Caleb Olubolade, immediate last Minister for ce Affairs in this interaction with newsmen said he does not have any problem should the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decide to adopt a consensus candidate for the June 21st governorship election in Ekiti state. He also expressed the hope that the invincibility of the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi would be smashed when he emerges the PDP candidate to confront him at the guber polls. Lawrence Olaoye was there. Excerpts:
You just stepped out of the PDP National Secretariat with some of your supporters, what is your mission here today?
I have come to pick up the forms to contest the governorship election in Ekiti state on June 2014. I have to do this because I have the conviction that I am one of those that are very well qualified to govern Ekiti state. I have had military service in Nigeria with clean records. I also had the privilege to govern Bayelsa state as military administrator with what I will describe as good performance. I have also been privileged to be minister of special duty, minister of state (FCT) and minister of police affairs under the dynamic leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan. So, I know what transformation agenda is all about. What is more important is to ensure good governance in Ekiti state and it is only those who have the capacity, who have the experience, who have the exposure and who also have the love of their people at heart that can do it. And so, if I am not showing interest or am not picking up this form it will be a great disservice to the people of Ekiti state. I have enough service to render them and this is why I am here and gladly enough the national organizing secretary of the party has made provision for that and they handed over the form to me. That itself gladdens my heart, that itself gives hope that good governance will come to Ekiti state.
The number of aspirants on the platform of the PDP is a bit high and we were informed that there were plans to pick a consensus candidate. Don’t you think the PDP will be approaching the election with a divided house if primaries are not conducted?
First of all, I will not say the issue of consensus candidate did not work because the process is on-going, it is not concluded. So, it is not easy to just say it didn’t work, the process is on-going, the candidates met, and the leadership of the party has given their directives on the matter. As a disciplined person, I normally comply with the directives of the higher authority. Once the leadership has spoken, it becomes our duty, as followers to do exactly what they have said. If consensus is being canvassed, they have their reasons and we must key into that. Anybody doing anything different from that has his reasons and will be treated as such. I strongly key-in into the consensus matter and I believe that it will be concluded and there will be positive result. The party is supreme, whatever the party says that is what we will all do, we have no choice, and we don’t have to do anything different. We will respect the party’s decision on the subject. It is not even an issue for debate. Discipline is embedded in PDP and that is what makes us thick and bring sanity into the party. That is my position on that matter.
Your state is in the South West which is the stronghold of the All Progressives Congress and in addition Governor Fayemi is very much on the ground in the state. How do you think PDP can upstage the incumbent governor?
In a democracy, once there is an election, it is a contest; the issue of being on the ground becomes irrelevant. It is a contest and we must go for it. By the end of the contest we will know if he is on the ground or not. But, now we are going into the contest and it is assumed that he is not on ground. What is important in governance is to look at your state, look at what they want to achieve, see how you can use your experience to achieve that and do it with the honesty that it requires, honesty of purpose. Give joy to your people, relieve them of their pains, be transparent and you will be loved by the people. It is not the speech we make that will give us good governance- it must be from the heart. But, while doing it carry your people along and you will never fail. So, that is what I intend to do in Ekiti state. Carry the people along, be transparent, listen to them, hear their views, put programmes on the ground, key in into the transformation agenda of Mr. President so that there are no gaps. Be it education, agriculture and investments. A lot of the jobs have been done by Mr. President and his team so it becomes easy for me to govern Ekiti state because I know the key players; we worked together in the federal executive council. I am not searching, I know what the agriculture minister is doing; I know what the minister of investment is doing; I know what the minister of education is doing- it is an easy matter. With the limited resources of the state be prudent but while doing this carry the people along, look at how you can generate jobs for the youths. That itself is the beginning of peace in the state. Once you generate employment for them and they are kept busy, automatically you will have peace. The only few skirmishes that will be there the security agencies will take care of them. So this is what I have in mind and the incumbent has a great job to do because we will unseat him because we have
what it takes to unseat him.
There are rumours that you are the likely favoured consensus candidate and also that you have the support of the Bayelsa state government because of your previous relationship with the state. What is your take on this?
Your first question borders on consensus and you have said it that it is rumoured and we don’t have any remedy for rumours. Rumours will always be there. That means it is not likely to be true. I don’t want us to hinge our position on rumours. If some people say a few things, it may be right and it may not be right. The issue of consensus should not really worry us. I have said that on all matters the party is supreme. How can you be a member of a party and the decision of the party is to go this way, why would you say you want to go the other way. That means you have a problem and that means you are not truly a party man. I believe that whatever PDP wants us to do that is what we are going to do. It will help us a lot because we will have a direction.
The other leg of your question where you spoke about the governor of Bayelsa state, I was only privileged to work in Bayelsa state, I did not appoint myself. So, it is natural that I would have interacted with them and even those I did not interact with would have heard about me because they would have seen my footsteps in the land. Naturally, we flow. So, if they want to do anything for me they should do it. If anybody is not comfortable with that what I will say is what you sow is what you reap.