Oladipupo Adebutu is a former member of, House of Representatives for Remo Federal Constituency in Ogun State and also chairman CEO of JB farm. He contested the governorship ticket of the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019 but lost through a court case instituted by the late Senator Buruji Kashamu. The party eventually lost the election to the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with SEYE OLUMIDE, the farmer turned politician weighs the options for himself and the party.
Would you contest governorship election in Ogun State come 2023?
I am always available to serve my people. I tell people that governance is about service because the truth of the matter is, if I am going to leave my business, a very profitable business for that matter, in which I am making reasonable earnings and which has cost me billions of naira to establish, which by implication is going to yield me billions, to now wanting to serve the people, it deserves serious thinking and sacrifice.
This is an enterprise that I am certain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cannot come and haunt me at the end of the day.
So your question is a big consideration I would have to weigh critically before making a final decision.
If I have this kind of multi-billion naira enterprise, to go and serve and at the end of the day you end up with question marks and trauma, people misbehaving around you with the possibility of your name being stained, sometimes, you ask yourself why you want to do it. But one must do it as a service to his people, otherwise, charlatans will be elected into political offices and they will control you and make decisions for the state.
If you decide to contest, will it still be PDP?
Why should I leave PDP? We have spent 12 years securing this platform, so why should I move to another platform? I won’t join any other platform. If anybody wants to come into our house and wants to compete against us inside our house they are free to come. We are the landlords of PDP in Ogun State and if any tenant wants to come in and contest with the landlord, then we shall see how it goes.
Are you comfortable with the last national convention of PDP with chairmanship taken up north while the presidency is left open?
I am very comfortable with major decisions taken at the convention. What is wrong with the national championship position taken to the North? Iyorchia Ayu, the new national chairman, was together with me in the National Assembly during the Third Republic. I was a member of the House of Representatives when he was Senate President. I have no issues with his emergence, he is a fine man. I appreciate him and I even think it is particularly good for the country because his emergence would at least make the Christian Northerners have a sense of belonging and comfort in these terrible times. It was a good decision and a good omen for Nigeria.
How settled is Ogun PDP at the moment considering Kashamu’s role in 2019, which allegedly cost the party opportunity to win the governorship election?
What happened in 2019 in Ogun PDP was abnormal. We thank God that it has come and gone but no matter what, there would still be one or two issues and that is politics for you. People are always concerned about the dissent in PDP but forget to ask about the disruptions in APC. The ruling party has not even successfully had ward congresses, not to talk of its national convention.
So, what’s your assessment of the ruling APC since 2015?
Let me put it this way, I saw a clip on social media in which there was a relay race. The participants were passing a baton as they raced in the same direction. When it came to the turn of APC to take the baton, instead of running in the same direction, the party started racing in the opposite direction. I am sorry to say that. But that is what is happening.
How will you assess the government of Prince Dapo Abiodun?
We don’t have a government in Ogun State at present. Governor Abiodun is absent from power. He confessed with his own mouth that he is a baby governor. From the day he was sworn into power, he said he is a ‘baby governor’ and if he is a baby governor; let him go to the kindergarten. We want people that are ready and are mature and PDP will produce a performing governor for Ogun State.
But hasn’t PDP fought itself out of relevance in the state since 2011?
Let me tell you PDP does not have a serious crisis because it is a platform that belongs to Nigerians. Go and write it down, APC will try to come up with a Northern presidential candidate and that will show you that APC is a Northern party. It has no business with the South.
From the sense of moral justice, the North has had eight years of presidency, they cannot honestly say give us a southern candidate. They cannot do that because they have no business with the South. The party is a Northern contraption.
But PDP has not had a Northern candidate, it, therefore, has the moral right to pick its candidate from anywhere. After all, out of 24 years of this dispensation, the South has produced President for 14 years, so we have the moral right to pick our next presidential candidate from wherever we want. If truly APC is one family, it should give its presidential ticket to a Southern candidate, but it will not. Southern members of APC appear like slaves to the northerners in APC.
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