Consensus candidacy injurious to democracy, favours highest bidder –Ogunlewe

Former Minister of works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, has urged all those that are interested in the Presidency in 2023 from all the regions to come out and speak about their manifestos. Adeseye, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), however believed that the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is the best candidate for the coveted office. He spoke with Oladipupo Awojobi in a interview. Excerpts…

People are talking about the removal of fuel subsidy that has now been postponed by the Federal Government, what is your view on this?

The decision is a saving grace. We don’t know how it will start or end if the labour union should go on a nationwide strike. It might lead to something else. Thank God that the government has seen reason and cancelled it.

But it was postponed?

It can never come again under this government.

A lot of gladiators have been coming out for the 2023 presidential election. The likes of former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, people are even pushing Professor Yemi Osinbajo to come out, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has declared interest, and some others, who do you think is the best person?

It’s former governor Tinubu that would win. No matter what anybody says, Tinubu has the resources and he has paid his dues. He has the connection, and he has the structure. To win an election, you need a structure. He has his structures all over the federation and it will be easy for him to win, there is no doubt at all, he would win the 2023 presidential election.

But, there are fears over his age and health…

Anybody can say that, they should go and get forms so that they can compete with him. As far as we are concerned, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is competing the 2023 presidential election, and he is not stopping anybody from competing. So, let’s go to the field, whoever Nigeria chooses will be our next President.

Don’t you think it is the turn of the South East since the North and the South West have been in power for long?

Let the people of the South East also come out, nobody is stopping them, but we want the best for the country. South Easterners can come out and compete, let them go to the field and campaign. Nobody is stopping anybody from expressing interest; go out and campaign. The more people that come out to campaign the better.

But it is said that the APC promised Change and Next Level in 2015 and 2019 respectively and that they have not achieved these as we still have serious security and economic issues…

Who is going to save us, who is going to get us out of the woods, let everybody come and tell us how he or she will do it that Nigeria would change, all the problems are known. The APC manifestos were written by the progressives, who joined the APC then. They joined with the conservatives, who don’t think the way the progressives think. All what they wrote there were progressive ideas, they have nothing to do with conservatives. It is just waste of time. So, don’t blame Buhari for whatever is happening to the manifestos. Whatever they wrote there belong to them and he didn’t claim that he understood it. So, restructuring has no place in the heart of a conservative.

Tinubu is running under the APC, and some people feel the party has failed the nation …

It’s an individual matter, the President is one person, let everybody come and tell us how he will stop insecurity, how he will run the economy and solve unemployment rate. Let the person come out and tell us what he wants to do, then we can know who to vote for. True federalism and restructuring, which the APC promised in 2015 have not been done, is there any assurance that they will do it if voted into power in 2023? Let another person come and promise us again. The President said that he did not know or understand these promises. So, this time around, anybody that is talking about restructuring must explain it to us. How best do you think restructuring can be done or we should go back to the report of the 2014 Constitutional Conference? We have passed that stage now, we want to listen to aspirants tell us what they want to do. So leave all those things out of it. Anybody who wants to contest now should come out to tell us what he wants to do so that we will move forward.

Nigerian politicians have been accused of saying something and doing another thing, will this be the case again?

Let’s give it to another person, don’t worry, let the new people tell us what they want to do and then we will know who to vote for. The Electoral Bill has been contentious and direct primary clause was also removed from it, what do you think the bill should contain? Let them remove consensus and let us move on. Consensus is undemocratic as it’s not good for our country. It will lead to revolution and problem because you are now handing over the party to a caucus or godfather. You are handing it over to people with money that can muscle everybody, it’s not a party issue again and the party will have nothing to do with it. It’s only godfather that will take decisions, which is not good for us. Consensus is totally out of the way because you are handing over the party to the highest bidder. It’s going to be injurious to the system.

How do you think that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can perform better?

It is what you put in the Electoral Act that would guide the performance of the INEC. Once there is a defect in the Electoral Act, what can INEC do? Let’s make sure that we have a perfect Electoral Act that would guide them to perform well. That is what is important now.

So, how best can the government tackle insecurity?

We need devolution of powers. Let the community take over security, that is the only way out. The Federal Government cannot handle security. Security is a community matter, let them take it over. The Federal Government has nothing to do with security. Let us go back to the community, they can handle it better than the Federal Government.




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