I want to represent the whole of Ekiti, says Dele Alake

Monday, April 12, 2010

You have been mentioned as one of those interested in representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District in 2011. Why the interest? Whatever position you find yourself in life, use it to make friends because that position will not last forever. You will leave that position one day and it is the friends that you have made while in that position that you will fall back on. Unknown to me, most of the things I went through contributed to my profile, though I thought it was a case of just doing the job I was given. At the end of the day, somebody came to me from Ekiti saying that if I had done all these things in Lagos, why not come back to Ekiti and help us. I turned down the request initially since the assignment I had on hand was to lapse about two to three years. By 2003, the pressure became unbearable because some prominent Ekiti people went to Asiwaju and told him that they wanted me to come back home and do same for them. Asiwaju thanked them and called me to tell me that my people came but that between the two of us this Lagos Project was too vital to afford giving me away. He said that if I did go to become the governor of Ekiti State, I would lock Lagos because Ekiti could not contain all the progressive forces in Yoruba land and it was so logical to me that I did not have any answer to that. He said that Lagos was the federal capital of Yoruba land in Nigeria and is the hub of all progressive forces in Yoruba land. Because of this, I had to subsume my own ambition. The same situation obtained in 2007, though that of 2007 was aggravated because, as you know, Obasanjo shifted his base to Dodan barracks, hoping to take Lagos at all cost and so the idea of my going somewhere to contest an election could not even arise. Now that we have successfully settled Lagos in the clutches of AC such that even today, if we box ourselves to the polling booth in Lagos, we will still win the elections. People like Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, Lai Mohammed contested and failed in other states. How do you think you can succeed in Ekiti State?

We have the formula of winning elections in Lagos in our palms. So, the issue of in-fighting and the rest cannot affect our electoral fortunes because the opposition in Lagos is depleted. This I believe is a result of their conservative nature because they do not care about you and I, they are only concerned about the status quo and their own material interest. Now that I do not have any inhibition like wanting to stabilise Lagos, I now have the freedom to heed the call of my people. I cannot go for the governorship because our party is in court against the PDP in Ekiti State. Secondly, the man who is our symbol there is a brother to me and we all have to support him to ensure that we achieve our objectives there and so, the issue of the governorship is out of the question. Why the Senate?

I looked at what other platform I could use to make my own contribution not just to the enhancement of my immediate community in Ekiti but to the nation at large and I came to the conclusion that the senate offers a national platform from where I can contribute to the quality base of policy making. In my experience, more often than not, we always have people in such places who have no public service exposure nor any idea because they do not know the dynamics of policy making. When they get there, they spend time trying to find their feet; valuable time that should have been judiciously utilised in formulating policies for the good of the country. So, I thought that having been exposed to public service in the most turbulent era in Lagos State, which is also the most volatile state in the whole country, I think I am sufficiently schooled in the art of policy enunciation, formulation, execution and monitoring to be able to contribute my quota in the National Assembly, so that with like minds, we would enhance the quality of the debate in the National Assembly. They are not prepared because they lack the knowledge, the will and vision to articulate anything, so, they are just birds of passage. As long as we do not get it right at that policy formulating level, there will be nothing for the executive to follow. Ideally, the legislature should act as a check and balance to the executive but where the legislature is peopled by persons who do not know their left from their right, then they will be less than the executive. Political struggles give you an advantage when you are in office because if you struggle for something, when you finally get it, you will appreciate it than when that thing is handed down to you on a platter of gold. Some people have narrowed it down to the seeming expansionist tendencies of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. When confronted with such question, what would be your response?

The truth is that from all available knowledge at my disposal, there has never been a situation where Asiwaju sat down in council to post people around to cover his own expansionist tendencies. However, Asiwaju has been in charge of a political movement , has aides, assistants and associates around him, would it be right for Asiwaju to circumscribe the ambition of his associates simply because he does not want to be accused of harbouring expansionist tendencies? It is Asiwaju that will be in a very difficult situation. Take Rauf Aregbesola, for example, who was invited to be deputy governor of Osun State after the exit of Omisore in 2003. It was not Asiwaju’s doing, it was the people of Osun, led by the then governor who invited Aregbesola. Apparently , they must have seen certain traits in him. Imagine if he had gone then, there’s no way Asiwaju would have been able to absolve himself of pushing him. But I was an insider and I knew how everything came about and Rauf refused for the same reason I had earlier refused to go to Ekiti. So, we had to put all hands on deck. So, if in 2007 , four years after, Rauf now decided to go and contest, it would be wrong to assume that it was Asiwaju that had expansionist tendencies and he is sending his associates. And you?
Now if I did not go to contest in Ekiti in 2003 as I was pressured and in 2007 and now in 2011 I now want to contest the senate, would it be Asiwaju extending his tentacles to the senate? I would have rather preferred to go for the governorship for Asiwaju to have a hold on the executive than the legislature. As an individual, I have my own ideas of how things should be. I have been sufficiently exposed to the dynamics of the nation called Nigeria, to be able to make up my mind without Asiwaju tele-guiding me. But Asiwaju, I agree, cannot run away from being accused, it is a price of leadership that he has to pay and he’s already paying it. In any case, if as a political leader, you have associates venturing out to pursue their political ambitions, it shows that you are a true leader. So, I think it is complimentary of Asiwaju’s profile. Looking from Lagos to other states in Africa, some of the conducted elections, from our experience, have only been a charade. How are you sure it will be different in 2011?

The conservative forces holding the jugular of the West, as it were, also have their problems now. Even at the centre, you can see how PDP has left the country. Since 1999, we don’t need a soothsayer to tell us that PDP has been more of a curse than a blessing to Nigeria. In the last few years, we have been a source of ridicule internationally because of the kind of leaderless and rudderless nation that we have been. Who is the cause? The PDP. I assume that an average citizen knows that the salvation of this country is not in the hands of the PDP anymore, if in eleven years we still do not have energy. Let us assume that you need a learning period in government, after one or two years, you should begin to read clearly. But after 11 years, we are more worked up than we were in 1999. Except the people of the country are so gullible, blind and jaded to continue in this kind of rudderless ship , then the fault will no longer be in our stars but in ourselves. So, I believe that the people of the West have got to realise that the mistake of 2003 must be withdrawn and that is why 2011 is not going to be a piece of cake for the PDP in the South-West. Secondly is the fact that as an individual, I cut across all political divide. I’m not playing the politics of bitterness or annihilation. I am someone who is going to represent the interest of the whole of Ekiti State, not just that of my own constituency. The reason is that my village transcends the Ekiti Central. I have acquitted myself as I said in Lagos. In fact, when Niyi Adebayo was still here, he used to call me his ambassador in Lagos. I can assure you that PDP, Labour Party and AC will vote for me in Ekiti because they don’t see me as a parochial person. The 2007 gubernatorial primaries contributed to the loss of elections in your party in Ekiti. How are you going to do it such that this time it will not result in crisis?

We all belong to the same family. The 2007 primaries were for the governorship, which caused rancour and disaffection. But in this instance, Femi Ojudu is a younger brother and colleague. Opeyemi Bamidele is even a younger brother and we belong to the same political family. I do not see the kind of disaffection that occurred in 2007 in my own case because in all carefulness, I do not see myself or Opeyemi or Femi Ojudu saying that we want to branch out to the PDP. If you look at the antecedents of these people, I do not see them harbouring such tendencies.


Related Posts: www.thenationonlineng.net

0 Feedback:

Site Meter