Says no democracy in Oyo
By Olalekan Bilesanmi
Senator Lekan Balogun represented Oyo West at the Senate between 1999 and 2003. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, Oyo Chapter, the Osi-Olubadan (third in hierarchy to the Olubadan throne), in this interview, is definite on the chances of his party in next year’s gubernatorial election in Oyo, asserting that because of the anti-people policies of the All Progressives Congress, APC- led government in the state, Governor Abiola Ajimobi would be the last APC governor in the state. He also speaks on the PDP vis-a-vis the 2015 polls in the South-west.
Before now, the PDP said it was going to win the Osun election, just as it won the Ekiti election. What do you have to say now that you lost?
We are still gathering materials as to what happened during the election, because we were so sure we would win, and the data we have show the election itself was highly controversial. Various allegations were being made against the APC. I don’t want to talk about the allegations on the pages of newspapers. As I said, it is highly controversial.
That is in the eyes of the PDP.
I am not talking as a PDP man. I am talking as a political scientist. Ordinarily as a democrat , I would believe that whoever wins should be congratulated but because of the facts emanating from the election, I think we should be through with those facts first before any other thing.
When the party won in Ekiti, the defeated governor promptly congratulated the winner. Why not now in Osun?
That was an exception. The Ekiti governor who was defeated is a highly educated man, a gentleman, a cultured and civilized man. That is the way it should be.
It appears your party’s claim of capturing the South-west is no longer feasible.
What is not feasible? We were so sure we would win in Ekiti, and we won. We were so sure of winning in Osun and now that we did not win there, particularly with all these allegations coming out, it is a battle not totally lost. South-west is a clear PDP area in the country. What do you mean it is not possible to recapture South-west? For instance, I am very sure we will win in Oyo State in 2015. Oyo is going the way of the PDP in 2015.
With the divisions you have here and there?
Why are you talking like someone who does not know the variables and dynamics of politics? How do conflicts of individual aspirations become division? Everybody is still in the PDP. By the time it dawns on you that you are out again for another four years in Oyo, everybody will be reconciled. All of us the elder-statesmen are not taking sides any more, we are trying to reconcile, we are looking beyond the primaries and the immediate and I think we are going to succeed at the end of the day.
Are you sure PDP would be in government in 2015?
In Oyo State, yes, PDP will be in government.
What makes you so sure especially in the face of the development strides the incumbent government has brought to the state.
What has it done? Tell me what it has done. Contractors are smiling home while the ordinary people are made to cry and thrown into emotional confusion. You demolished the husband’s shop where he is doing tailoring and the wife’s shop who is selling, the children are sent away from school because they cannot afford school fees and you call that development? What kind of development? And nine out of ten of the contractors patronised by government are from Lagos. That is not development, what you are running now is not democracy in Oyo State, you are running contractocracy. Go and find out the meaning. Democracy is supposed to cater for the needs of the people, but when it is destroying the needs of the people and caters for the minority called contractors, that is not democracy, that is not development.
Are the contractors doing the job?
That is not the issue. You can’t even define the so-called development. And I am sure you are trying to provoke me to saying things that you want to hear. I said out of 10 contractors, nine are from outside the state, do you call that development?
You seem to be saying this because you are in the opposition party?
No, far from it. When my party was ruling during the Akala era, 1 criticized them openly. I even encouraged people to work with Ajimobi. I am a political scientist.
At the initial stage, you supported this administration, why the sudden change of mind?.
What is sudden about that? After three years? Do you call that sudden? Please use another word, certainly sudden is out of it. I watched closely for three years. Remember I once told you that we were watching the administration closely and that, at the appropriate time, we shall make our comments known.
But you are close to this governor?
On a personal level, he is my aburo (junior brother).
So why not call him to order if indeed he is executing anti-development projects?
He won’t listen. He was not even making himself available in the last one and a half years. If he is not ready to listen to advice, what do you do?
It is like you are bitter and you are ready to take him out through your party.
No, through the votes of the people, through the ballot box, through the ordinary people who have suffered under his administration. It is the contractors that would vote for him, not the people, that is the consequence of running anti-people government. Remember I said nine out of 10 contractors are from outside the state, even the contractors, not all of them will vote for him.
But it is not as if the Akala administration fared better than this administration.
Why are you comparing it with Akala government? Of course, Akala had his own short comings too. Why is it now wrong to talk about this other government because he is my aburo? He is not doing well as far as I am concerned when it comes to the interest of the people. I have enormous data but we are not ready for that yet.
In your permutation, you think PDP will win in 2015?
I am not thinking. I am sure PDP will win in 2015. I am certain about it. When Akala was not doing well, I criticized him and I predicted the outcome of the election, so why is it now a crime to criticize this government?
Many aspirants particulalrly from your party are already campaigning for the office of the governor, this array of aspirants, some have said would further polarize the party the more.
When you have conflicts of aspirations, that is what usually happens. What is available is one. And everybody wants it. There would be immediate conflicts of aspirations.
Will that not work against your party eventually?
We will not carry that to the election. I just told you everybody is tired of the Ajimobi four years. Everybody is tired of being in the cold. And so those who are aspiring for the office, it will get to a point where it will be obvious that it would be better to support the other person because he has a better chance. Nobody wants to stay in the cold for another four years. The way Ajimobi has dealt with everybody with the use of power, nobody wants to remain outside for another four years. He has used power like a man who has no fear of God, no fear of previous relationship, no respect for the emotional life of the people. Let the party throw up somebody at the primaries, we would rally round him.
Regarding the 2015 presidential election, some leadership of the North say the end to the insurgency is the only way it can support the candidature of the president, that is if he decides to run. What do you think?
The president is my choice and my man any day and anytime because he is highly educated and he is from the minority part of the country. He is not from any of the tripods creating problems in this country. It should be easier for him to harmonize the country. But I also think his ministers are his problem and the sooner he realizes that and deals with them the better. This is a serious problem, even beyond the insurgency issue. Some of us have been silent on these ministers and they are operating as if they are higher than the people. Your minister is not available to the citizens of this country, can you imagine?
What kind of minister are you? They will affect his prospect in whatever plans to renew his presidency. Why would anybody work for self-alienation if in 2,3 years a minister does not even make herself or himself available to talk about issues in her office. Do you want to renew the term of another four years alienation? The president must deal with those ministers. I am talking about experience I have here. He should deal with them in order to strengthen the structure of government. Yes, insurgency is an issue, our girls are still in the hands of the terrorists for the past three months, so I urge him to do something about all the issues.
What is your take on the recently concluded National Conference?
As usual, pure jamboree