INTERVIEW: “Because You’re A Governor Does Not Mean You Can’t Listen To Advice,” Says Segun Showunmi

👤 By Adenike Lucas, DENISAURUS News 

Segun Showunmi, spokesperson to a former Nigerian Vice President insists that the public letter which he wrote to Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun was to wake him from “slumber” and charge him into action. 

Mr Showunmi, who spoke to DENISAURUS News over the telephone, had outlined in his letter that the first six month of Dapo Abiodun’s tenure was “disappointing.”

Governor Abiodun, who was sworn into office on May 29 2019, is yet to constitute a cabinet. Mr Showunmi, suggests that the delay in forming a cabinet was suspicious.

In the letter which has now gone viral, Mr Showunmi, who worked on Abubakar Atiku’s campaign, said: “I make bold to say that in terms of the general perception of capacity, there is no gainsaying that Ogun has never had it so disappointing.”

He added that: “There is the suspicion that those who do not form their cabinets on time are people who desire to run the resources of the state with their cronies, and without input from a cabinet.

“Whatever be the excuse, it is clear that on this score, one would have to wonder what has become of us. All our neighbours, Lagos and Oyo states, have their cabinets in place, why not Ogun? I am sure his party faithful and supporters are at a loss as to the real reason behind the delay,” he went on to add.

A media aide of Governor Dapo Abiodun saw the letter as criticism, and has replied stating that: “the Abiodun-led administration, going by his campaign promises, would not because of a section of political hyenas, give food to scavengers but ensure the best conditions for persons and businesses across the entire state.”

Mr Showummi who recounts that he was in office during the time of Gbenga Daniel, rejected the statement made by Emmanuel Ojo, a Senior Special Advisor, SSA, to the Governor.

He said: “In Africa and indeed in Nigeria, you always ask yourself at what level do you participate in Governance. Is Governance only about having an appointment in government and all that. We have been in opposition for how long?

“We lost government under (Gbenga) Daniel since 2011, and I don’t remember ever going to meet anybody that I want to come to their camp or beg them for an appointment.”

He said: “but I have never ever relinquish the responsibility of being a conscience of the society and I try as much as possible to be mild on my state, but when I see that things are going in the direction that does not reflect the kind of speed or broad thinking and capacity expected, before it is too late, it is good to ask and do a peer review.”

After offering a recommendation, and “frankly speaking having great hope of Dapo Abiodun,” Mr Showunmi said instead of bashing him in his response, Mr Ojo should have been more “civil with his response.”

The SSA to Governor Abiodun gave a “childish and immature response.”

Mr Showunmi believes the people working with Governor Abiodun are “amateurs.”

He said: “I was trying to let him know that when the chips are down, you are the one that will have to take responsibilities for performing, and I did not want others to out perform him.

“I did not think that should have been reasons for anyone to quarrel with me.”

Explaining further, he stated that “when somebody, not a part of government writes a point of view, like I have written, what is required is that the language of response should also be in equal measure, It must be civil,” he said.

“The response must be explanatory, and should be to show what they have done. This is the world of internet and communication, if he says he is working and we are not seeing what he is doing, then there is some problem there.”

Mr Adewunmi lambasted the Governor’s team further saying “you say you put out a job portal for people to register that they are looking for a job and you call that an achievement in six month in the Ogun state of Obafemi Awolowo… in the Ogun state of Gbenga Daniel and Olusegun Osoba… Dapo must be joking! Those are not achievements by my standards.”

Asked if he was criticising the government because of his affiliation to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Adewunmi repeatedly insisted that was not so.

“I only wanted him to understand that people will start to compare him with some of his other colleagues and to make my point clear I take the case of the Zamfara man (Bello Muhammad Matawallen).

“(Bello) Muwatwalle inherited a state with lots of herdsmen and kidnapping, and all of the crisis it seemed like a basket case,” Mr Adewunmi noted.

“But today, we are no longer hearing that there. He has settled in, formed a cabinet and signed a law that is reasonable, which are some of the things you would expect Dapo to do.”

One of such law is the bill Governor Matawalle signed against the jumbo pension for former governors. Mr Adewunmi said those are the bills he expects Governor Dapo to emulate and push to the state House of Assembly. “There is no point in spending money to look after Governors just because that they have served.”

“If you look at who I compared him with in Oyo, I encourage you to go over social media and see what the people’s view with (Seyi Makinde). The types of things he is trying to do.

“For Dapo to say that six month is too much for him or too small for him to settle down or put his cabinet in place or show us the direction of his government, I think there is nothing psychedelic or sour grapes about it, except: “Dapo thinks that when you are a Governor, people will not have an alternative opinion to what they are doing, that is my answer to them.”

“People would think that once somebody has been made a governor, they have suddenly become somebody that no-one can advice, or none can have an opinion about.  I hold very strongly and I object to that.

“I believe that it is the collective duties of everyone in that space to keep looking at the area, and keep encouraging and admonishing them to give the best that they can.

He said: “If you have read the letter, you would have noticed that I picked my words very carefully and I was very mindful of the fact that I did not want to come across as being rude and all that.

Speaking about the plan to introduce an hate speech bill, Mr Showunmi says there are laws applicable to deal with this matter.

“The approach of the legislator who is trying to do this bill, I think is ill thought through.”







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