BusinessDay

Presidency: Why Nigerians should expect a shock in 2023 – Oshinowo

Omobolaji Oshinowo, a grassroots politician is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, and a former secretary of the Labour Party (LP) and Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the state. In this exclusive interview with INIOBONG IWOK, he spoke on the 2023 general election, assessing the candidates, among other issues. Excerpts:

What is your take on the chances of the four major presidential candidates in the 2023 elections?

Atiku Abubakar of the PDP has a herculean task of uniting his party to campaign and back him up. The PDP is currently in a big mess. The Southern heavyweights in the party are at loggerheads over his emergence as the party flag bearer.

So far, peace moves have been rebuffed by the heavy weights in the southern part of the country. He is also aspiring to take over from a fellow Northerner of the same ethnic stock, which apparently in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria is seen as an affront on the sensibilities of other major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Especially with the havoc being created by the Fulani of which he is and also religion might play a role in his emergence.

His initial statement of condemnation after the murder of Rebecca who was killed in Sokoto by religious extremists, and his sudden rebuttal was insensitive to the Christian community, also coupled with his role in the mismanagement of the privatization of indigenous Nigerian companies under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo were he was the vice president is still on the memories of the electorates.

Bola Tinubu of the APC is also a formidable candidate, he came into the race saying it was his turn to become the president of Nigeria. But he has different baggage and an identity crisis his education from primary to secondary school are unknown.

The first 29 years of his life is shrouded in mystery. His real age is also controversial and his health status is suspect. His source of wealth is also suspect. With the dismal performance of his party for the past 7years and with the situation of things in Nigeria, insecurity, and crime rate, inflation, unemployment, university students out of school for almost a session and the nonchalant attitude of the ruling party in solving all the crisis in the land might be an albatross in him emerging as the president in 2023.

Rabiu Kwankwaso is also a formidable candidate albeit in the Northern part of the country only. If he goes the whole way I see him with his party depleting the votes of the APC and the PDP in the Northern part of the country.

Also coupled with the fact that the incumbent is from the North his buzz is not really taking effect in the southern part of the country. There is a possibility he might align with one of the gladiators going into the election in 2023.

Are you confident Peter Obi can spring a surprise by winning next year’s presidential poll?

Peter Obi of the Labour Party is currently making waves, he is being seen as an underdog but his support base is rising daily. He has also made inroads into the Northern part of the country to the surprise of the major gladiators. He has the support of the youth on all ethnic and religious divides in the country. He has been reeling out strategic planning for the development of the country which is resonating well with the masses and he is perceived as the change the country needs right now to move forward.

He might spring up a surprise win in the 2023 presidential election. The various poll results out there showing up resonate in the minds of our people. It shows the candidate for the Labour Party winning in a general election.

Read also: Nigeria at 62: Better late bloomer than none?

You are a former chieftain of the Labour Party in Lagos State; is the party well positioned to do well in next year’s poll across the country?

The Labour Party for the first time in its history is making waves. That is due to the quality representation they have as candidates. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State put the party on a pedestal when he contested as governor under the banner of the party in Ondo.

He was a quality candidate and he won. The leaders at the helm of affairs in the party now have gotten it right by the adoption of a Peter Obi which has transcended to states within the country.

The Labour Party has finally gotten its strength back and its building gradually and presenting quality candidates contesting for all electable seats in the coming general elections in 2023. The party is now formidable and has positioned itself to be recognised and reckoned with in the country.

What is your take on the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari so far?

The administration of Buhari I believe was God sent to awaken Nigerians on what the term inept means. We have never had it so bad, disorganised and rough; government policies have never been so anti-masses. The poverty level has shot up to an unprecedented level, talk about all the indices of diversity it’s on the lowest level ever imagined.

The worst governance we have ever had in our clime. It seems like we have been neglected by those supposedly meant to take care of us as citizens of this country. We are now a laughing stock in the committee of nations. He came promising change but he took us from top to bottom.

What is your take on the worsening spate of insecurity in the country?

Insecurity across the country is rising at an alarming rate with the government clueless about how to tackle the problem. The police lack the ability to work, no infrastructure for all the security structures we have in the country. They lack equipment and their morale is very low. All over the country chaos and savagery has taken over. We have a clueless government seemingly unable to reactivate the security architecture of the country.

Are you optimistic we can have a free and fair election next year, considering the signing of the amended Electoral Act into law?

The newly amended Electoral Act of which has been used in the just concluded Ekiti and Osun elections hopefully will be the new hope for the common man to be able to make the right choice for proper and good representation for elective offices in the country. The Act would also discourage voter apathy observed in past general election. It may be the only good legacy the present administration is leaving for Nigerians after leaving office in 2023.

Nigeria is celebrating 62 years after independence, what is your take on the state of the country?

For students or lovers of history, looking back on how far we have come, having tasted two systems of government. Parliamentary and presidential coupled with the adventure of military dictatorship. Having also experienced a devastating civil war and also witnessing Nations that attained independence at about the same time we did in Nigeria leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It is so sad that we have not learnt anything from our past experiences. We are still circling in one place and not moving forward.

Our shine has been taken from us by disastrous leaders we have been unfortunate to have in the past and present. Corruption, nepotism, religious extremism and acts of unpatriotic citizens have dragged our country back.

The country is sliding back on a reverse gear rather than going forward. I was born in the sixties and grew up in the system. My generation has seen the good, bad and ugly side of Nigeria after independence.

The only hope is that the people get it right this time around in the coming elections. Since 1999 to date we have been experiencing democracy and still waiting for the dividends of democracy to be shown in our lives and nation, we have conducted experiments with the democratic freedom we have enjoyed and hopefully with the way things are going now in Nigeria I want to believe we have gotten a solution for our problems otherwise we will keep on running in circle.

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