Prince Bola Ajao, the secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, speaks with OLUWOLE IGE on the challenges and preparations of his party ahead the 2018 governorship election in the state.
What is the preparedness of your party for the 2018 governorship election in Osun State?
First and foremost, it must be put on record that we have no other business other than to get ready for the election. The major assignment of a political party is to partake in periodic election, every four years. We had one in 2014 and another one is beckoning in 2018. As a political party, we are doing all that we can within the ambit of the law and what is rationally permissible to ensure that we put our house in order. Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are interested in the governorship election are already coming up to show interest.
We are setting the template to ensure that we have a rancour-free process of selecting our candidate. We are also working hard to tidy up the seeming division within the party so that we can have a seamless and crisis-free primary election to select our governorship candidate. We are quite sure that we are on the same page with the people of Osun State to bring about the much desired change in the state. We have no choice than to ensure that we do all that is required so as not to disappoint the people of Osun State.
What are your fears and challenges as the election is approaching?
The fear of unknown is always there for any rational being, whether private, corporate or political. There is always the fear of the unknown. We have the belief that our people in Osun State are fed up with the current economic hardship, growing poverty and other societal problems. As regards the seeming division within our party, we are already working extremely hard to harmonise all our differences, with a view to having a formidable force as prerequisite for victory in the forthcoming governorship election. The leadership crisis rocking the party at the national level would soon be resolved as the matter is before the Supreme Court and by the time the apex court deliver its judgment on the matter, the whole issue would be finally laid to rest. We are doing the needful and we are sure that all will be well at the end of the day.
What is your view on the delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to release the timetable for the election, having made public the schedule for 2019 general election?
Considering its (the national electoral body’s) new approach to come up with the date for 2019 general election, ordinarily, we are aware of the timeframe as stipulated by the constitution. The INEC is still within time and we are not perturbed that they have not released the election timetable or dates. We believe the electoral umpire will do all that is right according to the law and, if at anytime we feel challenged by any decision that is wrong on their part, we will do the needful.
There are fears that the polarisation of your party, with two factions of the state executive, may diminish your electoral chances at the poll…
PDP in Osun is one. We don’t have two factions or executive of the party in the state. There must be a congress to elect party executive. A congress was held and it allowed party members to demonstrate their franchise. There was a congress from the ward level to the state level. The first congress was held and it failed. The second one was conducted and it was successful in the public glare and you all witnessed it. Therefore, I can tell you categorically that PDP, as a political party, is one in Osun State. We are already making spirited efforts to harmonise with some of our members who have one misgiving or the other and our efforts are paying off. In Osun, people are looking up to our party as the only channel through which the excruciating hardships and shackles of poverty they are subjected to can be removed. It is glaring that majority of Osun indigenes are on the edge, considering what they are going through in the hands of the APC-led administration.
Does the party still enjoy acceptability and confidence of the people in the face of the corruption cases instituted against some prominent members of the party who served in the immediate past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan?
Let us be frank with ourselves, how many convictions have the EFCC secured in the cases of graft instituted against some of our members? The issues are clear to discerning Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari government is fighting corruption through selective method, which excludes some of the current key men in his administration. When he was campaigning, some of the APC leaders, stalwarts and political office holders, who donated billions of naira for his electioneering, had one petition or the other against them at the EFCC.
Were they invited or probed by the anti-graft agency? That is the question begging for answers. The gospel truth is that this anti-corruption war is targeted at the opposition, only with a view to weaken it or paint the opposition in bad light ahead of the 2019 general election. That is the logic they are using.
– Nigerian Tribune