The newly sworn-in Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), South-West, Rahman Owokoniran, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government of Nigeria is popular for failure, cluelessness and propaganda and lacks a service delivery plan.
Owokoniran, who spoke to newsmen at his Lagos office, said the APC government should bury its head in shame and reiterated that come 2023 elections, PDP will sweep both Presidency and the entire South-West.
Owokoniran emerged as the new scribe of the PDP after keenly-contested elections held in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He took a swipe at the Federal Government’s failure to secure the nation under the onslaught of terrorists and bandits, and for its failure to deliver the dividends of democracy after six years in office.
“The APC-led government should bury its head in shame. It is a government of failure, cluelessness and propaganda.
“It doesn’t have a service delivery plan and it is not people-oriented. Nigerians are being denied basic amenities including food, healthcare, shelter and education and this has culminated in the impoverishment of the Nigerian people by this administration”, he lamented.
Enumerating PDP’s strategy to sweep the presidency and the South-West, Owokoniran said, “Governance is about the people, but APC has anti-people ideas”.
Owokoniran also zeroed in on Lagos to emphasise his point, “Look at the case of Lagos State. When you assess the present government, you will find out that the situation has worsened as life has become even more difficult for citizens.
“The tariff on electricity has tripled but the power supply has not improved. Lagosians have to generate electricity and water for themselves because there are no basic amenities for the common man.
“The roads that the government has invested so much money on are in a deplorable state because they are not motorable.
“Lagosians suffer every day due to huge traffic jams and spend long hours on the road than necessary. It is sad that even the palliatives donated by well-meaning Nigerians were hoarded, while the people went hungry during the climax of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The fact that the lawmakers earn huge salaries yet the government is unable to pay the minimum wage of N30,000 is a shame.
“This should convince anybody that the APC government has never been about the people. With the prices of essential commodities skyrocketing, unstable transportation rates in Lagos, what will the minimum wage of N30,000 do for the poor masses?
“This APC government has put the common man in a very vulnerable position. This is part of what PDP wants to correct come 2023 take over and I am very confident that PDP will win by a landslide.
“We are not complacent; we are working round the clock putting things in place and getting the right people on board, people who ready to work hard in order to salvage our great nation.
“We are focused and determined in our drive to take over the government and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. Our goals can be achieved because we are a formidable force.
“Getting the right people who are committed to the Nigerian project and who understand the plight of the common man and are willing to strive to deliver the Nigerian people, come 2023, is our priority.”
A dyed-in-the-wool politician, the new PDP scribe has massive grassroots support due to his long history in politics dating back to the Second Republic.
Owokoniran has been in the political scene for about four decades. He was part of the formation of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN. He became a member of the State House of Assembly in 1983.
Among others, he was active in politics during the Third Republic but when the Third Republic crumbled, he became the chairman of the Congress for National Consensus, CNC.
He later moved to Action for Democracy, AD, and was appointed chairman of the committee for the creation of the 20 local government areas and 17 Local development council in Lagos State.
He was later appointed the DG of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s campaign organisation for the second term.
After Tinubu was sworn in for his second term, Owokoniran was appointed the Commissioner for Housing and later moved to Chieftaincy and Boundary Affairs Ministry after which he left the party in controversial circumstances amid talk of a rift with Tinubu.
He has spoken confidently about how PDP will dethrone APC in the 2023 elections, but his party is fractious as it is embroiled in internal crises across the country. Does he really think PDP can defeat the ruling APC in 2023?
His response, “Everyone has to unite for us to achieve the purpose of defeating the ruling party. We can only achieve this through unity.
“No matter the misunderstanding and the bone of contention, we must resolve it as a family affair and everyone must sheathe their swords and take each other as brothers.
“And that is the reason a committee was set up recently to achieve the desired objective of reconciliation before 2023 elections. It is an attempt to reposition our party in the South-West region and set the pace for our 2023 victory.
“The objective is to unite everyone so that the party would achieve the best as we prepare for the 2023 victory.
“Bukola Saraki was in Lagos and he has been visiting other zones and regions. I am confident and know that the issues would be resolved amicably if there is any.”
While saying some Nigerians believe that the six years of APC-led government and that of PDP’s 16 years are same, Owokoniran noted, “That is not true. The records are there.
“PDP’s 16 years climaxed with a robust economy before APC took over in 2015. The crime rate was reduced to a barest minimum and security challenges never degenerated to this embarrassing point where we find ourselves today. It is sheer propaganda to assume that APC and PDP are the same.
“PDP, unlike APC, had a broad-based foundation across Nigeria and was an inclusive government. Nigerians have come to realise now and they are yearning for a change of these APC government and looking up to the PDP to take over.
“President Goodluck Jonathan achieved a lot but Nigerians sadly only realised that after he left office. Nigerians were too hasty and so they fell for the lies of the APC propaganda machine.
“We have seen it for ourselves that PDP is a people-oriented party and as such we will embark on programmes that are life-changing, offer transformational leadership and meet the needs of Nigerians.”
On the calls for restructuring, Owokonira said it was the only way out of the current quagmire Nigeria finds itself.
“Restructuring is the only way out of the myriad of challenges Nigeria is facing today. Restructuring is a means to an end not an end in itself.
“It is a significant step towards diffusing tension arising from the struggle for the control of power at the centre and unleashing latent opportunities.
“There should be less reliance on oil. We have to diversify our economy; Dubai used their oil money to invest on tourism and now the whole world visits Dubai.
“We need to diversify in order to develop other sectors of the economy so we can be more productive.
“The President has been absent from his duty post and Nigerians don’t know or understand his mindset. The President has not shown or made me believe that he understands what government and governance are all about.
“The economy has crumbled and the people are impoverished beyond words and now Nigerians are living in fear due to insecurity.
“How bad could it get and how did we get here? It was through the cluelessness and lack of leadership by APC. For me, the President has abandoned his office and Nigeria is adrift.”