Former deputy governor of Oyo State, Mr Gbolarumi Hazeem has said that the worsening security situation in the country has the potential to plunge Nigeria into a major crisis. In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, he urged the Federal Government to ensure the situation is brought under control.
How would you react to PDP’s victory in the recent gubernatorial, and presidential elections in Oyo state?
It is a victory well deserved. APC’s defeat is good riddance to bad rubbish. Before the election, Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s cup was already full, and the people of Oyo State were waiting for the election to show the governor and his party, APC that power belongs to the people.
There is nothing to write home about in the eight years of Governor Ajimobi’s administration. The last four years has been very tough and rough for the people. His administration has not been people-friendly, and people-oriented at all. It has been a government of deceit and propaganda, and this was why people voted massively against him and his party during the election. If I were to rate Ajimobi, I will give him only 25 per cent mark. Although some people especially APC apologists will want to score him above average in the areas of infrastructure but of what use is that when people are hungry. People especially the masses, youths, young fresh graduates, market women, and small scale entrepreneurs were not empowered by his administration.
Even in that area of infrastructure, for the so-called roads which his administration reportedly constructed, contractors and menial workers for the jobs were brought from Lagos and other places. People of Oyo state were not given any consideration in any of the contract work. Is that how an administrator should behave? Thank God that there is a change of government in Oyo state. Ajimobi’s defeat is a big relief for people of Oyo State. He will be remembered more for hunger and poverty which became more pronounced among our people during his time in government. Oyo State people have shown him, and his party APC that power really belongs to the people.
Are you saying that the governor and the APC-led administration in Oyo State does’nt deserve any accolade for being in government in the last eight years?
He was not a total failure, and that’s why I rated Ajimobi’s performance 25 per cent. On the overall, APC‘s government failed woefully in Oyo State. The party was a big disappointment for the people, and that was why Oyo State people voted massively against the party. Even within APC, there was so much discontentment that some of the party members who felt that the governor was gradually turning into an emperor and was no longer listening or taking to advice had to leave the party for Ajimobi, and a few clique that were with him. Unfortunately, Ajimobi was listening to those sycophants who were describing him as the best governor to administer Oyo State. He completely ignored voice of reason. We thank God that everything has become history now. We thank God that in few weeks time, Ajimobi will become part of history of Oyo State as an ex-governor.
Some people have been saying that if not for that coalition that your party, PDP formed with other three political parties, it might not have been possible to defeat Ajimobi, and APC; what’s your reaction to that?
Those saying that are Ajimobi’s supporters and apologists. The simple fact remains that with o determined that enough is enough. But people were already fed up with Ajimobi and APC. So, the coalition just served as a platform or the vehicle to drive out Ajimobi and APC. But again, don’t forget that Ajimobi and APC also formed an alliance with other political parties also to fight the PDP. Ajimobi and APC out of desperation also invited former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala to join its fold. With Alao-Akala joining them, Ajimobi, and APC formed a formidable team but with all that, people’s power swept APC out of power and Oyo State. What the results of the election clearly showed was that Oyo State people decided to punish Ajimobi and APC for bad governance they foisted on the state.
But APC has vowed to bounce back in Oyo State…..
Never. APC will never rise in Oyo State again. Oyo State has always been a progressive state in the fold of PDP. PDP has always been in control of Oyo State. In fact, Ajimobi became a governor by accident. What do I mean by that? In 2015 when Ajimobi was first elected governor, he couldn’t have been elected if not for the internal crisis that rocked PDP then. Following the inability of PDP to put its house in order then, some members left to form another party, and thus during the election, the votes that could have gone in bulk to PDP was spilt into two. Even then, Ajimobi just managed to win the election with only 32 per cent of the votes. All these that I’m saying are facts that are not only recorded but also verifiable. This is why Ajimobi has been described as an accidental governor. Ajimobi has never been popular with the people of Oyo State. With Ajimobi’s defeat, APC has gone into political oblivion in Oyo State.
What’s your assessment of the last general election?
PDP clearly won the election and the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won. But since the INEC has declared President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner, PDP has no choice than to challenge INEC’s decision. Thank God Atiku Abubakar is in court. With all the evidences and facts of electoral malpractices perpetrated against PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as a lawyer, I’m very optimistic that Atiku will win the case.
The present state of insecurity has prompted renewed calls for Restructuring, what’s your own reaction to that?
The present situation in the country calls for a sober reflection. We have to find ways to stop the killings. Enough is enough. President Muhammadu Buhari and his advisers including those in charge of security have to put on their thinking caps. The senseless killings of innocent Nigerians has to stop. These bandits and kidnappers laying siege to Zamfara and other states in the North are not spirits. They are human beings, our security agents must find a way to tackle and subdue them.
If Restructuring will be the way out, so be it. In 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan set up the national confab and at the end of its sittings, the confab in its report made some recommendations on how to have enduring and lasting peace in the country. But unfortunately, that confab report has been gathering dust since then. Why have our leaders deemed it not fit to implement that confab report? Not only that, the president’s party APC also set up a committee to look for ways to end all these bloodlettings and crises and move Nigeria forward under the chairmanship of Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai about two years ago. Since that committee submitted its report, nothing is being heard again and nobody is talking about the implementation of that panel’s report. What a country! But we can’t continue like this. We can’t afford Nigeria being turned into a banana republic where bandits, herds men, and kidnappers are having a field day killing, and abducting innocent Nigerians. Something drastic has to be done to prevent Nigeria from sliding into a state of anarchy. As the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari must do the needful now, and he must act very fast.
The deployment of the military for the last general election has been generating mixed reactions, what’s your take on it?
Election is a civil procedure, and therefore, military ought not to be a part of the process. The task of providing security, and maintenance of law and order at polling stations should be that of the police, and that’s why condemnations have been trailing Federal government’s decision to deploy soldiers for the polls. Not only that, that’s the reason why it has also been alleged that the Federal government used the military to favour the ruling party, APC in many states across the country, while the military at the same time intimidated PDP and other political parties during the election. This is the time the military attention is more needed. The military should be deployed to flush out and track down those bandits and herdsmen on rampage in the Northern parts of the country. We need enduring peace in the country.