By Bilesanmi Olalekan
Honorable Titi Oseni,former speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, says, in this interview, that personal ambitions led to the crisis in the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during her tenure.
How has it been since you left government?
I thank God for the opportunity given me to serve my state for eight years. I am now a private citizen and things have been going very well to the glory of God because I now have more time for my family, and do things that I was not able to do for eight years. I just returned from vacation, fully charged, ready for any assignment God places in my hands to do.
What led to your removal as speaker by your colleagues whom you all started well, particularly during the first term?
In politics, every one has an agenda which, either by crook or any other way, must be fulfilled. If you decide to execute your agenda, you can go any way you like to get it realised. Of course, the first tenure was great, we had a peaceful house; not that we didn’t have our internal wranglings here and there but we were able to curtail them and keep every body together.
But by the time second term began, we had a lot of people with hidden agenda, who were ambitious. Some people also wanted to play the spoiler game. And so you started seeing different hands of people everywhere, and the result is what we have presently.
There was no victory for anyone and everybody has lost it all. I am sure when people sit in their homes now and try to recap what went wrong, whether they like it or not, they will either take blame or glory of the outcome of the event. As far as I am concerned, it is now a past event and I have moved on because we have all seen the result of ambitions, agenda, game playing and so this is whe
re we are.
At the heat of the crisis, were you not scared for your life, knowing that some people had been eliminated at that time?
I was not because God is the giver of life. Once you are faithful and you can convince yourself that you are following the path of righteousness, there are some things you don’t get scared of. As for life, losing it over anything is definitely not worth it. My children are so young, and I want to be there when my children will be getting married, by the grace of God.
Your removal was said to have been caused by your impediment to the progress of the state and the House in particular.
The removal process, as we all saw it at that time, as far as I am concerned, I did what was expected of me as the speaker and leader of the House. The people that voted us did not vote us to go there and turn it upside down. It was supposed to be an executive, legislature & judiciary parley.
We were supposed to work hand-in-hand and support each other. Everybody knew that the entire removal process was for an agenda, it was a game plan. I had absolutely nothing to do with it, either my person, or the way I ran the House, it had nothing to do with me at all, because, at the end of the tenure, Tunji Egbetokun came out on T.V to say that I was just a victim of circumstance, that I was not the target, I was not the target but I was the victim.
It was a script that had to be acted out, but we have all seen the result now. They invited me at the end of the day, they all apologized to me that I was not in any way the impediment or factor, I was just a victim; their script had to be acted and played out, and along the line, it had to affect me.
So I am convinced, absolutely convinced that there is nothing you can link me with the crisis. When they were about rounding off the last sitting, they cleared my name and invited me to come and be part of the session, I just didn’t bother to go.
They said they would sing and clap for me, I was not just ready to be part of it. They called to apologized, they even wanted to come to my house, I told them no need but they should go ahead and clear my name and they that they did.
But you were accused of being a rubber stamp to the executive.
I don’t think so. In running the business of the House, you have to cooperate with other arms of government in order to move to state forward, and that was exactly what we did. We didn’t work together only with the executive but with the judiciary too.
Any regret over the crisis now and, with the benefit of hindsight, do you think it could have been avoided.
No regret but whether it could have been avoided, oh yes. If there were no ambitious people, or if the situation had been managed properly, we could have called a round-table meeting where demands would have been made, I think there were better ways of solving the problem than the way they took it.
I think there were so many other options that we could have used to achieve a goal other than turning the entire state upside down. I feel bitter about the whole thing, I am definitely not happy the way every thing turned out because, when you look at the whole situation, how you all started well such that wherever you went then and you say you are from Ogun State, they give you an applause and suddenly the remaining three years of the administration turned out to be one wahala or the other.
Definitely it hurts, definitely I feel bad about it but presently the party members are coming together and I hope that the reconciliation would work and then move the party forward. The most important thing is to take back th
The crisis split the party into three before the elections.
Absolutely. It split the party into three. If you check the Labour Party, you had PDP members there, check PPN, there were PDP members there and then PDP itself. So, members of one part split into three. And if we all can come back as one and forget the past because a lot of people are hurt, but you have to forgive and forget and then move on. That is the target now.
Can the reconciliation really work when former President Obasanjo is preventing former Governor Daniel from returning to the PDP?
I believe that party is about interest, and I believe that if we are all determined to make it work, it will definitely work. You cannot blame the former president from being hurt and bitter. By the time we sit down, everyone will have one thing or the other to say. We have all, along the line, hurt ourselves, we have all, along the line, said or did what we were not supposed to do but I believe that in the interest of the party, things can still be worked out and have a better outing at the end of the day.
You didn’t move with Daniel to the PPN even with your loyalty to his government. Why?
I am a party person. I believe in the party structure and the party itself and when I joined PDP in 2002, I joined on my own, nobody coerced me to join PDP, I didn’t join the party through anybody, I wanted to serve my people and, at the time I joined, it was voluntary. To start with, I was not invited to join.
I was not part of any deliberations where it was stated that the next line of action was to go and form another party. It was just a hearsay when I heard of PPN. And since I was not part of any deliberations or discussions to move to another party, so I felt there was no need to join another party.
If I wanted to go to another party, I would have done so when they asked me to drop for Dimeji Bankola but because I was and still a true party person, I believe in the party, and I obeyed the party. It was at that time I ought to have left and go and contest the election on another party platform. I didn’t do that at that time, so why would I now join another party?
What is the relationship between you, Dimeji Bankole and Gbenga Daniel now?
We met in PDP.
I don’t know. We are all mature adults. Cordial is when you are like this (interlocking the 10 fingers), but we are not like this but we are just there. When I dropped for Dimeji, it was not as if we had any wrangling; the last campaign he had, I was there with him. I threw all my support behind him. I don’t have any issues with him, no I don’t have.
How about the former governor?
We don’t have serious issues but, of course, we have some things that need to be settled at the appropriate time.
What is your take on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the Amosun government?
I don’t know anything about the commission but whatever it is the government wants to do, of course, they are free to do so. I heard that they are calling people to come and submit memoranda, lets see how it turns out.