Senator Mudashir Husain is the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Osun West Senatorial district. He once contested against late Senator Isiaka Adeleke and won in 2011, but was prevailed upon by the party in 2015 to release the senate ticket to Senator Adeleke who had just defected to APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after he was allegedly molested by some chieftains of his former party in the build-up to the 2014 governorship election, and he won the senate seat, but the death of the 62 years old politician created controversies which have defined the forthcoming by-election; for Adeleke’s younger brother, Demola has thrown his hat in the ring on the platform of the PDP, having stormed out of the APC despite securing clearance to contest primary election of the PDP. Husain spoke on the controversies, his chances to win the election and other relevant political issues. Excerpt:
Your opponent in the coming by-election, Ademola Adeleke of the PDP said the contest is between Governor Aregbesola and himself, not you. Could this be true, given the controversies over the death of his brother, the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke?
Husain: It is never a crime for a human being to elevate himself or seek relevance, and I would not make it a crime for Demola, based on his insinuations against the governor. Besides, I would not dignify the young man who is being spoon-fed by some renegades of our party who fell off like fallen angels that subscribed to evil machinations; using the death of his brother to exhibit opportunism. In that wise, I could say that he was right in the sense of coded message. Demola knows that he is not contesting against Aregbesola, and he is not also contesting against me, but rather his puppet masters who were rehabilitated by Governor Aregbesola politically and materially but chose to be ingrates are the ones contesting against me to prove a point. Fortunately, we know ourselves, and we know our strength, and I am cock sure, Demola’s puppeteers behind the curtain who are renegades of our party know that they are embarking on failed experiment, and the election could not have been between him and the governor but what he represents, which is a contraption of satanic forces. As touching the controversy trailing the death of our late Senator who I revered to the extent that I elected not to drag issue when the party asked me to drop my second term ticket for him as a mark of honour, because he was a former governor of our state, and a political leader in his own right, I would say that his death was very painful, but may we never be succeeded by our enemies through our brothers, because it confounds me how some people, because of political ambition would choose to dramatize the death of a great politician. The controversy in the first place is needless because why would some human beings accuse Aregbesola of killing Adeleke, when it was a statement of fact that Aregbesola was in faraway China when Adeleke died, unless they want to attribute the capability of God to Aregbesola? Besides, why would allegation of poison come up in the first place, when it is a statement of fact that Adeleke attended social function of a party leader he loved? Or could he have attended the function of his enemy? But the renegades who we know chose to line their pockets from the blackmail are pushing Demola to contest so that they could continue to draw their easy money from the family. It is quite sympathetic. Let it be known that I have no issue with Demola contesting, and I have no issue against the political almajiris, because the young Adeleke has the constitutional right to contest as an adult and as a Nigerian; while the political almajiris deserve to eat from any pot, what I detest is blackmailing an innocent man, because he is the governor.
What are your chances as touching the election given the spirit of Adeleke that is being wagered by your opponent?
Husain: Look, Osun has a political tradition as well as dynamic electoral skew. Traditionally, Ife/Ijesa are Republicans, Osun central are liberal, while Osun West is a fortress of the progressives, but when Aregbesola came with his novel campaign and all-inclusive politics, the tradition collapsed for innovation of dynamism; the entire districts were returned to the fold of the progressives, and the senatorial West has not deviated from that line. So, our chances of winning the election are premised on two grounds: that God does not tolerate deception the other side is bringing to the contest, and our people would never be fooled with their antics. Two, the electoral history has never pushed the West into the confine of the reactionary, though there were political accidents in the recent past, but the indicators that led to those accidents are no longer there for the opposition, and the quality of candidate presented by the opposition exhibits opportunism, and I do not think our people are ready for failed experiment. Besides, I am more experienced than my opponent. I have been elected to the House of Representatives twice and I was also in the senate between 2011 and 2015 before stepping down for the late Senator Adeleke. I represented them well and brought projects to the constituency. Also, our party, under the leadership of Governor Aregbesola has performed well in the state and the evidence of development of Osun under him is there for all to see. My opponent is not there at all. He thinks that leadership is engaging in funny dance steps and hiding inside his late brother’s trousers. The people know he is a joker. I am therefore approaching the election with confidence that our people will choose experience, good governance and a track record of legislative service over a jester.
As a political ally of Aregbesola, is it the truth that late Adeleke won the last election for Aregbesola based on his popularity and political structure as claimed by his brother who is contesting against you?
Husain: Honestly, I do not like to be discussing Adeleke’s issue, because that late gentleman was kind and down to earth while he lived, but because his death is being wagered as a deceptive flag for his brother who is now in the same bed with the political foes of the deceased, I would like to clear air on that. Before Aregbesola took the mantle of leadership in the state, the PDP was in power and late Adeleke was a Senator, the chieftains of the party then vowed never to relinquish power to Aregbesola, and they had all the powers then both at the centre, state and even local government councils. So, we went for the 2007 election, and Aregbesola won fair and square, and his victory at state capital was an eloquent testimony to that. So, by the time we would be going into general election of 2011, Aregbesola’s goodwill won election for all of us, and elevated some of these renegades who are waging political war against him today. In that wise, Adeleke would not have won election for Aregbesola, because Aregbesola by 2014 had become so popular and endeared to the people. He was a political brand every electorate wanted to associate with, and his achievement was so intimidating that the only leverage the PDP governorship candidate in 2014 was banking on was the army of occupation from the federal. It would interest you to know that Adeleke was not even allowed to vote for the party’s candidate in that election, because the PDP thugs bombarded his country home with guns and other dangerous weapons, and it was the intervention of Governor Aregbesola that brought the situation under control. Besides, it is a statement of fact that Aregbesola could have stood against the chance of late Adeleke in 2015 if he desired to, but because he felt that the former governor should be recognized as a leader, he asked me to release the ticket to him, and I saw it from the same angle with him. So, now for one political neophyte to think that history should be brought upside down, because of crass opportunism is unfortunate.
It was said that Aregbesola imposed you on other aspirants, given the way they stood down for your candidacy, what is your take on that?
Husain: Of course, I could not call that imposition, because the other aspirants were eminently qualified, just that our party has a unique tradition; that when our leaders met and took decision, it is considered to be a decision good for the party, because before they arrive at any decision, robust debates would have taken place and reasons would have dictated the pace of things, and how they reached the decision to field me falls in line with our unique tradition. That said, it could be because I was the only person who was not returned in the last election when I was prevailed to let it go for late Adeleke or it could be any other reason best known to the party. However, in order to affirm the decision of the party, I had to go through primary election which I won eventually, because the puppeteers lost the battle and their puppet chickened out. Besides, any of the aspirant could have chosen to slug it out on the field if they so desire, but because our party leaders and members have discipline, they hearkened to the voice of the party, and I show my gratitude to them for that.
How come Ejigbo, your hometown got all the political opportunities of the Osun West, don’t you think other towns and zones within the district may be angry?
Husain: Ejigbo is not primarily designed to have it all, and it would be a misconception to think so, because when the Senate ticket was taken from me, it was given to Senator Adeleke, but the party felt we should not be left empty-handed; an Ejigbo indigene was considered for the ticket for the House of Representatives. For the Speaker, he has been elected torepresent Ejigbo state constituency, and we are so lucky to have him elected by his colleagues to lead, just the way we have Secretary to the State Government from Iwo. The return of the senate ticket is a child of circumstance, and it is accidental, not by design but by natural order. I do not think our people from other zones are angry because of that, for it was not my making that it happened like that. Besides, the argument on where a candidate comes from is a disservice to representative democracy. No one ever goes to the senate to represent his village. Wherever you might have come from, the entire senatorial district becomes your constituency. It is mischief makers and lazy politicians who want to get undeserved favour for themselves that bring that argument up each time they lose.
Are you not shaken that the PDP factions have come together?
Husain: shaken? No one is breaking sweat on it, because they were thrown out of power while they were together and apparently solid. So, is it now that they came together based on deception and pathological hatred for Aregbesola that they can win election? I sympathize with them, because those who are pushing them benefitted largely from Aregbesola’s benevolence and industry, and the only way to repay him is to work for his pull down. Unfortunately, Aregbesola has not lost his political steam from the people on the street, except very few elites who wanted to share the collective resources but were denied. Give it to us, the puppet and the puppeteers on the other side knew it was a failed mission, but there is no crime in trying. I encourage them to continue with their razzmatazz; our people will decide who they prefer on July 8 between a progressive candidate and a reactionary. Do you know who is shaken? It is the candidate that is so desperate and hoping from one party to another and even went to bed with those who beat his brother to a pulp and kicked him out of their party. The person who chickened out of a primary election and shopped for an uncontested ticket, he is the one that is shaken. The one that has already conceded defeat by alleging without proof that the election will be rigged against him, is indeed badly shaken.
Is it true that the battle is about home base who are the politicians based in Osun and Lagos politicians are Osun indigenes based in Lagos State, because it was alleged that Aregbesola marginalized the politicians at home?
Husain: It is a pathetic situation that some unscrupulous politicians can do anything, including trading lives of the people for politicking. When has it become a crime to seek better life in other area? When has it become a crime that a successful Yoruba man who hails from Osun but made fortune in Lagos, the centre of commerce and opportunities the nature situated in Yorubaland, only to come home and contest for political position? I was born in Ejigbo, I schooled in Ede, and I attended Arabic school in Lagos before I returned to Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire. Then I returned to Lagos which accommodates me and gave me a rise in politics. So, how does that make me a stranger some political renegades want to project? The battle is purely between those who want to protect the interest of the people-the progressives, and those who want to share our collective patrimony – the reactionary. Therefore, the issues of Lagos-based versus home-based is a cliché designed by the renegades who want to change the narratives of success story of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.At any rate, if I come from Lagos, what will you call my opponent that is based in the United States? He should not even come near any polling station, if we follow the dubious logic of home based versus Lagos based. This is where their argument fell apart and their machination has come back to haunt them because by the rules they themselves set, their candidate is a foreigner.