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Tinubu can’t tackle insecurity without checking economic challenges, hardship – Owokoniran

Tinubu can’t tackle insecurity without checking economic challenges, hardship – Owokoniran

Rahman Owokoniran is the immediate past acting national vice chairman, South-West, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former commissioner in Lagos State. In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, he spoke on the state of PDP, insecurity, among several other national issues. Excerpts:

What is the party doing in terms of reconciliation in Lagos State?

We are trying to get the party out of the wool; we are trying to find our fit, we went into the general election in crisis, all hands are on deck to reposition the party ahead of future elections.

Some candidates in the 2023 general election in Lagos took the party to court for anti-party activities. What is your take?

If you know the party is not disciplined, why are you running on the platform? They said over the years the party has been tolerating these chieftains, if I were him, I would not put my money on such a party.

The assertion is not correct, what I know is that this last election was not inclusive. Some candidates refused to hear from the party, they refused to carry the leaders along. Often what we heard on air is that; we don’t have godfathers; we don’t have leaders and that they are the one in charge of their campaign. Look around them, how many leaders did you see around them during the campaign period?

So, if because you got the ticket for the party, you arrogate the arrow of God to yourself, how would you be able to persuade members to come and work for you?

You can’t have it in both ways to say you don’t have any leader, godfather, you are on your own.

Jandor said recently he was the leader of the PDP in Lagos State. What is your take?

Jandor has gone on air to say he did not say so, something we all saw that should tell you the character of the person we are talking about. I believe that every step Jandor has taken today is a missed step, he is not familiar with the constitution of the party, even the way he presented himself, and he still presents himself as a stranger. I am a member of the party nobody gave me that instruction not to vote PDP.

Jandor made it clear and he is still doing it that he is only familiar with Lagos4Lagos members, If you position yourself in such a manner are you not the one who is alienating yourself?

For Aeroland, I don’t even know what case he is filing in court, they are known to be filing frivolous, useless cases. In the last election, these same people went to court, do they have anything to show for it?

Aeroland was thrown out of court, the court said he abandoned his case. In the case of Jandor, he only pushed his case to the Supreme Court, so that they would not say he did not fight to the end. What did he take to court? He said Sanwo-Olu does not have a certificate.

Are you saying their accusation of anti-party activities to some chieftains is not true?

I don’t know who voted for whom, but nobody told me to vote for this person and that person.

But some leaders endorsed candidates of other parties?

What I know is that most people disassociated themselves from the party campaign because they felt they were not carried along by the candidates.

I know that because we held several meetings which most of the time did not end well. I have seen video coverage of that time that was very bad. I can’t really believe those things because the video could be doctored.

I have not had the opportunity to meet with them and ask them why they voted against the party.

We have to ask where we are, how we can resolve issues, sit down and begin to address these issues.

Has the party met to try to resolve issues?

There have been several meetings and one was even held yesterday in the mainland. There are reconciliation efforts going on, it is an on-going thing, not everybody is even available now but we still make international calls and so on. Everybody agrees this is the time for us to come together; we have plenty of time now for everybody to come together and talk.

If they upheld what is happening in Ondo now; where every stakeholder would agree that the victory is happening at the ward, let the ward come up with the people they want as delegates. The grassroots are part of the process.

When you remove the power to choose delegates from them and give to the moneybags those that would emerge take the people for granted.

What is the state of the PDP in the South West?

We have been going round to unite the people and people are responding, I am even surprised in the entire southwest, Lagos cannot beat it chest and say we are for PDP, but other southwest states can say that.

Some days ago, we saw the impeachment of Edo deputy governor. What is your take?

I am very far away from the place I don’t know what happened. I don’t know the situation, but the deputy governor pushed his luck too far, you may think, let the governor allow him, but if the governor knows Shaibu would do too much damage for his party winning the governorship election in the state, he may find it imperative that he leave the office.

For the deputy governor, I’m amazed he has to go to the extent he went fighting for the gubernatorial ticket, as the running mate of the present governor; if he finds you worthy, he would put you there.

If he does not put you there, it means he doesn’t want you to succeed him.

The constitution of the party is there; follow the due process if you defeat his candidate, it is ok, but don’t say because he did not support your candidacy, you want to truncate the whole process. Shaibu may have deserved what he got.

With five months to the gubernatorial election would his impeachment not work against the party?

In the political calculation, because some people are leaving the party does not necessarily mean that the party would lose the election, because the exist of some individuals may promote peace.

There were ten aspirants, nine of them decided that they would not take part in the process again, after the party delivered the gubernatorial candidate, I thought Shaibu would have attracted sympathy from any of the nine candidates when he was conducting the primary to himself, but it was not the case, it shows that he is alone.

The way I see it he may even lose his ward, what the party needs to do is to make sure that the other nine stay and work for the candidate. If the other aspirants work for the PDP, we can win the election.

Shaibu would do some damage, but he would have done great damage for himself; because he could have still negotiated for the position of a senator.

He could have negotiated that; I believe he was not wise in pursuing the gubernatorial ticket, he was so narrow-minded.

He did not have to drag it with the governor like that; particularly since he was a founding member of PDP, it was the governor that came to meet him.

As a Lagosian, what is your take on the controversy trailing the Lagos-Calabar Costal Road?

The aspect that borders me is that it did not go through the due process, even the President knows it is a violation of the constitution.

What we see now is that they want to use the back door to budget a large sum for this project.

Transparency is missing, it is wrong our President should not have gotten himself caught into such a messy deal.

Insecurity is still a major problem, what is Nigeria not doing right?

Boko Haram, banditry terrorism, they all have a common denominator and it is because the economy is bad, people have no job, if he is not addressing that, all these theories they are talking about, the only way they would be exposed is that we would still have this amount of criminality.

People don’t just decide to do these things, it is when they are pushed to the wall.

Some of them would take the short cut by committing suicide; a lot of them want to look for the money anyway.

Do you know how many Nigerians are killed trying to cross the desert in order to get to Britain and other places? The economy is bad and he is just there listening to Britain and the IMF; because they are desperate to go and get loans from them, they continue to trade with us cheaply.

Unless Tinubu can gather his egg heads to get us out of this economic mess, the trail that is following can get us nowhere.

The IMF and World Bank are not working for us and do not have respect our leadership; we have what it takes to run our economy, choosing what would work for us instead of who gets the best applause at the Chatham House.