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Why I Have Remained In PDP Since 2009 – Chief TUNDE ODANYE

 •The OSUN PDP Chieftain Reveals A Lot


How do you see the political situation in the country right now?

To put it succinctly, I don’t think the political situation in the country has ever been this dire. By the way, the same goes for every other aspect of our lives and existence in this Country at the moment. There is so much impunity with all sorts of malfeasances going unpunished that to borrow the Youth’s expression Nigerian Politics (if not Nigeria itself) is now a scam. Propaganda has now taken the place of performance and the Bar has now been set so low that absolute blockheads and criminals rule the political firmament. In the early days of Nigerian Politics, the brightest and best were those in politics like what obtained in other democracies like the UK, the USA, China, Germany etc; the Bode Thomases, Rotimi Wiliams, Onabamiros, Awokoyas, Akintolas, Bola Iges, Olorunnimbes. Majas, Rosijis, Osuntokuns, Akereles, Adebanjos, Adesanyas, Obafemi Awolowos, were the ones in politics, now it’s populated by ex-convicts and absolute dunderheads. Honesty and Integrity are now a handicap and liability. One cannot but wonder how we got to this sorry pass where the tail is wagging the Dog. People are now so frustrated and confused they don’t even know who to turn to, who to trust, what to believe or how to proceed. There are so many different agitations of various tribal, radical and extremist groups, like IPOB, unknown Gunmen, Bandits, Boko Haram and so many conflicting messages and supposed solutions ranging from separation, dissolution, confederation, true federalism, restructuring, staying the elections for an interim Government, a government of national unity from various political and socio-political groups and individuals.

Which side of the divide are you politically?

I was a founding Ward Chairman of AD in 1999. I stayed in AD till 2009 hoping AD would get back to its earlier pre-eminent position but when I realized that wasn’t going to happen, as its structure wouldn’t allow some people to own or pocket it as they desired, I moved to PDP in 2009 where I remain till this moment. I have never believed in gallivanting from one party to the other, though many seem to have done very well for themselves by so doing. I most likely would stay in PDP (so long as it continues to exist) till I fully retire from politics.

With all you have seen so far, do you think we are getting it right politically?

Certainly not. Nigerian Politics has now become a vehicle to obtain power and the power is not to better the lives of the citizens but to corruptly enrich the elected politicians. The measure for re-election is no longer performance but propaganda and “jeun soke” i.e the sharing of stolen public Funds. Sadly because of the poverty foist on the people by this disastrous APC government in the last seven (7) years the people are emasculated, desperate, powerless and most easily manipulated. Give them a few Thousand Naira and they’d sell away their birth rights not to talk of votes. We all saw a video of the University Student in the Ekiti State Elections shamelessly brandishing in “triumph” N4,000 she had been paid/bribed to vote for a particular candidate. The few remaining voters who refuse to sell their votes are then prevented from voting their conscience or at all by the strongarm tactics of thugs, musclemen and enforcers (who generally tend to be aided by the very security forces that are to protect the citizens) deployed by politicians in government. Until there’s a fundamental change the people face a most uncertain and painful future. In fact, some politicians have so mastered this art of the carrot and stick i.e money or strong-arm tactics, that they’ve been unstoppable and undefeatable for years irrespective of their abysmal performance in office. Lastly, add the lies. Politicians generally lie but hope not to get caught and when caught they raise their hands in surrender and apologize, but not so with this present Government and their party the APC. They tell absolute whoppers, they got in by lying in 2015 but now it’s like they’ve gone ballistic with their lies. They seem to have borrowed a line from Paul Joseph Goebbels the famous Nazi Propagandist during World War II that the more outlandish the lies the more effective the propaganda.  I’ve lost count of the number of disclaimers, issued against their statements; Pastor Adeboye, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo etc and the fact checks that have proven their statements to be lies,

Who is your candidate at the state and Presidential levels?

My state, Osun State, just concluded its elections and my party and its candidate won. However, I must mention that I think the outgoing Governor is a good man, who had the guts to correct some anomalies he inherited. I believe I met him only once at a wedding in Lagos during his tenure, I found him very humble and I liked his mien and disposition. I wish him very well in his future undertakings. As for my Presidential Candidate; my Party’s candidate is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who naturally I am supporting a hundred per cent. In fact, I was the Chairman of his Independent Campaign Group, Friends of Atiku Osun State chapter in the 2019 Elections (indeed I was one of those who signed his Nomination Form for that election) and though he didn’t win. I am sure all and sundry can now see all he foretold coming true and all his suggestions and prognosis which were rejected then are now being copied and implemented by this Government, a good number like the privatization of NNPC and some others, in an opaque and lopsided manner though. I think P.D.P is looking very good to win the elections. I am sure all those who didn’t vote for the PDP in 2019 must now be regretting their decision after the abysmal failure of this APC Government. They got into the Villa unprepared and out of ineptitude or hubris put everything in reverse, all the gains of 1999-2015 eroding right before our eyes.

I know you have always held strong views politically, has your position changed?

I am sure you can see I and my views have hardly changed. I must confess that my greatest disappointment though is that those who should know better or should speak out, fail or refuse to do so either because they are feeding from the trough, or they are afraid for their investments. They fail to realise that when a Country fails all investments go down with it. I have found out to my utter disappointment how hypocritical many I looked up to or grew up with, who spouted morals and rectitude are. I see people speaking from both sides of their mouths and applying different yardsticks in their judgements because of lucre, patronage, convenience and ethnicity. I tell them the positions they take is a reflection of their values and who they are, and as to be expected this doesn’t go down well with them, but you know I am an Ijesaman and we are raised never to be afraid of telling the truth.

How for instance can anyone turn a blind eye to or try to justify the criminal scandals we hear about almost daily because of tribal affinity and political partisanship?

Should any party be thinking of the same religious Presidential Ticket at this time of serious religious and ethnic tensions? It’s just crazy. It’s like the whole place is a tinderbox just waiting for a spark to send the whole place up in flames. Nomination Forms were sold by the party in Government that has no money to pay teachers etc at an N100million, Delegate Fees at the equivalent of an N7million to an N34million per person for over 1,000 delegates, you can just imagine how much is how sick our political system is. I was very much involved in the AD Elections of 1999 and I know that apart from Lagos State, the total cost of Gubernatorial Elections by AD Candidates in the other 5 South Western States ranged between N2million - N3million, indeed most of the candidates were anything but moneybags. To run for office these days you get into Government at low levels e.g Local Government Chairman, State House of Assembly member, Commissioner or aides to them then you load up and corruptly enrich yourself from there and buy higher political offices except of course in a few exceptional cases where loaded Godfathers do the dirty work for the aspirant/candidate in return for a share of the spoils of the office. I don’t think it’s ever been this bad or low. It’s like now we abhor merit, competence and integrity. It is like integrity is now a liability/handicap and a lack of it an advantage, as many sponsor Godfathers are only keen to sponsor the most unscrupulous and sycophantic they can find, either because they are without conscience, are blackmailable, or the most inclined to take and carry out orders no matter how bad or illegal. We really are in trouble.

Why are you not taking an active part in politics, like vying for public office?

Actually, if I had known then – 2000 to 2010 when I vied for office, what I know now, I wouldn’t have vied for office. I had erroneously thought most decent, competent and upright people didn’t join politics/vie for office because they couldn’t take the risk to their monies and reputation as well as stand the rigours, intrusions, and insults that are a natural part of politics. Alas, I was very wrong. I found out that those claiming they can’t find good people are lying, they don’t want good people. They simply roll out the good people for photo-ops when good and clean names have to be associated with their party then they forget about them. In  Nigeria unlike in most democracies, integrity is a liability and not an asset. It’s okay for you not to steal but it is definitely not okay for you not to be prepared to steal for and enrich the people sponsoring or putting you in office. Indeed the two (2) positions I held I found problematic and it was a battle throughout. In one I wasn’t prepared to be bribed and owned by some moneybags at the party and I accounted for and refunded money to the party which apparently wasn’t usual. That didn’t win me points with those who wanted business as usual. On the other, I was a clog in the wheel of some people's plans to raid the place and naturally they didn’t take kindly to it. I have always insisted I have four (4) children, two (2) of whom are lawyers and I can’t afford them to read Law Reports and seeing amongst reported cases AGF vs Tunde Odanye, EFCC vs Tunde Odanye or IGP vs Tunde Odanye where I’m charged/prosecuted for crimes of stealing, embezzlement, corruption etc, certainly not after how I raised them. Apparently, many Nigerians think nothing of it.

What do you make of the last 7 and a half years of President Buhari?

In very few words, it’s been a colossal disaster. A pestilence. Arguably the worst government since the creation of the Country of Nigeria. The whole country is in pain and up in arms. Nigerian’s lives no longer matter, 89 people were being buried in Benue State not only did the President not send a representative, but that was the day he chose to launch his campaign for a second time. The Government has not only lost all sense of empathy, but it has also lost control and failed. There is repression and abuse of the people's fundamental rights. The consolation for me was that some of us seriously warned then but pure hubris and bitterness blinded those who voted him in at the time. They were looking at castles in the sky. In the same way, some are rooting for those who foisted him on us to proceed with continuity i.e continue where he leaves off with insecurity, pervading poverty, religious and ethnic irredentism, mutual suspicion, immorality, incompetence and ineptitude, marginalization, grand looting, banditry, insensitivity, hatred, nepotism. I say good luck to them in their quixotic expedition but I know God loves Nigeria too much to allow this APC’s pestilence to continue. We cannot afford to have a plaque succeed as a pestilence. That would be the death of the Country and like Emma Ogholi sang (I hope I got the artist right) Nigeria must and will survive!


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