Sunday, March 22, 2020 10:43 am
Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser, Political Matters at the presidency was recently on 88.9FM’s The Rountable. He fielded questions on the conflict between Governor Kayode Fayemi and some Ekiti Obas; the war against Adams Oshiomhole; schemings going on as 2023 presidential election is gradually inching closer and other matters.
Interviewer: Good afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of The Roundtable on 88.9 fm. My name is Dimeni Daniels and on the program today, I have the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, he once represented Ekiti central in the red chambers. Senator Ojudu, you are welcome on the program.
Let’s begin from your home State. A lot has been happening lately; apart from the issue that we’ve read, the articles we’ve read, we’ve heard, so many things about what is going on at the national level and the role that your State Governor; your friend Kayode Fayemi seems to be playing in all of this. Recently, we saw a letter on social media; a query to some kings in Ekiti State, asking them to respond to the query within 72 hours. A lot of things I’ve seen come out from all of these. We read the letter from the Alaafin of Oyo and the response from the Alawe who is presently the Chairman of Ekiti’s Council of traditional rulers. What is your position on all of this?
Senator Ojudu: Well, my emotions have moved in the last few days from disbelief to surprise, and to disappointment. Disbelief because when I first saw the letter; the query, I thought that was not possible and it was not true, which is disbelief. Until I saw the letter from the Alaafin of Oyo which he wrote on behalf of the major Obas in Yorubaland and I was surprised. So, this could be true…? I got disappointed when I saw Alawe’s letter reporting the Alaafin to Oyo State Governor. I thought that was unnecessary and uncalled for.
Now let me say this, I was billed to be somewhere this weekend but I got a kind of invitation to Ekiti by a number of stakeholders to come and discuss this. And they were stakeholders of our party, who were alarmed and they were worried that what is going on in Ekiti could be seen by the whole of Ekiti as an agenda by our party. So, we met yesterday and we debated the issue and we left the meeting and concluded that we should dissociate ourselves from the act of harassing, embarrassing and humiliating any traditional ruler. That is not something we signed up to; all of us. A lot of people were there, former Senators, House of Rep members, House of Assembly; former House of Assembly members. A few guys in government both in the executive and legislature called some of us to express their solidarity and dissociate themselves from this effort at humiliating our Obas. We believe that if there are issues; if there are disagreements between the Obas and the Governor, they should be settled amicably.
Leaders of Ekiti; our stakeholders would have been called to look into this; to issue a query to the foremost Obas in Ekiti land and asking them to respond within 72 hours, and the query being signed by the Deputy Director, for me is disturbing. I don’t think that was right. Those of us who were born and bred here were trained not just to respect our elders, we were trained to treat our traditional rulers with awe. In fact, in the past, we hardly do see an Oba driving around; you see him perhaps once in a year when he comes out for the major festival of the town or village. So, we were not brought up to disrespect our Obas. So, we were surprised; we were shocked. But let me say this to the generality of our people who are in Ekiti and outside Ekiti- THIS IS NOT AN APC AGENDA. The President holds traditional rulers in high regard. I mean I know how the President respects the Emir of Daura. If he comes to the villa, the President leaves his office to go and welcome him right at the doorstep of the villa. Same thing with the Vice President, he holds the traditional rulers in Ogun State, in Sagamu and Ikenne , he treats them with a lot of care and he is always very proud to have them around him. This is not about our party, this is about the State Governor and some of the officials there. What led to this, I do not know, but let me say and affirm that it is not about our party- APC. Those of us who are from here, who respect our traditional rulers and hold them in high regard, we also strongly dissociate ourselves from this.
Interviewer: The Chief press Secretary to the Governor, has issued a statement saying that it was not really a query, that it was a letter and it was purely administrative. What’s your take on that?
Senator Ojudu: Yes, I mean anyone born and bred in Yorubaland, anyone who is a true bred indigene of this place will on first sighting that letter not believe it would have come from any government. It is uncalled for; it is an insult to the traditional institution. Therefore, I wouldn’t blame them for initially not believing that could have happened. People could have thought it was fake news, but subsequently the things that happened confirmed that it actually came from government. So, I think and I will advise my brother who is Governor that he should not embark on that kind of journey. It is a journey to disaster, it is a journey to perdition, it is not right, it is not good. Traditional rulers are appointed for life; and the tenure of each elected official at most is for eight years. So why will you in your good sense want to take on people who are life appointees? You will leave there one day. Even if by chance you become Vice President or President this also has a limit of number of years you could hold that position for, but history will record you as being on the side of inanity, if you decide to hunt and haunt traditional rulers from your State. It is not done. I don’t think anyone needs to do that. Let the traditional authorities do their thing and you do your own thing as an elected official of government. Why should any Governor want to intervene in who wants to become chairman or leaders of Council of Obas? Let them meet, let them use their own consensus, let them do it according to laid down guidelines they have employed over the years right from the time of the colonial masters. Why do you want to upset that kind of arrangement? It’s just unnecessary controversy, it’s a controversy that does not alleviate the poverty of the people. It’s not about development of the State itself, it’s not about putting food on the table of millions of Ekiti people who are really hungry. That controversy does not assist in tarring the bad roads in the State. So, why? The concern and the commitment of government should be about what you are elected to do: to provide water, provide good hospitals, good roads, and good education for your people. That, for me is your concern not who becomes an Oba or whatever. It’s like getting yourself involved in something that at the end of the day will be divisive and is not in any way productive, so why get involved?
Interviewer: Even though the State government (from the statement I mentioned earlier) had said that they are not trying to remove any Oba. That query was issued few days after the Emir of Kano was removed by the Kano State government. Do you think people were wrong to assume that the query to Ekiti State Obas must have stemmed from what happened in Kano?
Senator Ojudu: Well, yeah, of course, people are bound to assume that is what it is or just to… I saw on twitter that people are using #copycatFayemi. I think people believe that having seen what happened in Kano, it was trying to drive fears in the mind of the Obas or cow them. How do you begin to cow sixteen Obas who are the leading Obas in Ekiti State? What for? What are you going to achieve with that? I think he probably didn’t discuss that much with some of his aides and advisers. They probably would have advised him against it. I don’t see the need for it. Particularly, you are not fighting with just one Oba; sixteen Obas, the foremost Obas. Even the court case ought not to have come up at all. You could have found a way to resolve these things without allowing the Obas to go to court. Okay, come, you have a laid down guideline for doing this thing. Please Kabiyesi’s go and do your thing- at best you advise, you advise them to do it in a non rancorous way.
Interviewer: We saw the letter by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi and a lot of people were wondering, even though at the time, some journalist were also trying to find out whether the Ekiti State government had received the letter. Some officials said they had not gotten the letter, that they had only read it on social media. But this morning, people woke up to see the letter by the Alawe of Ekiti, that is the chairman council of Obas writing the Oyo State Governor and asking him to warn Alaafin to stay clear of the issues of traditional rulers in Ekiti State. What do you make of these two letters? A lot of people feel that the letter from Alaafin was insulting.
Senator Ojudu: When I saw the Alaafin’s letter, like I said, I was shocked and what I did immediately was to put a call through to a number of Obas who were said to have been part of the process and they confirmed that they gave Alaafin the authority to write that letter and I said, why didn’t they first try to settle the matter between the Governor and the kings? And they told me that they had made several efforts in the last six months to settle the matter, reached out to him, reached out to the Obas, and get them to work together and settle it amicably but it does appear that the Governor was obstinate and that this was the last resort. And they knew that this Kano thing could spur him to want to do something and that they were shocked and surprised when actually they now saw the query and they believed that if that thing is not stopped, it may infect the entire Yorubaland and every Governor will want to remove the Oba in his domain and they believe that they have to quickly intervene to stop that from happening: their aim they said was to let government keep to governance. Let the custodians of tradition handle matters of tradition. So, they said it was not their first intervention in the matter, that severally and collectively they had tried to. I spoke to at least about four of the Obas on that list to find out exactly what really happened so that I could also properly brief my principals in Abuja. So that they would have a better understanding and knowledge of what the situation is about and they told me that they have it on record how many times they have tried to intervene and it has not yielded any result. They said the Obas in Ekiti have cried out to them, they’ve met with them, they’ve called the Governor, they’ve discussed these matters but they were shocked when they saw that query. It is not done; it is not something that they were going to allow. Some of them do have differences, they had to bury their differences in the interest of the collective and in the interest of their love for Yoruba culture and tradition.
Interviewer: Now the Alaafin of Oyo wrote; the State Governor had… and people felt that if a letter was going to come after that, it should have been from the State Governor to the Alaafin of Oyo. But people saw the letter from Alawe of Ilawe-Ekiti to the State government. There are people who have said that that letter did not really originate from Alawe. They insinuated that was Governor Fayemi’s hand writing.
Senator Ojudu: I want to be measured in trying to comment on this because again I wouldn’t want to say anything that will disrespect any Oba in Yorubaland. I think that ought not to have been the response to that kind of situation. I think whatever it is, the Alawe ought to have been a bit more restrained in replying to Alaafin. I would have thought that Alawe would have sought accommodation or appointment with Alaafin and go and present his case and that of the State government. Even beyond that, if I am Governor of the State and such a thing happens, I will drive down to Oyo, sit down and have a one on one with the Alaafin and discuss the merit of the action I have taken. Alaafin is a very reasonable Kabiyesi and highly respected too; sit down with him again and try to let him understand why you have taken the action you took. Now using another king as a proxy to report Alaafin to Governor Seyi Makinde shouldn’t have been how to respond to that kind of matter. And I will question here that we should not do anything that will desecrate our tradition and our culture. I know that Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is a respecter of our culture and our tradition and I saw the futility of that action, going to report Alaafin to Seyi Makinde. Seyi Makinde will just receive the letter and laugh. What will he do? Will he go and query Alaafin? Will he spank him? Will he remove him? What will he do to him? I do think that the Alawe if properly advised ought to have taken the matter up with a fellow Oba without resorting to writing that letter.
The other implication is that we should not do anything that will cause division among our people. Ado and Ilawe, what’s the difference? Ilawes are married to Ijero, and Ijeros are married to Ilawes. Ekiti is actually one, forget about marriage, Ekiti is one. When we are now pitching one town or Oba against the other? How does it bring good relationship and love between the people of Ekiti? An average Ilawe person now will queue behind his Oba, an average Aramoko man will queue behind his Oba. That itself can generate bad blood among our people and that will not bring development. Anybody in the position of power should strive and aim at uniting his people rather than dividing them. This thing will go down in history against the Oba that is doing this kind of thing, it’s not good for his own image. After two years what happens to that Oba? Somebody else will become Governor in this State and that our decision of yesterday could be reversed today. So, what then happens? Will they again be able to meet and shake hands as Obas? This is the kind of reasoning we need to put in place in taking this kind of decisions.
A Governor should be a uniter not a divisive person. I want to be able to see Alawe walking freely to the palace of Ajero and bantering, talking about how to further develop the culture and tradition of our people. I don’t want to see a situation of antagonism between two Obas of Ekiti land. I mean the Alawe, I can proudly say is my friend, we were together in the university, I hold him in high regards. I intend to also go and see him that this is not the path to follow in this matter.
Government comes and goes, Fayose was a terror here before, he was a conqueror, an emperor, but where is he today? Whoever is here today will become a thing of the past tomorrow. If somebody comes in tomorrow, within eight years too those things are short in history. Those number of years that you occupy governance is a transient position. Don’t begin to see yourself as a traditional ruler when you are elected into government offices, you will use and expend your own time and then somebody else will come there. But whatever atrocity committed by you will become part of history and will be recorded against your name. Then your children and grandchildren will be remembered for that.
People today talk about Bashorun Gaa not for any positivity but for negativity, Akintola is remembered for negativity, and Fani Kayode is remembered for negativity. Those were things they did under a period of two or three years. Do you want to have your name listed in the register of dishonor when you leave office as a government official? No! You should strive to have your name recorded on a register of honour and that is why all of us when we find ourselves in government, we should be very careful about the kind of decisions we take, the kind of advice we accept from those who work with us and the kind of engagements we embark on. Let us be remembered for good rather than for bad.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about what is happening at the national level within your party. Before now there had been a lot of insinuation that Governor Kayode Fayemi is one of those Governors trying to walk in to remove Oshiomole from office and then we saw that article from Sam Omatseye where he stated that the 70th birthday party of Ajimobi that Governor Fayemi said Adam does not have the temperament to lead a party and ever since articles have been flying from Ekiti and then from various places. What really is your position about those who are for and against Oshiomole? Their grounds against Oshiomole is that he is highhanded and he has not done well for the party.
Senator Ojudu: It is a very simple matter; all of these crises are about 2023 and that also is why I always say “look who knows who is going to be alive tomorrow?” All of us are tools in the hand of God, why should it be what I want to be, or what I want to eat? Why should it always be nkan ta aje ati nkan ta a je? You know for some people it’s about the next appointment, the next election, it’s not about what do we do for the people, how do we lift our people? How do we take them out of the gutter? Out of poverty… People are already ganging up about 2023, the same set of people who wanted Oyegun to stay contrary to the provision of the constitution of the party are the same people who are behind this thing. Oshiomole was elected to run for four years and to seek renewal of his term after the four years. Why don’t you wait for him to finish his term whether he is highhanded or not highhanded? What is even this highhandedness we are talking of? Highhandedness in Abuja? What are we experiencing in Ekiti State now? Is it low handedness or similar highhandedness? I think it is about 2023.
There is a process for electing and for removing the chairman of a party. So why don’t you allow that to take place? Why must we abuse the constitution of the party? Why must we throw the party into crisis? Why must you again embark on a journey to nowhere? If we destroy the party today, what will history record against our name? For me again it is people who are not patient, who are always after one position or the other, who are always plotting and even in the process of plotting forget the assignment they have taken on. I believe that we should care more about what we do for the people, how we uplift them. I mean look at our environment here; I drove round yesterday when I came in and again you cannot see prosperity, you cannot see changes. I think that’s what we should address our minds to, that’s what we should address our mind to, that’s what we should direct our energy towards. Let’s see what Legacy we can leave for posterity.
We want Ekiti State where young people will have things to do. Something to engage them, let’s have industries here. I marvel each time I hear that Kaduna is setting up tomato processing plant, is setting up the largest poultry and feed mill in Africa. Kebbi is assisting private sector to set up Rice mill and to set up tomato processing plant. Things are happening in other places, let’s look at that. Even in Ondo next door here, I have heard of an ethanol factory, the first of its kind in Nigeria set up with the assistance of the government by the private sector. These are the kinds of news I want to hear from my State not rancour between traditional rulers and the Governor and all of that. We need to provide for our people. I read Chief Ajasin’s autobiography; he was in power for just four years and about six or seven industries, major ones were established during his tenure. What kind of finances were available then that is not available now? So, I think our energy rather than all these plotting, intrigues upon intrigues, our energy should about that and I think that’s what I will advise the government here to concentrate on . So that whoever our party puts forward in future can defeat the opposition. But if it continues this way it may be difficult for us to have a government of APC after these four years.
Interviewer: One of the things coming out from the Anti-Oshiomole camp is that they don’t want him to be in place till 2023 because they believe he is close to Asiwaju and Asiwaju has Presidential ambition and he should be removed from office at all cost.
Senator Ojudu: What is this anti-Asiwaju thing? Why do we want to bring people down? What is the point? Particularly people who have assisted us in getting into where have gotten into. I mean whatever it is that may be the disagreement between Asiwaju and some of them, they should look at some of the good things he has done for them which was not mandatory at that time.
Interviewer: About the disagreement between Asiwaju and Fayemi…
Senator Ojudu: Well, I do not know the issue between them, all I can…..
Interviewer: You are really close to Asiwaju?
Senator Ojudu: Yes, I am…..
Interviewer: Has he told you anything about that?
Senator Ojudu: To be honest, I wouldn’t say I’m not aware of some kinds of disagreement. But I think well disagreements come in politics but again a leader is a leader. You can disagree with your leader but don’t let it get to the point of no return or the point where you begin to plot against one another. Fayemi has the right to aim to become President. Asiwaju has the right to aim to become President but who determines? First of all, majority of the party members determine who pick the ticket, then Nigerians will now determine who becomes President. For me if Asiwaju wants to become President, he has the right to; if Fayemi wants to become President he has the right to. But don’t subvert each other. Let each person present himself or herself to the party in the primary. But this thing about almost 3 years to the contest, trying to tinker with the laws guiding the party and all of that, and rubbish the party, destroy the party; for me is not going to help anybody. So, we should wait, we should play according to the rules, we should again also remember that we are from the same political family. Why must we destroy that family? I have my own disagreement with Dr. Fayemi. I have kept off this place for a long time because I do not want my personal interest to jeopardize whatever it is that he has for the people here.
Similarly, this idea of fighting Asiwaju, being suspected to be plotting against Osibanjo, mobilising against Oshimole and all of that is going to distract us from the assignment at hand. If I were him, I would govern this place to the glory of Ekiti and to the glory of Nigeria so that if after I have run this place and they said “oh I have been able to attract ten industries to Ekiti and I have been able to take several youths out of the streets and get them employed, I have been able to make the streets in Ekiti more beautiful, I have been able to provide water, I have been able to bring education to a State that all of us could be proud of” then people themselves will commend you and say “this is a good example. This is the ideal person we need to run Nigeria”. That is how you are going to be judged. You’re going to be judged by what you have done not by how many people you can bring down. That is the way I see it. You know he is still a young man, what was the age of Buhari when he became President? You have so many years ahead of you. Try first of all to let the people know what you’re capable of doing. Try to let the people know that you are a man of ideas and you are committed to making the lives of the citizens a better one. When you do that, people will say “wow! within three years look at how Ekiti has turned out to be; wow! within three years look at the change that has come to this place”. Create a good image for this State for God’s sake!
Awaken the spirit of enterprise on the people of this State. Make sure that it becomes the breadbasket of Nigeria; make sure that we begin to export cocoa out of Ekiti, begin to process cocoa and add value to it, begin to export yam, plantain, banana and everything. When people see that, you will have little or no work to do to be recognised by fellow Nigerians as a potential candidate to govern the entire country. But if you fail to do that, it will not be possible for intrigues and plotting alone to make you a President of this country. Look at Atiku, how much of all the plotting and intrigues has been able to make him President of Nigeria? Why did Buhari become President? People saw him a man of integrity. His has been an ideal that everybody keyed into, integrity, credibility. You need to have something too that Nigerians will see in you. It cannot be intrigues, it cannot be constant intrigues, it cannot be constant and perpetual plotting, it cannot be! That is not a virtue for becoming a leader.
Interviewer: What Sam Omatseye wrote in this article, he quoted Dr. Fayemi to have said, “Adams Oshiomole does not have the temperament to lead a party”, something like that. You know Oshimole? Is that true that from his utterances, from the way he carries himself, from his actions, that he does not have the temperament to run a party?
Senator Ojudu: When you point one finger at another person the other four other fingers are pointing at you. There’s no human being who does not have his own minus. Let us assume that all of those accusations are true, we are all members of that party and we should be able to find a way to assist him to do what is right. I do not even agree, I may have my own differences with Oshiomole. This same Oshiomole, was very close to you when you were Governor here in the first term, you were very close; I remember the contractors that tarred the roads in Ado-Ekiti here with its station located in front of the police headquarters there was nominated for you by Oshiomole; you were friends and business partners at that time, so what has gone wrong now? What is the problem? We should know. Please tell the world what has happened between the two of you. These are things not known to me and you but some of us can speculate on. What went wrong? Somebody you were close to, somebody that used to be your comrade, somebody that used to be your business partner, suddenly he now has a temperament. What kind of temperament, temperament for what?
Again, it is all about these calculations for 2023. 2023 is still far away, there is something immediate for you to address and that for me is what you should urgently address. Address the issue of development for Ekiti, if you make this place a better place that you met it, all of us from this part will go out there and support you, we will be proud that we have our own as President of Nigeria; we will be proud that this is the first Ekiti person who is aiming at becoming President. But first of all, carry out this assignment, and let us be proud of you.
But if you don’t do it, if you allow things to lie fallow and things are not addressed, and people are now beginning to glorify Fayose that we all fought and they are now saying things were better. At least Fayose came here and he left the bridge, that bridge is becoming gradually the feature of this town. Somebody may come in fifty years and say I want to uproot it for something better. But at least it is a feature of this place now. You too must be seen to leave something behind no matter how bad it maybe. I disagreed with the construction of that bridge ; that the funds could have been used for a better purpose but at least he left something. You too must try to leave something, if you out- perform a PDP Governor, it is to the glory of we who are members of your party. But if now everywhere you go, people are calling you as visiting Governor and are saying “Fayose was better”, that is not good for us. That will not be good for whoever you try to put down to succeed you in the next few months. So I am pleading with members of our party, the executive of our party, and the leaders of the party. What I am saying here, what I have heard, the vibes I am getting is not good for our party. We still have time to change, we still have time to put things in place before 2022. We have time to go back, if he has a manifesto when he contested, go back and look at that manifesto, what did you promise the people? What can you do for the people? How can you bring them out of poverty? How can you make them go to bed with food in their belly? How can you provide employment? How can you make the schools better?
Let us ignore the issues about the Oba, let traditional rulers manage their own affairs. You, manage the affairs of the people and handle governance, engage yourself for 24 hours serving the people of the State and then let things play out naturally. If you have to concern yourself with everything at the the national level, it distracts. The man who did it last time, Governor Yari, look at what Zamfara has become today. He abandoned governance in Zamfara and he was gallivanting all over the country, calling himself chairman of Governors forum. Bandits took over the place, diseases took over the place and the party was in disarray there.
Interviewer: The Deputy National Secretary of the party who calls himself the acting national chairman, the man from Rivers State; a lot of people were shocked when he summoned a NEC meeting of your party. You work within the presidency, what is the general feeling within the presidency because the President would have to be at that meeting, the vice President would be at that meeting?
Senator Ojudu: I think Giadom is an impostor, Giadom cannot chair any meeting where the President will be and the vice-President will be. He is an impostor, he is not even supposed to be in the meeting.
Interviewer: So, you are saying that meeting will not hold?
Senator Ojudu: I do not think so in all seriousness. Giadom? Giadom resigned as the Deputy Secretary of the party to go and become deputy Governor.
Interviewer: So, he is not even a member of the excos?
Senator Ojudu: Noooo,,he is not. By virtue of the law that has been guiding our operations, when you are an official of the party, you have to leave if you want to go and contest for election …..
Interviewer: Like Oni did.
Senator Ojudu: Like Oni did. He left to go and run as deputy Governor in Rivers only to come back illegally and now claiming to be acting chairman of the party. I don’t think that is right. If we say that we are a progressive party, you must be seen to be doing decent things not acting in this manner. What I see, the way I see it, is that maybe some people have actually registered a party and kept it and they are looking at what is called a third force and they want to first of all destroy this party so as to allow for their secret party to grow. But is it that easy in Nigeria?
Interviewer: A lot of people have blamed President Muhammad Buhari for being too… I don’t want to use the word complacent, that as the leader of the party he should have stepped in, that he is not seen to be doing that.
Senator Ojudu: Well, watching closely, the way I see the President is that he’s a very patient leader. He pretends not to see what is happening but he is watching everybody and trying to get himself acquainted with the cards that everybody is putting on the table. He is watching, he will smile, he will give access to everybody. He will pick up information about everybody and he will not tell you his mind until the last moment. So you watch and see what will happen on this matter. He is a very patient man and I guess age invests that in people. You know, you’ve seen it all, you want to understand human beings around you. Some are pretenders, some are sincere. You want to convince yourself and be able to know those who are sincere with you and those who are just fake friends or fake allies. I think that for me is the attitude of the President on this matter. Wait and see him burst their bubble.
Interviewer: Now let’s talk about your party. The APC in Ekiti State; oftentimes you drive by and the party secretariat is locked and all of that. What have you gathered about the operations of the party? How effective is the party at this time?
Senator Ojudu: Let me say that I switched off for quite a long time about the party in the State because again, the party is supposed to be independent of the government and supposed to always mobilize the members…..
Interviewer: But I think chairman has an appointment with the present government for now?
Senator Ojudu: That is illegal if that is true, I don’t know if what you are saying now is true. If you are appointed into government as an official of the party you must resign. That exactly was what the former deputy national chairman of our party Otunba Niyi Abebayo did; the moment he was appointed a minister, he quit that party position. So, if anybody is doing that here, that is illegality and if anybody is encouraging anybody to do that here, then you cannot be accusing Adams of what do you call high handedness.
Interviewer: being highhanded.
Senator Ojudu: Being highhanded. That is highhandedness, illegality simpliciter. I don’t know. I am just saying that based on what you told me now that the chairman of our party here is …
Interviewer: is an appointee.
Senator Ojudu: is an appointee. It’s wrong. He should resign either of the positions. There are a lot of people in this State. If you must take appointment as chairman of a party then you quit the party, go and work in government or decline the appointment and stay as party chairman. That is what I am saying, all of this controversy about highhandedness and all that, there is more to it because you could see highhandedness everywhere. You see it everywhere, not one person, not two persons are guilty of highhandedness in the affairs of our government or of our party.
Interviewer: Now let’s come back to the issue of the traditional rulers. What advice would you give to those Obas who have been issued queries on how to go about this.
Senator Ojudu: I will still encourage them, that dialogue is still the best way out of this matter. Dialogue is still the best way. Our Fathers are custodians of thousands of years of history, they are embodiments of wisdom and that is why they have so many chiefs under them, people of varied experience. Some have worked in academics, some have worked in government, some in traditional systems. They know and I’m sure they know how to resolve matters. They themselves are judges in their own Courts So, I will counsel that they look at this as a matter of ‘a son has made a mistake’. They should forgive him for whatever he has done wrong. “wonni ti a ba fi owo kan ba omode ja, a fi ikeji fa mora”. They are our elders, they should draw him a bit closer and let him know that they are his father and that whatever mistake he has made, it is about the head not the heart, it is something that can actually be corrected (I was trying to look for a phrase). I think we can work something out. I am saying this because if this thing drags on, it is going to affect our party. It’s easy to mobilize people against a government with issues of traditional rulership. If opposition is going to say “the man didn’t provide road, he didn’t provide food, he didn’t provide employment” … People don’t get easily mobilized with this kind of things but when you say he want to remove my Oba, they will use that against not just the Governor but against our party and that is why I’m pleading with both the Governor and the traditional rulers. Please let us find an amicable solution to this problem and quickly too. We should not allow it to fester.
If we allow it to fester, it is going to linger and our party will be tagged as the party that is against traditional institution, which is not true. Our party is not against traditional institution. And I’m repeating it again. I have seen the kind of respect accorded the Emir of Daura by the President. I have seen the kind of respect accorded the Emir of Kazaure which is a neighbour of Daura by the President and a number of other traditional rulers. When the late Olowo came visiting the palace, the VP came down from his office to meet him at the entrance of his office in the villa. Similarly, when Ewi came, the VP came down to receive him. So, I know that the leaders of the party respect traditional institution. Look at Asiwaju in Lagos, I have never heard Asiwaju had an open quarrel with any Oba in Lagos State. And what I have seen is that since he took on the mantle of leadership in Lagos State the fortune of the kings in Lagos State has increased, changing their vehicles, remodelling their palaces, taking them abroad when they are sick and respecting them, giving them the honour that is due to them. So, these are leaders of our party, if that has been the situation; so, don’t record this against our party. So, let it not be recorded against our party and that’s one of the things we came up with at the stake holders meeting I was invited to. I advise everybody, well, yes, let’s condemn what has happened but let’s seek for understanding between the parties in this matter.
Interviewer: Let’s quickly talk about what is happening at the national level, what do you see happening eventually, the conclusion of this because…
Senator Ojudu: Of which one?
Interviewer: A lot of Nigerians are already expectant, what is going to happen at the national level; the Oshimole issue
Senator Ojudu: I think at a point in time, everyone involved will have to see reason,. We have a lot of people who are adept at it within our party and within government. We will resolve the matter amicably. If anybody thinks that this is going to be used to to destroy our party the person is a dreamer. This party will stand whether now or after President Buhari . The prediction of destruction will not come to pass.
Interviewer: Because why I am asking is that people are saying this was how PDP started during the time of the former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP imploded from within.
Senator Ojudu: I do not see this one imploding our party, seriously, I think we are going to manage it. We will manage it, take my word for it. It is going to be managed. It is going to come easy. A pin will be stuck into their balloon and the hullabaloo will come to an end.
Interviewer: Alright, on the final note from Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, do you have any words for members of your party in Ekiti State?
Senator Ojudu: Yes, I am pleading with them particularly those who have been calling that they have not been benefitting to keep hope alive. Those who have one thing or the other against the government of the day, that, we should not leave or destroy our party. There are elements who are really threatening to decamp, I say they should not rush into any decision. That look we can… I also want to call on the leaders, I think they should summon meetings of stakeholders of the party itself. Let us meet, let us discuss the functions of the party, the future of the party and build a stronger party. My prayer and wish is that this party will continue to rule this State in perpetuity so that we can bring development. These idea of one party doing four years and another party doing four years does not allow for development. It does not allow for planning on the long-term. There will be no continuity, so I think whatever it is anybody is not happy about, I think there should be an avenue created to discuss it, to pacify people and to give quality and sincere advise to the Governor and the government of the State.
Interview: All right thank you very much Senator Babafemi Ojudu for coming on to this edition of The Roundtable.
Senator Ojudu: Thank you very much Demeji, I appreciate.
Okay, my name is Demeji Daniels and this is where we draw the curtain on today’s edition of the program. Thank you for listening. Good afternoon.