At the national level also, along the line, the party divided into two factions, the Ahmed Markafi and Modu Sheriff factions. But, through the recent court judgment, Markafi now has an upper hand. Sheriff’s tenure had expired, but it was extended for him to hold the party’s convention. He set up a committee for the convention and was part of the screening. When it appeared that the table was turning against him, he cancelled the convention. This led to the litigations and the different court rulings.

With the crises in your party, the PDP, do you see it surviving till the 2019 elections?

PDP will survive. Where you see people fighting, there is something there. PDP is a party to beat in Nigeria. We have an adage that until a woman tasted two husbands, he will not know which is better. We are saying that PDP is better than APC. President Obasanjo met $3 billion in foreign reserve. Oil was $18 per barrel. Within six months, they increased salary and people were enjoying.. Jonathan left about $50 billion. Crude oil was $48 per barrel. What was exchange rate when Jonathan was leaving? What is the exchange rate now? Now, people are exchanging their children for food.

Your party is a divided house at both the national and state levels. Yet you believe that it would not fall. Why are you so optimistic about the survival of PDP?

The crises people are talking about in PDP are being fuelled by the APC. Modu Sheriff, for instance, is fighting for the APC. Some PDP chieftains who have problems and cases with the EFCC are briefed to destroy the PDP. This is the only way they cannot be victimised or punished by the APC government for their offences bordering on fraud. So they want to destroy the PDP to have easy ride. But, the coming Edo State governorship election is a litmus test for all the parties. After the Edo elections, then it will be the Osun election in 2018.

Don’t you see the emergence of a third alternative party to both the PDP and APC before the 2019 elections?

I cannot rule out that possibility. I do not know what is in the minds of people. People have the right to form parties in this country. But as of today, I can tell you that PDP remains the party to beat, both in the 2018 election in Osun State and in 2019 general elections in Nigeria. We are therefore calling for the unconditional release of Senator Iyiola Omisore or he should be charged before a competent court of law.

What is the current situation in your state, the State of Osun?

The State of Osun is in ruins economically, socially, politically and religiously. But we thank God that the two leading religions understand the pranks of the state government. Governor Rauf Aregbesola wanted to set the State of Osun ablaze by setting the two major religions against each other. But, the leaders of the two religions understood his mission and refused to play his cards.

So far, the government owes workers about two years salary arrears. He has been paying them half salary all along. The education system is in shambles. Social life is none. Politically, the state is finished. There is nothing left in Osun under Aregbesola’s APC government. The state’s debt cannot be repaid in the next 10 years. It will be so bad for the future generations of Osun State if nothing is done to remedy the situation.

Are you sure that the only hope for Osun State lies in the hands of PDP, your party?

The people know the party that caters for them, the party which has their interest at heart. PDP government did not sack a single civil servant in Osun State in seven years it was in power. Under this government and that of Chief Bisi Akande, many have lost their jobs and people are now regretting why they voted for the APC.