•TUNDE OLADUNJOYE, New OGUN APC Caretaker Member
Tunde Oladunjoye, thenew Publicity Secretary of Ogun APC Caretaker Committee (CTC) has revealedexclusively to City People the reason the National Working Committee sent theCTC to Ogun State to take over from the exco that has been dissolved.
According to him, the NWC sent us to Ogun State not to join issues with anyone but to reconcile all the various groups and come up with a strong and virile party. Below are excerpts of the interview with City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE.
What has been the experience of the Caretaker Committee since you took over in Ogun State?
Since we were appointed a few days back, the reactions have been positively overwhelming. It is a 3 man panel to start with. Our Chairman, Elder Sanusi is from Ogun Central (Abeokuta). He is very experienced. Eng. Olubori, the Secretary, is also very experienced and very popular in representing Ogun West (Yewa-Awori) and myself. I am from Ogun East. I am the Publicity Secretary. I think I also have little experience on this job. We have all been around for a while. The kind of volunteering we have received, the kind of messages of hope, support, promise, encouragement from members of Ogun APC from leaders of the party and even from non-members of the party, in terms of professionals, artisans, media people has been very, very encouragement. But we know that the assignment is a challenging and daunting one. Our strategy to go along with it, is to be open minded. We have the mandate of the NWC of the APC to carry everybody along.
If there is anybody that is complaining, reach out to them, reunite and promote unity in the party.
That is why I said in our initial Press statement that we are not ready to join issues with anybody. The instruction is: rebuild the party, bring everybody together, promote the party and not caucuses within the party. Let the party be one. Our President has enormous goodwill, popularity, especially in Ogun State.
But we are not running for the Presidency alone. We want to win all the other slots. We want to win our governorship slot, Senate slot, House of Reps slot and our Assembly slot, so that there will be a cohesion and we are even more challenged in Ogun State as we approach this election by what we have seen recently in Ekiti and Osun State. If our party has won in Ekiti and Osun, that means it is incumbent on those in Ogun State Lagos State, Oyo State to deliver. This regime has been fair to South-West and we can’t afford to fail to deliver victory in 2019.
Why was there a needfor the National Working Committee (NWC) to send a caretaker committee to OgunState?
It is because of the messy situation in Ogun State. Obviously, a single person cannot stand in 2 places. In Ogun State, the Governor and his loyalists are trying to deceive the President. This exco-members were unilaterally appointed by the Governor. Other leaders were not taken into consideration. And nobody complained. But when we now talk about primaries and it did not go the way the governor wanted, the governor is now declaring publicly to the world to say I am going to work against my party. A responsible National Working Committee of any party will not place in the hands of that governor and his selected exco the machinery that will be used to win or that will be used to contest the governorship elections of the candidate the governor has told you he would work against. It is a very simple logic. The confusing aspect of it is that you cannot be working with Coca-Cola and at the end of the month; you will go and line up at 7up that you want to collect your salary. It is not done. What the new party, which I call the infant party is trying to do is to reap from where they did not sew. See, you branded a bus and you put the photo of the President at the back. The picture of your governorship candidate and the deputy is in the front and on the sides.
Our President cannot be deceived or relegated. What are they trying to do? They are trying to use the Goodwill of the President to campaign for their own party which is fraudulent and as the National Chairman has said it will be taken care of appropriately. At any point in time, it should be known where a man is standing. You can’t put your leg in one camp and put your leg in another camp.
But our own Committee will make them see reason with us. We are going to attempt Persuasion. We are going to interact with them, to be seen that all efforts were made. Recently the national body sent a Reconciliation Committee to Ogun State.
The report has been submitted last week. It was headed by Gov. Shettima, the governor of Borno State. It was a high powered delegation. They even met the governor and different groups. We are going to try as much as possible to bring back, if possible, this group, this segment that is in the minority but loyal to the governor. The beauty of it and the joy of most of us in APC is that majority of APC members are in APC. We are encouraged that our members have remained steadfast. We want to bring those who have strayed away back to the party.
How did you see the move made by APM to give Gov. Amosun a flag and letter for onward transmission to
The President can’t be deceived. It will have been appreciated if the Chief Promoter of that infant party has not said he is going to work against the governorship candidate of our party. That so called endorsement I describe it as a Greek gift. It is a conditional gift. You can’t say you like the head and you don’t like the other parts of the body. How can you say you will mobilise for the President and you will now mobilise his governorship candidate. It is self-defeat. I am very sure Mr. President would not be deceived by that. They are trying to use the name of the president to promote their new infant party. This party is less than 2 months old in Ogun State and they said they have about forty something buses. Where are these buses coming from? Who is funding them? Who is giving out money, ward by ward? Who is giving N500,000 x 36 wards? People should ask questions? What is the position of the Electoral Law on Party funding? Who is funding the party? Where are the resources coming from? Those are the questions. As time goes on, we would ask them to come and give answers to them.
As a party the APC will continue to assure our members on the ideals of our party. APC as a progressive party should be concerned about the welfare of workers, regular payment of salaries. The President has given bail outs to the state at least twice. The government has ordered the release of Paris Club to the state. If you now have a system in place somewhere, to use it to do other things, when workers are now paid, we have to look into it. For instance, I know what is happening to workers and the staff of Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu. We must let members of the party know that this is not the position of the party. That is not the preference of the party. It is now obvious that the man at the helm of affairs in Ogun State is the one that is interested in raising new parties for reasons best known to him.
I want to assure you that our governorship candidate, Prince (Dr.) Dapo Abiodun (MFR) is well concerned about the welfare of workers in Ogun State. He is a businessman. He has businesses. He has staff. He pays them. He is not owing his staff. He will not come and start owing. He will see to the welfare of our workers.
Ogun State is rich in human and natural resources. We want to promote the glory of that state. Prince Dapo Abiodun will deliver. We are very happy that even people outside our party are pledging their support for Ogun APC.
We don’t want people to coerce others to forcefully belong to another infant party. Don’t summon Council Chairmen to Abeokuta to question them on why they didn’t attend APM rally? Don’t force Councillors to go to Abeokuta. Let them decide. Don’t give instructions to transport union members that they must come to Abeokuta for APM rally. Don’t threaten them if you are sure of yourself. If you are selling a good product let people decide on the party they want to support. What is happening in Ogun State right now is not what APC set out to do in Ogun State. We are very happy that people now know the difference.
Since the Caretaker Committee began its work in Ogun State, the exco has been saying they don’t
You are right, the governor said so. You don’t expect the governor to say otherwise because he has told the world that it is a battle he is going to fight to ensure that Dapo does not become governor, which I think is also undemocratic, with due respect. Ogun State people should be allowed to decide who their governor will be. When you now talk of the dissolution of the party exco in Ogun APC, the educated people are aware, that there is only one party that controls all the party at the state level, it is the party at the headquarters.
That is why whatever position you are applying for in your state it is the National body that will submit your name. The Constitution of Nigeria, the Electoral Act only recognises the party at the national level. It is the party at the national level that now dovetails into branches at the state, LG and wards. So, when the party at the national level says you are dissolved for anti-party activities and you say no it won’t stand, you are just ranting, because that party at the national level will no longer deal with you. The party has named its Caretaker.
And the party at the national level will deal with the caretaker they have put in place. They will not deal with the exco they have dissolved. No. For this exco people and the Governor to continue to say they are in-charge and that they will continue to be in charge is laughable. Those exco members should not help themselves to go to jail.
The governor will not be tried and will not go with them. He has Immunity. I have documents that I will show you that shows that before the primaries and I will show you documents that says that Chief Derin Adebiyi’s exco should not function as exco of the party. There is a Court Order before the primaries, around September 2018, which has not be contradicted or invalidated. Infact, when the Derin group now went to court after we had gone to court, the court told them this suit you are bringing is similar to the one in Abuja, go and harmonise it in Abuja. So, how can that person say I am still in charge and the court has said don’t parade yourself. It is simply Contempt of court. If they continue, contempt proceedings can be taken out against them. Of course, that will not include the Governor because he has Immunity. Chief Derin Adebiyi has been formally told that his exco has been dissolved, that additionally, he should hand over the property of the party in his possession. He has the letter and any claim to the contrary is just mere grand standing. The letter is dated 18th December, 2018.
Whats the duration ofthe Caretaker Committees tenure?
The tenure of the Caretaker Committee is at the pleasure of the NWC. What I know is that this committee with the support of other leaders of the party will be the one to prosecute the electioneering of Prince Dapo Abiodun, because it is simply commonsensical. If you have an exco-Chairman, if you have a State Chairman who was appointed by the Governor, all his exco appointed by the Governor, exco at the Local Government level and ward level are appointed by the governor and the governor says I will do everything to ensure that Dapo does not become governor and it is this same exco that you expect to provide logistics and oversee the electioneering process, its just a panacea for chaos. Efforts have been made to persuade them and bring them back to see reason, if they insist that despite all these interventions they still want to go alone. Why are they dropping the name of the President.
What they are doing runs contrary to the President Buhari that we know. When he lost the Presidency, he contested the 2nd time, the 3rd time. When he lost, he did not say this country must burn. He was not abusive or antagonistic to former President Jonathan.
If you say you are a Buhari person, you should live and demonstrate it and show example of a Buhari model who believes in the rule of law. The national body of the party says you have been dissolved, then you say they can’t dissolve you. The NWC has the power to dissolve you. A meeting was held in Abuja where all the State Chairmen, where all the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) were in attendance, the issue was raised and a decision was reached.
What bothers me is, what kind of politics are we having, where a Governor will be in office for 8 years, after 8 years he grabs the ticket of the Senate and keeps it in his pocket and now says I am contesting for Senate in this party, I am supporting the President but I am going to work against the governorship candidate of that same party and people will ask: is it that the Governor has something to hide? Why the desperation? Why does he feel its only his surrogate that can guarantee his protection or what? The kind of politics we are playing is uncommon. It is abnormal. How can a State Governor go and hold his rally in a public facility, a stadium and as a sitting Governor still lock out the governorship candidate of the party he is still a member of. I don’t understand.