The Chairman of Labour Party, Ogun State, Comrade Arabambi Abayomi Olufemi told GBENGA AKINFENWA what his party is doing to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, and why Ogun should be rescued.
What is the current state of the Labour Party in Ogun State?
Labour Party is now the only opposition political party in Ogun State since the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Despite the fact that we have no elected representatives at the state and National Assembly, due to political hijackers and kidnappers, who infiltrated the ranks and file of our party, coupled with the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC), which prevented our candidates from participating in the October 8, 2016 Local Government election, yet we remain the voice for the oppressed and common man in the state.
We have put the ruling party on their toes, we have been able to constructively criticize the malgovernance and institutionalise corruption imported into the state. We are poised to bring back the lost glory of the state through our indefatigable spirit of equal justice and even development for all.
What are you doing differently to win the masses considering the power of the incumbent?
What is going on now is either a tale of progress today, retrogression tomorrow or a tale of woes the next day. Therefore, our party is ready to take over government from the reigning and give a new lease of life to the good people of Ogun State. Labour Party has been aligning with the suffering masses; we have always been on the side of the people, the workers in the civil service, whose economy has been greatly decimated. Our party was able to expose the monumental and gargantuan corruption to the electorate, we have been able to demonstrate to the people of the state our capability to provide good governance, equity and justice. We have been able to confront government with fact and figures of endemic world record corruption aimed at benefitting the cronies.
The people of Ogun state now trust our party as the only solution to the economic mess this administration has plunged our dear state. We have also been able to fight for the cause of Nigerian Labour Congress chairman, Comrade Akeem Amballi and others in the Nigerian Union of Teachers, who were dismissed, but whose dismissal were commuted to retirement out of shear display of gross incompetence and executive rascality. Most especially, provision of employment, education and infrastructure will be the hallmark of our administration.
You mentioned education as one of your core areas, what are your plans for this sector?
Our tertiary institutions lack basic educational needs with no single construction of classroom blocks. There were no renovation of any sort in all our 500 public secondary schools and over 1,500 public primary schools, except the construction of 20 models mega schools, when in actual fact, government can make do with just N15b to renovate existing public schools.
Of the three arms of government in Ogun State, the judiciary is the only surviving child, whilst the executive and legislature are permanently in coma. So, our party will change all this in our education so that qualitative and quantitative education can be provided. We will make employment of teachers our priority, with all year training; also free and compulsory education will be the hallmark of our administration, with free health to pregnant women from antenatal stage to birth and to when the child will be nine years old. Also the aged from 65 years will receive free and compulsory health services.
Who and who are your party jokers to face APC come 2019?
In order to form a good government that is acceptable to the people, we are in talks with Hon Ladi Adebutu, son of the billionaire pool merchants, currently a PDP member in the House of Representatives, to come into the party. We are also in talks with Prince Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, two times governorship candidate of the PDP.
Our party has also stretched our hands of fellowship to Senator Olamilekan Solomon Yayi to come on board. Considering what is going on, all APC candidates will be rejected at the polls in 2019 by the good people of the state. Senator Lanre Tejuosho and Hon Abiodun Akinlade’s foot soldiers are also in talk with us for 2019 general elections.
Since the era of Otunba Gbenga Daniel administration, House of Assembly members do not engage critically with the executive on the need for loans. How can the state come out of this?
I agree with you to some extent and disagree with you to a large extent. Otunba Gbenga administration was okay a little with respect to relationship between the executive and legislature, in the sense that the governor then was able to get the Assembly to approve bills that benefit the people, even though they do have some disagreement. His government left only N9b debt in eight years.
I will now delve into the issues of $350m loan, which approval has been sought from the National Assembly by the Acting president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on behalf of Ogun State and 11 others, tagged: State Development Policy Operations (DPO) From World Bank. The Assembly, under Speaker Suraju Adekunbi approved such for government, despite having N210b local debt payable for 65 years, a foreign loan of $285m, yet this worst set of legislators in the history of Ogun state administration out of mischief and self gain gave the approval to the Federal Government.
If a drastic measure is not taken and taken on time, Ogun State will be in perpetual financial crisis.
Despite the appreciable level of infrastructural development in Ogun State, is there need for new parties to take over from the APC?
Road construction and award of contracts remain one area where governments corruptly enriched themselves.
Our party has not seen any infrastructure put in place by this APC administration, but what we have seen and be able to dissect of the administration is the construction of dubious roads and Bridges.
The race to 2019 has commenced, what’s are your calculations on the general election in the state?
We shall continue to oppose all anti-people policies, we shall continue to be on the side of the masses, we shall continue to share the pain of the impoverished workers whose economy was deliberately decimated by the APC administration. We shall continue our constructive criticism of all forms of mal-governance and institutionalised slavery of our people by this administration. We shall present a candidate who will run and contest for governor and hoping that the good people of the state will vote us in so as to provide a new lease of life and a better Ogun State.
Our government shall make all this vices things of the past and restore the lost glory of Ogun State. The state is under economic curse, the Lord is our shepherd.
I will like to end this conversation with the words of Mehul Grover: Time tests everyone; many of us crumble. But the brave ones stand, fight and get honors. Ogun State shall be liberated and soon that Brave Man will come to redeem us from the shackles of institutionalised corruption and slavery.