Chief Abdulhakeem Kayode Adeniyi is the traditional chieftaincy title holder of Kure of Offa, in Offa local government of Kwara state. He is also a stalwart of APC in the state. He’s also into oil and gas, and he’s MD/CEO of Ojokure Oil and Gas, Lagos. He spoke with Biola Azeez on current political happenings in the area, state and at national levels. Excerpts:
Q: The way Offa people play their politics is seen as different. How will you describe it now under APC government?
A: Offa politics as we all aware is a defined politics. Politics in the ancient city of Offa is centred around mostly ideology. And the good thing am happy about is that Offa is now in the mainstream of Kwara politics after a long time of opposition that had gone on and so on with little gain or nothing.
Q: how has the place fared since it embraced new approach into politics?
A: that’s a pertinent question. The present senate president bukola Saraki never even considered that we were in the opposition when he was the governor. Then, so many roads in Offa were tarred. Offa local government, when it was in opposition, with all sense of responsibility benefited immensely, especially in road projects not to talk of now that we are in the mainstream. With the present Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, we’ve gained so much in road construction, hospital rehabilitation and construction. If you get to the hospitals today, you will hardly believe it was the same hospital you used to know, especially with euiment and personell. And so many other projects lined up, but for present financial constraints which every state is facing now. I can tell you specifically that so many projects would have been done in Offa. I can sincerely tell you now that our being in the mainstream has been of tremendous gain, importance to the community. So, we are so happy about that.
Q: what’s on your view on the ongoing trial of Senator Saraki?
A: sincerely speaking, it’s quite unfortunate. Quite unfortunate in the sense that I never believed that all this can happen. See, this is same party we all built. You need to know how much in money, time and every resources you can think of which the resent senate president had contributed. Just because he’s the senate president today, all those had been thrown off. They then feel it’s an opportunity to deal with him. All I will tell you for now is that God is with the man. He’s very innocent of all this. If he’s not the senate president, all this won’t have happened. But I can tell you by the grace of God, nothing will happen to the man.
I’m the Kure of Offa. I’m in support of the senate president, not because he’s the senate president, former governor, Turakin of Ilorin, but because of his personality and what he’s done for people.
Q: do you think the ongoing trial can be settled politically?
A: my dear brothers, we are all politicians. And they are making a whole hell of a mistake. The matter can be settled and they all know it can be settled. It’s a very simple case. Imagine a senate president and somebody that has contributed to the success of the party in the entire North Central zone of the country being dealt with that way. I’m so much surprised a thing like this could be happening. And for the settlement, there’s nothing impossible. If you observe, none of the party executives at the national level are saying anything on this issue. That shows to you, they know what they’re doing. Everything centres around Tinubu. If Tinubu is not saying anything, I can tell you the secretary or treasurer of the party will not say anything. Is that a party. We need to have a rethink. Assuming a party man does a wrong thing somehow, is that the way to address issue? Don’t they know what a party means? It can be settled. Please recollect what senator Marafa, the man who was at loggerhead with the senate president said few days ago. He said immediately the party gives it’s nod and says they should take it easy, they will take it easy. That’s a big statement. Meaning that it’s the party that is not interested or not ready for settlement. All this I belive is not expected of our leaders. Issues that can be resolved, I don’t think they should be postponed. We should not forget the merger in the old PDP during last election, his facilitated efforts in that of APC was over 2 million votes. Had it been Senator Saraki did not come with his fold, would the over 2 million had been achieved? We should have a rethink before its too late. The party leaders should make meaningful moves to get good result. The man is an approachable person. They should sit that and agree on way forward. See the way he’s been handling matters in the senate without rancour. The leaders of our party, starting from Senator Ahmed tinubu should sit down, think far back of relationship with father of the present senate president and his contribution to the party before its too late.
Q: will you subscribe to the idea that aggrieved party members should form another party?
A: there’s no need for that now. In politics, you don’t do that. You still give room for possible settlement. My belief is that they resolve it before it gets too late. Remember I said that before. You know, before we left PDP there are political moves made by the senate president, present governor of the state, including notable people in the state. It’s because it was too late and that’s why we left. And you can see the result of that. So, before its too late, they should make a move. I’m in love with APC. It’s a good party. But we need to sit down and agree on things. Not someone like Bukola Saraki should be treated like an ordinary member of the party. It’s scary to see that if number three man could be so treated this way, then who am I?
Q: what’s your take on discussion on restructuring of Nigeria?
A: Merger and acquisitions are good approaches and are moves to ensure progress and progressive move. What we had in Nigeria is that we all came together like we merged together. And these things are better done if it’s done in good faith, in sincere feelings. No section of the country should be dissatisfied in any way. As far as am concerned, the Niger Delta avengers should be given an avenue to express their feelings. To them, the believe 90 per cent or so of the resources of this country is coming from their region and they should have a say, have maximum benefit from it. They could have a point. They should be listened to. Issue of alleged lopsidedness in federal appointments should be addressed. Give them sense of belonging. Not by the size of their community but what they contribute to the economy of the entire country is very key. As far as am concerned, restructuring could be of different ways. I don’t believe in any restructuring that will disintegrate the country. But you can restructure for a better Nigeria. Restructure is all about sitting down and doing the right thing. There are so many wrong things that should be corrected.
Q: what’s your view on the victory of OlOFA of Offa.
A: I’m one of those that actively got involved in ensuring there was a peaceful and amicable resolution of the chieftaincy tussle when it started. At a point while we were doing it, some were putting it off. Things like this that came up could have been saved. The effect, aftermath of the Supreme Court judgement, could have been saved. Because, if we had agreed peacefully, as brothers and sisters, of course when this one finishes, other would continue as the ruling house. But as God wants, the way it is now, I beleive that’s the way God wants it. I will just implore every citizen, every notable in Offa to still come together with the present Olofa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, Esuwoye, who I believe has started well. And by the good grace of God will end well. People should rally round him, and give him the desired support. Because he’s somebody that’s so determined to ensure success throughout his reign. I for one will continue to give him thhe support requested.
And to the Kabiyesi, the advise that I will give him and which I give him is to continue carry along everybody, which he’s been doing. Sincerely speaking, he’s a lovely person. I will also urge supporters of senator Bukola Saraki in the state and beyond to continue to pray for him. Am sure of one thing, that nothing will happen to him. The success of Senator Saraki is success of entire Kwara. Am particularly, very keen in his present travail. Nothing will happen to him sincerely. By good grace of God we’ll all live to smile and rejoice with him. 2019 is coming. My wish for him is to go up. Somebody that has noble intention, should be wished well. So I pray and wish entire Kwara people to rally round him in prayers. He needs it more than ever before. I also wish the present governor well and best of luck. I encourage him to continue his support for Senate president. So far so good, he should continue and not listen to any distractors.
Q: some argue his travails is all about 2019. Do you agree?
A: you see. Yes it is. They are just scared of him. That’s the truth. Yes, we’re playing politics. When you say you are scared of him, it’s normal in politics to have ambition. But has he ever told anyone he wants to contest in 2019 for president. So, wh are you scared of him? You shd be sure of your own capabilities. And let me be frank with you, all this crisis in the APC if Preisdent Buhari has intervened at the right time he should have intervened, we should have not got into this level. At that time he was saying he would not intervene. How can a head of a party say he would not intervene when everyone was looking for ways to be senate president? For him to have called a meeting and agree with notable leaders. He kept quiet. He’s won his own election. These are things that created problem from the word go. And he knows all of them have absolute respect for him. He could have been an ample opportunity at that time for him to call a meeting. But allowed everyone to test their power. And when you talk of power, please don’t underestimate the senate president. He has his followers all over the country. For me I think we should all be steadfast and united as a party.
Q: what has been your efforts as a party man at complementing development efforts of the local and state governments and the senate president in Kwara South?
A: as one formerly in the banking sector before venturing into active politics, I have been a loyal Sarakite like my late father, Alhaji Shuaibu Afolabi Adebiyi, who was one of key friends of late Olusola Saraki. Starting from Offa, I have been involved in all those activities that could promote popularity of our party and the political leader. I constructed Offa streetlight on Olofa way, two boreholes each in all 12 wards of Offa. In all local governments of Kwara South senatorial zone, I participated in their development projects. Eg, grading of roads, boreholes which had earned me chieftaincy titles I such areas as Ipe, Ira, Oro, Ikotun, Ekiti. We thank God for that. We should contribute to development. People should imbibe spirit of giving and not think they are competing with Saraki. No. We should all complement efforts of government and the political leader in the state. To me leaving Saraki group is like leaving politics. It’s a place to be.state. My father did it and am also doing it. To God be the glory.