Despite the applause received by Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s administration in some quarters for his mission to rebuild Ogun, gubernatorial hopeful on PDP platform, Hon. Sikirulahi Ogundele see it differently.
Ogundele, a two-time assemblyman and former chairman of Ifo local government described the multi-billion naira projects going on in the state as misplaced and elitist priorities.
SK, as he’s addressed in the political circle, said he would do it differently if elected into the number one seat in Ogun state in 2015. He also spoke about the Yewa quest to have a taste of the number one seat.
You were a former member of the House of Assembly; you left for Ifo again to become the chairman of the LG. Are you not contented with this position to be vying for the governorship seat in Ogun state again?
Thank you very much. First, I want to give thanks, glory and adoration to Almighty God, who has made it possible for me not to have only represented my people at the state House of Assembly for eight years, but has also made me to give them a very quantitative, qualitative and very responsive representation at the state House of Assembly.
Coming to be the chairman of a local government is divine and I give thanks to Almighty God for making it successful. Creditably, we had three-year tenure and based on our performance, we won the award of the best chairman in Nigeria, best in South-West and best in Ogun State.
This question reminds me of what really pushed me into politics; I used to be one of those guys that criticize government policies. Somebody just walked up to me and said he got ideas and he thinks he could impact your ideas positively on the lives of people saying ‘why can’t we join them?’
Another thought came to my mind around the same time that if we allow mediocres, miscreants to either rig or manipulate elections, they will get themselves into office giving orders one must obey. If one would be creditable enough to be in that position, why can’t you vie for that position and impact your knowledge to change the lives of people.
This was one of the things that really pushed me into politics and to God be the glory; I want to confidently tell you that I’ve been achieving it and based on genuine mission, things have been working so positively for me over my ambition. I believe that God that has been doing it is still alive and He can still do it, so I don’t believe or have any doubt in my mind that I’m the incoming governor of Ogun State, come 2015 on a very serious note.
You are a strong member of PDP in Ogun State, and one of the positions the party pushed in the last political dispensation was that the governorship position be conceded to the people of Ogun West senatorial district. Now, you are from Ogun Central, don’t you believe in the Yewa struggle again?
By nature, I’ve known and identified myself to be a welfarist, realist and a fairist. I used to be one of the strong fighters for Yewa as a fairist. Unfortunately, two candidates emerged from Yewa from different political parties. One would think if genuinely they wanted the governorship seat, they would have just chosen one of the two candidates and put their weight behind that person. People would have seen the seriousness in them that they are ripe enough and mature to have the governor from their area.
But unfortunately, they voted against their two candidates and voted ACN, which is Amosun. That showed us that they were not ready for governorship because we thought that they would have just put their weight behind the two candidates and people would have seen that these people are ready to become the governor of Ogun State.
If at the end of the day, they failed and won the seats of Yewa for a consensus candidate, House of Reps, Senate, House of Assembly were gotten from one party, it would have been an advantage for them to fight for some of all these political positions in Ogun State.
But today, their votes showed that they don’t want to be the governor of Ogun State and that’s the interpretation of what happened in 2011 elections. As an Egba holding position now, Yewa was among those that gave the Egba candidate their votes to be the governor of Ogun State. They have conceded that office to Egba and that has been one of the reasons I am contesting for it.
They conceded it to Ogun Central in the last elections and Ogun Central must have its two terms and that’s why most of the parties are considering Egba candidates.
PDP has so many factions in Ogun State. Obasanjo, who happens to be one of the pillars of the party, recently said he won’t be involved in party politics again. Don’t you think this could affect the chances of the party in 2015 elections?
Personally, I’ve decided not to make comments over some names, especially Obasanjo. In Yorubaland, we respect our elders so much but that doesn’t mean we cannot make observations. Baba, right from the letter writing, honestly, I don’t subscribe to that attitude. But Baba is our father and a nationalist. I would have just thought that Baba would come up with a more credible and matured way of communication.
There is nobody in Nigeria that Baba cannot call to order. Baba is so much respected that if he orders Jonathan to come to his house tomorrow, Jonathan will come. But making it so public, it’s quite immature in my own view. But in Yorubaland, we don’t condemn elders but this is politics where we must let people know your opinion or feelings. Baba is no doubt a 3-4 term president of Nigeria and should be respected.
If Baba says that he is retiring, he is over 80, so let us allow him to rest and face family/business. Even before Obasanjo decides he is retiring, I even wanted to tell him to go and resign and he has said he wants to face his business. Baba cannot singularly run his businesses, don’t let us add another pressure on him.
So, Baba is over 80, let Baba start to enjoy the rest of his life, let him go and rest. Baba has thought it so rightly and has come up with resignation, so that is no sin. Baba is just retiring from active politics but he is still going to vote, he is still saying he is a card carrying member of PDP.
You have been part of crisis management in your party at different levels. How best do you think the problem of PDP can be resolved in Ogun state?
The last time I had a press conference with you guys, I told you I’m going to contest under a united PDP. We are working assiduously to appease and appeal to the aggrieved members of our party. Some of their major grievances have now been settled. Bamanga Tukur has thrown in the towel which is one of the controversial issues that are causing these problems.
Let us keep our finger crossed; we are working on the aggrieved ones. There is one thing I have always been telling people that if you call it crisis, you are getting it wrong. In PDP of Ogun State, we have disagreement. And where you have different characters with different upbringing, they are bound to have disagreement and disagreement, if well managed would also be settled and things will continue to work fine.
The disagreement now is just to agree over some issues and I want to confidently tell you that PDP is now becoming a strong party under the leadership of Buruji Kashamu.
The incumbent governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is from Ogun Central and we have seen some of the major achievements by his administration. Do you think the people of Ogun State, especially Ogun Central would want to vote for a new hand rather than vote for Amosun for second term?
Let’s just be sincere and factual with ourselves considering the height of insensitivity of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, considering his non-responsiveness towards people; he cannot have it again. Let me tell you, I’ve been in government for a while and I know what it takes to be in government.
I said it on many occasions that there are so many things this government has done which cannot make them win the votes of the people of Ogun State again. The question we are to ask Amosun is the genuineness of all these projects; he has just picked on road beautification because I won’t want to call it construction; it’s mere beautification. I said it and I want to say it again that you can come up with gold plaited roads, gold plaited bridges but once you are disconnected from the people, you can’t have them again.
Considering the height of insensitivity, it’s just like a man who is receiving one million naira in a month and the one million naira is not reflecting on the home, the wife and children are not feeling it. Of what value is the money.
How has the project the governor is embarking on positively affected the economy of the state? The genuineness of these projects should be questioned. Has he not embarked on these projects because road construction is unquantifiable and it is the cheapest way to steal money.
Why has he decided to choose road construction? Has he put into consideration some reasons why they must embark on road construction? What are the economic values of the roads? The traffic volume of all these roads is extending this road at the detriment of the people of Ogun State, displacing them from where they were earning their daily income.
He has adopted the system of stealing ideas from Lagos state whereas Lagos is a no man’s state; Lagos is a complex state while Ogun State is an indigenous state whereby if you send people away from Oke-Ilewo, you are sending them back to their rural areas where they are abandoned. The man is running an illicit government, how many elite can survive the strain and stress of the elections? When miscreants come up with their fight, elite would run away to their homes.
This man has started urban beautification at the detriment of urban areas which is unpolitical because they all voted for him. He has just embarked on projects where he has constructed some pedestrian bridges and nobody is using them. He should have used that same money to construct 300units of 1 bedroom flat.
Last, do you think if you were in that position, you would have done better and what are the things you think Ogun State really needs?
I’ve promised my people I’m going to run an all inclusive and reflective government. If we are able to achieve these two agenda, we are okay, it is not just giving them road or electricity. The government is not sincere; the government is being run under deceit and lies. Like the Yoruba would say, “In the game of deceit and lies, one person will lose”. And we can see that the man is losing out.
He is visionless, he is missionless. I am going to run a very reflective government and things will work fine. I’ll know what my people need. Not where they need light, I should be extending their roads; not where they need water, I should be demolishing their houses for just mere extension of roads. I want to tell you that God has chosen me and come May 29, 2015, I’m going to be sworn-in as the governor of Ogun State.
– DAYO RUFAI