Ex-federal lawmaker explains why he rejected Makinde’s appt

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Hon. Oyebamiji Folaranmi, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Oyo state in this interview by Editor, FEMI OGUNLANA and AYOOLA TAIWO at his residence in Oko, headquarters of Surulere West Local Council Development Area, throws light on why he rejected an offer of appointment from the Oyo state helmsman, Engr. Seyi Makinde, and why Hon Segun Dokun Odebunmi, who is spending his third tenure in the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly representing Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa Federal Constituency will taste defeat in the next general elections. Excerpts:

You are a leader of PDP in Oyo state, what is the state of the party now?
We are okay, but you know in a gathering of such magnitude, you cannot expect total amity; there will be disagreements to agree. And that is why they define politics as a game of conflict resolution. We are resolving it, no party is conflict free; so we have our own share of it in the PDP.

We read online recently that you were given an appointment by Engr. Seyi Makinde but that you rejected the offer, how far is this true?
Yes, but not rejection per se, I was trying to safeguard the upcoming ones. There are some positions that are supposed to be given to the upcoming ones; they have been following us for so long a time, if we keep on cornering those little, little things when will they have their own share? That is the more reason I said no, and then everybody has his own pedigree, they know my pedigree and what is befitting, if they should give a post that is beyond the upcoming ones, they too will say this post should be for our Oga. So, if they give a post that is befitting a follower to a leader and the leader grabs it the followers will desert him. And immediately you don’t have anybody following you, you are no more a leader, you are only following yourself.

What was the position given to you?
They said member of Emmanuel Alayande College of Education’s (EACOED) Governing Board.

Did you tell the governor that you did not want that post and that you should be given another post?
No, that is not supposed to be within my own purview. The only thing is that somebody has been handling his political arm when it comes to issues like these, I think Senator Hosea Agboola. He has always been in charge of such things. And I told them, anything below the chairmanship of a parastatal I am not taking it. And you know when I was hearing the rumour that probably my name has been slotted for membership of EACOED, I said they should not publish it, ironically they published it and my followers were rejecting it, through that, they were attacking me that I went to the press, no, all these things I am saying you have read it online. The fact is that my people they know what I can take and what I cannot take. When they wanted to put caretaker chairmen there, you know we have three here, Surulere North LCDA, Surulere local government and Surulere South LCDA, the governor called me, he asked me for names and the names I suggested are the caretaker chairmen there now, if I am desperate for positions, I should have put my name there but I know there are followers and we have to recognize them. I know all the secrets in the local government, so nobody can tell me any story there. I know everything about what goes on there. So, if I am desperate because of my purse, I would have been chairman today but that is not it, we have to give recognition to the upcoming ones. Then, we have to protect ourselves because ti eyan ba dagba ti o ni nkan agba lowo egbe omo eke ni se (if you grow to become an elder but you lack the wherewithal to act so, you are still a contemporary to the young ones). So, I was expecting a position that will be in tandem with my pedigree, what is the pedigree? Okay, let me tell you some of these things. I have paid my dues, I was local government boss, I have served the state as treasurer of the party for several years when Baba Adedibu was at the helms of affairs of the party in the state and I served my nation as a federal lawmaker in the National Assembly, then, I went extra-mile by serving as an international parliamentarian when I became an ECOWAS parliamentarian representing my country. Then, later when I came back to the party when the governor invited me, the party especially in this part of the state was in total disarray, you know the party in Ogbomoso here was being handled by Senator Adeseun and due to one reason or the other there was a serious disagreement and he went away with his people and then the governor contacted me and said we should go and try and build the party.

So, you are the leader of the party in Surulere local government?
Yes, I am, am I not supposed to be, with my pedigree? Or you are thinking of my age? With all those areas I have covered, am I not qualified to be the leader or kingmaker? But the only thing is that I am also qualified to be a candidate, but that is why you may be sincere with your suggestion but they will say it is because of what he is seeking. So, you asked about the position of the party in the state, we have our own share of disagreements like any other party, but the elders are resolving it.

So, you nominated the caretaker chairmen for the three local governments and LCDAs in Surulere local government?
Yes, I wrote the letter, put the names of the nominees there, though two other people signed it, I was the one that recommended them and so many other things too.

Are you satisfied with their performance?
So far so good, they are trying their best.

The Appeal Court recently delivered judgment in the legal tussle between the ousted chairmen in Oyo state and the Oyo state government, in favour of the state government, what can you say about this turn of event?
The victory should be expected now. We all know what happened; was there any election in the first instance? There was no election, we just wrote names, we wrote names and we put people there and there are so many areas of technicality. We know, they have argued it in the court and they failed. So, as a leader of the party, what do you expect from me?

They are taking the case to the Supreme
Let them go to the Supreme Court, they might even go to the Super Court. Let us have the election, you will see what will happen to them.

So, PDP will conduct local government ?
It is normal now.

And you will not write names like you did because some of you who were in APC then who you alleged wrote names of winners are in PDP now, aren’t you going to re-enact the same scenario?
We will not write names, why should we write names? We cannot, that is exactly what we are condemning. It will be highly illogical.

How will you rate Governor Seyi Makinde?
He is doing well. When it comes to welfare of workers, he is a superman. He has spent only one year, all sectors will feel his touch. A lot of work is going on across that state- grading of roads, rehabilitation of roads, dredging and widening of rivers etc.

The All Progressives Congress has been the dominant party in this area, are you working to take control in the next election? Moreover, someone has won election to the House of Representatives three times…
Won election, I like that word ‘won election’, quote and unquote, are we not in Nigeria? Let me tell you, it is only in this part of the local government that we monitor ourselves, and that is why the person you refer to has been having problem even where he comes from here. He has been losing his polling unit, at times, he will win; at times, he will lose. But we Oko people, we know him, and that is why Oko people keep on rejecting him yearly, but other people keep on voting him, so, what can we do? Go and check the results of the election? But the truth we have been crusading is being adopted elsewhere too and then when you want to deal with a difficult situation like this, you can’t take it with levity, it takes time. However, we are advancing.

Something else, you are an author and you have written many books…
Yes, I have written many books.

Are you still writing?
I do, there are two that I have done which I have not published. The titles are, ‘Atobatele’, the second one is ‘Abandoned Eldorado’ and the work I am working on now which has been delayed by issues here and there and the accident I had (on December 17th, 2019), the title is, ‘The City of Mendacity.” That is the city where there is no honesty.

How do you find time to write?
I sleep, a politician doesn’t sleep, it is either you will be having meetings or you be with your numerous wives, both official and unofficial. But in my own case I write.

2023 is around the corner what should we expect especially in this area?
You expect a change of baton of leadership from APC to PDP because people have tasted the two, ‘ti obinrin o ba dan ile Oko meji wo, ko ni mo eyi ti o san’ (if a woman hasn’t tried out two husbands she won’t know which one is profitable?)

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