By Dupson Collins, 15th December, 2022

Otunba Benji Oloye is a community leader, social commentator and strong advocate of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Ondo State. He speaks with the PATH NEWS on the New Redesigned Notes, Mobilisation for BAT in Ondo State, Wike/ Ayu crisis among others.

What is Ondo APC doing to mobilise voters for Asiwaju ahead of next year election?

Ondo state is APC state and Tinubu is expected to win with large margin. In 2019, the party lost the state to the People’s Democratic party because of division where some members worked for AA and other parties. This can’t happen again because APC is more united than before but the leaders of the party should not monetized this election. In other states, political leaders were seen investing their money to support Tinubu but reverse is the case in Ondo State where our leaders are waiting for Money to grab. They are goal keepers, positioning themselves to grab money for logistics. The level of mobilisation by the party and the support groups in Ondo State is poor in terms of publicity; you hardly see Tinubu posters or bill boards erected by support groups claiming to be working for him unlike other parties in the state.

By my own opinion, it is wrong; only very few are spending their money and resources while others are waiting for the money. I charged Mr Governor to call them to order because we can’t afford to see a repeat of what happened in 2019. There’s more to benefit or grab if Tinubu becomes president.

How prepare is the leadership of APC in Ondo State in regards to 2023 Presidential Election?

I believe the party is ready for victory. What happened in 2019 is no more on ground and they are more united now. In any election, money is reqiure for logistics and such money should be used for the purpose it was released for. It should not end up in individual’s pocket. I am not talking of logistics for vote buying which is illegal but the party need money to mobilise and do other things.

What positive impact would Redesigning of new Naira notes made to Nigeria economy?

Re-designing of new Naira Notes is a double edge sword. It has advantage and disadvantage. The National Assembly need to ask question as regard funding to print the notes? Is the Redesigning injected Into budget? If it is not in the budget, are they going to borrow again? With the Redesigning of Naira, more money will be injected into circulation as those hoarding cash will be forced to bring the money out. With the CBN directive of naira Redesigning, billions of naira were deposited into different commercial bank, whereas these billions were kept somewhere.
Another effect of the Redesigning is the high cost of dollars in the black market. One dollar in black market exchange rate has skyrocketed which has adverse effect on the economy. Those that kept money at home began to patronize Black Market to change their Money to dollars and dollar was forced to jump up. If the rumour of Dollar printed before 2021 will not be legal tendered by next year, then dollar will change for N200 if not rejected in the open market.

Would you say CBN and Ministry of Finance are working at cross road in regards to the Naira redesigning?

The constitution never asked CBN to inform or consult the Ministry of Finance in their affairs but for good policy formation, there is nothing bad if they work together as a team. With the current economy reality in Nigeria, there should be a forum where retired CBN Governors, Minister of Finance, both past and present, Industrialists and Economists will come together to take decision that will change the economy of Nigeria for good rather than living the decision to be taken by single individual.

Some pundits believe the new Naira notes was initiated by CBN to witch-hunt politicians keeping billions of cash at home for 2023 election?

Ordinarily, it should not be but come to think of it, those talking of witch-hunt may have a point going by the active participation of the CBN Governor, Goodwin Emefiele in the last presidential primaries of All Progressive Congress. It is a pity that Nigeria has been reduced to ridicule with the Emefiele emergence as the party’s presidential aspirant. He has the right to contest but if must do such, he should have resigned. Whatever policy or program of CBN under Godwin Emefiele, Nigerians have the right to ask question and query his intentions.

President Buhari has less than 7 months to govern Nigeria; in your own opinion, is there anything he can still do in economy and security?

Government policy changes thing. The timing is inconsequential but the political will to implement policy. President Buhari can still do something provided he is ready to do the needful. Whatever he does, history and prosperity will judge him. Serving as Nigeria president for just a day speaks volume let alone six months. Our major challenges as a nation today is economy and security and we need a president who has the wherewithal to face the challenges headlong. Asiwaju Tinubu is better positioned to rescue the country from these menace, he has done it in Lagos and he will do it again as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In what way do you think APC can take advantage of the Wike/Ayu crisis in the forthcoming election?

Without mincing words, the crisis is a plus to APC and other parties. The crisis has divided PDP and there’s no end in sight as the parties involved are not ready to shift ground. With the G5 Governors head bent in removing Ayu as the National Chairman, the party is giving APC an edge which is affecting the chances of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in becoming the president. With the situation on ground, all the votes that ordinarily should go to PDP will be shared.

Would you say Wike is fighting a just cause?

In this part of the world, many of our Politicians lack integrity. What is stopping Ayu from stepping down or resign if he is a man of integrity? According to Wike, he promised to resign if the presidential candidate of the party come from North, with Atiku’s emergence, he ought to have resigned honourably. For equity and fairness, the chairman of the party should be Zone to the South but the presidential candidate of the party is not helping the situation. To me, Wike is not asking for too much. For peace to return to the party, Ayu must resign and if otherwise, both the APC and LP will take advantage of the situation and woo some of the governors to their folds.

What is your message to various Tinubu Support Groups?

I appeal to the Tinubu Support Groups to work together as a team and win the election. Their priority should be how to win the state for Asiwaju and not focusing on money to share. With Tinubu presidency, they will gain more. Let’s win first, bigger ‘goodies’ will definitely come.

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