Oguntuase: With Buhari, you cannot be sure of anything more to change present narrative
• Meeting Was Mere Drama
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ekiti State, Gboyega Oguntuase, told AYODELE AFOLABI, that parleying President Muhammadu Buhari does not stop the party from drawing the attention of the All Progressives Congress-led government to its failings and glaring lack of understanding, or solutions to the economic recession.
What is the significance of the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the leadership of APC and PDP?
The visit of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, to President Muhammadu Buhari, was a clear indication that we don’t have any ill motive towards the President. We are Nigerians and we care for him. When he was not around, we were praying for him in several fora. Governor Ayodele Fayose, prayed for him, but it is just that he is not a man given to drama. He didn’t advertise his prayers for the President. He and other principal Officers of PDP always pray for Buhari. This is without prejudice to the fact that as an opposition party, we owe it a duty to call the APC government’s attention to the realities on ground because as a party, they seem not to have an understanding, or solutions to the economic recession. When we do this, it is not borne out of hatred, but of great sense of patriotism, and because we don’t want Nigeria to be a laughing stock. So, the visit of the leadership of PDP to President Buhari is a statement that we don’t wish him dead, and there is no sane mind, who derives joy from the continuous illness of the President.
Do you think the meeting is capable of fostering greater cohesion in the polity?
With APC, you cannot be sure of anything. APC as a group would promise you Eldorado, but would end up sending you to hell. In other words, APC is a group that if they tell you ‘good morning,’ you must look at the clock to confirm that it is not night. As far as I am concerned, the PDP has an open mind, and operated an open door policy. When we were in government, we even allowed them to criticise us without being challenged.Under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, no opposition member was detained, harassed or assassinated. No Nigerian was discriminated against on grounds of ethnic, religious or partisanship. We approached state issues with open conscience.
Governor Ayodele Fayose was not at the meeting the President held with the 36 state governors. His absence must be indicative of something, or does he not trust Buhari?
Fayose has nothing against Buhari. He could not have had anything against him because when he was a military man, Fayose was not in the military and so, did not suffer in his hand. His family members were not victims of Buhari’s imprisonment. So, therefore, the Ekiti State governor does not hate Buhari. When Fayose said the President needed a rest, he was giving him wise counsel. If you don’t analyse Fayose’s criticism, you might get it wrong. However, let me specifically tell you that the day governors were meeting with President Buhari, Fayose was absent for three reasons.
The first is that Ado Ekiti, a very principal town in Ekiti State, and Ewi of Ado, (who is the father of Fayose and all of us) were having an annual festival. The festival is called Udi Ikoro. On that day, the governor being an Ekiti son must play a pivotal role, reason he was unable to leave Ekiti.Fayose was to be personally honoured by the Ewi with the title of Apesin Apogu pote. Now, if he had left Ado that day without receiving that title, or giving Ado Ekiti the personal honour of being present, he would be creating a major problem in Ekiti politics. And I know that the President would not like to truncate the peace of Ekiti State.
Aside from being honoured, he was also hosting some governors and ex-governors that came to Ekiti. The Governor of Gombe was here, he had to rush from Ado to Abuja and back to Ado that same day. The former governor of Niger, Benue were here and other prominent people and Fayose was at the centre of the whole thing. There was no way he would have abandoned them and rush to Abuja. He has not disrespected the institution of the Presidency.
In your opinion, how strategic was this meeting?
I don’t know. You see, it depends on who the strategists are. As far as I am concerned, it was a mere drama. Why I called it mere drama is because I believe that majority of Nigerians are losing faith in this government.
I also say that the president believes that he is being rejected by Nigerians, particularly because of the hostility showed him by Nigerians living in London, who asked him to return home or resign. Those were situations he came to meet. So, even inviting the PDP, which he does not like or hate to a meeting was in a bid to rebuild his confidence. He also invited governors as leaders of their constituencies so that they can at least carry the message home that there is no problem and that he is well. That is the kind of PR job he has called them up to do. I don’t think he called them for any business or debate about how Nigeria can exit economic recession.
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