The Publicity Secretary of the People Democratic Party in Osun State, Alhaji Bola Ajao, in this interview with Adesoji Adeniyi, speaks about the petition written by Justice Folaranmi Oloyede calling for the impeachment of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The All Progressives Congress is accusing the Peoples Democratic Party of raising false alarm on the financial situation of the state?
Is it false alarm that workers in the service of Osun State government are being owed unprecedented eight months salaries? Is it false alarm that many grandiose projects in the state are in the state of abandonment? And the reason is not far from financial insolvency. Is it false alarm that Osun State government under the watch of Ogbeni Aregbesola cannot meet sundry financial obligations? It is sad that our school system has gone comatose as school children could not write first, second and third term as well as their annual promotion examinations. Osun is among the states owing the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and as such the 2015 results of our children are being threatened to be seized. Is it false alarm that right now, Osun is in Abuja with cap in hand in a gesture (akin to the IMF loan) that would further impoverish the Osun people for the next 20 years payback time. Is it false alarm that Ogbeni Aregbesola confessed, admitted and proclaimed Osun to be in a quagmire? As for the issue of sympathy with workers; for PDP whose parents, children, wives, husbands and relatives are in this category of people it can only be taken for granted that the sympathy is sincere and genuine. Like in one of the songs of the late Afrobeat King, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, “The uprising in Osun is enough to bring out the worst in Osun workers”, rather than being instigated by any extraneous influence.
How true is the belief of some people that the PDP is not an alternative ?to the APC-led government in the state?
This belief is neither here nor there. However, to properly situate this, it is thinkable to assume that this belief is borne out of the frustrations, disappointment and non performance arising from the current misgovernance in Osun State. It is also fathomable to hold that this opinion can only be that of APC apologists feeling equally disenchanted, but prefers a no-option situation. In any event, this is far from it. PDP had once ruled Osun for about eight years and there was industrial harmony. There were landmark achievements such as Osun State University, a branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, here in Osogbo the Osun State capital, NTA Osogbo, NTA Ile-ife, Gold FM ILESA, Federal High Court, Osogbo etc, etc whereas for barely four years of the APC rulership of Osun State, all we get is a quagmire. The difference is clear. As there is no constitutional provision for independent candidacy yet, it can only stand to reason that for a rational political decision, the PDP is the way to go.
The APC says the figures you post as the total loan is not real and that it is done with mischief and to deliberately mislead the people. What is your reaction to this?
It is often said that you don’t cry over split milk. Mark it, nobody can take away anything from us as eminent stakeholders in the Osun project. As patriots, we have come to the public domain to intimate them of the gagartuan debt burden imposed on Osun people by the APC government in the excess of N400 billion, which includes loans from all manner of banks, bonds, Sukuk, all sorts of project finance conditionalities etc .This debt burden is nothing but an outcome of profligacy. We challenge the Aregbesola-led APC government of Osun State to publish a blow-by-blow account of Osun State’s debt profile and the exposures would commence from there.
The seven-man committee set up by the state House of Assembly to look into the petition of Justice Folahanmi Oloyede has made its recommendations, part of which include sanctioning the judge for betrayal of her oath of judicial conduct? What do you feel about this?
Like they clandestinely held on to, he who asserts must prove. They need to come to the fore with that part of the judicial oath she contravened. As a judicial officer, did she not swear on oath to uphold, defend and protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Is the constitution not being trampled upon in this instance. Are they suggesting that everyone should fold his or her arm until there is a revolution or an Osun Spring. Her judicial diplomacy (misconstrued as activism) should rather be encouraged, commended and embraced as it is intended to help navigate the socio economic waters justiceably. In the public domain the following questions are begging for answers. a) why is the other political party (PDP) not represented in the panel b) in tandem with the principles of natural justice, why was Aregbesola’s response not made available to the petitioner? c) Why was Aregbesola not invited to the house to debate this matter with Justice Oloyede. However, we would advise that they rather concentrate on the message and not the messenger. Any attempt to embark on a voyage of punitive measures may lead us to another of Fela’s songs ‘when trouble sleep yanga go wake am.’
Some of the chieftains of your party are alleged to be behind violence in many parts of the state lately; are your not concerned about these allegations?
There is need for verifiable evidence and record of this. Was it the PDP that unleashed terror on the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in concert with the hapless Osun retirees protesting the non payment of their lawful entitlements on the streets of Osogbo. Was it the PDP that harassed, beat and injured innocent newspaper readers in the Gbodofon area of Osogbo. Was it the PDP that intimidated harassed and chaced away discussants at the summit recently held in the state with the legitimate intent to proffer solutions, options and opipions to the myriad of issues confronting us in Osun state. This propaganda, I must tell you has overstayed its welcome.
Question: Are you not worried by opposing stands of the civil society groups on important issues like the financial challenges facing the state? Many political observers accuse both the PDP and the APC of sponsoring the groups for selfish reasons.
Answer: We have made our position crystal clear on all of this. Elections have come and gone. But for the window of judicial contestations the elections are lost and won.This is the period of harnessing the much sought dividends of democracy and the delivery of campaign promises. I am in a vantage position to boldly, authoritatively and with all sense of responsibility say that Osun PDP sponsors no group neither for selfish nor altruistic reasons. As for the opposing stands by civil society groups on issues such as financial challenges, this is the game show and stock in trade of the shenanigans currently rampaging the Osun political landscape.
BY ADESOJI ADENIYI, NATION