Home West African News Nigeria News Restructuring Will Ensure 2023 Polls Is Not Futile – Olagunyose Oyinlola

Restructuring Will Ensure 2023 Polls Is Not Futile – Olagunyose Oyinlola

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Olagunsoye OyinlolaPrince Olagunyose Oyinlola, ex-governor of Osun State has come out to say that without restructuring, the 2023 general polls will end in futility.

The ex-military administrator of Lagos State and former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP revealed this in a recent interview.

According to him, the constitution of the PDP allows for zoning and if a Northern president has held the position for eight years, it is only right for the presidency to move to the South.

He added that there are 3 zones in the South and three zones in the North, therefore it should go the South first before anywhere else.

On PDP crisis, “When we were to elect the National Working Committee, NWC, in 2013, there was an understanding between the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and the Governors Forum to the effect that Mr President would give us the chairman and we would supply the secretary. Jonathan declared that Bamanga Tukur was the one he would want to be the chairman. The chairmanship was zoned to the North-East.

“A shadow election was held where Shehu Babayo, my predecessor in office as the national secretary, won but his emergence was not meant to be because of the understanding between the governors and the president. Then, Rotimi Amaechi told him, ‘don’t worry, it is not only the North-East that will elect the chairman, it is the whole nation.’ That was how, through the Governors Forum, everybody was brought on board for Bamanga Tukur to emerge as chairman and for me as the secretary of the party. We started working peacefully, harmonising things for the progress of the PDP. Then the issue of Mr President running after the first four years he had came up. And the feeling was that Oyinlola would not come along in that project. And anything that is not based on sincerity, I would not because of what I want to gain support it.”

“If I know it is not just and right, you will not find me there. And to start with, nobody asked me. At least, you should have asked me first and let me decline. The suspicion was that ‘he will not support it; he is Obasanjo’s boy; he is Babangida’s boy’. A boy at sixty-something. Why wouldn’t they accord me some level of intelligence to know what to do on my own? To make matters worse, many a time, the NWC would decide on an issue and another committee, a shadow one, would go and change it in Bamanga’s house But it seemed Mr President (Jonathan) approved of what Bamanga Tukur was doing. One day, I said to Mr President,

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“This your chairman, to me, is behaving like a mole in the party’. President Jonathan only laughed, and I am happy I was proved right at the end of the day, because he (Tukur) did not support his (Jonathan’s) cause at the election. There was a cooked-up story, a very unthinkable one, that I was not duly nominated from the South-West before I became the national secretary. There was no issue of nomination. Just as the chairmanship was zoned to the North-East, the secretaryship was zoned to the South-West. I paid for my form – I think it cost N500,000 at that time – and I went for election at the national convention in Abuja and I was elected.

“When Bamanga was playing his game, I was trying to steer the administration of the party in the right course. Then out of the blues, a court judgement said I was not the secretary, based on what they said, that I was not duly nominated by the South West. That was an absolutely wrong premise which had no bearing with the process of electing the national secretary. I appealed the judgement. There was a stay of execution of that court order but they would not allow me to go back to my office. They said when you win, you come back. I went to the Court of Appeal and won. The judgement was given on a Thursday, and on Friday, there was a pronouncement from the NWC that I had been suspended from the party.

“That was illogical, in the sense that there must have been a disciplinary process. An offending party member must be taken through the process of a disciplinary action before it comes to handing down punishment. I was never called before any disciplinary committee. Some newsmen asked me about the pronouncement and I said that could not be and I quoted the section of the party’s constitution which says that you must put an offending party member through this process. I was not notified of my offence, to start with. Some of them who had some legal brain pointed out to them that ‘what that man is saying is right’.

“Then they formed a disciplinary committee headed by Umaru Dikko. I received their letter inviting me to appear before the committee. And I wrote back that while I was on that seat as the national secretary, I took a memo to NEC on the setting up of the disciplinary committee. An observation was raised that our disciplinary committee was not gender-sensitive, that is, there was no female on it and as such, we should include a female as a member of that committee. That memo was therefore withdrawn. There had not been any NEC until that time that they were calling me. I said the committee was illegal. And two, the last time I knew Umaru Dikko, he was chairman of another party. I didn’t know when he joined us that he was now heading a disciplinary panel. And finally, by the dictates of the contents of our constitution, as the national secretary, I could only be tried by NEC, not any other organ of the party.

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“So, I did not appear before the committee. That was when the battle started and the Governors Forum felt short-changed. The initial plan was to make a scarecrow; that if you remove the secretary, change the chairman as well, because we had an agreement. Jonathan refused to change the chairman. Three people, including David Mark and Adamu Mu’azu, who eventually took over from Bamanga, appealed to him to see reason but he made them empty promise that I would return to my office the following week. When I was making up my mind to leave the party, I called Tony Anenih of blessed memory, and I said, ‘I wouldn’t want you to hear that I took this decision without telling you. I am moving.”

On Zoning, “The constitution of the PDP allows for zoning. If a northern president has held the position for eight years, we said the presidency should move to the South. And in moving to the South, one should consider the zones.

“There are three zones in the South and three zones in the North. So, let it come to the South before we know which of the zones should go for it. If, on the basis of equity, we have had a democratically elected president from the South-West, we now have a democratically elected vice president from the South-West and we have had a democratically elected president from the South-South.

“In the southern divide, I want to believe the South-East is the only one that has not had the opportunity to produce the president. If we belong to the same Nigeria, equity, fair play should be the watchwords.”