Why PDP will win Ondo governorship election, by aspirant

Banji Okunumo is an aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State for the October 10 governorship election. He once served as spokesman for the party. In this interview with Osagie Otabor, Okunumo explains why Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu does not deserve a second term. Excerpts:

The Ondo State Governor has said he deserved a second term in office.

There should not be second term for elected positions, especially for governor. I believe that anyone elected for four years should do his best within the four years and go.

If we are to allow the real extant of the law which gives room for a second term, there is then mischief interpretation of the law.

The law provides that there should be a second term for the governor. It means that if a governor has done well he should be re-elected.

If the Governor has not done well, he should not be re-elected. Governors should not hide under the provisions of the law to say he is entitled to a second term.

If a Governor is given second term on account of good work, he must work again and do it better. The reverse is the case in Nigeria. In the second term, they relax. In Ondo State, the little presence of Akeredolu is only seen in three local government.

I have not seen it before. There must be government presence in all the local government areas. You will see that the little presence of this government is only in Ore, Akure and Odigbo. There is nothing in other local government areas.

There must be some display of equitable distribution of the scarce resources available to the state so that nobody will feel discriminated against.

A government should not also be parochial to limit its economic prosperity to the allocation from Abuja. A government should be creative enough to expand the economic frontiers of the state.

If you are elected, will you do only one term?

The only reason a person deserves a second term is performance. I am contesting on the strength of what I know I can do. I will make a paradigm shift from the old order.

I will make Ondo State and economic hub so that we have industrialist we will export our natural wealth. Ondo is a coastal state.

There is no potential in Lagos that is not in Ondo. Expect we have a governor who can tap those potentials we will continue to be a state that will live on the lean allocation from Abuja and that will not take us to the next level we dreamed about.

A governor that does not show capacity in one term does not deserve a second term. That is the challenge to the present government and that is the reason Ondo people will make their votes function this time around. We must join the league of states migrating to success.

Are you saying Akeredolu has not performed?

He has performed below expectation. There is no short time to work. Development can be provoked in less than a year. I was a local government chairman by appointment and in less than 21 months I constructed three roads in Ilaje local government.

I have the inspiration that I must do those projects. A governor that has all the allocations, including those for the local government, what stops the governor from performing.

If we are not doing capital flight, if our resources are not being drained to a strange man’s land if we localised our resources, we will develop our state.

There are talks that the PDP is not prepared for the elections.

Anybody who says that is living in fools paradise. Such a person is deceiving himself and trying to create an impression that it has gotten it all. PDP is not divided.

We are not having leadership crisis as we speak. The ruling party is enmesh in crisis. The crisis is insurmountable.

They can not overcome it. The PDP will take Ondo. In the last general election, the PDP produced two senators out of three. It is a pointer we cannot put aside. That election is a determinant to the PDP success.

No improvement has come into to the government of Ondo State from that time till now. Are the people happy? The land is over taken by poverty. The people are suffering in Ondo. There is no positive change. The presidential election last year was won by the PDP.

But, the PDP is accused of being silent. They are not providing the needed opposition.

Silent is sometimes needed. Anywhere you mention PDP in this state, the people will embrace you. Look at the mass movement to the PDP. Notable leaders of the APC are moving to the PDP.

The PDP do not need to be boastful. We want the people to react themselves and they are already reacting.

There is a notion that many aspirants of the PDP are from the South. Can’t you have a consensus?

The distribution of positions has been naturally defined in Ondo State. It is established already. In Ondo, any zone that is favoured is the zone that has the highest number of aspirants. In the last election, the number of aspirants from Ondo North were more.

Anywhere you see one aspirant struggling with other aspirants from other zones, you know that particular aspirant is running against the tide and the people will never give it to a zone that is not favoured.

The political party being guided out of impunity can give it to one aspirant in violation of the tradition of zoning, but the electorates in Ondo will give it to that party that picked candidate from the right zone. That has been the trend.

It has never happened in Ondo you see a zone holding onto governorship of Ondo continuously. What people are now doing is subtraction and addition. Which zone has taken it for how many years. North has taken eight, Central has taken eight. We have deficit in the South.

That is where it is swinging to. Majority of the South will vote for one aspirant. By the time the nomination forms are out, the number of aspirants will reduce. The people will look at the favoured ethnic nationality. They will favour the aspirant

Why do you think the PDP will win Ondo State?

The under performance of the government in power is an impetus that will give PDP the chance to win Ondo State. Ondo State people will not settle for under performance twice. Ondo is one of the sophisticated state in Nigeria.

The moment a government is viewed as having not performed the people of Ondo will not vote that person again. Under performance will deny APC the election. Number two is the crisis rocking the party.

The APC cannot be united and it will be too late for the leader of the party which is the governor to settle internal crisis within the party.

I will be a unifier if I become a Governor. It is not good for a Governor not to have a large heart. The internal imbroglio within the APC cannot be settled.

What about federal might?

You are trying to envisage an eldorado. Do you think this governor can relinquish his assume opportunity for second term to anyone within his party.

If he imposes himself on the party, it is a problem. If they force it away from him it is a problem. I know the majority of the PDP will go for a candidate from the South.

What will you do differently?

What I say I will do is what I will do. I will do it because that thing I say I will do will open up added value to the system. How can a government do well without industries. You cannot survive it. Our economy must be private sector driven.

What you don’t have you cannot give it. When I said I want to open coastal opportunity for our state, I know that all we need to do is to make Ondo proxima to Lagos State. I had passed through the coastal road on bike to Lagos State. Our coastal line is 97 kilometre.

If we open our coast and have ships berthing there, Ondo State will be another economy based of this country. I will not be a theoretical governor. I will be a practical governor.

How will the PDP win owing to achievements of Akeredolu?

A raise of hope through all manner of brags and promises which eventually made us to be plunged into a furlough situation and the hopes dashed, expectation vanished. Can we return to the redundant formula.

In mathematics when you use equation to solve a problem and it did not work you apply the almighty formula. The PDP cannot go back to the quadratic equation that was applied. We have to go for the almighty formula which is the winning formula.

Every discerning mind in the PDP today is already educated to know that the only thing that we can do is to apply the formula that can make us win. A formula that cannot make us win shouldn’t be applied. The question is of no moment. It is a level playing ground.

At the level of operations of all aspirants, show your capacity. There is going to be primary in the PDP. The members will decide. No electorate will be plunged into the cloak of anyone of the whims and caprices of anybody. Every electorate will decide.

To streamline the exercise, the party should go by zoning. We have Zone the chairmanship of the party to the North.

That has reduced the number of contenders for the position of the chairman to two. It will be wise for the leaders to make a pronouncement on the aspirants. That will make other aspirants to drop ambition.

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