APC administration has become nightmare to Nigerians –Olafeso, ex-South West PDP National vice chair

From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Vice Chairman, South West, Chief Eddy Olafeso, has described the All Progressives Congress ( APC) administration, in the country, as a nightmare.

Olafeso, in this interview, noted that the ruling party has brought untold hardship upon the citizens. He added that it is imperative for the opposition parties in the country to unite so as to sack the APC from power in the next general election.

The PDP leader also spoke on the state of affairs in the opposition party, expressing hopes that the party will win the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State. He also spoke on other national issues.

How do you think the party can navigate through its many challenges, including crisis in some of the state chapters?

It is about leadership. As soon as we strengthen out the leadership problem, you will see that most of these problems will fizzle out or be resolved as soon as possible. We have issues that border on discipline. Disregard. disloyalty to the party. They are all hanging around our neck.

The party needed to be managed better than it is managed. And that is the reason why the leadership must actually have to be looked into, to be addressed as quickly as possible so that we can continue to move forward.

What are the chances of the PDP in the forthcoming Ondo governorship election. Recently, there was disagreement in Ondo PDP, and you are going into a major election.

We are very hopeful. Seven months is enough time to prepare. If you ask me this question in October, I will tell you that we are ready. Seven months is enough time for us to prepare and win the election. PDP is a known name across the country. It is getting very resourceful people to run and to get the ticket to the right person. To ensure that the process is clean, clear, credible, and then we can be talking about victory in the future.

There is no disagreement. There were certain issues that needed to be ironed out. And they have all been ironed out. We are one. I am one of the leaders. And I don’t see anybody that is fighting anybody at this moment. We are united, ensuring that we kick out APC and the lackluster government in Ondo State and Nigeria as a whole.

The National Assembly is embarking on a fresh amendment of the 1999 Constitution, what new thing would you want to see in the Constitution?

A return of power to the people, restructuring of the country, in such a way that people can take control of their destiny, wherever they find themselves; a replica of the model we had in the first republic where the regions are strengthened. Maybe the states could be strengthened now. Over centralization of decision would continue to bug down the Federal Government and they won’t do much.

There is so much development to catch up with in Nigeria- in education, in infrastructure, in health; that the states cannot just be onlookers. And they are always going to Abuja. Cap in hand, begging for what they could have done themselves.

Resource control must be considered. Our country must be uprooted from its colonial vestiges and made stronger by giving power to the people. That is what I feel.

Our country is in a complete mess. The middle class is wiped out. There is no security. There is nothing in this country that can give hope to an ordinary man on the street that one day, he too can be great.

Recently, some lawmakers came up with a proposal for the country to revert to parliamentary system of government effective from 2031. What is your take on that?

Let them go back to the 2012 National Conference put together by President Jonathan. Let us begin to review the way we live and all those things that have actually connived to under-develop us. It would not be a bad idea. That is restructuring. That is returning power to the people. Let them take their destiny in their hands. We cannot be waiting cap in hand for the Federal Government to do everything. From road to electricity supply, to water supply, to everything.

What about the call for state policing. Do you support that?

Absolutely. If you don’t try something, how do you make it successful and efficient? State policing is the best. I lived in Huston. You have the Huston police. You have the FBI. And all of them are working to ensure the sovereignty and the survival of the United States and its citizen.

We have to have a state police to be able to integrate security into the daily lives of the people. All these mixed remedies to crime are not acceptable. You can only deal with crime when you nip it in the bud. It is not running around when the crime is committed. And suddenly nothing happens. At the end, criminals will just go scotfree. No. You have to prevent a crime before it happens. That is how you can save the lives of the people and their property.

Judging from the conduct of the 2023 general elections, which aspects of the Electoral Act, do you think should be altered?

What I want to see in the Electoral Act is allowing each state to hold their elections. That is over centralization, when you ask INEC to get staff to go and conduct elections, a thousand miles away from the headquarters. How do you do that?

Each state at this level must be able to conduct their elections. And at the federal level, all of us will do it at the state level and transmit results to the headquarters of whichever organ that is given the authority to conduct the election. It would be faster, easily managed. And it will be less prone to criminality and all these distortions you see out there. Believe me, we have so much to do in this country to become a nation.

Are you suggesting that state electoral commissions should conduct all elections, or indigenes should be recruited to conduct elections in their respective states?

Not necessarily. Even if it is states, you strengthen the laws. You can equally expand it, to ensure that it can produce free, fair and credible elections.

But I am saying that it is too cumbersome to just saddle one single organ with every decision to be taken about a general election of about 220 million people and 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. It is too cumbersome. You see these are some of the challenges that the lawmakers and probably the Federal Government must ensure discourse on.

The way it is going is not working. We all blame INEC every election cycle. To think of it, what can INEC do, when every decision making process is always ambushed by the political elite in conspiracy with the business class? In the end, it is a cooked outcome that you have. It is not the wishes of the people.

We must ensure that we break these things down. Like we are breaking the police down to states, INEC must be devolved to the people. We can get better results in doing that.

Let us be sincere, the cost of running elections in this country is too much for a third world economy. The quantum of money we waste every cycle, only to end up in court; they take a decision, some good, some bad, and we have to live with it for four years, it is not good enough.

Recently, your party’s 2023 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, called for merger of opposition parties so as to present a stronger force to confront the APC in future elections, what do you make of that?

The APC did that in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Realignment. Rediscovery and embracing one another is the best one can do in a multi party democracy like ours. So, it is not wrong for Waziri Atiku to canvas that.

And to be honest, if we take the votes of the NNPP, Labour Party and PDP, APC will be 6million shy of victory. Today, the story could have been different. Today, we could have kicked out the eight wasted, locust years of Buhari and the one year that we are witnessing under President Tinubu. Honestly, the way out is for us to be united against the APC that is destroying our nation.

Talking about APC, how would you assess President Bola Tinubu’s administration so far?

Is it only me that will assess them? Children have dropped out of schools. There is hunger in the land. You know how much they sell a bag of rice. Five tubers of yam go for between N15,000 and N20,000. You cannot even buy garri in the market anymore.

You buy a litre of fuel at over N660. The dollar actually dovetailed to almost N2000 and it is coming back to a thousand and that is how much they have ridiculed our national currency. It is a year of nightmare.

After all said and done, they are increasing electricity tariff to about 300 percent. We are in a country of 220 million people, only 12 million have access to electricity.

My brother, this is a nightmare; inflicted on us, visited on us by the APC government. People are suffering in this land.

Life is not secure. What can we all do than to continue to wriggle our hands in pain and begin to think about how best we can salvage a very badly damaged country?

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