How will you describe situation of things in PDP in Lagos State and in the South West?
Let me be frank with you, the situation in South West PDP has improved tremendously, because of what has been done for the region, what do I mean? God saw a need for a quick intervention in the affairs of the people, and decided to bless us with Governor Seyi Makinde, who has been the rallying point for all, as against what was obtainable in the past where every strong leader lays claim to the front seat, thereby creating political logjam for the region.
Right now, Makinde’s achievements is enough for all warring factions in the party to comport themselves. He has stabilised the party and as you can see, things have improved in all the State Chapters in the South West. On the Lagos State Chapter a considerable level of progress is being made. For the first time, we convoke a State Congress, and people freely elected a Chairman of their choice, among those who showed interest in the race. This is a step in the right direction. Of course, I was at the forefront of this, because I had to stop the last Chairman from destroying the party.
There is an impression that there is a gang up against the party chairman Engineer Deji Doherty, because when the caretaker Committee for the South West visited Lagos State,he was not invited to the meeting while most of the party chieftains in Lagos State were at that meeting.
The truth is, no matter how Engr Deji Doherty is faring, good or bad as a chairman, I want the stakeholders in the South West region to carry him along, at least to respect the office he is occupying. When he emerged as State Chairman, I called him and counselled him on the importance of carrying everyone along, most especially Chief Bode George, who is our leader in Lagos PDP, because the seat he (Doherty) occupies is a temporary one, which is just for about two years. Whatever he does after expiration of his tenure would be based on how well he was able to manage the people.
You know, power sometimes gets people intoxicated, same way the former Chairman, Agboola Dominic, started to pull down the authentic structure of the party, across local governments, to install his own. At that time, I warned him that he will be removed. Today, he is gone and for good. So, I have also spoken words of wisdom to Engr Doherty, I hope it won’t be too late before he begins to retrace his steps. As you know, politics is a game of numbers, when the majority are against you, then there is nothing you can do.
Do you have confidence in the Caretaker Committee, saddled with the responsibility of leading the party in South West? If so, what informed your decision?
I have assurance and confidence in the capacity of the Caretaker Committee, they were constituted as a bridge, since the tenure of those elected has expired. There cannot be a vacuum, but the people manning the committee, are reputable men of great character and capacity. Governor Seyi Makinde, being the apex leader in South West, wants the best for the region, in the interest of everyone of us. I have no doubt in my mind about what they are doing, they will deliver on their mandates.
Will it be right to say PDP in Lagos State is jinxed in producing the governor of the state, because all attempts made in the past resulted to nought?
PDP is not jinxed in Lagos State. What happens is that, some people’s personal interests is always clashing with the interest of the party. What do I mean by this? There is this general narrative being sold internally by these elements that, PDP cannot win APC. This narrative is a deliberate and false one, just to keep discouraging the able members. The party is always being set up to fail from Ward, to Local Government, and to the choice of Gubernatorial Candidate itself.
Why is the party finding it difficult to take over governance in the state? More so in a situation where one feels the party is advancing, it retrogresses. Take for example the success your party recorded in 2015, most of those elected into the state Assembly ended up joining APC. What could have led to that?
This is what I have battled to change for a very long time in Lagos PDP. Take for instance, in 2015 that I ran for Lagos West Senate, I won in seven out of ten Local Governments, the remaining three Local Governments gave us massive votes, but it was still some top members of our party that connived with the opposition to make the rigging possible. So, all what the national leadership of the party needs to do is to hand over Lagos PDP to those with genuine interest, and in dire need of winning. I, for one, wants the party to return to a winning path. Some of our elected members of Lagos State House of Assembly decided on their own to decamp to APC, for their personal reasons, I wish them luck.
A former member of your party said PDP in Lagos is not a serious party, arguing that prior to election nothing happens within the party. And it is when election is around, that activities are activated in the party. Do you agree with him?
Whatever anyone says about Lagos PDP in their own capacity may be right to them, depending on which angle such person is coming from. I have repeatedly said it myself that, as a party, do we even know the number of our members in Lagos State? And I have also questioned that, why is it that, when election is coming, that is when you now see people running helter skelter in what looks like motion without movement. This is as a result of perennial failure that has emasculated the party from the very begining, after the death of Chief Funsho Williams. Yes, we can right the wrong now, when people with genuine interest are allowed to run the party. I remember when I was a Chairman of the party in Lagos, one of the things I did was to continue to mobilise members into the party. It didn’t come without resistance from some quarters, but today, I am vindicated because most of the things I was fighting for, are what you are still asking me now, shows that until the problem is fixed by the national leadership, the situation will remain.
You are one of those that made PDP popular in Lagos State, particularly during election time. But in spite of your efforts, you have not been successful in your bid. What could have been responsible for that?
I am happy that you also can see my contributions to the development of the PDP in Lagos. This didn’t come without me spending several billions, my time and reputation. But like I said before, I have genuine reasons for running, because I want things to change for good for the downtrodden. However, while at this, there are some internal and external saboteurs who constantly show aggression. When we are set to liberate the people, it takes the encouragement from God and motivation from people like Governor Seyi Makinde, who have also tried severally before winning. I have no doubt that trying unsuccessfully does not mean that I won’t be successful at last. I have reviewed some of the challenges of the past, and in no time, myself and my team of brilliant minds will unleash what we have anytime I decide on political aspiration.
You once contested governorship election on the platform of ADP in Ekitti State. Since most members of your party PDP in Lagos State have crossed over to APC, are you also contemplating joining it to actualise your ambition? If no, why are you not interested in the party? Is there any reason that can be alluded to this?
The decision of running Ekiti governorship election under another party, like I have explained previously was hinged on the fact that I was invited by the people who saw my efforts in Lagos, to Ekiti PDP. But you know the man in Charge of PDP, former governor Ayo Fayose presumably had someone in mind, which was Prof Eleka, and looking at the terrain, it would amount to a waste of time dragging the ticket. In order not to let the people who have seen me campaigning down, my team suggested we take it on to another platform, which informed the decision to run on ADP. However, I have since returned to my political base in Lagos PDP, and we are crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, moving on to the next chapter. For me, I don’t see APC as an attractive party because their ideology negates the true progressivism they claim to be hinged on. I remain in PDP because I still have hope that things can change for good, and part of what I have been doing is reaching out to leaders in the state, on the need for everyone to come to the drawing board and let’s see how soon we can rewrite our stories, to make it very Intresting for our hard working members, who are eagerly desirous of winning.