Sen. Adeseye Ogunlewe, a former Minister of Works and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke with JOY ANIGBOGU on why he wants to dump his party for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Excerpts:
Why do you want to leave the PDP?
Yes, I want to leave the party. I have given 30 days notice within which period they would be expected to meet certain conditions, and if at the expiration of the 30 days, nothing happens, I would leave. In Lagos State, PDP is in a confused state. One Dr. Eddy Olafeso is responsible. He was given a responsibility to come, manage the executive committee (EXCO) of the party since December and he did not come at all and allowed the confusion to persist. I don’t understand why this gentleman refused to come to do exactly the assignment given to him by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. He allowed Dr. Adegbola Dominic to destroy the general elections. How did he destroy the election? He duplicated all the chairmen and agents during that election. He had his own EXCO.
He had his own agents. He was working for the opposition and there was no doubt about that. He said that himself at a meeting. He called members of the support group to go and vote against the party. What kind of people are they? Unfortunately for the party, he is a Togolese. We need a Nigerian as the chairman of the party. Under section 47 (6) of the constitution, it is the EXCO that would elect people once there is vacancy. We have six vacancies in the EXCO now, which must be filled. People should buy forms, campaign and let the people vote for them. We have about 36 of them and once they vote, we would have a proper EXCO and that is the only thing that would make me remain in the party.
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Are you saying that once there is an elected chairman within the 30 days notice, which is the end of May, you would change your mind about joining APC?
There is no discipline in the party; I don’t like it when people work against their party. People were telling returning officers not to declare their members as winners. People in PDP were the ones who voted against their members, who were candidates in the State. How can we lose all the 40 House of Assembly seats in Lagos? Anybody who has foresight and wants to live in this State must consider well before making a choice of party. I cannot see people want to destroy the party and I continue to stay in the party.
We also heard that you were trying to get members of Atiku Support to move with you to APC?
I am not looking for any supporter or people to go with me to APC. I have the structure on ground already. I am the patron and chairman of Lagos Global Mandate, which is an offshoot of Network. If you know what Network is and Global Mandate, you would know us in every Local Government Area (LGA), Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and every ward. When we move, we would move massively with all the support groups. When we move, I can assure you that we would move very big.
You mentioned that Olafeso did not obey the instruction of NWC. Why didn’t it raise an alarm all these while when it discovered that the vice national chairman, South-West flouted its instruction, until now?
It had its own fault as well. It wrote that kind of letter, did not copy the secretary of the party in the State neither the leadership of the party in the State. How can the NWC of a political party take a decision, it was not reflected in the news, it was not communicated to the leadership nor the secretary of the party in the State? It allowed Dominic to mess everybody up. It is very unfortunate. NWC did its best to write the letter but would have gone a step further to inform the leadership of the party in the State. Things were not done well and we paid a great prize. We lost the election woefully. These candidates were children of people. How could we lose all the 40 seats in the House of Assembly in Lagos State? It is very shameful. I don’t want to say that no responsible person should be part of the party. It was a big disgrace because the people’s expectation about the party was dragged to the mud.
Some of your candidates are at the tribunal and the party seems not be prepared to support them at least with their presence. What can you say about that?
It is one of the grouse that I have against the party. The EXCO is not there, so who is going to give the people support at the tribunal. The people have lost faith in PDP. Even those candidates who won and are in tribunal, is the party not supposed to be present at the tribunal? Nobody cares.
Sincerely sir, if within these 30 days the party makes amend, would you remain in the party?
Let us hope that the party would make amends for the interest of the party and committed members of the party.
I know that you could have some advice you would want to give to the party. What are they?
The party would not listen. PDP should put its house in order, have a proper constituted EXCO. The EXCO should go to the tribunal and support those who won elections. These members should feel the impact of membership of the party. They have been abandoned, nobody cares. They are abroad now. Is that the way to show leadership? You are around only when it is time to share money. Would you call that a political party?
What about this rumour that it is actually the ruling APC buying over members of PDP with money to decimate the party in the State. What is your view about that?
It is not the fault of the ruling party. If you put your house in order, the APC would not buy your members. Nobody would abandon a winning team. Influential people in the community were defeated like chickens in elections because they are in a party that does not show concern. How did the party plan for its members to win elections? How could the candidates have won the elections? Elections where people took away the money meant for the elections.
Honestly anyone who has future should not remain in PDP. Mr. Mark Iheanyi is the chairman of a support groups. He was able to assembly 880 support groups, over 3.5 million people with permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). Not members that did not exist. They exist in every where, in wards and LGAs. They were abandoned during that period. It was a work that we did for over one year and for those people to still believe in us was just by God’s grace. They were coming here every day and we assured them that there was no problem. At the eleventh hour they were abandoned. Honestly PDP in Lagos State is not a political party.