…extols Ajimobi, condoles with Akindele family, others
By Lai Mahmood
Engr Oyedele Hakeem Alao, the governorship candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the 2019 election, has said that the leaders of the party in Oyo State sold out to work with another party in the state.
The governorship candidate stated this while featuring on a radio programme in Ibadan discussing the electoral reforms and the political system in Nigeria.
Extolling Senator Isiak Abiola Ajimobi as an illustrious son of the state, of impeccable character who knew his onions, an achiever and a leader both in the private and public political space, Engr Hakeem Alao condoled with His Excellency, Engr Seyi Makinde, the Olubadan of Ibadanlan, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Mrs Florence Ajimobi, the family of Chief Bode Akindele, and the people of Oyo State over the death of Senator Isiak Ajimobi, Chief Akindele, the Babaloja of Ibadanland, Chief Dauda Adisa Ladapo and Mr Gbolagade Akinpelu Ogun Majek.
Engr Hakeem Alao said that the leaders of his deregistered party, one of whom was currently a political adviser in the cabinet of one governor, were not interested in fielding a credible candidate but only interested in reaching an agreement with other parties and offer their candidates for sale, describing them as political merchants and prostitutes.
In his words, “In fact, a lot of people asked me whether I really wanted to contest the 2019 governorship election or eyeing an appointment as a commissioner. I told them “no”. I said “No” because I want to make a difference. I’ve seen what’s going on in the last eight years and our people have not really enjoyed dividends of democracy.”
Discussing Electoral Reforms and Political System in Nigeria, Engr Hakeem Alao identified lack of political will and commitment as the main problem militating against the Nigerian political system, including electoral reforms and good governance, maintaining that the problem was not with the electoral reforms, acts and laws themselves but implementation.
He also pointed to lack of clear political ideology and internal party democracy as big issues with the Nigerian political system stating that, “We’ve had so many electoral reforms and from 1999 till date, so much has been spent on the electoral reforms and our political process.
“I’ll conclude that nothing much is actually wrong with our electoral reforms, the drawback is the lack of genuine political will and commitment to enforce the electoral laws to have credible polls that will give Nigerians across board good governance.”
“The excos of political parties, at both federal and state level, usually constitute themselves as autocratic. They would want to do things the way they want it.
“How AD was run as a party really affected our efforts in the 2019 elections. In fact, there were so much internal problems with the party; the national body was factionalised and there was also a court case, and above all, the South West excos were suddenly dissolved and our party leaders in the state eventually sold out.
“There were parallel congresses in political parties; some political parties didn’t do primaries, they handpicked party excos. The current PDP exco in the state (Oyo) which brought in the present government in the state is a clear instance.
“Our political parties don’t allow internal party democracy; no party ideology, people just move into where they can get a ticket and feed and that’s why in the 2019 elections, they were moving from APC to ADC, PDP to ZLP and ADC to PDP. This is because what majority of them know is politics, maybe they don’t have alternatives and are not known with any profession unlike our deceased governor Senator Isiak Abiola Ajimobi who brought deep experience into governance.
Asked about his governorship ambition and the platform to contest on, Engr Hakeem Alao said he was going to contest the 2023 governorship election, god willing, stressing that “the people of Oyo State have seen what is going on now and I believe, they know who to put in office in the next election, as we’ll announce sooner or later the platform on which to contest, also adding that “a lot of parties have been deregistered, including AD, and have all gone for life.”
He, however, noted that there have been some improvements in the country’s political process, like voting system by the use of card readers introduced by and first superintended over by Professor Attahiru Jega, the former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chair, “yet there have always been irregularities and issues as violence and rigging here and there, even in the 2019 elections, INEC would tell you they had issues transporting election materials from one point to another, you would see people selling and buying votes for N3,000, N5,000, delay of announcement of election results, among others.”