Mr Femi Adinlewa is the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ikorodu. In this interview with Kunle ADELABU, the Publisher/Reporter-in-Chief, THE IMPACT Newspaper, he bared his mind on the decampees from PDP to APC, state and plans of the opposition party among others. Excerpts:
IMPACT : Can you please introduce yourself sir?
PDP PRO : I am Adinlewa Oluwafemi, the Publicity Secretary of PDP in Ikorodu Local Government.
IMPACT: For how long have you been in PDP and since when have you been the PDP Publicity Secretary in Ikorodu?
PDP PRO: I have been a bonafide member of PDP since 1998. This is my second term in office which means I had spent a first term of four years as PRO.
IMPACT: Before your appointment as the PRO, what other position(s) have you held in the party?
PDP PRO: I’m a grassroots person. I came on board from my ward as a former Youth Leader in my ward ( Ward E2 Erikorodo). I’ve also being the acting Chairman of that ward too. I’ve also served as a local government Youth leader for my group, PRIMOS group in Ikorodu. I’ve also at a time being a Chairman and Secretary of several committees in the party and I have been a delegate to many conferences, conventions and congresses of the party.
IMPACT: After the loss of power to APC at the council elections in Lagos State in 2017, there seems to be lull in the party’s activities, what do you think is accountable for this?
PDP PRO: During the last local government elections, our party was in disarray. We were divided, that was during the time of Sheriff and Makarfi saga during which we were divided into two camps. In the process, some people left the party to contest under the umbrella of Labour party, even at that, we can say we still made a good impact in the elections but as we all know that in local government elections in Nigeria, the ruling party in that state always dominates, but at least we got some councillorship positions during the elections. Some of our aspirants that should have emerged winners, going by the collated results, were robbed because ‘Jagaban’ would not want that.
IMPACT: Last week, some big wigs in your party, led by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, decamped to APC.In lkorodu, the decampees, some of whom were major actors in PDP, led by Hon. Ologijo, were recently accepted into the Ikorodu chapter of the APC and some of them, in their statements, claimed that nothing is left for PDP anymore in Ikorodu. Is there still anything remaining of your party in Ikorodu?
PDP PRO: That is a very funny statement. How can someone thinks that his departure from a party will mean there is no one there again. I think they are dreaming and such dream can never be a reality. Let me start with Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, he’s a respected citizen of Lagos state but we all know what is happening in Nigeria. He was accused of mismanaging some money when he a Minister for State Defence, so I think he has to roll with the ruling party at the centre to be left off the hook. In Nigeria, if you are accused of anything and you decamp to APC, you will definitely become a good person. This was what happened in the case of Musiliu Obanikoro because he said to me personally that he was just going to APC for protection so that all these troubles will go away and that he’s still with us in spirit. That was the statement of Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro to me personally when I asked him why he was leaving the party which is understandable but for other decampees like Hon. Ologijo, Awomodu and others in Ikorodu, they were expelled from our party before they decamped. Awomodu was the chairman of INEC/Electoral committee during the 2015 general elections in our party and some money were assigned to that office which he mismanaged with one other person called Terry Martins. They all mismanaged funds meant for the elections and after the elections, the party set up a panel enquiry and disciplinary panel to investigate them.The committee was headed by our former LGA chairman, Chief Ahmed Alesinloye. The disciplinary committee indicted all of them for mismanaging that money which was about 15million naira. The committee then recommended that they should be suspended from the party and when they were called by the executives to defend themselves, they couldn’t show up, so that was why they left the party but their records are there. We don’t see them as serious politicians. When I read in a report that they left with about 1000 of our members, I laughed because I don’t know where they got them. Our only pain as a party was that of our only Councilor who decamped with them. It was painful because we all fought very hard for his victory. You know that to have that position is not an easy job, but unfortunately, he has gone to the same people that wanted to truncated his victory. Also very unfortunate is the cases of our Councilorship aspirants in the last elections who have also gone to join those that dispossessed them of their mandate. Our former Councilor has made record for himself as the first elected officer that will be abandoning his party for another in just 10 days. I have never seen any elected officer who did that in the history of Nigeria. We wish him more of such record.
IMAPCT: Since the last local government elections, it seems PDP has gone into a complete state of comatose as the party no longer challenge APC’s policies and could not also provide needed alternatives as a major opposition party? Has your party totally relinquished its role as the major opposition party at the national, state and local council levels?
PDP PRO : That is not correct. You know we are in a serious crisis in the party and I mentioned earlier that we battled with the Sheriff and Makarfi issue, after which we went into the national conventions, so all these have not really enabled us settle down. Maybe our current challenge is because it is the first time we got defeated at the center. That may be what is affecting us because we have always been used to victory. We are still struggling and that also affected the performances of many of us because we were not assigned positions during that period and that made it difficult for one to act or comment officially.
Impact : What should we be expecting from you and PDP as a whole?
PDP PRO : You should be expecting press releases on weekly basis against there (APC) policies, especially in Ikorodu division. We are going to be beaming searchlight on the performances of their local government chairmen, supervisory councilors and councilors. As the opposition Publicity Secretary, I have called all my foot soldiers across the division to start monitoring what is going on. We don’t make noise because some of our strategies might leak out to them. As a party, we are going to make our promises public during the coming campaigns and our promises won’t be like theirs which have remained unfulfilled because they cannot implement them. To answer your question, starting from next month, we would hold a press conference where the executives of our party will roll out the party’s policies and make other statements.
IMPACT : It has been said that you don’t have quality individuals again in your party and you are not going to be fielding strong candidates for the next general elections.ls PDP going to field candidates for Ikorodu Constituency 1 and 2 and for the House of Representatives positions?
PDP PRO : A serious party most field aspirants, and for the next general elections, we have our aspirants who have been showing interests. They have been writing letters to us.We have two prominent indigenes of Ikorodu aspiring. For the House of Assembly seat in Constituency 1, we have about 3 aspirants, for the House of Assembly seat in Constituency 2, we have about 2 as well as 2 aspirants for the House of Representatives.
Impact : Can you tell us the names of some of these aspirants?
PDP PRO : For the position of the Senate, we have Engr. Ahmed Oduborisa and Princess Oyefusi, the daughter of the late Oba of Ikorodu. She came with her entourage to speak with the exco of our party last week during which she said she wants to contest again. For the post of House of Assembly Constituency 1, we have Muritan Ademola and Prince Kamilu (Tiger) while for Constituency II Assembly seat, we have Anjolaiya from Igbogbo and our former candidate, Akeju, who is still interested to contest. In the House or Representatives, we have Alanshow who contested the primaries against Animashaun in the last elections. He has also written to our party over this. So, who is saying PDP cannot produce candidates? I don’t think you got the information very right.
IMPACT: As at today, what is the state of your party in Ikorodu, where is your secretariat and who are your party chieftains?
PDP PRO : We were divided in Ikorodu before but after the convention, we had no choice but to come together and harmonize things. Our current LGA Chairman is Chief Taiwo Adekogbe, while Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, Chief Oduborisa, Chief Ahmed Aleshinloye, Chief Shitta are our leaders. We have our ward leaders too.
Impact : Thank you for your time sir.