‘Awolowo saw tomorrow’
This publication is a recap of an interview Senator Adegbenga Kaka granted a leading national newspaper in Nigeria as far back as 29 September, 2013. At that time he was representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly. In the interview, the Senator spoke extensively on the rancour and what he described as injustice in Ogun State chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC). The former Ogun State Deputy Governor maintained that things were falling apart among the stakeholders but called for patience, “otherwise, we will be throwing away the baby with the bath water.” Today is 20 November 2016 that is, exactly three years and about two months after the interview had been granted. The DEFENDER finds the interview to be relevant to the current situation whereby some of the people that formed the All Progressives Congress (APC) are now warning up to leave the still fresh party – both in politics and government – to join forces with some old elements in the old PDP to form a new party, hence this advisable recap. At the time Senator Kaka granted this interview, those people were expected to heed the cries of people like him to save the situation in Ogun State chapter from degenerating but, it was gathered, because they profited from the unfortunate situation, rather than save the ground they threw themselves as spanners in the wheel of the progress being made. The APC crisis that started from Ogun has now escalated to Ondo, Edo and very soon Ekiti may follow and therefore, it said to be clear that Senator Ibikunle Amonsun was not really the problem in the Ogun State APC at that time but that all that he was doing was because he had some leading elements in the higher level of the party who were backing him to do so. Today, the same elements have turned against Amosun and are now trying to use the same people they used Amosun to punish yesterday to now punish Amosun in return, especially now that they perceive APC to be President Muhammadu Buhari and that anything loyal to Buhari in that stance must be crushed. To our increasing readership globally, please read, dissect, assimilate and send us your feedback (to Email: email@example.com) on the interview you are about to read as it will form our next work on it with regard making Nigeria work from getting the party politicians to do the needful. Excerpts:
Are you not bothered about the crises here and there. The National Assembly is also not unaffected. Why do we have to heat up the polity because of self-interest?
Like it is happening at the national level, different elements want to come together under the same umbrella, which is what we are envisaging; that people will now have something similar to June 12. So, people should not be surprised if the best in the PDP are coming together with the best in APC. They should also not be surprised if the so-called powerful people in the APC join their reactionary brothers and sisters in the ‘Old PDP’ so that, at the end of the day, we would have a progressive government; not only in Ogun State but in Nigeria as a whole.
The message is that people should not despair because when God wants to do something, He does it without looking back. Even as people are talking about breaking up of Nigeria, I believe Nigeria will never break. This is because the God that makes the seed to rot before germinating who is presently making the country to pass through this rot will salvage this country.
Nigeria is going to be salvaged and the people are going to be better off at the end of the day. All the people need to do is to show resilience, be alert and say no to those who want to purchase them, say no to those who want to wreck this nation, to those who are stealing our oil and plundering the treasury. I am sure the time is around the corner and the divine intervention has come. I envisaged it as early as last year and I know that the process is likely to be completed by 2014.
Even in your state, stakeholders seem not to agree with some policies and programmes of the governor. What is really happening?
Well, you know the vulture is a patient bird; as a scavenger, it will wait for all manners of animals to jump up and down until they drop dead, and you find the vulture coming to feast on them. What is happening in Ogun requires tact and patience, otherwise we will be throwing away the baby with the bath water. We just have a new party, we are supposed to open our doors to all those who are progressively inclined, but unfortunately, some people are scaring them away, they take the party as a personal property. So, all we need do is to strategise and come out with bold steps indicative of the fact that this new party does not belong to any individual, whether you are Governor, a Senator or President. The new platform is for every body. So, if we are all co-founders, nobody should arrogate the ownership to himself. Whoever is not pleased will have to leave the party for us.
There are conjectures that Governor Amosun did not get the full support of the party on the election, that he won based on his popularity. Do you share that view?
It is a blatant lie. It is ludicrous for anybody to say he solely won the election. I want to acknowledge that it wasn’t the ACN that won the election, it was the people of Ogun that voted out the government of PDP they were disenchanted with. We were fortunate because we were the only credible alternative to the PDP and they gave their mandate to us. It is on record that the ACN won the election (now APC) in the state. The Governor cannot rightly lay claim to victory. So, for anybody to say that it was not ACN that won the election, that is wrong. The person should test his popularity, and let the people of Ogun State say that it was the individual they voted for and not the party. Clearly, the party was the credible alternative to the PDP in the state and the people embraced it. I would not tell anybody that I won the election, but it was the goodwill people saw in our party that got the entire mandate we’re enjoying today. And if the governor wants to say that he won it alone, we can as well ask why we had nearly 100 per cent in the National Assembly elections, lost nine in the House of Assembly poll – six to PDP and three to PPN He should know better and stop creating crisis. People’s silent does not mean consent.
What is your assessment of governance both at the federal and state levels?
There are certain things that I consider not charitable. I cannot score myself, the people that gave the mandate to us should be able to asses us individually and collectively. Their verdict, whether we acknowledge it or not, will form the basis of their decision in 2015. That is the period of accountability where whatever we are able to do will speak for us. If I say anything now, people will say it is because I am a stalwart of the party and if I say otherwise, people will say I am too critical of the party. So, the people are in the best position to tell us how we have fared.
It appears that the government is busy doing one thing or the other but there is the agitation that dividends of democracy are still far away from the people. How do you reconcile that?
We should be able to strike a balance between what we think is good for the people and what the people really need. In life, the basic requirement of any human being is little. We can test it by looking at someone in prison. We will discover that his minimum requirement will be where to lay his head and probably a hand towel to wipe his face, and again, another shirt to wear if the one gets spoilt or dirty. It is greed that makes people to amass wealth not minding whether we need it or not. So, there are some gigantic projects that people may not need, they will be pleased if you satisfy their basic needs. So, it is important to give the people what they need and not what we think they need.
You mean some of the projects going on in the state are misplaced priority?
Well, if you call it so, that is your definition and probably that of the electorate.
Do you think government has met the party’s vision for the people of the state?
It could be better. What the people really need must come to them. You may want to give me a car but my priority may be a pair of shoes. So, if you give me that car, I may not appreciate it. We have seen somebody who distributed hundreds of cars because he wanted to win election and he did not win. The people’s basic needs are water, job creation and shelter. If all these are done, then you need to create wealth especially in the rural areas where the main occupation is farming and establish industries. Industries and farming generate employment for the people. It is only when you create wealth that you can now start talking about comfort. You provide primary healthcare and guide them on nutrition because if you are well fed, you are not likely to fall sick. That is why I have a mobile clinic as part of my constituency project. I also try to support agriculture and education and provide interest free revolving loan to those who are in need of it to trade. But if I give them aircraft, they will not appreciate it.
We heard that appointments are lopsided. What is your party doing to redress it?
If we are equal stakeholders and the motto of our party is, ‘Justice, Peace and Unity’, to attain peace and unity, there must be justice. So, if there is no justice, there must be a redress. We are all equal stakeholders in the Ogun State project. We need to make amends in order to attain peace. If what we are saying is anything to go by, then we don’t have peace in Ogun State and if we don’t have peace, it is because we have injustice and the solution is to redress the injustice.
What are the steps the party is taking for a redress?
ACN, ANPP and CPC have been replaced by APC. So, we start on a clean slate by registering new members and, by the time that is done, we will now organise a congress in a very democratic manner from the polling unit to wards and to the state. That will give us the platform upon which justice will reign.
Is there no party mechanism you could explore in order to achieve peace?
Justice is the most important thing. Let everybody go to the congress. If my opponent defeats me at the congress, I will congratulate him and we move ahead as a team. The constitution is clear and whoever refuses to abide by it has the option of checking out.
We heard that you were attacked by gunmen. How did it happen?
I really don’t want to discuss that. I don’t want to be a victim of another attack. If I should open up, it may ginger the police to do what is right and, as a result, they may think of another attack. Apart from the petition I wrote when the police came to my farm, I have not made any public statement on that.
At 61, I am old enough to know that it is not every clothing you spread out in the sun. Again, as a team player, I have to strive to correct things and not to add fuel to the raging fire. I know I am not harbouring any ill-feelings against anybody and if anybody does, I will leave that to Almighty God.
What is the way forward and message to the people?
All Progressive Congress, APC, is out to fulfill the prophesy of Papa Obafemi Awolowo as enunciated in his powerful speech in 1983, part of which was the thesis and anti-thesis principles which he called the dialectic principle whereby he envisaged all the progressive tendencies to rescue Nigeria. We are at that stage right now. You could see the turmoil going on not only in Ogun State, but also in Nigeria as a whole. And that is prompting the progressive tendencies to come together in order to fight the reactionary elements. We are envisaging a credible alternative similar to Hope’93.