The Director, Publicity, Research and Strategy of the Peoples Democratic Party in Osun State, Oladele Oluwabamiji, tells BOLA BAMIGBOLA, that the July 16 governorship election in the state may not be peaceful
how is your party preparing for the July 16 governorship election?
Our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, is preparing not just as a political party that is ready to take over the reins of administration of Osun State, but also in line with expectations and yearnings of the good people of Osun State.
As a party, we have taken notes of the short comings APC administration in the last 12 years and our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke has prepared a well thought-out blueprint aimed at addressing these APC failings as well as other people-oriented programmes, all in the interest of our people in the state. So, we are well prepared.
But your party appears not to be campaigning, or are you doing this without attracting attention?
Perhaps you have not been following our activities well enough in the state. Last month, our party was the first to commence campaign in the state. This took us to the headquarters of the three senatorial districts where we moved from Iwo to Ilesa and then to Osogbo, the state capital. We, however, paused a bit on the campaigns for primary elections of the party where candidates were elected on the platform of the party from State Assembly up to the presidential level. After successful completion of the primaries, we have again restarted the governorship campaigns on Monday, June 13, and this will take us to all the 30 local government areas in the state by the grace of God.
Your party recently said that the ruling party in the state through its agents has been defacing billboards of your candidate. Can you prove this allegation?
Yes. APC members in Osun have not hidden their fear for the emergence of Senator Adeleke as the candidate of our party. There was a time they made move to stop the signage office in the state from accepting payments for billboard adverts from our party and especially our candidate. Even some that have initially been paid for were cancelled and replaced with Oyetola banners before the move was vehemently rebuffed and we were able to have our candidate’s billboards erected at strategic locations in the state.
That move by Mr Gboyega Oyetola’s government was borne out of defeatist tendencies; we are aware that they are not comfortable with our candidate. They know that with him, they stand no chance to continue with their maladministration in the state. They know Osun people love our governorship candidate. They are aware that almost all segments in the state are tired and have rejected their government. This is aside the fact that they already smelt the electoral capability of Senator Adeleke and the PDP both in the 2017 Osun West Senatorial bye-election and that of 2018 governorship election where they were evidently defeated.
So, they are obviously frustrated, hence their resort to mutilation of our campaign billboards, thinking such will distort the increasing level of popularity our candidate has been enjoying with the electorate in the state. But such antic has fallen flat on their faces.
But the ruling party said those defacing Adeleke’s billboards must be members of your party, who were probably displeased. Are you not looking in that direction?
Such claim is not only ridiculous, but self-indicting on Mr Governor as the chief security officer of the state who is being paid with taxpayers’ money to secure life and properties of residents. Or is it not laughable that they were able (by their claim) to identify perpetrators of a crime with the propensity of causing political chaos in the state but refused to apprehend them? If they also pretend not to know those behind the criminal activities, it is also a failure on their part.
But many billboards belonging to the governor were also defaced. Is your party behind that, possibly in retaliation?
The jesters in the APC can be very funny whenever they are caught pants down in a shameful act. They are classical acts in scripting mendacious prevarications. Aside the fact that the PDP has been the most peaceful in our conduct, it is almost impossible for opposition party members to destroy APC billboards with the level of thugs and hit squads they have assembled in the state. While we are not even aware, not to talk of having anything to do with the destruction of their materials, we make bold to say they should look at themselves in the mirror and see why a once most peaceful state in the country had suddenly turned dreadful under Mr Oyetola’s watch.
Beside the allegation of defacing billboards, what other complaints do you have?
We are no minnows in electioneering in the state. So, we cannot allow their cowardly disposition turn us into unnecessary whiners. We only hope they will be reasonable enough not to carelessly ignite unpleasant reactions from the people who bear the brunt of their failure, looting of the state and now see the PDP as their only respite.
But did you report those defacing Adeleke’s billboards to security agencies?
Yes, we did. As a law abiding political party, we have taken necessary steps to bring the dangerous situation to the notice of security agencies in the state. We hope they do the right thing by digging deep through dutiful intelligence and tactical approach to nip in the board those who are poised to throw Osun State into political turmoil.
What are your other demands?
We demand fairness from security agencies especially the police and the Department of State Services. We demand that they do their job diligently in order to allow for a level playing ground for all as we look forward to exercising our franchise come July 16, devoid of bloodshed.
With the brewing tension, are you hopeful of a hitch-free election on July 16?
We are not hopeful of a hitch-free election.