Otunba Gani Adams is the National Coordinator of O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC). In this interview with some journalists he speaks about the postponement of the forthcoming elections, criticism against Jonathan’s government and some other issues. SENIOR CORRESPONDENT,DAILY INDEPENDENT, AUGUSTINE ADAH was there. Excerpts:
Do you think all would have been fine if the election was not shifted but conducted on the original date which is February 14?
It would have been a political suicide for INEC to have gone ahead to conduct the election as scheduled. I think the decision to postpone the election was a wise one. Though the electoral body blamed the shift on the security challenges in the country, but in a situation where about 24 million Nigerians were denied from participating the election because they don’t have PVC’s can possibly lead to crisis, chaos or anarchy. If you denied just about 100,000 people it is a different thing but in this case we are talking about 24 million voters. Those of us that fought for the enthronement of democracy in the country which forced the military to surrender and handover power were not up to 10,000 or the struggle for the actualization of June 12 mandate were not up to 5,000. I can say exactly what happened in the country between 1993 and 1999. So denying 24 million voters the opportunity to vote is a serious offence in this country. For example, about 45 percent of registered voters in Lagos have not got their PVC’s, even the governor of Lagos State complained of not getting his PVC before the February 14 date including the Sultan of Sokoto and several other prominent Nigerians. In a situation like that why would one advise INEC to go ahead and conduct election?
I commend Professor Jega for agreeing with 17 out of 27 political parties to shift the election because it would have been a serious problem for him to conduct that election. We don’t need to mislead people with garbage information; nobody wins an election and then put the people into crisis. That is why I am appealing to the opposition party members to always ensure that they give accurate and better information to the citizenry. Look, I am not a politician but I read political science, even before reading political science, I am a student of political science and I can read between the lines through the gift that God gave me and be able to tell what would happen within three weeks. I am appealing to the opposition group to soft pedal in their verbal attacks on Mr. President or use their media advantage to bring the country down. What I believe they should do at the moment is for them to appeal to INEC to make sure that all necessary preparations for the election is done before March 28, which is the new date for the presidential election in the country so that we can have a peaceful election. I was surprised to hear from Lai Mohammed that holding the election on February 14 would have denied only 22 local government areas the right to vote. 22 local governments is more than a whole state. In Ondo State where I come from, we have only 18 local government areas, Bayelsa has only about 8 and somebody would be comfortable to exclude such number of people from a general election. Honestly, I don’t know how these people feel when they open their mouth to talk.
Are you satisfied with the current political situation in the country?
Well, I am not satisfied because our political situation is taking a different scenario. I will appeal to the media in this country to exercise caution in their report because they play essential roles in this regard. I remember during the struggle with the military, at a point it was difficult to protest with about 100 people but the media was our hope to publish anything we need to publish. When you talk of corruption for instance, is it only at the federal level that one can point at corruption? What about some of the state governors that are accusing the federal government are they not corrupt? Even up to the local government level that collect monthly allocations and do not make proper use of it. In those days you see local government administration embarking on projects like building of schools but it is not so today. I know a local government chairman in Lagos who came to office with nothing; today he has houses in US, Dubai and South Africa yet APC pride itself as a party of change, what kind of change is that? You remember they almost abort the National Conference that was held last year in which I was a delegate. APC as a party from Buhari to Tinubu did all they could to scuttle the last conference but thank God, they did not succeed in doing that. One thing I learnt from Tinubu was true federalism but when he got power and money, he derailed from the idea because he wants to take for himself large chunk from the commonwealth. Somebody who was not worth one billion naira before he became governor but today his asset and liquid cash is worth more than one trillion naira and somebody like that will tell you he wants change , you ask yourself what kind of change? We know those who want change. Late Nelson Mandela can tell the people he want change and they will believe, when he died his total assets does not worth five billion dollars and about 90 percent of the money came from his published book, long walk to freedom. If Obama was a corrupt leader some of the powerful people in the Republican would have destroyed him. For you to say you want a change you must be a changed person.
What can you say about former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his moving away from PDP?
Who is President Obasanjo? Everything about Obasanjo is corruption, everything about him is oppression, and everything about Obasanjo is deceit. He launched Operation Feed the Nation when he was the country’s military leader and sold the property to Obasanjo farm when he left office, he took the land of Ota people. In almost all the geo-political zones there is no place you will not find Obasanjo Farm and what his worth was when he came to power in 1999. Till now that I am speaking with you there are places in the Port that are being controlled by Obasanjo’s family. His late wife was controlling some badges and in each of the badges, they are making about N25 million per day. Tinubu and Obasanjo own Oando.
Can you substantiate with evidence that Tinubu and Obasanjo owns Oando oil?
It is left for you to go and investigate what I am telling you. I am not a propagandist or PDP image maker, but I am telling you what I know. Who is Wale Tinubu? He is a brother to the one that is a politician, they are very identical. We all know what happens to business in the Port, we knew what Obasanjo did, when he took the control of BPE from Atiku. We are talking of how to sanitize our country beyond Jonathan, I am not saying that Jonathan is a saint but those who want him out of power are worst than him. How many companies have you heard are owned by Jonathan in this country or abroad? Despite all criticisms, members of the opposition have not been able to point accusing fingers at Jonathan that he is corrupt as a person. I am not saying we cannot have a change because the only thing that is permanent in life is change but we need people that have a clean hand to champion change in our country. Majority of those who are shouting change in APC today were from PDP, it is only Tinubu that is not from PDP but he has most of his friends in PDP.