Tinubu is Southwest’s choice for 2023 presidency – Ex-Minister, Ogunlewe

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Former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe has declared that he has dumped Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for good, adding that he would never have anything to do with PDP again. Ogunlewe who made the declaration in an interview with Saturday Sun further stated that he has no regret dumping PDP for the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He told TUNDE THOMAS that APC leader, Bola Tinubu is the ideal person to succeed President Buhari in 2023, among other national issues.
There has been a lot of speculation and rumour about where you presently belong, whether it is APC or you still remain a PDP member, where are you presently?
There should be no controversy or speculation at all about the political party I belong to. I don’t see any reason for that at all. To clear doubts and speculation, I’m using this opportunity to state that I’m now in APC. I’ve left PDP. I’ve dumped PDP for good, and there is no going back on my decision. I have nothing to do with PDP again. I have always been a progressive politician, and I have gone back to where I belong with my teeming supporters.
There have been a lot of comments about your decision to move to APC, PDP leaders in Lagos State recently addressed a press conference where notable leaders like Chief Bode George said that they were not missing you, and that by defecting from PDP to APC you only went back to where you came from, what’s your reaction to that?
Ordinarily I wouldn’t want to join issues with anybody, but I want to make it clear that I’m not missing any of those PDP leaders including George himself. I’ve left the party for them. I’m a progressive and I’m progressive inclined. I don’t want to be a part of a team that is not success-oriented. Like I said earlier, I originally belong to the progressive camp, and it’s like I have been a stranger among them in PDP so I’ve gone back to where I came from, and where I rightly belong. You know I was elected a senator on the platform of AD which over the years has now metamorphosed into APC. Let George and others continue to say whatever they want to say. I’m not bothered as I’ve moved on with my life. I have no regret at all for dumping PDP.

I have to part way with George and other PDP leaders in Lagos State when I realized that we don’t share the same vision and goals. I believe in being productive, and I also believe in sharing the same political platform with those who have vision and ideals that will not only make a political party a vibrant and winning one but also the one that will be people-focused and people-oriented. I leave George and others to manage their political party, PDP in Lagos State whatever way they deem fit. For me, there is no need to talk about these PDP leaders again, they’ve become part of the history of my political life.
Are you saying you are not missing PDP, and will never miss the party?
What’s there to miss in PDP? Absolutely nothing. I’m missing nothing about PDP. Nothing in life and they say is permanent. I’m now in APC and I’m feeling more at home in APC.
On the insecurity challenge facing the country, what is the way out?
I believe that a central security system can’t work in Nigeria. Nigeria is a big country with a large population, so the idea of saddling only the Nigeria Police with the task of securing the entire country can’t work.
We need to have constitutional changes or amendments that will make provision for state police, and local government police. This was how it was done in the First Republic, and I believe it is also doable now. We should have constitutional amendments that will allow for state and local government police with each of the two having defined functions. State and local government police will complement the work and efforts of the Nigerian police. We should face the reality, the security challenge on the ground in Nigeria today is beyond what Nigerian police can cope with. In fact the Nigerian police is already overwhelmed and this is why the military has to be drafted to assist police in many parts of the country. The simple solution to all these kidnappings, banditry and other vices is to decentralize our police, and the earlier we do this the better for all of us.

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Some Nigerians have accused President Buhari of being slow in taking actions ….
I don’t think it is right to abuse Buhari or call him names over some of these things. It is not easy to govern or be a leader. But I believe that Buhari is doing his best for Nigeria. Buhari is on the right path. In fact I want Nigerians to appreciate Buhari for what he has been doing. Some of the actions he has been taking are commendable. His fight against corruption is commendable. Under Buhari’s leadership it is no longer business as usual. The era of impunity is gone. His fight against corruption is yielding the desired results. Nigerians should appreciate and encourage him to do more for the nation. However on the fight against corruption, I will like him to sustain the tempo during his second term. Corruption is killing Nigeria and therefore we need somebody that will show the courage to tame the scourge, and Buhari has been showing that he has the courage to do that.
But the fight against corruption has been described as selective by some Nigerians, how do you respond to that?
There is no human being that is perfect. But if we want to be honest with ourselves, we can clearly see that it is no longer business as usual. Not only that the era of impunity is over. I however want to add this, we should put more bite to the fight against corruption. As the saying goes, serious problem require serious solution, and in that regard, I express my support for those who are suggesting that death penalty should be prescribed for corruption. Death penalty should be inserted into our penal code for corruption.
However there must be thorough investigation and trial. Another alternative is to have looters hands amputated. We should amputate the hands of looters so that even if you don’t kill them, if you amputate or cut their hands then people will know that they are looters who have committed crime against the state.

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Suddenly, you are eulogizing and commending President Buhari, but when you were in PDP you were not doing that, is it because you’ve just decamped to APC that is making you talk this way?
People that know me very well know that I’m very blunt. I will always call a spade a spade. Even when I was in PDP, I was always telling them the home truth. Didn’t I grant an interview where I exposed how former President Goodluck Jonathan worked against PDP interests in Lagos State? When I did that I was still a PDP member. Then when I was still in PDP in Lagos, I was always bold in speaking out on why PDP was failing in Lagos State. I was always talking on how some PDP members were not working in the interest of the party.
At my age, why should I sing-praise anybody? I’m saying the truth about Buhari. Buhari has been doing some unimaginable things, which deserve commendations and applause.
Like what and what?
A good example is what Buhari has done about June 12. How he had declared June 12 Democracy Day, and how he has immortalized the late M.K.O Abiola and other martyrs of June 12 struggle by declaring June 12 Democracy Day and also a public holiday. God has a way of doing His things. Who would ever imagine that it is Buhari that will honour the late M.K.O Abiola with the GCFR, the highest honour in Nigeria? Buhari through his action has shown that Abiola’s death is not in vain. Not only that of Abiola but also that of other martyrs that lost their lives during the June 12 struggle.
What I want Buhari to add is to ensure that Abiola is recognized as a former President or President-elect of Nigeria and I believe that he will still do it. From what Buhari has been doing so far, it shows that he is ready to take Nigeria to the Next Level. It is also gladdening that Buhari has expressed support for a return to true practice of federalism in the country. I believe that a return to true practice of federalism will bring about restructuring, and restructuring will help to resolve some of the problems presently confronting Nigeria.
We should have constitutional review to ensure that local governments carry out specific functions assigned to them. It is very unfortunate that today state governments have usurped many functions of the local governments. Buhari, during his second term should also focus on power. I believe that power transmission and distribution should be decentralized. The health and education sectors also deserve more attention. Local governments should be saddled with Primary Health Care, PHC at the grassroots level, while the General Hospitals should be the focus of the state governments, and the federal government should be tasked with the provision of adequate facilities, equipment, drugs and other requirements at the Teaching Hospitals.
On the issue of 2023 …
Cuts in … I have been reading and watching a lot of comments about it. I believe 2023 should be thrown open. Nobody should be shut out. There is nothing wrong about Southwest showing interest. We are talking about democracy. To shut out some people or group is undemocratic. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu wants to contest, let him contest.
What is the noise about Tinubu all about? Is Tinubu not qualified to contest? I will support Tinubu if he wants to contest. Tinubu has paid his dues. If Tinubu wants to contest, let him contest, and let Nigerians decide his fate.
Tinubu is a dogged fighter. He has triumphed over many challenges. He has seen it all. He can do it if given the chance.
Why the sudden U-turn on Tinubu, you don’t use to be on the same page with him politically?
Nothing in life is static. Tinubu is from the Southwest, and anything for the progress of Southwest, I’m for it. If the 2023 project is for Southwest interests, then I’m now on the same page with Tinubu, and I have no apology for it.

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