Ogun State PDP spokesman,
In a chat with Pulse, Ibitoye said though the opposition party has internal rancours as well as challenges but it will be settled .
Ibitoye also spoke on the recently held Local Governments' election saying it was done in an unacceptable manner.
Read the interview session here
On Ogun State politics
Well, we cannot divorce politics in Ogun State from the politics in Nigeria generally, and especially from the peoples way of life in the state. I want to tell you specifically that Ogun State is moving backward in the last five years, and the backwardness is actually caused by the incumbent government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. The truth is that, the current APC government has killed the political life of the good people of Ogun State. The people are afraid to talk, including members of his party, they can’t question the man. We hear a lot of things from outside, and this has also translated into backwardness of the economy, because I can say categorically that the government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun has destroyed the fabrics of our economy in Ogun State. Despite the fact that he claimed to have increased the Internal Generated Revenue, Ogun State people are wallowing in abject poverty. All the link roads in Ogun State have been destroyed, the public schools are in terrible state, all government hospitals are houses of horror. Ask any medical worker in the state, they will tell you sordid stories of how this government has abandoned the place. There is no single project the government is doing, because I know that when PDP was in power, during Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s administration there is not a single aspect of life that OGD did not touch. Do you want to talk about internal roads? Do you want to talk about Agriculture, do you want to talk about empowering the people of the State? OGD built new hospitals and health centers across the state, rehabilitated existing ones. The PDP government of OGD built stadia in Ijebu Ode, Sagamu and Ilaro which engaged our youths in sporting activities and placed the state among the best Five states in sporting activities in Nigeria. What is the place of sports now in the state? Dead. Where is our Gateway Football Club now? Everything has collapsed under Gov Amosun and his band of APC team.
On the achievements of Gov Amosun
Gov Ibikunle Amosun will say he built roads in the state, but we all know he did not construct a single road, but expanded existing roads, but no new ones. Even at that, he gave the multi billion Naira contracts to Chinese firms and they did horrible jobs. Most of the roads he expanded are now failing, while the Ijoko-Akute road had been abandoned. He refused to engage our local contractors. He refused to use the money in Ogun State to empower Ogun State citizens. He refused to empower our local artisans. So, politically Ogun State is drawing backward, and it is very unfortunate that Amosun has really underdeveloped the State.
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On the state of Ogun PDP
We understand our challenges in Ogun State PDP because from 1999 to 2011, PDP was very strong in Ogun State, but towards the end of Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s second term, a lot of interests came to be at play. You remember that Ogun State PDP had the most powerful, most influential and most eminent personalities in Nigeria. In fact, Ogun State had the first first functional permanent secretariat, even ahead of the National, politicians like former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye, Baba Sdule Onabiyi, Senator Iyabo Anishulowo, Chief (Mrs) Titi Ajanaku and a host of other leaders. But towards the end of the second term of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, there were personalities clashes and these clashes resulted into some people either keeping quiet or taking a ‘siddon’ look attitude to the politics of the State. And this created a vacuum, as some people came in to hijack the structure of the party. That was the beginning of Ogun State PDP crisis. So for a long time, many respected leaders kept quiet and some forces began to control, began to use money to woo people and at the end of the day PDP lost it’s soul. But right now, we have sat down, took a self internal, critical examination of ourselves and party and found out that we cannot abandon the Ogun State people like this, we have to redefine the politics of Ogun State. I thank God for given us somebody like Hon. Ladi Adebutu, who stands like a Liberator of PDP in Ogun State. He started the process, he began to move with the other leadership to woo back all the aggrieved members. He said ‘Please come back and let us let us do this thing together’. So we are in the process of redefining PDP, we are in the process of rejuvenating PDP and we are in the process of taking back what rightly belongs to us. That is the governance of Ogun State, which is the government of the people and for the people.
On Buruji Kashamu and Ladi Adebutu's differences
Yes, it is true there are factions in Ogun State PDP but I want to tell you with all sense of modesty that yes we have our differences, but we know how to settle the issues. Senator Buruji is a party leader and a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria representing Ogun East. And Hon. Ladi Adebutu is very respected and loved by everybody in the State and he is currently the House of Representatives member representing Ikenne/Sagamu/ Remo North Federal Constituency. Both leaders have issues concerning the interest of the party. Both of them have the interest of the party at heart. But at the end of the day, all the frictions will be settled. Our national leaders had waded into it, they will settle the whole issue. So we can assure you that in the next few weeks, there won’t be any faction group in Ogun State and we know that either way, both of them have the interest of the party and the people of Ogun State at heart. They might differ on their strategies, they might differ on their modus operandi, but the ultimate aim is to kick out APC and get good governance once again back to Ogun State. So right now, I can assure you that within the next few weeks you won’t hear anything about faction again. You will see all our leaders coming under one umbrella to work for the enthronement of good governance in Ogun State once again.
On Local Government Election in Ogun State
It is very unfortunate that we have degenerated to this level of political and election manipulation in Ogun State where an incumbent government will deploy thugs and brazenly in the open, rig elections in favour of its party candidates. it is quite obvious that PDP won most of the seats, especially Ogun West and Ogun East Senatorial districts. Across the Wards in the state and local governments, thugs were deployed, our members were chased away, ballot boxes were snatched. In year 2016 ballot boxes are still being snatched. Our agents were not allowed into collation centres. We all know that this election was a sham. It was simply a Vote of No Confidence of Governor Amosun, and the APC government. The governor sat somewhere, gave the mandate to OGSIEC to write election results and return all his candidates for him. And it is also unheard of, that you have an election into Local Government seats where the Chairmanship candidates will not have Vice- Chairmen. Right now as I am talking to you, most of the Local Government Chairmen that were declared by the OGSIEC as winners have no Vice- Chairmen, which should have been a prerequisite to even contest the election in the first place, because you must have a vice Chairman, they didn't have. The names of Vice- Chairmen for all the Local Governments and the LCDAs are now being sent through text messages by Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the governor, which means he is appointing the Vice- Chairmen after the election had been concluded. He sworn in all the Local Government Chairmen last week, just two days after election, without allowing for statutory number of days for litigation and legal challenge. He is now sitting down with his caucus, just about five people to decide, okay who should we give the vice-Chairman of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government to? Who should we give this one to? Who should we give that to? Is that an election? It has shown that the election was a sham. But it was to test our popularity and we knew that it has given us a boost. Which has shown that by 2019, PDP is taking over in Ogun State, that is our position. We won the election squarely, because nobody wants to hear APC again in Ogun State because of how Amosun has destroyed the economies and social lives in all the nooks and crannies of the State. You can’t tell me APC won in Akute, You can’t tell me APC won in Alagbole, you can’t tell me APC won in Ado-Odo/Ota here, you can’t tell me they won in Shagamu. How can APC win in Shagamu? This is our stronghold. And we believe that the Local Government election we participated in was to measure our popularity and we have confirmed that the people want us back and they want this visionless government out of the State.
On steps to challenge the LG election
We are encouraging our candidates to present facts and figures at the tribunal. There is nothing stopping us to challenge the result because we have our results. No matter what the government says, we will prove to them that we won the elections. Although, they have the apparatus of the government at the tribunal, because they are the one setting it up, but we will not be deterred. They can do whatever they like, but we will pursue it to the logical end.
On Ladi Adebutu's rumoured Governorship ambition
Hon. Ladi Adebutu is a God sent man to the people of Ogun State. Very few leaders have his qualities, which is about having human kindness in him. He is somebody that knows how to deal with the grassroots. A lot of people will see him and say because he was born with a silver spoon, they expect him to keep the politicians and masses at arms length. But Hon. Ladi Adebutu is somebody that will eat on the same table with you, will eat in the same plate with you. He understands the people. I am aware there is a lot of pressure on him to run for governorship seat in 2019. He is not looking for money or popularity, the popularity is there already. The money is there already. So the only way he can help humanity is to spread the wealth. How much is the total budget of Ogun State in a year that some people will say he wants to go there and steal? He cannot take a dime of people’s money. This is somebody who has placed so many students on scholarships, even beyond his own Federal Constituency.
Across the State, he’s been giving out cars to empower people, he’s been giving out grinding machines to empower people. He is a very quiet person and very sociable. That is the kind of people we must have at the helm of affairs in Ogun State. So if some people are saying that Ladi Adebutu wants to be governor, it’s a welcome development. I believe he would yield to the clarion calls of the people to come and rescue them from this shackles of bondage being put in their hands by the government of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Interestingly, a lot of people don’t know that Ladi Adebutu is an experienced politician. This is not his first time in the National Assembly, he was first elected into the House of Reps in 1992 under the defunct Social Democratic Party during the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida regime. He contested in 2003, 2007 and 2011 for seats in the National Assembly, and had always been a member of the PDP since it was formed.. So, he is in tune with the political realities of Ogun State and Nigeria. It will therefore be a blessing if he accepts to run for the governorship seat.