Chief Sunny Onuesoke is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former governorship aspirant in Delta state. In this interview, he speaks on latest issues in the polity such as insecurity and the investigation of Bukola Saraki, outgoing Senate President by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI brings the excerpts:
Despite his victory at the Tribunal, your party’s governorship candidate in the Osun governorship election, Senator Ademola Adeleke lost at the Appeal Court last week. Were you shocked by the verdict?
With all the available evidence presented by our legal team at the Appeal Court, coupled with the ruling of the election tribunal, we had expected the appellate court to upheld the ruling of the tribunal but unfortunately it was not so. Hence, I can say that that the ruling of the appeal came as a huge surprise and shock but that notwithstanding, we know that justice delayed is not justice denied as the people of Osun State would have the last laugh.
Adeleke has vowed to pursue the matter to the Supreme Court. Do you think there is hope for him?
The ruling of the Appeal Court is primarily hinged on the alleged absence of a member of the tribunal who read the lead majority verdict of the tribunal, therefore the ruling of the appeal court did not contest or invalidate the fact that Senator Adeleke won the election but only cited technicalities and speculations to arrive at its decision. So going forward, I am very much optimistic about the chance of our party at the Supreme Court, we are full confidence that the Supreme Court will take into consideration true basis of the case and ensure that justice is delivered to the people of Osun State thereby reclaiming their stolen mandate because the judiciary is still the last hope of the common man.
What do you think is responsible for the upsurge in insecurity in the country especially after the general elections?
The sudden rise in the escalation of insecurity across the nation is connected to number factors and it is very unfortunate that we are finding ourselves in this condition today. No doubt, the proliferation of small arms and other harmful weapons used by thugs of politicians during the electioneering process may have gotten into the wrong hands hence, we are hearing of increased case of banditry, kidnapping and others. Also lack of proper welfare for men of the security forces is another issue bedeviling the security of this nation. A situation where resources that are earmarked for security personnel and other logistics are siphoned and embezzled by political leaders and security heads would only result in a demoralised and ill-motivated security force. Also, indiscipline and poor attitude to work among personnel of the security agencies are also one of the challenges contributing to insecurity in the country. Unemployment among our youth, lack or deterioration of social-economic infrastructure and basic amenities result in economic inequalities and lack of adequate investment in education are among the interwoven factors causing the rise in insecurities across the nation. The icing of the cake among these factors is bad governance and insincerity on the part of government at all levels especially in the northern part of the country to tackle the scourge of corruption that has continue to plague us as a people.
President Muhammadu Buhari will be appointing new set of Ministers soon. How will you assess the performance of the outgoing Ministers?
Majority of their performance has been below expectation with regards to fulfilling their promised changed agenda.
Do you think Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has performed well to get a tenure extension from President Buhari?
Firstly, let me commend Mr. President for doing the needful. At the point where our economy is still recovering, retaining Emefiele as the CBN boss is the right thing to do. At least, it has gone to show that the President do sometimes listen to the people. We are very much aware by calls in some quarters for the President to drop him and pick someone from the north, if the president had done that, it would only confirm the fear of many Nigerians that he is a president with A Northern Agenda and you know that would have come with serious backlash. Aside from that, Godwin Emefiele has done pretty well as the CBN Governor, especially with regards to the Economic Recovery plan and policy of the President; hence he is still much needed in seeing out the entire process.
What is your take on the decision by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the tenure of outgoing Senate President, Bukola Saraki?
The reason for the continuous harassment of the Senate president is because the ruling party, APC is afraid of the chances of PDP at the ongoing election petition tribunal. No doubt, it is obvious to all that the APC-led government is on a witch-hunting mission against key opposition figures in the country owing to the fact of undeniable evidence before the election tribunal in the just concluded presidential election. Starting with the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, it is part of a sinister plot to instill fear and intimidate members of the opposition. On what basis is this renewed investigation if not for the purpose of hounding the senate president? He has been investigated and cleared by the Supreme Court after several attempts by this same government to drag him to the mud. Like I have always maintained in the past, no one is above the law and the war against corruption should spare no one but institutions of state such as the EFCC should not be used as tool to harassed, intimidate and oppressed citizens of this country like we have today in the case of the senate president.
Do you the 2015 coup in the National Assembly can still occur in the Ninth National Assembly?
Nothing is impossible, we are having very reasonable sizes in both Chambers to cause another upset just like in 2015. If the majority party think they can just impose their stooge on the leadership of the ninth assembly undermining the main opposition party in the house, well that they do at their own peril. In one way or the other the PDP, still have a major role to play with regards to the outcome of the leadership in the 9th assembly in both houses. The PDP is not just a minority but a significant minority that can spring the any surprise if the majority party in house fails in the execution of their game plan like in the case of 2015.
Do you think the presidency should move to the South in 2023 or remain in the North?
I don’t see any reason it should not come to the South in 2023. It will not be fair to the South since the North would have had their share of 8 years. From indication at the just concluded 2019 election, both the ruling APC and the main opposition party PDP fielded candidates from the Northern part of the country owing to the principle of fairness and equity having realised that it was still the turn of the North to produce the president. So it is expected that come 2023, such would be the order of the day during the election so as to maintain a sense of belonging to all Nigerians from all walks of life whether from the North or from the South.