Bad governance fuelling separatist agitations – Segun Oni

…says Buhari has cleared coast for PDP to reclaim power in 2023

Until recently when former Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State sought a reunion with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he was the vice chairman (Southwest) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Still having his eyes on the governorship seat of the state, in this interview, he exuded confidence that the PDP would take over the reign of power in the Southwest nay Nigeria in 2023.

His optimism stemmed partly from what he described as incompetence of the APC administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari. “The field is ripe and bright for us,” he enthused.

Having concluded the Southwest zonal congress of your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would you say all issues have been permanently resolved?

As a political party, there is no way you can resolve all the issues, but we are in the process of doing that. We are all going to move together as friends to ensure that the next general election is won handsomely and resoundingly by the PDP. The field is ripe and bright for us. We have all been witnesses to what has befallen us a country and everybody wants the situation reversed so that Nigeria can breathe a sigh of relief. We are challenged, but we want to work together to move the party forward. This is not a time for bickering. We all will work together for the success of the party.

But supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) too are often quick to blame the present challenge on the misrule of the past. Would you want to exonerate the PDP from the present condition?

How can anybody still be talking about the misrule of its predecessor? That is not the kind of story people want to hear. Did anybody hear PDP talk about the misrule of the past military government when former President Olusegun Obasanjo took over?  If they knew they would be talking about the misrule of the past forever, why did they come in? They complained about misrule of the past in the first four-year tenure, this second four-year is not for complaining. Those guys must look for something to say, but I hope they will be looking for what is meaningful to say. The fact of the matter is that this government has showed clearly that it is incompetent and we know the reason for its incompetence.

Your state, Ekiti, has had its own fair share of the security challenge in the recent time, notably abduction of traditional rulers. In other states, there have also been different dimensions of insecurity ranging from attack on police formations, kidnapping of prominent citizen for ransom to mass abduction of innocent school children etcetera. What are your thoughts about the current state of the nation?

When the APC government came in, we thought, if they could not do anything, at least, they would tackle the issue of insecurity because of the man that we all have a lot of respect for as a retired General, who had been tested in and out of battle. But we can only judge them by their results. Before APC came in, a part of Nigeria failed.  Part of the Northeast was operating as a failed nation. Now, the whole of Nigeria is operating as a failed nation. What else can we say than for us to begin to talk about the way to rescue Nigeria from the jaw of failure? Yes, a couple of incidents had happened in our state. Traditional rulers had been abducted, but it is not peculiar to our state. It is happening everywhere. East, West, North and South, there is no place in Nigeria that you can say it is safe.

As they say, security is the responsibility of all Nigerians. Would you say the people are also playing their role as expected to see that there is an end to all of these crises?

What role do you want from the ordinary people? You want them to go face armed people who are carrying AK-47, raiding their villages and farm lands? Security is first and foremost the responsibility of government. Yes, the people may have their contributions by way of giving adequate intelligence information to the security agencies so that they can do their job well. But it is the responsibility of government to tackle insecurity.  And don’t let us trivialize it.

With the trend of attack on police formation and military base, the security operatives themselves are now endangered species. Why is Nigeria headed with this kind of scenario?

I have summarized it. When this government came into being, only a small part of this country was operating as a failed state. Now, indices of failure are apparent in virtually all parts of the country. It means that we as a people must do something immediately. I don’t expect this government to sit down and be doing business as usual. They should declare a state of emergency and convene a conference on security of the nation. They should not wait until things get worse.  We must sit down to look at the state of the nation.  The Federal Government should stop playing the Ostrich. Whatever needs to be done should be done quickly to bring this situation to an end.

Can Nigeria wobble and fumble like this till 2023 and expect elections to hold in the midst of crisis?

I am not a soothsayer. Whether election will hold or not, first, we need to be alive. And that is why we need a decisive action from the Federal Government.  2023 is still a bit far off, but let us ensure that we do something serious now to arrest the situation.

Concerning the issue of power rotation, some leading figures in the Southwest are already preparing ground to contest the presidential election. What is your take on this idea of power shift? If your party subscribes to power shift, who and who are you looking out for in the Southwest to fly the ticket of your party?

I am not going to do any wild speculation. And I cannot talk for my party right now. I understand there is a NEC meeting coming. My party will take the issues and make pronouncement on them. But what is important right now is that Nigeria should be at peace. We should not threaten the future further than we are threatening it now. 2023 is still a little far off, let us tackle 2021 and ensure that we see the coming year in peace.

Before now, agitation for self-determination was largely in the Southeast led by IPOB. Now, there is a threatening resurgence of separatist agitations in many parts of the country. What is your perspective of this trend?

The separatist agitations feed on incompetence of the people in power. This government is incompetent. It is not because we are not separated that this government is incompetent. If you remove incompetence, separatist agitations may not be the order of the day. Yes, there is a reason people are asking for separation. It is because they are disappointed at what they are getting. This government’s incompetence is what fuels all these agitations or separation. No matter how well a system is, bad governance will always bring harms to the people. That is what we are seeing now. Bad governance is bringing harms to our people. What people see every day is evil!  They are now saying separate us from the source of evil. But if we separate into 20 units, if our mentality is still in us, it will be evil multiply by 20. People were not agitating like this during the time of Obasanjo. There was also no agitation during the time of the late Umar Yar’Adua. Good governance is what we need. Whether we break up or not, we will still need good governance. This is the worse time we have ever had. I hope it doesn’t get worse than this. If there is only one word that summarises this government, it is incompetence.

What is your preparation for your governorship ambition in 2023?

Now that the country has been put in jeopardy through bad governance, is it also wise for us to make projection about governorship ambition? However, man must be optimistic. In optimism, we would strive to ensure that our people are governed in such a way that will guarantee improvement in their situation. – The Sun.

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