Aregbesola’s projects are only in Osogbo –Ojo
Jackson Lekan Ojo is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State. He is a security expert and politician of note. In this interview , Ojo spoke on the state of emergency declared in some northern states to tackle insecurity, the second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Osun 2014 governorship poll, among other issues. Excerpts:
What is your take on the second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan vis-à-vis his performance?
Jonathan has not told anybody that he wanted to contest in the next general election as President again. Today, I don’t believe that Mr. President is coming back in 2015, he has not told anybody. I want to tell you now with my littl understanding in politics that if Jonathan contests for election 2015 and PDP gives him the ticket; the party would lose in the presidential election. Rigging of election is no longer fashionable and feasible with the reforms that have taken place at INEC and its headship by Professor Atahiru Jega. My advice for Mr. President is not to contest in 2015. Rather, he should support a credible candidate from the PDP and become political godfather, kingmaker, but presenting himself for re-election may be a political miscalculation. Those who are drumming support for his re-election are political jobbers and they are deceiving him. He can’t be president of Nigeria again.
What do you think would happen if APC picks General Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate in 2015?
I don’t like talking about General Buhari. I sympathise with APC if they present Buhari as their candidate. The day APC gves its ticket to Buhari would mark the beginning of its grand failure as a party. 2000 APC will not win, in the next general election; Jonathan is one million better than Buhari. He is a rigid person and he is not a good leader, he takes decision on his own, whatever he says is the final even if such decision affects millions of people and such person cannot rule us in Nigeria. We must seek for a progressive leader. We can find them in any part of Nigeria. Instead of Buhari to become president, let Jonathan continue in office as president. I want to submit.
How would access the state of emergency declared in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states by the President to address insecurity challenges occasioned by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram Islamic Sect?
I hold the notion that the state of emergency declared by the President Goodluck Jonathan was a good step taken to arrest anarchy in the affected states in the North. I commend Mr. President on this action. A responsive government cannot just fold its arms and allow agents of violence and killings to take and bungle the peace in any part of the country. As the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces he has right to declare the state of emergency where he see that there is no peace, so I appreciated him for the decision. Jonathan has done well over the issue for now. As we can see, peace is gradually returning to the states and the wanton killings and maiming are now at a lower ebb. Very soon, peace would fully be restored in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states because the terrorists are already fleeing their camps and other strongholds.
What do you think will be the fall out of the polarization of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum on the 2015 general elections in the country?
I don’t want to speak on this now, but the last time I spoke in the newspaper I saw it as nothing and nonsense. What is the essence of the governors’ forum? Does it add to the economic value of Nigeria? All these governors are expected to sit down in their respective states and work, not that they would begoing from one place to another for governors’ forum. To me, the NGF is not worth it. Now, the Nigerian Bar Association has called for its scrapping. It was not embedded in our constitution and it is a plan to create political tools in Nigeria, no governor is above the other. The NGF as a body should be scrapped.
It is believed that the rumoured ambition of Governor Rotimi Amaechi to be the running mate of Governor Sule Lamido in the 2015 presidential election is one of the causes of the ripples in the NGF election and politics. What is your take?
I think he has the right. If he qualifies under the law, let him go and contest. He has been in politics for a long time. He was a member of Rivers State House of Assembly, he was Speaker before, with two term governor, so I don’t expect him to go and sit down at home now, if he wants to contest for presidency in the next general election, let him go and do it, that means he has the capacity to aspire. So, all what is happening with Amaechi through the Governors forum and other crises are promoting him and making him more popular to the whole world. I think he is the most popular politician in Nigeria now because the matter leads most of the newspaper headlines, almost on a daily basis. In Osun, for example now, Aregbesola is doing well in terms of infrastructure in Osogbo, being the state capital but if you go to my own town in Imesi-Ile you will see that Aregbesola is doing nothing. Jonathan aspired to become governor in his state and to become president of Nigeria, anybody could aspire, I can aspire today that I want to become governor of Osun State it is the prerogative of the electorate or masses to vote him in or to say no. Rotimi Ameachi is eminently qualified if he wants to contest in 2015 presidential poll.
Coming to Osun State, how do you assess the political development in the state?
There is no government that will not perform. It is either you perform negatively or positively but when you really look at Osun State, you will see a lot of improvement and what people don’t know is when you are talking about improvement every other successive government must improve on what other previous governments had done. If I tell you now that Aregbesola has done well that does not mean that he is the most successful governor in Osun. I am not a member of ACN, I belong to the PDP. I can never be a member of ACN. I appreciate Fashola and Oshiomhole because they have done well in their respective states. I don’t want to appreciate Aregbesola because he is just concentrating all his projects in Osogbo alone; he has not really made impact in local communities, go to my home town in Imesi-Ile you will see that nothing is happening. No infrastructure, no development; all the roads are in a deplorable condition and what is government doing about that? If any government cannot do something tangible in my community and other local communities such government is not working at all.
What are your expectations as the 2014 governorship election in Osun State comes closer?
Osun 2014 gubernatorial poll is fast approaching. Hon. Oluwole Oke is my candidate and I want to tell you that I believe in him not because he is an Ijesha man, Aregbesola is also an Ijesha man. Though Oluwole Oke is from my constituency, but I see him as a philanthropist, who has the political experience to govern Osun State.