Hon. Rahman Akanni Owokoniran is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Southwest Zone Secretary. A former Member of the Lagos State Legislative Assembly and Commissioner for Housing in Lagos State (2003), he also served as Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Border Affairs (2006) in Lagos State. He talks with BIYI ADEGOROYE on some national issues
What is your reaction to the recent constitution of the Lagos Exco of the PDP?
The Lagos State Exco has yet to be constituted as there are internal mechanisms to ensure that due process has been followed. An appeals process is also in place to ensure that each aspirant can claim any wrongdoing. These requests would be decided by the Appeal Commission.
The reports are then forwarded to the National Working Committee for review prior to final approval by the National Executive Committee. This, I can not react to an event that remains to be finalized. Again, I cannot do a comparative analysis on a subject that is still in process.
How do you see the defection of the Lagosfor-Lagos group from the APC to the PDP?
The defection of Lagos for Lagos is a good development for our Party. This kind of development has not happened to PDP for a long time. We are still working on more of these types of defections at the local government and neighborhood level.
How ready is the PDP in Lagos to make a difference and overthrow APC in the state?
We power our tanks, maintain our tank engines, and prepare our artillery for ground play. We definitely do not live by chance.
What is your impression of APC’s handling of current fuel contamination?
The excuse of importing bad fuel gets to the heart of the matter. This only highlights the incompetence of the government in dealing with such a consequential economic issue that affects the people of Nigeria. So much has been lost by our people because of this lackluster attitude of the government.
Yet this APC government expects us to be oblivious to all their mess. If APC manages anything other than their stomach, Nigeria won’t be in a coma. The government’s lackluster attitude only signifies the depth of our economic crisis.
Simply put, all is not well with our economy, no matter how pretentious they are. If you go to bed hungry, you’ll wake up looking for something to eat. If our suppliers are paid, our faucets will not dry up. APC Government, what’s going on? Nothing adds up.
How would you describe APC’s failure to build refineries as contained in its 2015 campaign promises?
The APC promises are not known to the president, well, that’s what they’re saying now. They remain the promise of APC. The promise to build refineries is another pretext on their part to disguise themselves as a progressive party. Nigerians know better now that there is nothing progressive about the APC government. No sane government should ever venture into building or operating refineries.
Which is easier to manage – refineries, postal services or telephone services? Nigeria could not manage the postal and telephone services and many other enterprises which had to be privatised. Even existing refineries had been grounded. So what is the sense of building more only to be punished by poor management and maintenance?
What do you think of the over $340 million invested in refinery maintenance over the past six years?
It goes to the heart of the culture of waste which remains the greatest challenge that Nigeria and its leaders have inherited since the discovery of crude oil. All the signs are there for our leaders to reorganize our priorities. Propose policy directions that will introduce a meaningful standard of living. No, APC prefers to continue borrowing until the lenders turn their back on it. It is very unfortunate that Nigeria has to go through this nightmare.
How do you see the recent dismissal of the deputy governor of Zamfara?
You have to call a spade a spade. The impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Zamfara is a political witch hunt. Due process does not begin or end with the State House of Assembly. In a desperate attempt to concoct charges, they even fabricated a charge of insubordination resulting from the refusal to obey the governor’s orders.
Since the governor and the deputy ran on the same ticket, it behooves the Constitution to assign roles to the deputies, failing which the State Assembly must regularize instead of the ridiculous charge of insubordination against the Deputy Governor. Zamfara Assembly needs a tutorial.
How do you view the loss of the PDP in the recent Ondo by-election?
It is shameful that the PDP could lose an election in any part of the South West at this time. Ondo’s recent by-election must have been mishandled. Our party, the PDP must wake up to the reality of the upcoming elections of 2023. This is a wake up call; that there is nothing free in Freetown.
We must fight to take power over this government. We must bury our differences and give him what it takes to defeat APC