In this interview conducted during a live program tagged ‘Oro Oselu’ anchored by Adedayo Oderinu on Rave FM, Senator Dr Ajibola Basiru, representing Osun Central spoke extensively on governance, All Progressive Congress partys’ amount of intent and participation form, Osun Governorship candidature, and the readiness of the party, TOP among others. Excerpts.
Question: APC recently stipulated the guidelines for elections in Ekiti and Osun states, As a Senator representing the people of Osun Central, what can you say about the preparation by your party APC, is your party ready?
Basiru: Our party, APC has revealed it’s guidelines for interested aspirants for the Governorship election that will hold in Osun on July 16, 2022.
The primary election is scheduled to hold on March 5, 2022, while the collection of intent forms and application begins on November 18, 2022 at the rate of N22.5million for interested participants in the party.
There is no problem in our party, APC is ready for the election and the chosen aspirant will be known by the evening of March 5, 2022.
Question: The amount of N22.5million for show of intent and participating form, is it not too much?
Basiru: The amount is not too much, the preparation process by the party starting from primary election, to printing and other logistics is involved. This is also synonymous to political parties in parts of the world.
Anyone contesting for a post knows that it is call to serve the people. For instance people do support the candidate of their choice to contest, just as it was done for President Muhammadu Buhari by his supporters.
Anyone participating as an individual must ensure he is capable financially, and must remember it’s call to serve the populace and not to do business for profit making.
Question: At the weekend at Ilobu day celebration program, the immediate former House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Hon Lasun Yussuf mentioned his intention to contest as Osun Governor in 2022 election, we can recall that he also contested in 2018 election, since there is a sitting governor from the same party who has indicated running for second term, is it not a show of misunderstanding if others in that party also show interest for the same position?
Basiru:There is no misunderstanding if any person(s) show interest in contesting. I was also there at the program and I also greeted and called him aside and I mentioned it to him that our candidate in Osun is the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
The reason for democracy is for everyone to partake of it, and you are free to indicate your intent to contesting. As a grassroot politician, he stated we will meet on the field and I said surely Sir.
Hon Lasun Yussuf is a member of the party, a politician who belongs to APC Igbimo Agba (Elders Caucus) just as myself, governor Oyetola among others in the state.
If people in our party shows interest to contest, it shows our party is beneficial. We are not fighting anyone, whoever is sure of himself politically is free to vie for the position, we will meet on the field and see who emerges as winner.
Question: We learnt some agitators said Lasun Yussuf was cheated during the 2018 primary election, won’t such repeat itself in the party?
Basiru: I am not the publicity person for Hon Lasun Yussuf, he is my brother, his PRO will be in the best position to talk more about him or any agitation you mentioned.
Though I am a senator and he is boss to me in the party, but I Senator Ajibola Basiru stand on the fact that, since Governor Gboyega Oyetola has indicated his intention to run as Governor again, there is no need for any member of same party to contest against him, this is my view, although people are entitled to their opinions.
If the former deputy Speaker contest, there is no problem, the result will be known by the 5th day of March 2022.
Question: APC guidelines for the forthcoming election, particularly on direct primaries have caused a misunderstanding between the Senate and Governors, what is your view on this?
Basiru: I think it’s some governors and not all of them that frowned against the election guidelines. In 2018, we used direct primary method in Osun state, our Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and others have no problem with direct primaries.
All of us were with President Muhammadu Buhari last week and we deliberated on it. What is remaining is for the President to ascent it. It is our hope that the party must return to the people. Any aspirant chosen must be through the party members, that’s the essence of the direct primary style.
As the Senate, we must make policies that will make democracy relevant to the people.
Question: With the direct primaries, will politics not become more expensive, why can’t we just allow people to select their candidates who will represent them?
Basiru: Have you heard of a slogan that says vote and buy a land? That was the style before, and people were using that to make money. This past experience brought about the decision of the Senate to minimize spending for election to the barest minimum.
There is no political party in the world that won’t spend during election period. Since candidates are chosen at ward congress, the direct primaries promotes this for representatives to be chosen directly at the ward level by members, for them to choose their representatives or senators or counsellors through that ward congress by themselves.
Question: On the reaction of the direct primaries by Governors, are you saying Governor Oyetola is yet to take a stand about it?
Basiru: Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has taken a stand on direct primary, As representative of the people at the Senate, I do communicate with the Governor and elder statesman Chief Adebisi Akande on issues concerning the state, and we always deliberate on it.
I, Ajibola Basiru stand with the view of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and Baba Adebisi Akande and this is what I display at the Senate, I don’t know about the others but I hold their view important.
Question: As the Spokesperson at the Senate, of recent, the federal government approached the Senate and said it wants to take loan, people wondered why did the Senate approve such and asked must the senate approve everything the president demand of them?
Response: It is not true that the Senate approves everything the president bring to us. I can vividly remember that such proposal for loan was brought to us about three different times, we made our findings, called the finance ministry over it and they couldn’t defend it, so we stepped it down.
On finance issue, there is something called deficit financing. There is no country that develops without loan. We all know that it’s not easy for the government to generate funds.
Most importantly, Covid 19 pandemic affected finance of the world, there is no country that have not embarked on accessing loan. The loan is for infrastructures and economic development such as road, railway, airport, water, light and security.
The government have highlighted what the loan is meant for, relevant stakeholders also appeared for it, and if you take a look at America, you will see how blessed it is with infrastructural development, all made available through loan, but let me inform you that individuals living there have capital debts which is not obvious on them.
We must strive to have a good economy that can generate money for the government and for development, even if they don’t ask for loan now, they will do it in the future and it may be late then.
Question: Using America as an example, people feel that the amount for loan servicing there is low compared to the amount being used for loan servicing here in Nigeria, what’s your opinion?
Response: Anyone who says that is not sincere. In Nigeria, year 2021 budget was 13.8 trillion, what was used to service loan was 3.1 trillion.
There is something called Fiscal responsibility commission law, it says that any debt that a country get must be three third of gross domestic product, it has a clause that says it can be higher in cases such as Coronavirus pandemic that affects crude oil prices, it makes loan borrowed to be three percent higher.
Question: It seems the purpose of loan is manifesting well, you talked about security which is notorious, can we say the loan the federal government accessed is not profitable on security matters?
Basiru: Initially, what this present government inherited on insecurity is overwhelming, but with the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari led government to tackle insecurity, you can see that it has reduced. The investment of the government on security must be commended, lately super Tuscano was obtained to fight insurgency, aside Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Libya are also relying on Nigeria for security support.
Question: You said there’s no problem in Osun APC, but recently, The Osun Progressives, TOP alleged that the government of Governor Gboyega Oyetola is trying to rubbish the former Governor Rauf Aregbesola for substandard mega schools built in the state, said that the mega schools will be demolished, also that the bridge constructed will be demolished, as someone who had worked with both governments, what’s your take on this?
Basiru: It is rather unfortunate that those we call our friends are not, The Osun Progressives TOP members are mischief makers. If you are in a party that you claim to love and misunderstanding arise, it’s not right to spread such if there is any.
Whatever this TOP members are saying, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola did not send them, the TOP are creating such to force relevance, since they started having their meetings Aregbesola have never been in any of the meeting.
Those in the TOP are agitating for selfish reasons, but God is above everyone, no matter what they do, it is Governor Oyetola that will emerge as Governor again Insha Allah, Ameen.
Question: People are alleging that the government wouldn’t conclude the integrity test process on the mega school, what’s your view here?
Basiru: I am not a builder or commissioner for education, if a governor deem it find to conduct or carry out necessity on any infrastructures belonging to the state, he has the right to do so, the outcome of the findings is what is important.
The TOP are acting clueless and spreading lies for self benefit, they insinuated that Oranmiyan house will be demolished, the building is still standing, they claimed government collected project refund, all were mere lies.
I, Ajibola Basiru will not join such persons or group that feeds on lies.
Question: If a party should have faction just as TOP, won’t it affect the chance of the APC winning the state election?
Basiru: In the last Anambra election, some candidates defected but their party didn’t win. We are not saying people should leave the party, but anyone interested in the party should love and be loyal to the party, and anyone who wants to act as opposition should move out and join the opposition. You cant be in APC party and be opposing same party.
It was rumored that you didn’t support governor Oyetolas ambition in year 2018, but we can see that as at today, both you and governor Oyetola are closely together, how true is this?
Basiru: Anyone who said I didn’t support Oyetola in 2018, I leave such to the judgement of God.
Osogbo has 15 wards and part of the prerogative which the party gave me, was that we work for the victory of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, and in the primaries, we campaigned for him and ensured he emerged
Anyone who has contrary evidence against what I just said should come forth with it.
Some people in TOP also showed interest but lost at the primary.
Be it as it may, we have faith that Oyetola is Gods chosen, former governor Aregbesola declared him our candidate and we supported him wholeheartedly.
Now that he is there, we will keep supporting him, this is the right thing to do.
They even alleged that i also want to vie for governorship position, I believe it is God that installs man. Whatever one will become is ordained by God, no matter the effort of man.
The second term agenda is in the hand of God. Let’s unite and continue to pray for this government.
Question: Can you say that former governor Rauf Aregbesola supports the second term bid of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola?
Basiru: We are yet to have a meeting on this, by the end of March 2022, the answer will be made known to all.
Question: What can you say about PDP, the opposition party in the state?
Basiru: There is no more People’s Democratic Party PDP in Osun, they are dead, those there are just entertaining all.
APC is more loaded with programmes than them.
PDP has less representatives than APC party at relevant political posts.
The PDP don’t know what they are doing. A party is more than holding a meeting under a tree, or at a members house, someone who cannot contest and win in his ward now claiming he can solve misunderstanding in a party is all lies.
As APC party in Osun, we have confidence that our party All Progressive Congress and our candidate Governor Adegboyega Oyetola will emerge winner for the coming Governorship election in Osun on 16th July 2022.
Question: Can you say Osun people love your party?
Basiru: Yes, Osun people loves us and this coming election will have our party, APC produce Osun Governor.
Question: As a Senator representing Osun Central, are people happy with your constituency projects, are you communicating with the people you are representing, or you are always in Abuja?
Basiru: Thank God you are a journalist, I will ask that you go to market places and other parts of my constituents and see the solar lights installed for the use at night when it comes up. Anyone interested in knowing what is ongoing in my constituent should move round and find out.
In the same Osun Central, several boreholes were dug for the usage of the people, roads in some areas in the constituency were graded to be motorable.
Presently, empowerment programs for artisans, N-Power beneficiaries, and special public work, Agriculture, snail rearing among others is ongoing.
Daily we have programs that would make life easy for the people of the state, we are giving good and qualitative representation and this is a pointer that people would choose us, our party in Osun.