In this interview conducted as right of reply to the allegations made by Mr Femi Adinlewa, the PDP Publicity Secretary, against members of the party who recently decamped to APC, Prince Lookman Awomodu debunked the allegations, stated his reasons for leaving the opposition party, preference for The Mandate Group and emphasised that joining the ruling party is like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Below are the excerpts of his interview with Kunle Adelabu , Publisher / Chief Reporter ,The Impact Newspaper .
IMPACT : Let us meet you sir?
Prince Awomodu : I’m Prince Lukman Awomodu Alabi, a former PDP chieftain and now in APC.
IMPACT: Can you please tell us what led to your movement from PDP to APC because you happened to be one of the engine rooms of PDP before now. What motivated you to move?
Prince Awomodu : My movement to APC has a single reason. I had just one leader in my former party in the person of Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro. When he called to tell me that we are moving to another party, I had to move with me because I have so much believe in him, that’s it.
IMPACT: On the day of your decampment in Ikorodu, the leader of the team, Hon. Ologijo, in his acceptance remarks said there is no more PDP in Ikorodu. What is your view about that sir?
Prince Awomodu : I share the view because because those remaining in Ikorodu PDP today are remnants and those are the few in the Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe’s group. TheTKO (Tokunbo Kamson) group is not there anymore. Also, the group of the former chairman of the party is no more with them, while others are not doing well with them. The only people controlling the party now are the people with Sen. Ogunlewe. Those are the ones there now.
IMPACT : In an interview with the PDP PRO, Femi Adinlewa, he said those of you who just decamped to APC are not facing reality in your statement that PDP is dead in Ikorodu and Lagos State… (cuts in?
Prince Awomodu :Point of correction, Femi Adinlewa is not the PDP PRO in Ikorodu presently. He’s the assistant PRO while Durojaiye Lekan is the substantive PRO. Our movement from PDP to APC has seriously weakened the party. As far as I’m concerned, it is only remnants that is left in PDP Ikorodu PDP because the people that matter have left.
IMPACT: He specifically alleged that you and other decampees were expelled from the PDP and that you only left when you could not defend yourself on the allegation of mismanagement of fund meant for the last elections. He added that a panel of enquiry was set up which found you guilty and that when the exco of the party called you for explanation but you refused to honour the invitation. What do you have to say to this?
Prince Awomodu : As far as I’m concerned, we left the party on November 25, last year. As a matter of fact, we were never expelled and first and foremost, I’m speaking for myself, I, Awomodu Lukman, I was not expelled from the party. During the last elections, I was the one in-charge of INEC. I represented the party at the INEC office. People that are important in the party know that I was not given any money while serving the party in that capacity. I was never in-charge of any money during my stay in the party. Before I left the party, there were two factions, and I belonged to the Modu Sheriff faction. We left the party when we saw that Sheriff would not win the court case. It is incorrect for anybody to say we were expelled. I have not seen any letter to that effect and until the time that we left the party in November 25, 2017, there was no chairman or executive committee in place both in Ikorodu and at the state level because the party was in crisis. Even the PDP Assistant PRO, Adinlewa, was with us in Sheriff faction before he crossed to the Makarfi faction when he saw that Sheriff may not win the case. We left the party because we couldn’t continue with the Ogunlewe’s group. They have resolved their crisis and executive committees had just been inaugurated about a month ago at both the Local and State governments levels.
IMPACT: Does that mean that you were never invited to any enquiry to be questioned over mismanagement of fund or for any other disciplinary issue?
Prince Awomodu : That has never happened. Nobody has ever called me and if anybody has any letter to that effect, they should produce it. I was never called for any issue of money because I was not even given any money and I was not in-charge of money. I was just in-charge of INEC and my duties were to inspect the electoral materials to be used for elections and to also monitor the collation of results after the elections. So, for anybody to now say I was given money, that’s not true, even the work I did for the party was not paid for .
IMPACT: Why did you decamp to APC because the leader of your group (Prince Ologijo) stated in his address at the decampment event that you have not joined the party to vie for any position?
Prince Awomodu : I’m in APC with my leader who happens to be Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro. We are here to work for Ambode because, we believe in his second term. That’s why we are here. We are also here to build the party together. Though, we are politicians but I’m not in this party particularly to vie for any position but to play my politics.
IMPACT: In playing your politics, we also learnt that after the declaration of your membership the declaration at the party secretariat, you also went on to declare for a particular group of the party.Is it true ?
Prince Awomodu : As a matter of fact, immediately I declared for the party, I also declared for The Mandate Group (TMG) where Alhaji Musliu Animashaun (De- Cubano) belongs. That is the group I belong to . I declared for them in December because I wanted to belong to the mainstream politics of the party. I have never declared for any other group rather that the TMG group and that’s where I belong. As you have already known, those of us that decamped to APC are many. One of them is Prince Ologijo who has also declared for the Justice Forum (JF), another group within APC.
IMPACT: I want you to clarify the leadership question facing the decampees. There is a particular caucus of the decampees who see Hon. Kazeem Abatan as leader, while others see Prince Ologijo as their leader. You are also a leader in your own right according to another section. What is the true position of things among the PDP decampees?
Prince Awomodu : We are all in APC together and what we are facing is a small issue. I don’t see it as a big problem at all. We all have our rights to associate with any group of choice which dictated my decision to join TMG, while Ologijo joined JF. As a matter of fact, we are not fighting over that. We recognize each other’s preference. Ologijo is the arrow head when we were moving into APC and likewise Abatan, who also has his own followers. In truth, I share in Abatan’s view which is why we are together in TMG.The important thing is that we are all in the ruling APC. The reason I was at Basorun’s (Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun) house with Prince Ologijo the other day was because we were to accompany Sen. Obanikoro who was paying a private visit to Basorun. It was when I got there that I discovered that the JF were having their meeting. Ologijo knew about the meeting but he did not inform me because he knew that I would not have being there if I had known about the meeting. But all the same, I didn’t join issue with him over that because he’s my leader and for the fact that I knew where I belong. It was at that meeting that they declared openly for JF. They had not even finished the meeting when I left to give my group feedback. As far as I’m concerned, I remain a TMG man.
IMPACT: Finally, what is your message to those in your former party (PDP), knowing fully well that your decampment to APC would have weaken the party and the opposition?
Prince Awomodu : Well, I’m currently in APC and so naturally, I don’t want to know what is happening in PDP. I wish them the best of luck in their party. I still see people currently in that party as remnants, because for a founding member of the party and other members to left says a whole lot. For me as a person, I think being in APC has afforded me the opportunity of seeing many things I didn’t had the opportunity of seeing while in PDP. It’s like I was in the darkness and now coming into the light with my movement to APC. All we knew how to do in PDP was to work, work and work and this made us lost belief in ourselves. I believe some of the remnants remaining in the party would see reason some day to join us in the ruling party.