‘People managing Mr. President are not doing good job’
A Lagos-based senior lawyer, Bankole Kayode, in an interview with Joseph Onyekwere examines the implications of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s exit from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Southwest politics, the postponed elections and other national issues.
THE tearing of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) membership card by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, will arguably rank as the most bizarre action any former president had ever taken against a political party under whose ticket he rode to power.
Kayode said: “I had expected Obasanjo to have resigned from the PDP long time ago. When you follow the way he has been criticising the PDP government, you will see that he is displeased with most of the actions of the present government, especially when it comes to the issue of corruption, granting amnesty to people like former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha non-prosecution of alleged corruption cases like the one against former minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, the continued retention allegedly erring minister like the Minister of Internal Affairs, Abba Moro; the depletion of the country’s Foreign Reserves as well as the Excess Crude Account and such other sundry allegations and the way Jonathan has handled them.”
“We found out that they are very inconsistent with Obasanjo’s style of taking public matters. When we now look at the so-called leaders of PDP in the South West where Obasanjo emerged, we found out that somebody like Obasanjo cannot continue to remain a member of the party where people like Buruji Kashamu, with all the baggages of allegations against him, somebody like the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose in the light of the controversies trailing him and some others who lay claim to the leadership of the South West PDP.
“Coming to the way he did it, I want to believe that he was only trying to demonstrate his total rejection of the way PDP affairs are being run. Don’t forget that there were rumours that he was going to be disciplined by the party and someone like Obasanjo would not wait to be messed up, rather he would launch and offensive. He is a war-tested General of the Nigerian Army. For you to tell a war general that you are coming to invade his territory, you expect him to fold his hands? I think they underestimated him. What he did was to make a public show of his disapproval of happenings in the party. We also know that age is gradually setting in and people of that age group are usually not tolerant when it comes to things they detest. They immediately tell you the way they feel and leave you to go to blazes if you want to.”
Postponement of Election
On the postponed elections, he said: “The government and the PDP should be held responsible and accountable for the postponment. They did not postpone the elections a month or two before, but just 10 days before the elections. It means that the government in power is jittery. The government tried to extricate itself from responsibility, saying that it is the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) ill-preparedness, whereas it is the same Jonathan that beat his chest to say that INEC conducted the best General Elections in 2011. How come he is now distancing himself from the activity of INEC, moreso, when it was his chief Security Adviser that first flew the kite and let the cat out of the bag in Britian?”
Kayode believes that the security of the country rests squarely on the shoulders of the President. Reacting to the claim by INEC that it was prepared but only needed the postponment for security reasons, he said, “The security of the country rest on the President. So where the President is now telling us he could not guarantee security, what do you want INEC to say? INEC is already compromised because; the carpet has already been taken off its feet.”
“Those managing the president are not doing a good job. They should manage him in such a way that he talks less, and whenever he comes out to talk; he should talk coherently and consistently. We have never had it this bad in terms of election management. For all that took place under him, Obasanjo took full responsibility. But here is a president that doesn’t want to take responsibility for his failures or failure of his government. Do you continue to trust such a leader? When things are good, he would say clap for me, when things are bad, he would distance himself!
Afenifere, Tinubu and South West politics
Kayode also expressed his views on the superiority contest in the Southwest and the Afenifere connection.
According to him, “There is no doubt that former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu’s emergence in politics and becoming a factor could be traced to Afenifere through the National democratic Coalition (NADECO) institutions. But Tinubu seems to disagree with the way Afenifere people and other Yoruba groups’ view on politics. And he has stated so severally. That to me was the departure point between the two.
I expect the Afenifere people to manage Tinubu. Our people in Yoruba would not allow a ‘rascally’ but influential and rich person in the family to be on the loose. They would rather manage him to get leverage. That is what they are not doing with Tinubu.”
“Yes, Tinubu is a very rugged, aggresive, intelligent and influential politican. He also has the means. But he is someone that is very independent-minded. He takes initiative where it is lacking. Most people in Afenifere that have been in politics before him ought not to have allowed him go out of their control. They ought to have continually manged Tinubu to the advantage of the whole Southwest. But instead, they believe they could demonise him and it turns out that he has larger control of the region’s political space. So who is losing at the end of the day? It is not too late. Tinubu will not insult anyone of them as aggresive as he is.
I have never read anywhere he insulted anyone of them. But they have called him by whatever negative names that you have never heard on the surface of the earth.”
“Let me tell you something I read about him. I am not close to him, though. He is intelligent enough to know that history will judge everything that is happening. If you ask Tinubu, I believe he would tell you both parties have made mistakes, but the Afenifere has made more mistakes. But as long as it is about moving the Southwest and Nigeria’s politics forward, I believe that Tinubu will listen to them. Afterall, he abandoned his political ambition for Buhari to emerge. Everybody had thought that he was going to vie for the post of vice president. But becaue he knew that he has some oppositions here and there, that they would like to lash on that to discredit the APC, he stepped aside to allow a greenhorn like Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to emerge.
So, when you look at Tinubu, he is a master strategist as long as the end that he is pursuing is not compromised. I believe that they can still make up. It is the elderly that should apply wisdom to see how to manage the disagreement, not only to the advantage of the region, but Nigeria.”
Oyo gubernatorial election.
On the second term gubernatorial jinx in Oyo State, he said: “I want to confess the fact that I don’t live in Oyo state, but that does not mean that I don’t read what is going on there.
There are three gladiators together with two others that are vying for the governorship of the state. You have Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, the incumbent Senator Abiola Ajumobi, Teslim Folarin and Oluseyi Makinde. The contest is going to be very interesting. But in the end, the person that is likely to win would be somebody who has strategised so well.
It is interesting to note that Ibadan alone has about 40 to 60 per cent of the votes. The remaining votes are shared between the Ogbomoso, Oyo and Oke-Ogun axis.
Ordinarily, you would want to give it to anybody coming from Ibadan considering the ethnically based politics in Nigeria. There are four candidates coming out from Ibadan and each of them has good standing.”