I WILL CANVASS FOR THE NORTH — LAM ADESINA, EX-OYO GOV
Former governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, says he stands by the principle of zoning because it will allow 'every other part of the country to taste power. That is why I believe that the North should bring the presidential candidate' in 2011. I am going to canvass my position in my state here and that is where I stand.'
Adesina also asserted that Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala is worst ever to have ruled Oyo State. He spoke more on these and other issues in an interview with Daily Sun, at his Felele, Ibadan, residence. Excerpts:
Jonathan, zoning and 2011 elections
I like people to respect justice and fair play. The first time and may be the last time where all the political parties in the country will nominate their presidential candidate from one tribe in this country was in the 1999 elections.
The country submitted itself to us (Yoruba) because they knew that we suffered for democracy. Someone won an election free and fair they never allowed him, instead, they detained him. All the parties let them present Yoruba candidates, that was what happened in 1999. Even if they did not sit down and say zone it to Yorubaland. It was implied.
I am always afraid of some people in this country. Today, they will say one thing, tomorrow they will say another thing. Many of them do not believe that there is somebody called God, who created all of us. If we like it or not, it is certain that we are going back to Him one day. Why not stand by the truth?
The elections were conducted and Obasanjo was a beneficiary. The same Obasanjo is now saying that there is no zoning. If that person has the fear of God then why should that there is no zoning when you are a beneficiary of the same zoning?. You enjoyed the zoning programme, you didn't fight for it, you were in prison. Those of us who fought for it, some of us were killed. You just enjoyed it and then you are supporting that there should be no zoning. Why not fear God?
Yar'Adua came on aboard and became president, then by nature, Yar'Adua died. So does that means that zoning has died? It has not died! Zoning should remain because that will make every part of the country to participate in government. It is a good principle. We have to be truthful both to ourselves and to God. If Yar'Adua were alive and he wanted to go for second term, is there anybody that can prevent him from going for another term? Nobody! And that is the ticket of the North.
Obasanjo was not there in 1998, because he was in jail. He didn't know how the fight was going on, he didn't know how the principle came that only the Yoruba should provide presidential candidates. Why is he now saying there is no zoning? Did they adjust the principle? I believe in that principle of zoning not only for them in the country but for every other part of the country to taste power. When you are saying there is no zoning how do you expect us to get the good people from the North? That is why I believe that the North should bring the presidential candidate.
That is where I stand. I am going to canvass my position in my state here and that is where I stand. If Jonathan wants o contest, good luck to him, after all his name is Goodluck. Maybe he is taking his luck too far, I warned him when he became president. After he was installed as president I told him, finish your term and do not let anybody tell you to contest for presidency. I am not a prophet but I am a political sayer, I have been in this game since when I was in the university, First Republic. I know what is going to happen.
It is not going to augur well for this country if Jonathan contests for the presidency. Just like Jesus said unto the Pharisees, Give unto Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser and give to God what belongs to God. It is not too late for Jonathan to heed. I read something in your paper (The Sun ) sometime when somebody said that Jonathan should not listen to Adamu Ciroma. Ciroma is a straightforward man, he is a man of God and I respect him so much.
ACN presidential candidate
We are yet to have a convention where we are going to highlight a number of things. We had another convention before where we changed our name to ACN. We are going for another national convention and as of now I know we do not have any presidential candidate in our party. I know that there are some people who are interested in that position. We are sure that any candidate we pick will be better than all these other candidates.
Are you going to pick from the North?
Let us wait and see.
But you said you were going to canvass for the North
That is my personal opinion because I think that is what is right. If my party accepts my position, very well then.
By the grace of God, my party which is the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) will beat PDP hands down in Oyo State, just like I defeated my opponent in 1999. There is no democracy in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala is sure to have the ticket for the second time, I think we can defeat them. When you take a look at it globally there is a wind of change everywhere.
People you do not expect to win elections from the oppositions are the ones that are winning the elections. We need people who can perform. People who also have the intellectual capacity to perform, intellect to perform and morality to perform. That is why there is a wind of change going on around the world.
With moneycollected from the federations account, excess crude oil, internally generated revenue then you would see that a lot of money has come to Oyo State. When you take a look at what they say they are doing, all these things do not match the huge amount of money that has come to the state.
During my own period as governor, everything I received together was less than N48 billion for four years. With that I was able to run free education, free medical services, construct roads, develop rural areas, award bursary to all Oyo State students in all institutions of higher learning. That shows that there was prosperity in the state when I was there.
Now the state government has collected over N300 billion. And you tell me that you are building roads, which roads are you building? Dual carriage way from Molete to whichever? When you look at the dual carriageway, cars are parked on one lane, it is only one lane that is left. From Iwo Road to Monatan, they said they did it again. Agreed that these roads are within Oyo State, but you have not built state roads. All these belong to the Federal Government.
If the Federal Government has not refunded, they promised that they would send it. Akala took President Goodluck Jonathan to open New Garage-Apata Road without letting him see the end of the road. A grand deceit, and part of the road you constructed which has not been completed is giving way now. Where did you spend the N300 billion? Education is not free in the state, no free health service, and you cannot successfully pay teachers' salaries. Have you succeeded in lifting the lives of the people? No! Then you are gallivanting all over the world. When I was governor, I only went abroad three times in four years. I did not take from government money.
As at the last count, Akala has gone abroad 32 times wasting our money. Which investment has he attracted to the state? Who is the investor that will come to Nigeria when power is not stable, conditions are not conducive and there is no security. The rural roads are still there, very bad. All these things are making the people unhappy, making the people sad, the people don't like the situations going on. Akala is the most unpopular governor ever in Oyo State. They believe the opposition is coming mostly from Ibadan and they believe that it has an ulterior motive.
I have been governor before. Omololu Olunloyo, Kolapo Ishola and Rasheed Ladoja have been governors before. Nobody is insisting that Ibadan must produce the governor. My party will support any candidate that emerges. We have zoned the governorship to Oyo South Senatoria District, that is Ibadan/Ibarapa.
There is no internal crisis. There are some people who have just come into the party and more are still coming. Their belief is to take over the party, but the people they met are resisting them. They are trying to settle the matter now. They need to go for primaries. People are coming into the party brcause they see that it is almost certain that the ACN will win the elections in state.
That is why everybody wants to grab whatever he or she wants but I say No! We are going to do it by elections. The INEC rule says that for every election there must be primaries, so why not wait for the primaries? People are coming even from abroad, because they know ACN is going to win the elections in Oyo State. If you say there is internal crisis then it is because they are sure that the party is going to win the elections.
Where there is no justice, peace is in jeopardy. Alhaji Lateef Akinsola, alias Tokyo may not be my man. But definitely, the National Industrial Court (NIC) said he should be restored chairman of the state National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). If we do not have a lawless government in Oyo State, then that is exactly what the government should be doing. Any government that believes in the rule of law, any organisation that believes in the rule of law then that is what they should do. People should be returned first then you can find time to settle this table between the two parties.
This government has no managerial abilities for crisis. They don't know how to resolve the crisis. Yoruba have natural crisis management abilities. So they should resolve the crisis. Tokyo should go back as the chairman of NURTW in the state then you can invite Lateef Salako, alias Eleweomo and tell him that this is your Oga o, you should together with him.
The Commissioner of Police should be a good arbitrator in this matter. It is constitutionally wrong for Akala to say he wants to proscribe the NURTW. What type of jungle law is that? The CP must enforce the order of the court. He should not allow the governor to put him under his control. He should be courageous enough to say Mr governor sir, I am a lawabiding officer, I have to enforce the court judgement. We do not want any trouble in Oyo State. We are no longer in the days of wild wild west.
Akala's face-off with the traditional rulers
The traditional institutions have existed for thousands of years. So you may disagree with them but you do not need to insult them or drag them in the mud. Democracy is a modern creation, it was not in the world in those days. Een in Greece, there was no democracy in those days as there is now. Even America, is now in democracy but before then there was nothing like that. Definitely the kings were there and they fought for a long time before they could reach that democratic stage they are in today. So it is everywhere in the world and not only in Yoruba land.
So it is very uncharitable of the present governor of Oyo State to say he wants to depose Alaafin of Oyo or any oba in the state. Remember, 'by their fruits ye shall know them.'
What of Olubadan?
The Olubadan is making a very strong point. Government is withholding his entitlement, the five percent allocation from local governments under his domain. That is punishment. It is deliberate because the money is there. Olubadan is very right. Akala knows what he should do and those Ibadan people who are supporting Akala should tell him. If they want tension to go down in Ibadan today then let Akala pay up the Olubadan his five percent with arrears. Otherwise the people of Ibadan will not like it when somebody is dragging their Oba in the mud.
I was governor when Akala was chairman of a local government in Ogbomoso. When he was about to be impeached by all the councillors in that local government, I said no! That we were not going to impeach him. Those Ibadan sons and daughters in his government are only deceiving him. They deceived the late Papa Samuel Akintola like that, when the time came, he knew what they did. They are deceiving him. It is all a grand deceit. You will see when the d-day comes.
Akala's car gift
I was the first governor to leave after four years in office. A law was passed by my House of Assembly. On May 7, 2003, the house passed a law for the governor and deputy governor to get pension commensurate with the salaries they were getting. It was accented to by me. There was no place where they included vehicles, it says pensions shall include severance allowance, gratuity, salaries shall include allowances. Later there was another amendment by the state House of Assembly when there was increase in the salaries of governors. I got a copy and I wrote Alao Akala, he responded by saying yes! The present salary, which he is getting, is what we shall be getting so they amended it, no talk or amendment of car or no car.
When they brought the vehicles, I was angry. At this point in time when elections are coming. You know I am the oppossition leader and you know my party wants to take over from you. I said no that I was not going to take the car and that we should talk and so therefore we met and we talked. I asked him and he told me that it was my entitlement. I said look I was a member of the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1983. I was a member of the first assembly that drafted the law, from 1988 to 1989.
I am always ready to abide by the law, don't let me run against the law. Why is it that you should give me a car? He told me that the executive council of Oyo State approved it. I told him that, that was not good enough. If the executive council approves it, it cannot be upheld by any succeeding administration. It is only the House of Assembly that can legislate about it. You added it that the house of assembly is supposed to make the law or amend it.
At any rate, it is your executive council that did that. Even if it is my entitlement it would follow the due process. Following the due process comes with other better benefits which include guest houses, cars and many more. You have not done any of that, therefore I cannot collect it from you o! Sorry, I do not want it to look like I am an enemy of the people and that is me. I would not take it unless they amend it. Even if they amend it now, I will still not take it.