The Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party in Ondo State, Kennedy Ikantu Peretei, has said that by next year, the end of the ruling All Progressives Congress will come to an end in the state. In this interview about the current political crisis in the state, Peretei said that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu will soon discover that he is presiding over a collapsed house, pointing out that the opposition PDP wants to take over the government so that it can show the people how government should be run. Excerpts:
What is your reaction to the allegation by the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State that the PDP is responsible for the crisis in the ruling party in the state?
They don’t know what they are saying. I think they are saying we (the PDP) do not exist in the state. Did Adetimehin (APC Chairman in Ondo State) not tell President Bola Tinubu that the PDP never existed in Ondo State? Did he not tell the President that every day, people were joining them from the PDP? By next year, all the rubbish they’re doing by taking Ondo State for granted will come to an end.
I believe Aketi’s (Akeredolu’s) men will soon discover that he is presiding over a collapsed house; even recently, some of their groups within the APC were calling for his removal for lack of provision.
For the past seven years, the state APC chairman, Adetimehin, has not called any meeting. So, what are they talking about that the PDP are the ones sponsoring crisis when they cannot manage their affairs, cannot manage the government? I’m telling you that the PDP is not after them; we are not interested in them. We want to take over the government so that we can show them how the government should be run.
How are you preparing for that?
We are well prepared; we don’t need to discuss our strategy in public space. But we are very much prepared.
Now that the President has settled the matter for the APC, what are your expectations from the state government now?
What we expect from the government is to get Akeredolu to resume his office. If he cannot resume his office, he should hand it over to Lucky Aiyedatiwa so that government business can proceed. There are three options. He should resign or he should resume or better still, he should hand over to Aiyedatiwa. If they don’t do any of these, then we will be forced to go to court to cause the House of Assembly to enforce the doctrine of necessity as we had in the case of Goodluck Jonathan and Umaru Yar’dua. We have to go and beg the court to help us interpret the constitution for them whether they can see. They know that their party does not exist; they are only using the government to get people to think that they are in charge. They are not in charge.
“He should resign or he should resume or better still, he should hand it over to Aiyedatiwa. If they don’t do any of these, then we will be forced to go to court to cause the House of Assembly to enforce the doctrine of necessity as we had in the case of Goodluck Jonathan and Umaru Yar’dua. We have to go and beg the court to help us interpret the constitution for them whether they can see”
We learnt that the PDP is also facing a series of crises. How are you managing them?
The problems that we have in the PDP are normal problems and we are dealing with them successfully, but they are not to be compared to what they have on them (the APC). The APC is in a total tumour and it is going to consume them. Yes, we have challenges in the PDP, but they are minor. By 2024, the result will be clear; we don’t have to stress about it now, but their crisis is affecting the welfare of the state. That is the difference and that is why we are concerned.
Firstly, since Aketi (Akeredolu) became governor, the SEC meeting has not been held. It is a constitutional provision; the constitution says that the meeting should be held regularly. At the National Economic Council in Abuja, the meeting is held monthly, Ondo State is not represented; the roads in the state are no longer motorable because nobody is in charge, and nobody is attending to anything. That is very bad. Aketi is nowhere; things are just stagnant in our state.
Is the PDP taking advantage of the crisis in the Ondo State APC to get itself together?
We have made enough points, and we are putting our house in order in such a way that we can take maximum advantage of the present situation of the state because the APC is already in the public eye, in the eye of Ondo State people; the APC is a total write-off. So, the only alternative left for the people is the PDP. Naturally, the people are already navigating towards the PDP. So, whatever little issue we have in the PDP will be resolved amicably. Politicians want to form a government, what they have formed in the last seven years has collapsed on their heads.
They have to find an alternative platform and the only alternative platform is the PDP. In the last 24 years, the Nigerian political space has not been stabilized; we’re either in the APC or PDP. So, these are the two poles people gravitate towards. I have been proved right because what they expected was after the presidential intervention, there would be peace, but there is no peace after that. This means that the issue has not been solved. And as long as the issue has not been resolved, the crisis will continue.
What do you mean?
I said when they returned from Abuja that the crisis was not over. From what we have seen, it is like the fighting is more intense than it was before they went to Abuja. Interestingly, even the President was not willing to address the issue in contention; he was trying to be fair to all of them, but getting back to Ondo State, we have seen that the fire has just started all over again because we still don’t have a clear leader of the government business in Ondo State. The governor has been hiding; we have not seen him; so, how do we hand over a state that is sick to a sick man? For us, the president should call for the needful to be done if he wants to intervene so that we can move on.
It is not that the deputy governor will do anything magical; he can’t do something different from what we have seen in the APC, yet, let us know who we will be held responsible for the activities of government. If N7.3bn was spent without approval from the House of Assembly, who should we be addressing on that? Who is supposed to be held answerable and accountable for the lapses of the government? The issue is that let us hold somebody responsible for government business in Ondo State.
The local government election is around the corner and the aspirants will be in the House of Assembly for screening. Which camp will send the list? Is it Aketi’s camp or Aiyedatiwa’s camp? Now, the year is coming to an end and the President has presented his budget to the National Assembly, who will present the Ondo State budget for 2024? What are the items that will be in that budget? All this shows that the state is still in a coma and we want action to be taken, either by the House of Assembly or whoever is supposed to do the needful so that Ondo State can move forward.