Otunba Owolabi Odebudo as a seasoned politician has paid his dues since joined politics. Recently he won the presidential primary of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) but has since stood down for President Goodluck Jonathan whom his party, DPP, had adopted as it’s Presidential Candidate in March 28, 2015 presidential election. Odebudo has been a two time governorship candidate of two different political parties between 2011 and now and the chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) Ogun State chapter. In this interview with select journalist, he spoke on the need for Nigerians to re-elect President Goodluck Jonathan for his good works to be completed.
As the presidential candidate of the DPP, why did you choose to stand down for President Goodluck Jonathan?
I dropped my ambition in support of President Goodluck Jonathan because of my belief in his sterling qualities as a leader. President Jonathan’s achievements so far in office speak volume in all ramifications. His record of achievements has surpassed all his predecessors in office. At the present he stands out amongst other Presidential candidates from the various political parties, including the APC Presidential candidates Gen. Muhammadu Buhari whose antecedents as a former military ruler were nothing to write home about.
What are the concrete achievements of President Jonathan that qualifies him to be re-elected into office?
President Jonathan has really done well for Nigeria in various areas; economy, security, education, agriculture, industrialization, transportation, roads, etc, and should be voted back into office.
The government of Jonathan is making tremendous progress in the economy. Last year the country economy became number one in Africa and 26th in the world. One of the most significant thing his administration has done is to kick start the transformation of our economy, setting milestones, and inculcating assessment mechanism appraisal of processes, systems and personnel.
Inspite of the harsh global condition, Nigeria economy has made appreciable mark. The country now rates better on the transparency international corruption index. Nigeria is rated one of the fastest growing economy and the biggest economy in Africa. The GDP has appreciated considerably.
From all indications, the Jonathan government definitely needs our support and appreciation.
The situation the government operates under is horrific with the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the past five years and yet they are making progress in all areas of infrastructure, roads, education, agriculture etc. In the area of agriculture, the administration has made fantastic progress with mechanized farming well in place and the life of our farmers for the better resulting in increased food production for local consumption and export
What is your take on the security challenges confronting the country?
More than any other government since the inception of the present political dispensation the Jonathan administration had faced the most ferocious security challenges. Last five years had witnessed terrific terrorism and insurgency disturbances putting the government on its toes and causing it a lot of distraction.
However, President Jonathan government has been able to withstand and curtail the heat. A true leader is known in time of war, and Jonathan had confronted the ugly situation headlong, mobilizing our able Armed Forces to fight terrorism and insurgency to a standstill.
Against all odds, he had to a large extent defeated terrorism and stabilize the security situation to the extent that election can now hold successfully in those hitherto troubled north eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
How do you see the coming election and what’s your rating of INEC?
We shall definitely witness a free, fair and credible election on March 28 and April 11, 2015 respectively. The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had provided the enabling environment by giving all necessary logistics and material support to INEC to prepare and run a credible election. There has been no interference whatsoever from the government on INEC preparation.
The six weeks postponement of the election which was initiated for security reasons had really helped to boost INEC’s preparation for the polls and also helped the government to address the security situation ravaging some parts of the country. As for INEC, I believe in their ability to conduct a free, fair and credible election all over the country. I will also advice the electoral body not to compromise its position but try to be an unbiased umpire in the electoral exercise.