Chief Sunny Onuesoke, a public affairs analyst is a former governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State during the 2007 election. He is currently the Special Projects Director to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on wide-ranging subjects such as PDP Crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari’s health issue, xenophobic attacks in South Africa and other issues of interests. Excerpts:
Having transmitted a letter to the National Assembly handing over power to Vice- President, Yemi Osinbajo before embarking on medical vacation, do you think the controversy surrounding President Buhari’s continued absence is necessary?
I do not think this should be an issue for now. However, let me quickly add that for an effective democratic system, Osinbajo needs an assistant, he cannot do it alone. So we need a vice that should assist him and he should be sworn in as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Some are calling on the President to address the nation on his state of health, what is your opinion on this?
Honestly, I do not think it is necessary for President Buhari to address the nation on his state of health, more so from another country. He was not elected as a prime minister of Britain. Then, why should he address us from the United Kingdom (UK)? It has happened before. When former President Yar’Adua (of blessed memory) was sick before he died, he did not address us from where he was flown to for treatment. So nobody should make an issue out of President Buhari’s ailment. Nobody is above sickness.
There are calls on the National Assembly to use the Doctrine of Necessity so that Osinbajo can have full presidential powers. Do you think this is necessary?
The call for the National Assembly to use the doctrine of necessity, so that Vice President Osinbajo can have full presidential powers is not necessary for now. At least we should give some time for President Buhari to recover for his ailment. We pray he recover fast to enable him resume his official assignment as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If he feels he is unable to continue then the humble option is for him to resign and not keeping Nigeria in the waiting. But we should not be in haste.
What is your take on the latest xenophobic attack in South Africa. Do you think the FG is handling the situation right?
It was a big failure on the part of the APC Federal Government control measures. Come to think of it, is Kaduna massacre not worse than the xenophobic situation in South Africa? What did the APC Federal Government do to solve the Kaduna and Aguta massacres? They have not done anything to solve these problems of man’s inhumanity to man right here in Nigeria , yet they are talking of South Africa. Charity should begin at home. We should not forget too soon the way the APC Federal Government handled the arms purchase issue with former President Goodluck Jonathan; how they spread wrong propaganda; how Tinubu and Atiku rushed to see President Jacob Zuma of South Africa on the issue during the 2015 presidential campaign. What are we then talking about? We are expecting Tinubu and Atiku to also rush down to see President Zuma on the unjust attack on Nigerians in South Africa.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo few days ago said PDP is dead and may Nigeria not end up like the party that produced him as president twice. As a chieftain and former governorship aspirant of the party, what is your take on that?
Honestly, I believe it is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s desire to hang on to power by making himself the life president that eventually led to the pitiable situation of the party. It is however disappointing that the same Obasanjo who was responsible for the present pitiable condition of PDP is the one going about claiming credit for the growth of the party and accusing others for its failure. The PDP is now in disarray as a result of the seed of discord sown by Obasanjo before he left the party. Is it not shameful that a former president and Chairman of BOT of a party like PDP tore his party membership card in the public? It was Obasanjo who destroyed the internal democracy in PDP. He introduced adoption against election. Obasanjo adopted those whom he can manipulate during election time and made them president. Such action alone is a sign of irresponsibility devoid of a good leader. Obasanjo would have been honest enough to acknowledge the fact that he destroyed PDP because members of the Party refused to give him third term as President of Nigeria. I make bold to say that he was also part of the reason why Nigeria is in this mess. Obasanjo came back from prison a pauper. PDP rehabilitated him and made him a President. He later turned his back on the party when it needed him most. Nigeria cannot trust such a man. His Presidential Library launched recently attracted donations that ran into billions of Naira while he was in office. Only God knows how many more billions the commissioning will garner this time around. These opportunities came because he became a President under PDP and is this not enough for him to respect the Party for life?. PDP to me is not dead. PDP will put Obasanjo to shame. It will bounce back in 2019 after putting its house in order and it will be the party to look onto in no distance time.
The general belief is that the APC-led federal government has not met the expectations of Nigerians, why is this so?
There is no gain saying the fact that the APC-led Federal Government has not met the expectations of Nigerians. They have failed woefully .This is because the party is made of politicians whose major agenda is to unjustly destroy the good legacies of PDP. They have no good focus because the party does not have any ideology, formation, design or program other than to attack the opposition. The APC is made up of people who do not have respect for the rule of law. What have they made of the promise of change? Your answer is as good as mine.
What do you make of the recent visits of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to the Niger Delta region?
It was good that he came. He came and saw things for himself. I must say that his comments were encouraging. However, I am sad that the unhealthy ethnic rivalry amongst us is not helping matters and it will act as impediment for the implementation of any useful agenda from the APC control federal government for the region.
The Igbos are seeking the support of Nigerians for its Presidency in 2019, do you see any hope for them?
No. I do not see any hope for them because of the republican nature of most Igbos from South East. They do not have the unity of purpose to pursue this course. They are jealous of themselves and this negative will work against their presidential ambition.
What is your assessment of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s performance so far?
Time will not permit me to assess the performance of this hard working, detribalized, prudent and God fearing governor so far. He has so far done marvel even to the applause of the opposition. I am not talking or playing politics. His works are all over the state. They speak volumes for him . He has excel so far inspite of the lean resources from the APC Federal Government .
You are a loyalist of former Delta state governor, Chief James Ibori. What do you make of the massive turnout that trailed his return to the country?
I am not only a loyalist to Chief James Onanefe Ibori but I am his political son. The massive reception for him is not a surprise to me because he is a political icon who has touched the lives of many positively irrespective of their ethnic or political , religious lineage . He is truly the father of modern politics. The turnout at his home coming was what I have not witnessed for a very long time. I saw that kind of turnout in 1973 when the then General Gowon and Former President Eyadema of Togo visited Warri, then as a little boy of about five years old I was privileged to witnessed the visit with the help of my late father who took me to the major road of Warri/Sapele Road to see the visiting heads of states of Nigeria and Togo. It was fantastic. The timing of his coming was a refreshing time out for rival politicians to exhale, deflect and divert attention from the growing upheaval of the masses over the country’s current socio-economic woes. But Ibori handled his triumphant entry as discreet as possible, and never made it a media frenzy for adversaries to lash in on and create dissonance. Prior to his coming, the media was awash that Ibori would be deported from the UK to face further prosecution in Nigeria. But that never happened. It was all cheap propaganda and blackmail. Now that Ibori is back, the political landscape has suddenly widened again and the kaleidoscope broad and inviting, just as hope looms large in the horizon especially for politicians and their followers in Delta State. Yes, his homecoming could have an impact on the state in two ways. One, it could consolidate the cohesiveness of our great party, the PDP and two; he will certainly contribute his quota to the positive development of the state.
What is your view on Mr. President’s anti-corruption crusade?
The president should move on with the development of this country and play down on drive against past corrupt leaders. He should just block leakages and move on. He said the system was corrupt, hence he contested for the presidency. But, what we are seeing now is retrogressive of all the good things we have managed to achieve in the past. The Nigerian economy is down and he is talking about corruption when we cannot feed properly. I advise him to discard his anti-corruption crusade and focus on the development of Nigeria economy.
What do you think is the way out of the economic recession that we are in ?
The federal government should hand over the economy to the private sector to rejuvenate. The way forward is permanent electricity. Let’s disabuse our mind from petroleum to electricity. We are talking about bio and solar technology. About 45% of cars in the United States of America are electric powered cars, while in Germany 60% are electric powered cars. Give us electricity and not democracy and petroleum because the world is moving ahead. A flight recently left Doha in Qatar in the Middle East for 13:30hrs to the United States with 14 passengers in an unmanned Solar Powered Aeroplane. Buhari should give us electricity and Nigeria will prosper.
What is your message to your people?
The Urhobos should unite and yield to the advice of Chief Ibori to align with other ethnic groups in order to be relevant in politics of the state as widely published in the media recently when some Urhobo youth leaders paid him a solidarity visit.Deltans should continue to support Governor Okowa and PDP so that they can continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy. I also subscribe to the call for the unity of Urhobos and Deltans and I also use this opportunity to commend the media like the Urhobo voice , pointer and the some sections of media for their objective reportage of events in the state.