Hon. Rahman Akanni Owokoniran is the South-West Zonal Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Commissioner for Housing in Lagos State (2003), he was also the Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Boundary Affairs (2006) in Lagos State. He speaks with BIYI ADEGOROYE on some national issues
What is your reaction to the recent constitution of the Lagos Exco of the PDP?
Lagos State Exco is yet to be constituted because there are internal mechanisms to ensure that due process was observed. Appeal process is also in place to ensure that every aspirant can petition for any wrongdoing. These petitions would be decided upon by the Appeal Committee.
The reports are then forwarded to the National Working Committee for consideration before the final approval of the National Executive Committee. This, I can’t react to an event that is yet to be finalised. Again, I cannot do a comparative analysis on a subject matter that is still undergoing a process.
How do you see the defection of Lagosfor- Lagos group from APC to the PDP?
The defection of LagosforLagos is a good development for our Party. This kind of development has not happened to PDP in a long time. We are still working on more of this type of defections at the local government and ward levels.
How prepared is PDP in Lagos to make a difference and unseat APC in the state?
We are fueling our tanks, servicing our tanks engines and preparing our artilleries for the ground game. We are definitely not living anything to chance.
What is your impression about the manner APC is managing the current fuel contamination?
The excuse about importation of bad fuel goes to the heart of the matter. It only underscores the government’s incompetence in handling such economic consequential matter that affects the people of Nigeria. So much was lost by our people because of this lackluster attitude of the government.
Yet , this APC government expects us to be numb to all their mess. If APC is managing anything apart from their stomachs, Nigeria will not be in coma. The lackluster attitude of the government only signifies the depth of our economic crisis.
Simply put, all is not well with our economy no matter how pretentious they are. If you go to bed hungry, you will wake up looking for what to eat. If our suppliers are paid our taps will not run dry. APC government, what is going on? Nothing adds up.
How do you describe APC failure to build refineries as contained in its campaign promises in 2015?
The promises of APC are not known to the President, well so they say now. They remain APC’s promise. The promise to build refineries is another pretense on their part to camouflage as a progressive party. Nigerians know better now that there is nothing progressive about the APC government. No government in its right mind should think of venturing into building or managing refineries.
Which one is easiest to manage – refineries, postal Services or telephone services? Nigeria couldn’t manage postal services and telephone services and many more companies that had to be privatised. Even the existing refineries had been grounded. So what is the sense in building more only to be grounded for poor management and maintenance?
What is your view about the over $340 million invested in maintenance of refineries in the last six years?
It goes to the heart of the culture of waste that remains the greatest challenge Nigeria and its leaders inherited since the discovery of crude oil. All the signs are out there for our leaders to reorder our priorities. Come up with policy directions that will usher in a meaningful standard of living. No, APC would rather continue to borrow until the lenders turn their back. It is most unfortunate that Nigeria has to live through this nightmare.
How do you see the recent impeachment of Zamfara Deputy Governor?
We must call a spade a spade. The impeachment of Zamfara Deputy Governor is a political witch hunt. Due process does not start and end with the state house of Assembly. In a desperate attempt to concoct charges, they even trumped up an insubordination charge resulting from refusing to take orders from the Governor.
Since the Governor and the deputy ran on the same ticket, the onus must be on the Constitution to assign roles for the deputies failing which the State Assembly needs to regularize instead of the ridiculous charge of insubordination against the deputy Governor. Zamfara Assembly needs a tutorial.
How do you see the loss of PDP in the recent Ondo by-election?
It is shameful that PDP can lose an election in any part of the South-West at this moment. The recent Ondo by-election must have been mismanaged. Our party, the PDP must wake up to the reality of the coming 2023 elections. A wake up call it is; that there is nothing free in Freetown .
We have to fight to take over this government. We must bury our differences and give it what it takes to defeat APC