In this interview with ENIOLA AKINKUOTU, a member of the House of Representatives representing Ife Federal Constituency, Mr. Rotimi Makinde, speaks on the recently concluded Osun State election
As the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, how do you rate the conduct of the just concluded governorship election in Osun State?
In as much as the Independent National Electoral Commission led by Prof. Attahiru Jega keeps doing its best, it was uncomplimentary by clever enemies with the manner with which some security operatives allowed themselves to be used for untoward purposes against us by the likes of Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and by extension, the Police Affairs Minister.
People were intimidated and the security operatives only gave breathing space to their own PDP supporters. If me, a House of Representatives member, who still holds the mandate of the people of the area, could not step out of my residence, you can imagine how many people stepped out to vote. This victory has sent signals to the Peoples Democratic Party and the Federal Government that the All Progressives Congress remains alive and that the South-West has rejected them. It will give hope to our people and it has also shown us that with resilience, unity and hard work, we can confront the hitherto federal might of oppression against our people. We must be steadfast and committed. What has happened was that the people, through civil means, made their voices heard through the ballot box. It was unfortunate that Ekiti State happened to be the sacrificial lamb. The PDP is lawless and the President is using the instrument of power to intimidate the people. Nigerians should reject the PDP. We won in Osun State because we were the most loved. We cannot match them (PDP), money for money and might for might; they have all these, but we had the people and God with us. That was why we won in Osun State. Senator Iyiola Omisore happens to be my kinsman. I commend our people for resisting intimidation by the PDP. Armed military men stormed the state as if we were in a state of war. Even before the election, Ile-Ife witnessed an unprecedented number of masked security agents and I raised the alarm that the city was under siege.
But can you say the election was a rejection of the PDP since Omisore won in all the four local government areas in Ile-Ife?
I can tell you that what happened in Ife does not represent the wish of the people who want genuine continuity. Omisore is not the “governor of Ife”. The votes the PDP churned out in Ile-Ife do not represent the wish of the people. Many people in Ife were intimidated; it was God that gave us the victory.
But Omsisore has taken the matter before the election tribunal. Doesn’t it mean it is too early to celebrate?
This election has repositioned Omisore to the back seat of political history and the same history will not forgive him. God delivered him into our hands and we are grateful. Omisore has been retired from politics but we must seek to develop Ile-Ife with his retirement. I think he must be a comedian to be thinking of challenging the election result. We still call on the Osun State Police Command to mobilise its men to Ile-Ife and its environs because as I speak to you, Omisore’s group is already targeting Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s supporters.
You claim Omisore is not loved in Ife but there are reports that residents have been fighting because they feel his mandate was stolen.
I want to tell you that the people who reacted were those that were likely not allowed to vote because as they were hitting my house, they were hitting other houses simultaneously. So, the people reacting were those that felt cheated.
As the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights. What do you think should be the next step following allegations of human rights abuse during the election?
We cannot do it alone. President Goodluck Jonathan’s government is lawless. We have series of cases of intimidation allegedly perpetrated by his government. The APC keeps talking but we cannot do it alone. I could not vote and so many people were also affected and this seems to be the stock in trade of the PDP. When the likes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo raised the alarm in his open letter that this government is having some trained sniper assassins, many did not believe. But now that we have seen masked operatives in Osun, the picture is becoming clearer. The masked operatives were used in Osun State. Obasanjo with his age and experience cannot just talk recklessly. We have challenged the National Human Rights Commission to investigate it and if Jonathan feels Obasanjo is lying, he should go to court and clear his name. If he fails to do that, then Obasanjo remains right and Nigerians should be ready to confront this government. I want to confirm to you that I and the people have witnessed it that there are snipers being trained for 2015 election. They have used it in Osun State maximally.