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INEC has no excuse in the coming elections —Aspirant

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A governorship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, Mr Ayoade Lawal, tells TUNDE BUSARI that all eyes are on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct transparent elections.


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently complained that the bogus number of political parties would pose difficulties to it in the forthcoming 2019 general election, what is your take on this?

The INEC should be able to accommodate them. I don’t see it as a big deal. You have registered them, then there is nothing anyone can do now. Yes, it is going to be a big challenge, but the INEC must rise up to the challenge. Parties must find a way of educating their members and voters on what to look for on the voting papers. The logo of parties is not the same. So, this should not pose any problem at all. And the electoral body must know that Nigerians are looking up to it for transparent elections in Osun and Ekiti states and the general election next year.


President Muhammadu Buhari has declared his intention for second term and has since generated controversies. Do you have contrary view on it?

First of all, we need to recognise the fact that the President has the right to declare his intention as a citizen of this country and as a sitting President. On my point of view, we can’t really say what the second term would look like if he is opportune to be elected because what I see is that if he wins the second term, definitely he is going to change some members of the current cabinet, and the moment he changes the team, we are going to have different kind of players. How he would source for the highly talented Nigerians that would man those different positions for him is what we cannot know now. But that is going to be the critical factor because the President cannot see everything. He would depend on those that are running the home affairs for him. So those who he (President) is going to deploy to oversee various ministries are going to be the determining factor for his second term.


Do you think the argument that Osun West Senatorial District should produce the next Osun State governor is justifiable?

It is excellently justifiable. It is all in the spirit of fairness, self-belonging and equity. A situation whereby we have three zones in Osun and one of them feels marginalised, it is not good enough for the state, because we have not tried and discovered they are not competent? If you do a good surveillance and listen to the people, a lot of the people from Osun East and Central are pointing that it is the turn of the Osun West. So it is like kind of unseen sentimental feelings that it is the turn of the people and let us allow them to go for the governorship in the spirit of fairness, togetherness and justice. Let us try them to see what they can contribute to the development of the state.


The noise over the unexpected invasion of National Assembly by people suspected to be political thugs is not yet subsided. How can such thing be stopped in the future?

The invasion of the Senate by thugs is an indication that there is tension in the National Assembly. It indicates that within senators, there are aggrieved parties, and basically it is not a good turn of events at this stage of our democracy. It shows that we have some security issues, even within the National Assembly, because a situation where somebody walks into the chamber, picks the mace and walks out of that building, is not good enough. It means that if they want to hurt anybody there they can easily achieve that.  We need to beef up the security within the National Assembly so that such happenings do not occur again. Also, senators need to come together, sort things out among themselves and investigate, thoroughly, if any of them is actually involved in the matter. Proper disciplinary action must be taken but proper investigation must also be carried out in order to forestall future occurrences to the chamber. Some alleged that the Presidency is involved, but I don’t like to listen to rumours.


Some members of the National Assembly are calling for the impeachment of President Buhari over purchase of some 12 jets. How can you react to this?

I want to say that this is not the appropriate time that anyone should call for impeachment of President Buhari over purchase of jets to tackle insecurity problem in the country. We are in a critical time that some states of the federation like Osun have their election coming up and next year we have general election. Impeachment of the President will increase tension in the country and may lead to unimaginable division and crisis in the polity. The President, in his letter to the lawmakers, told them that he gave approval for the purchase of the jets because of the time limit to apply for the purchase. And since it is meant to tackle insecurity, in which hundreds of Nigerians have lost their lives and many villages and towns have been destroyed, especially in the food producing areas of the country, there should not be any hue and cry over the matter.

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