How Adeleke will Beat Oyetola-Femi Careena

Otunba Femi Careena is the Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee in Osun State. In this interview with BIYI ADEGOROYE, he speaks about the performance of the incumbent governor and the readiness of the PDP to defeat him

How far have you gone with the preparations for the Osun governorship election?

We’re in top gear. We’re the party to beat and our candidate is the candidate to beat in the election.

What is the level of the PDP acceptability in the state?

Our preparation is 98 per cent. We got here about three months ago and the first thing we embarked on was to reconcile the different warring factions scattered all over the state.

Before the constituted national reconciliation committee got to Osun, we had done a major big job in terms of reconciling our people. In Nigerian politics, nobody pays anybody salary but you can be rest assured that all everyone wants is relevance. You can’t call me a diner and you gave me an invitation to the table and I’m not eating anything.

At least, engage them. Let them feel important. That was what we did first. In our first week, even though there were some detractors from the national outside Osun State thank God we were able to surmount all these things and we brought everyone together.

In our first week, we hit the ground running by inaugurating all the local government caretaker chairmen and ward chairmen. And to the surprise of everyone, including the national leadership we’re ready to work.

By the beginning of the third week, we did our first senatorial rally in Iwo. And the acceptability of our candidate is overwhelming. When I said the level of acceptability was 98 per cent, I knew what I was talking about. When I say acceptability, I don’t mean the crowd that comes to your rally. I’m talking about the ordinary man on the street.

Maybe it’s because the APC government has not met the yearnings of the people. And in all sectors of the state, education is zero, infrastructure is zero. Somebody would come and tell me Governor Gboyega Oyetola has a godfather. Even the godfather will be upset with him. The Yoruba say you can help a man get a job, you can’t help him do the job. Governor Oyetola has not been able to do job.

How do you intend to surmount that opposition from the ruling party giving their success in Ekiti State?

You must understand something. Power belongs to the people. If they give it to you, you are only holding in trust for them. As far as we are concerned, we gave them the last three or four years and they’ve not been able to prove what they got fraudulently. It’s a stolen mandate.

There’s something we call the Law of Karma. I’ve been in this state for about three months, nobody wants to hear the name Oyetola. Yesterday, Wednesday, we were supposed to be at a rally to Osogbo and Olorunda local governments. We made a stopover at Ataoja’s palace (the paramount ruler of Osogbo township) While we were there some of our members that were coming to Ataoja’s palace were attacked on their way to the palace.

And they came into the palace with blood and everything. Ataoja was fuming, almost cursing. He said he shouldn’t be allowed to say what he wanted to say. But his wives and a few chiefs had to prevail on him to calm down.

Does that not signal the possibility of violence in the forthcoming election?

No. The PDP is not a violent party. We don’t even preach it. We don’t buy votes. PDP will do whatever they can democratically and give the people dividends of democracy without buying votes. Even when Jonathan, the leader of the party then as far back as 2014, was defeated, he left. Jonathan even went as far as congratulating Buhari. They are the ones with the problem.

What’s your party’s driving, your party’s USP?

It’s passion from the people because the people knew who they voted for in 2018 but you deprived them of that person to administer the state. However, they waited.

Ok, let’s see who they brought for us. Is he going to make any changes? Is he going to improve on what they have? Zero.

And as you know, our candidate is an international man. He was detained for a couple of days during the certificate scandal. He took his time. It takes courage to go back to school at over 60 years old. Why did he do it? He doesn’t have to do it? He’s made.

He’s a billionaire.His family is made. He doesn’t have to go to school for anybody but because of the passion he has for the people. He had to put pride aside. When he was narrating the story about how he had to go to school with his son’s mate. He put pride aside and said if this is what my people want for me to govern them, take it. And he got a degree in criminal justice.

There’s this issue of threat of vote buying, your candidate was alleged to have said he would match them dollar for dollar. Is it true?

He never said that. He was misquoted. That quotation came from Osogbo. He was saying that he was going to do this, he was going to do that for them.

He said did they remember when was going for the Osun West Senatorial election, he said he was going to give out a N250 million scholarship, and he did so. The people of Osun said the treasury had been emptied and he told them they should not worry that now that he’s back, he has dollars and pound sterling. But these people have their own spin doctors that misrepresented what he said. All he said was, ‘don’t worry, you will be well taken care of.’

What role do you want INEC to play in this election, given the fact that all resident electoral commissioners and state machinery are under the control of the APC-led government?

We’re not worried. Note the first word in INEC is ‘Independent’, and President Buhari, take everything from him but give him one thing. He said he would not add a voice to the Osun election. So nobody should expect

the abracadabra that happened in 2018 to happen now. And Prof Mahmood Yakubu has been able to let everyone know that he’s behind nobody. And as far as we are concerned in PDP, we believe in INEC and we believe they are going to do a good job. As I speak with you, they are in Osun and they are doing their mock accreditation. So, we have no problem with INEC. The new electoral act has zeroed down our fears

So you are looking forward to a free and fair election?

I look forward to a landslide victory

A major factor is your presidential candidate. He has not been visible at your rallies. He was not in Ekiti State. Are you expecting him?

Politics sometimes is local.

And the vibes that were coming out of Ekiti were not encouraging enough for the National Working Committee not to be there. It was not good enough. And for the same reason the presidential candidate couldn’t be there.

As of today, I had a conversation with our governorship candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, and he told me that he got a call from our presidential candidate and he assured that he would be in Osun State for our rally

Sometimes, they say your governorship candidate is a jolly good fellow that should hardly be taken seriously. He’s a dancer, he’s this and that, how do you handle that?

The fact that you’re a governorship candidate doesn’t mean you cannot be yourself. The immediate past governor of Osun State dances.

The former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, blows the sax anytime he’s in a jazz bar to the admiration of everyone. Why should Ademola Adeleke be different? When people decide to make you look bad, they make you look bad. But he’s a successful businessman and people are not talking about it. Do you know what it means to be a director at Guinness?

Guinness is a worldwide brand. He was director for many years and they had to recommend the board of directors to keep him on board. But if people want to make you look bad, they will make you look bad.

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