My grouse about elections in Nigeria -Defeated Reps aspirant

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Lanre Onabajo, an engineer, is a former House of Representatives aspirant from Ogun State. The foreign-based politician who is a native of Ikenne Remo, Ogun State, speaks, in this interview, on the state of the nation vis-a-vis his involvement in Nigerian politics. Excerpts:

YOU contested the House of Representatives seat with the likes of Honourable Dave Salako in 2007 and since then, you have not been heard. Was that as a result of frustration or a plan to defect to another political party?
Yes, I contested the House of Representatives seat for Remo Federal Constituency in the PDP primaries and lost to Honorable Dave Salako because 75 per cent of the PDP politicians in the South-West are ignorant, corrupt, and do not understand what it means to govern. The PDP primaries then were a complete mess. I remember that I submitted a petition to His Excellency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, to let him know what was going on in the party.

Delegates were given money and were made to undergo a secret oath taking. Some were made to swear with masquerades. There were so many silly and stupid things that happened internally.

All this nonsense resulted in the selection of wrong candidates who could not perform.

They went ahead and used the same corrupt practices to win the general election in the South- West. I stayed with my party till after the election, before I went back to my business in the United States. I can never be frustrated just like that. I’m a genuine product of the late Dr. Tai Solarin whom I served under as an officer for justice for students in his school. I have kept and used the training he gave me till now , I’m unchangeable. I’m still in the PDP. Any party you go to in Nigeria, you will meet this set of Nigerians, you just dont want them to be too many like we had in the South-West PDP.

How would you assess the performance of PDP in the last four years?
The outcome of the election has said it all. The South-West PDP miscalculated; Prof. Jega is different from Prof Iwu. Prof Jega refused to tolerate nonsense, and President Jonathan is a clean man. They could not play the game of the past. We did not have good representation for the past four four years in the South-West, there was no state Assembly, and every- thing was in disarray. Corruption, nepotism, insecurity, etc, were spreading like wild fire.

Some chieftains of your party attributed the poor performamnce of the party in the last elections to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Do you share in this sentiment?
I don’t think so. It is unfortunate that many Nigerians do not appreciate Papa Obasanjo. If you sit back and think, you will know that Papa has been a blessing to Ogun State,the South-West and the entire nation. Of all the past presidents, he is still the best.

What Papa Obasanjo did for the state in the last election was to save the state from indirect continuity of the past problem of the state, because it is clear that there was problem all along before the election. The State House of assembly was divided. Papa Obasanjo and the Gov-elect, Chief Ibikunle Amosun, are from the same area. Papa voted for Mr. Olurin, I supported Olurin because we are PDP members. This is understandable. Both Amosun and Olurin have good records. It will be unfair to blame anything on Papa Obasanjo on this issue. The Yoruba race is a very smart race. We know what we want. They voted for PDP in the presidential election because they trust President Jonathan and voted PDP out at the state level because they lost confidence in the party.

What do you think will be the stand of PDP in the South-West in the next four years in view of its woeful performance in the last elections?
We performed very well in the last election. We won the presidential election though we lost some states. In the next four years, our stand will be very good, we are going to stand firmly with the ruling parties, support it in all endeavors. Most importantly, we are going to call on all our good members that had defected either because of our performance or because of confusion, to come back.

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