‘we want to use an Ibadan man to defeat Ajimobi’ -Senator Hosea ‘Halleluya’ Agboola

Senator Hosea Ayoola Agboola is the Deputy-Chief Whip in the National Assembly and the only PDP Senator from the South West. In this interview with CityInfo the politician discussed Oyo State politics, the need for an Ibadan PDP candidate and the predicition for the general elections in 2015

Sometime back you called a meeting of PDP Chairmen where you advocated support for Senator Teslim Folarin, what prompted this?

All the leaders agreed that if we want to move the party forward we must pick a candidate and as far as I’m concerned a lot of them agreed with me that we should use Teslim Folarin for PDP in the next election.

What is the criteria that brings up the selection?

He was a Senator and we just believe that he is from Ibadan. The general perceptive now is that we must use someone from Ibadan if we want to flush out the Ibadan man who is there presently, we must use an Ibadan man to fight the Ibadan man.

When he was the Senate Leader were you impressed by his performance?

When he was the Senate leader he tried.

But he was said to be distant from the people?

If they say he was distant from the people, I know now that he is contesting he will move near. Having him as the next candidate is just my opinion with other like-minds.

But some other camps are clamouring for ex-Governor Akala, they see him as the man of the people and believe he can deliver?

Everybody is free to air their opinions, but I need to tell you this, the time of Akala as governor is gone. Everybody is free to contest and maybe he wants to re-contest, but to me I believe his time is over as far as governance in this state is concerned.

Many would have thought that your decision to support Senator Folarin and not Governor Akala was more of a personal vendetta because you were one of his closest friends?

I don’t have anything against Akala, what I know and I’m very sure about is that as far as governance in this state is concerned his time is over.

What if he doesn’t get the party’s ticket for governorship and he decides to contest for the Senate which means he would run against you?

There is no problem; the senatorial seat is open for anybody. If he wants to contest for it and the party agrees, no problem! I believe in God and what He can do. We are still friends and he is one of the leaders of the party in the state, I cannot say I serve under him, but I don’t have anything against him, what I’m saying is that he said he wants to re-contest and my own candid opinion is to advise him to be there as a godfather and support whoever is contesting.

There has been talks that your party wants to reserve you for a bigger political assignment, but there has been pressure on you by the people to re-contest, do you still want to go back to the Senate?

Yes, I wish to re-contest if the party agrees with me, but if the party tells me not to contest, I will not. I’m always loyal to the party, whatever the party agrees, I abide with.

So you won’t lobby for any position?

I’ve never lobbied for any position in life.

You once boasted that you will defeat whoever runs against you, in this kind of unstable political climate what gives you such confidence?

You know that I’m very humble, it is very difficult for ordinary people to see some senators, even ordinary Local Government Chairmen, but my people know that I’m very accessible, you can walk in freely and see me anytime.

Was it just an attitude you adopted when you became a Senator?

I’ve always been like that, even when I was a Local Government supervisor it has always been my lifestyle, I’m free with everybody.

People feel your calculation and understanding of the political barometer has helped shape your political career?

I don’t deceive myself, if I see that something does not belong to me I won’t call it mine. Some politicians who failed deceive themselves. As a politician you must know where you are strong and what the people are saying about you, you also need to calculate to the last figure. In 1997 I wanted to contest for chairmanship in Itesiwaju Local Government, I saw that I might not win the election if I should contest because we needed 180 votes to win, fortunately a group came to me that they wanted to join my group with the agreement that the chairman would emerge from their group, I saw that we would be able to win if they join us and I asked my supporters what would profit us if I contested and lose. We all agreed and merged and we defeated the CNC then with about the 180 votes and the other group got the Chairman seat while my group got the Vice-Chairman and some other post of supervisors. Politics is all about calculation; those who claim to have prayed might not have prayed very well, there is no point deceiving yourself, wasting money and time when you know within you that you cannot win.

You have never lost any election since you stepped into politics, what’s the formula?

It’s my calculation and basically because I don’t deceive myself. A politician must be able to understand very well where he is on ground…

But at times they got misled by sycophants…
You will first deceive yourself first before others deceive you. If I want to know what is happening I always ask people who are not within my circle. I have friends in APC, Accord Party and Labour Party that I call from time to time.

When APC won a landslide in 2011 you were the only PDP member who won as a Senator and you predicted that PDP is coming back, what did you base your prediction on?

I said it! It’s like the case of a woman who tested one man, left and marry another man. By then she would have been able to compare the two and know the one that is good for her. This region is where we have the highest number of elites in this country and they can’t subject themselves to one man’s directive. They can’t understand why someone in Lagos will give an instruction on what to do in Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, Oyo… APC will no longer get a state in the southwest…

Even in Lagos?

They will lose Lagos.

But the PDP is also having its internal crisis and the election is near?

The party is already resolving all the issues. In Oyo state last week all of them were together at Old Ife Road, did you see anybody fighting there? In the next two months all the crisis in PDP in Oyo state must have been over.

What gladdens your heart most as a politician?

When I predicted and it happens, it makes me happy. I told my leaders in 2011 that I’m sure we are going to win in Ekiti State, which we are also going to win Oyo, also sure we are going to win Ondo state but I don’t want to comment on what happened in Ondo State. It’s enough for me when I predict and it happens. Even when I was in the Polytechnic Ibadan, the person I predicted would win the SUG President won, and all the other positions. In my politics I’m always calculative and consult very well.

You predicted that Governor Akala would lose in 2011, what did you see then that others were not seeing?

All the teachers were against us, we begged them and they refused. I even met with the NUT Chairman and discussed with him, but they refused. You know they double in number, if the teacher is a man, he has a wife, if she is a woman, she has a husband and they all have children who are old enough to vote, so you can do the rest of the calculation.

What is the predicition for 2015?

PDP will win Oyo in 2015, PDP will also win the Presidency in 2015, there is no doubt about that I’ve seen that clearly.

Your EFCC case seems not to bother you, why?

The allegations levelled against me says I awarded contracts without budget provision, now that they’ve the done budget provision for it, why should I fear? What they levelled against me is different from what they levelled against Akala and the third person, if the matter comes up again I will show the budgetary provision for it as at that time, the case is in court and I don’t want to talk much about it.

Apart from these calculations and consultations what are the other good qualities of a politician?

A politician must be very humble, with that he will have a lot of followers, again he should not be stingy, he must be able to spend and listen to the people.

There is this new trend in politics called ‘stomach infrastructure’, what’s your take on it?

My own policy of principle is this, you should not see politics as a business or a job, you must have your own profession and take politics as part-time, politics is not a profession. But notwithstanding there is no way you can do politics without giving out to the people, in any position you find yourself you should understand the reason the people must feel your presence and why you are in the position.

It means you only believe in structural developmental politics and not stomach infrastructure?

It goes together, it’s a must to empower people and provide them what they need to survive, if you are stingy in politics you won’t get anywhere.