•Why we begged Jonathan to contest
Former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, in this interview, spoke on a wide range of issues including why former President Olusegun Obasanjo should support President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 presidential election and the need for Olagunsoye Oyinlola to return to the PDP. Excerpts:
By Gbenga Olarinoye
What efforts are you and other leaders of the PDP making to reposition the party in the South-West?
We have made every effort to stabilize internally and fill the gap of those who left. We made sure that when they left and in most cases, they left with nobody following them. We consolidated, rehabilitated those prominent people behind them, and through the National Assembly, we have been able to stabilize the party.
Most importantly, we are trying to make functional all the organs of the party at all levels and recently, with the effort of the National Chairman, Adamu Muazu, who we now call the “game changer.” He has been able to set up committees for the purpose of visiting the states and zones, for proper integration.
So, through that, we are consolidating because we want to consolidate properly before we start picking our candidates. And the party has really stabilized ahead of the 2015 election.
President Olusegun Obasanjo is said to be very unhappy with the party in the South-West…
I won’t say he is not happy with the party in the South-West. And if he is unhappy with the party in the South West because of one single person, that will be very unfortunate. Unfortunate in the sense that this is a national issue, this is a global leader whose backing has been very noteworthy on issues and challenges all over the world. This is someone who has taken advantage of this same party and he served the people and the entire nation for two terms of eight years in governance. And if today, somebody offends him or somebody annoys him in the party and he feels unhappy, I think it will be very unfortunate.
No doubt he has also offended many people and we don’t see anybody complaining. My simple advice, if truly he is unhappy with us, he has never come up to tell us why he is unhappy with us.
Secondly, if he is unhappy with the President, again, it is unfortunate. He introduced us to the president in 2010 and he told us all his attributes and we bought the idea.
If he has to leave the president now, I think we can humbly criticize him that he would be very unfair to us because we needed to be told why. He has no cause to be unhappy with us.
Given the recent efforts by the PDP Integration Committee, do you see the party winning the 2015 elections in the South-West and particularly in Lagos State?
In the Southwest, the committee is headed by the President of the Senate, David Mark, and he is making tremendous efforts.
What remains now, is to get the candidates for various elective posts and once they are able to do that, I believe things would so much change in our favour because of the shortcoming of the opposition party. So that PDP won’t find it difficult at all to regain the lost states.
Lagos State is now ready for grabs for the PDP. The non-indigenes are tired of what is going on in the state. They are tired of many things and they are buying into the PDP affairs now. There is hope.
You normally go into primary to choose your candidates, but this time around why the adoption of Mr President as the consensus candidate of PDP?
You see, there is a total misconception about the adoption of President Jonathan.
About the primary, what our constitution says is that the party should present the candidate. And for eight cogent reasons, we saw the need to adopt a single candidate.
Still, it does not prevent anybody who is dissatisfied to come up now and say no, this is my nomination form, I want to contest.
And such person will not be denied. But because of the need for stability and the need to show the people of this nation an example, we had to adopt President Goodluck Jonathan, who has the right of firstn refusal.
The decision was taken constitutionally because every organ of the party took part separately, independent of the other. Nobody coerced us. Nobody forced us. We were even begging him not that he is lobbying us. So, that is the difference. And that does not mean that we will not go for primary. We are going for a convention to ratify it. And if there is any move by anybody against the move, then, we will vote.
Your party seems afraid of any of the presidential aspirants in the APC?
Not at all. Buhari that they claim is honest ruled this country for a very short period under military dispensation. He was no doubt a dictator. And that type of style could not even work under a democratic setting. I tell you, if Buhari had remained two or three years with his style of governance then, he would have been thrown out quickly.
For Atiku, I said he is a politician indeed, but he has lost many people who could have worked hard for him. And it appears people are tired of going out and coming in with him. He had been stable in the beginning but he has now finally lost his track.
What do you think was responsible for your party’s loss of the Osun governorship election?
There are two sides to it. The state was ready for grabs for the PDP because of many things that the state government here has done wrong. They have really offended the people. They have offended them economically, socially and politically.
Secondly, the PDP worked hard. There had never been a time in the history of party politics when a party with its candidate campaigned so extensively in Osun State.
Every nook and cranny of the state was combed. People accepted us. We went into the election with hope that we were winning, but something happened somewhere, and that is what we are presenting to the tribunal now and I won’t comment on that.
So, you are in support of the party going to the tribunal?
We were knocked out through tribunal in 2010. I predict that we are going to have it back through the same tribunal.
Many leaders including Isiaka Adeleke and your brother in Odo-Otin, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, have left the party. Did Oyinlola consult you?
Adeleke leaving was painful. And he has done something which impresses me. He made it loud and clear that he was fighting an individual not PDP and that PDP had done a lot for him. That he had achieved a lot under the platform of PDP. And he recognises that there are so many good people in PDP. I commend him for that.
You mentioned my brother here, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the reverse is his own case. He was the greatest beneficiary of PDP. He is a junior brother to me, I don’t want to comment much. But, I want to remark that the most painful issue I have ever experienced in my 40 years of party is Oyinlola’s ugly exit from the party.
He has broken or has made attempt to break the ladder which he used to climb to the top. He has polluted the PDP’s drinking water in this state.
And to those of us who laid down all we had, to make him reach the positions he attained, we deserve an unreserved apology. And the only way he can express the apology is to come back home (PDP). We have no power over him. There is nothing we can do to him. We will continue to pray for him.
Even, if he had gone ordinarily like others did. Fatai Akinbade left and went to contest on another platform. He (Oyinlola) should not have maligned us, to tell the world that we rigged his own election. I wept that day. He went ahead and abused and cursed those people who supported him to rise in party politics. That is ungodly. I don’t know, may be they used juju on him. He is such a man that is so clever, highly intelligent. People don’t know his quality in intellectual work. If you go into details of his career in education, he is well read.
We begged him. I led a delegation of 21 prominent leaders here to go and beg him. And I told him that, even if they don’t want him up there (national headquarters), if he continues to interact with us here, we would tell them that he is our man and there is nothing they can do to him. He has grossly disappointed us, not only in the South-West and in the state alone, but also in Odo-Otin here.
What he said was that when he was having problem with the party secretariat at the national level, some of the people who were supposed to give him support did not show up?
We heard everything and I’m saying it openly, he needed just a little patience. Some people normally did not support him, and I won’t blame them for not supporting him. Some of them have interest in being secretary.
But one way or the other, he took the advantage over them. And after all, we persuaded these people, and they all stepped down.
But later, we leaders here, we went to his house. We begged him. We didn’t invite him. We went there and begged him, 21 of us, to remain in PDP and he agreed with us.
I think something extra-ordinary happened especially with the visit of the political night marauders to his house. He fell into their trap.
So, if he decides to come back to PDP, is he going to queue behind or continue from where he stopped?
Look at Fatai Akinbade, in fact, it would have been better if Oyinlola left PDP and went to join Fatai Akinbade in Labour Party. We will know that eventually, when they are there, it would be easier for them to come back. They are mounting efforts now, they are begging Fatai, and I’m still appealing to him that he should come back.
He is a gentle man. We are appealing to Peter Power, he should come back. Adeleke will come back. I can claim that I am one of his greatest admirers and everybody knows.
It pains me. We nearly met one day. I dodged him because I don’t want to see him now. They are all good people. If we had all been together, APC would not have won like that. It is very painful.
– Sourced at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/11/2015-lagos-now-grabs-oyedokun/#sthash.aCneEXvk.dpuf