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Buhari, Tinubu Must Work Together To Salvage APC – Olulade

First Bank Nigeria

Honourable Segun Olulade represents Epe Constituency II in the Lagos State House of Assembly on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). He is the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on the DSS arrest of some senior judges for alleged corruption and crucial issues as it affects the party. Excerpts:

The arrest of some senior judges by the DSS has been generating controversies in the country. Do you see it as a welcome development?

While I’m in support of the anti-corruption fight of the federal government, I still believe that the rule of law must not be stampeded. The action of the DSS makes it look as if the suspected judges have already been condemned and I think that shouldn’t be. While I believed that there should be no sacred cow in the anti-corruption war, I am of the opinion that we should not destroy our institutions in our quest to instill sanity in the system so as to have a corrupt-free society. Nobody should be classified as being guilty of any offence until such a person has been pronounced so by a competent court of jurisdiction. So, I am of the opinion that we should not throw caution into the winds in our attempt to ensure that we got rid of corruption in our society.

Are you worried about the manner of the DSS went about the arrest because some people have said such Gestapo manner should be reserved for hardened criminals, not senior judges?

I totally subscribe to that too. All our judges understand the law and we expect them to be above some standards. If as the DSS claim, they have a warrant to search the residence of the judges, I think the judges should ordinarily cooperate with the security operatives and submit themselves to search or arrest. I as a person cannot be sleeping in my house and I see people surrounding my house in the middle of the night, breaking doors and I will still be the same. I think the fundamental human rights of individuals should be paramount and the DSS should exercise some decorum in the discharge of their duties. While everyone will agree that there is a need to wage a total war against corruption and other vices, we should endeavour to do so in a civilised way and total submission to the rule of law.

The First Lady, Aisha Buhari recently granted an interview alleging that a cabal has taken over the government of her husband. What is your perspective on that?

A lot of our party members also share the views expressed by Her Excellency, the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari. I salute her courage, forthrightness and belief in democracy and justice. She just expressed the views of majority of Nigerians and I think the President, as the father of all should accept it in good faith as a positive and constructive criticism that is aimed at bringing out the best from his government. I have read a lot of articles and I have seen a lot of people who were against the APC during the electioneering campaign now holding positions of authority and ministerial appointments in the present government. Just like the First Lady said, I also subscribe to the fact that the president does not know many of them. He was just given the names of these people to appoint and I believe he may have been wrongly advised. When you are in such a position, it is possible for you to be wrongly advised in some of the decisions that you make. But as a leader, it behooves on you take responsibility and to accept that wrong if you see it that way and move forward as a country. For us, a lot of people are not happy with the system. We campaigned for change and we need to see that change manifesting in all facets of our national life. The masses are yearning for the change. People want to see rapid changes in the economy. We campaigned that we are going to create jobs, feed the pupils in the schools, provide infrastructures, provide uninterrupted power supply and that the rule of law will be adhered to. If after almost two years, all we see are anti-democratic personalities holding sway in our government, it calls for concern. That is what Mrs Buhari had spoken about. How I wish every leader will have an Aisha Buhari in their home that will show concern and call them to order when things are going awry.

You said every leader should have someone like Aisha Buhari in their home, but the president said she should stay away from politics and that her place is in the kitchen. What is your take on that?

I must also say this that that statement is ill-timed, it was said at the wrong location and it is also an expensive joke, if the spokesperson of the president wants us to believe that. The role of Aisha Buhari during the 2015 general election cannot be overemphasised. Many Nigerians were condemning actions of the former First Lady (Patience Jonathan) and we needed a woman who can come forth and champion the cause of our party. Aisha Buhari herself said she was convinced to champion that cause by the national leader of our party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. During the electioneering campaign, she became a rallying point for women in the country. She played that role so well and this a lot of Nigerians, especially our women buy into the APC project. I can remember vividly that the first meeting she had with women was in Lagos, asking our women to go into the nooks and cranny of Lagos to mobilise support for her husband. Some women who had initially vowed not to vote for APC changed their minds because of Aisha Buhari. So, if she sees things not going right in the party, she has every right to express her feelings. For Mr. President to have taken that position that her place is limited to the kitchen, I think it is an expensive joke.

If the party is in crisis, there should be a father figure in the person of a national leader that can bring all aggrieved factions together. Do you have such a person in APC?

There is no question about that, the national leader of the APC today is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They themselves know that. Tinubu is not just the national leader of the APC; he is the founder of APC. He co-founded this party with President Muhammadu Buhari; nobody can take that away from him. He is a major contributor to the merger that produced the APC today. ACN, as it was then was the dominant party in the merger. So, if for any reason, he is the undisputed National Leader of our party. I must say this clearly, without mincing words, that the role that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is playing today is one that can sustain this party. The so-called cabal that was mentioned by Mrs Aisha Buhari are the ones that want to destroy the party and we should not allow that to happen. On this note, I want to call on Mr. President and Asiwaju Tinubu to come together and save this party. Both men have a crucial role role to play at this stage where our party is. They must go back to how it started when APC was formed. We must not allow fifth columnists to come and destroyed this party that we laboured so hard to build. I also want to call on the National Chairman of our party, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun to be democratic in his approach and bring everybody together. Also, what Aisha Buhari said should be seen in the positive and not viewed as a negative comment to bring her husband or the party down. This to me is the only way forward for the APC.

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