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Buhari’s administration has failed Nigerians - Bucknor-Akerele

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Bucknor-Akerele: Buhari’s administration has failed Nigerians

Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele is a former deputy governor of Lagos State and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview, she speaks on development in the state and the 2019 elections, among other issues



How prepared is your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 general elections?

We have done a lot to prepare for the elections. We are fielding candidates for all the positions in Lagos State. Though campaigns have not started, certainly we are sensitizing the people so that they will know what to do when the day of reckoning comes.


Do you see PDP winning in Lagos State and at the federal level?

Yes, definitely. I think the people have had enough of the APC-led government. They are fed up of being impoverished; the security situation has deteriorated that no one feels safe anywhere in Nigeria anymore and there has not been progress. The unemployment situation is worse than ever. Our youths are roaming the streets without any hope of finding employment.

What gives you the confidence that PDP will defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)?

I think people have now seen the different between the PDP government and APC government. And if you look at all the other political parties; they are not really on the ground, it is only the PDP that is on the ground and ready to take over power.


But some people believe that 16 years of PDP at the helms of affairs led Nigeria to where she is today

That is not true because when PDP was in power, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about five points plus, but it is about one point plus under the APC government. So, how did PDP led the country to where it is today? It is clear that APC made things to deteriorate. When PDP was in power, foreign investors were coming, but nobody is coming again. Even those who were in Nigeria before have left. So, how can that be put on the door of the PDP? How can anyone hold PDP responsible for the disastrous rule of the APC?

But, the APC government has persistently maintained that PDP mismanaged Nigeria for 16 years…


It is not true as everybody knows that there was prosperity during the time of PDP, but under APC, it is poverty. So, how can anyone in his right mind say that it was PDP that is responsible for the present state of things in the country?

But there is claim of massive corruption during PDP’s administration, which many believe was responsible for the present state of the country…

There is massive corruption under the APC administration too. The ministers, who are in this government, are those who were adjudged to have been corrupt. I am not sure that the resources of the country were squandered under the PDP administration. A lot of projects were implemented during the PDP administration more than the APC administration. All the projects that President Muhammadu Buhari is inaugurating are PDP projects. They were initiated by PDP. What project has APC put forward for us to see and for Buhari to inaugurate?

At present, many PDP leaders are being tried for corruption. Is that not a proof that the party’s administration mismanaged the country’s resources?

Why have they not tried APC leaders, who everybody know, are corrupt? It is purely a witch-hunt of the opposition party. There is corruption on both sides, but it is only on one side that is being prosecuted.


What makes you to describe the anti-corruption fight of the APC government as a witch-hunt?

Most of the people in Buhari’s government now were in PDP, so what are you talking about? If Buhari is able to accommodate corrupt people, so what corruption is he fighting?

Are you saying that Buhari is shielding corrupt people in his government?

He has corrupt people in his government. I am not saying he is encouraging corruption; what I am saying is that he has corrupt people in his government and he is not prosecuting them.

Why do you think he is not prosecuting them?

Go and ask him that. You should not ask me that question.

What is your own assessment of the Buhari administration?

It is a complete disaster. People are being impoverished. Industries are closing up. Youth unemployment has risen. The security situation is disastrous.

Do you think PDP’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has what it takes to defeat President Buhari in the 2019 elections?


Definitely! Atiku is an experienced politician; he has been vice president of the country, so he knows what it takes to run government. Also, he is popular, he is a businessman and he has actually set up so many industries throughout Nigeria. So, he knows what the people want. People want to get improvement in their life, they want employment for their children and Atiku is the person who can provide all these things unlike Buhari who seems to be wandering about over what to do.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently endorsed Atiku for the 2019 presidency. Do you think his endorsement is a plus for Atiku considering the role he has played in the emergence of presidents in Nigeria?
Definitely, it is.

The choice of Atiku’s running mate, former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi from South-East has been faulted some PDP leaders in the South-West who felt that he should have picked somebody from the zone. What is your take on that?

We, from the South-West, would have loved to have the vice president, but on the other hand, if someone looks at it, you will find out that South-East has consistently delivered for the PDP. So, possibly that is the reason why Atiku picked his running mate from the zone in other to compensate them for their steadfastness.

Will that not affect PDP chances in South-West, considering that no state in the zone is presently controlled by the party?

I think people in the South-West are suffering just as well as people in other parts of the country and unless they like to suffer, they will not vote for APC.

One of the agitations of the South-West is restructuring of Nigeria, which Atiku has promised to do if he is elected as president. How feasible is that?

He has promised to restructure Nigeria and I believe Atiku is a man of his word. He will restructure Nigeria because he has seen that without restructuring, the country cannot move forward.


Lagos PDP has expressed its determination to send APC packing from the Government House. Do you see your party winning next year’s election after failing on four occasions?

I see it happening this time because people now know what APC government is all about. It is a one-man show; one man dictates who gets what from the councillorship level to the governorship level. People are seeing that and they are also seeing that Lagos State is being used to fund the elections in other parts of the country. People want to see improvement in Lagos State; they want to see improvement in infrastructure; they want to see low cost housing for the masses; they want to see improvement in the health sector. Go to some of the hospitals, you would be shocked by what you will see.

Do you think PDP has a candidate who can break the jinx?

Why not? Has APC got a candidate?

Do you think Jimi Agbaje can match Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC in the governorship election?

Why should he not be able to match Sanwo-Olu? Agbaje was picked through a primary conducted by the party, while one man picked Sanwo-Olu.

But Sanwo-Olu also emerged through a primary…

There was no primary. Why do you think there are so many problems in APC now? It was because there was no proper primary.

Some founding members of the PDP and other chieftains of the party in the state have dumped it for APC. Will their defection not affect your party in next year’s election?

They are not founding members of PDP; they were former members of Alliance for Democracy (AD). They came to PDP and went back to APC for reasons best known to them, but many of them are now back in PDP.

Will their exit not affect PDP’s chances in the election?

No, I don’t think so.

What about the immediate past Lagos PDP chairman, Moshood Salvador who defected to APC some months ago?

How many PDP members did he leave with? I don’t think he left with up to 10 people.


But he said that he left with thousands of his supporters including ward, local and state executives of Lagos PDP…

I don’t know which executive he left with because the executives of the party are still very much in place



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