Few weeks ago, the Lead Visioner of Lagos4Lagos Movement, a group within the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, commonly known as ‘Jandor’ defected with his group to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with NEWSBEATNG, Jandor explained that the defection of his group has been given the leadership of Lagos APC sleepless night and that he is confident that PDP would wrestle power from the party in Lagos come 2023. Excerpts
Your sudden defection to PDP was a surprise to political pundits, how did you arrive at such decision?
Well, it was not expected, but everybody knows what was happening in our former party, the APC, both at the state and at the national levels. They could see that there is confusion everywhere in the party. It appeared that the party at the center was not interested in solving the issues in the state and time was fast running out. The ulitmate thing was about changing the status quo, it was not about staying in one place forever.
We have decided to look for a better platform and it is a known fact that the APC is fast losing credibility in Lagos State in the site of the electorates. We have seen in the PDP a party that is more democratic and a party that conducted a rancour free congresses at the ward and LGA levels and they recognise the fact that if they want to do consensus for a congress and there is a dissenting voice then they have to do election. This characterised their state congress that was aborted. They resorted to elective congress, that is what we are talking about and that was what we wanted.
We have seen that the PDP conducted their convention at the national level and everything was okay. When they discovered that consensus would not work, they went into election and that is what we are speaking to. This is unlike what is happening in the APC, where somebody would stay somewhere and select the candidates and ignore others. We feel it was about time for us to go and actualise our aims somewhere. That was why we chose the PDP.
Do you think you would be able to get Lagos PDP governorship ticket as things stand?
Absolutely, if we pick the governorship ticket of the party here in Lagos, we know that the APC government in Lagos is over. They know that, which is why they have been running helter skelter since we left their party. Let me put this to you, if you noticed, in the last few years, have you seen anybody crossing to PDP from APC, it has always been them going to the APC, but this time we are moving from the ruling party to the opposing camp. That is to tell them that they are becoming unpopular. If people can leave them with all the resources at their disposal and despite the fact that they are in government, it shows that their government is over and that is what we are speaking to. By the time we get to the polls we will beat them.
Some school of thoughts believe your group has the backing of some APC bigwigs, are the stalwarts with you as you have moved to PDP?
I don’t want to talk about whether some leaders in the APC were backing me, what I know is that when we were in the APC everybody was avoiding us like a plague, but we had huge support base in the leadership cadre of the APC, when we were there and up till now. Unfortunately, this support base was invisible for obvious reasons and I’m sure you know that. That was one of the reasons they wrecked havoc on us. So, we now felt that are we going to wait for them to give us the kind of treatment they gave former governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State or we should subject our aspirations to the generality of Lagosians instead of subjecting it to the mood of some leaders in the APC. We now felt that let’s get to a platform, which equally has a structure like Lagos4Lagos and let’s wrestle this power from them. Let Lagosians decide who they want to see. People keep saying that PDP Lagos is this and PDP Lagos is that, they should know that our going there is to introduce fresh ideas and energy into the party. The most important thing for us is to win the next election and we are ready, everybody is ready.
Lagos PDP is believed to have its own godfathers too, how would you survive godfatherism in the party?
There is no godfatherism in the PDP, trust me. Like I said, if you look at what happened at the congresses of the PDP and when they demanded for consensus and there were tendencies, they sat down and shared it amongst the tendencies, the same thing happened at the LGA level, and at the state level they resorted to have elective positions. So, because that was disrupted, they gave them a caretaker committee that would oversee the party, that’s democracy and that is how things should work. This is unlike, where we are coming from, when they were calling for consensus and we said all the tendencies should sit down and they should ask us what do we have and they should consider us, which is what democracy is. But they never called us, they wrote the list somewhere and said that was their own consensus whereas we also bought forms. No, it is not done that way and they said they have a consensus. You can see the differences, where they have godfathers and where there are no godfathers. So that is what we are speaking to, there is no godfatherism in the PDP and that is what we have been seeing. You want to say that there is godfatherism in the PDP, perhaps you want to say that Chief Bode George is the godfather in the PDP, don’t forget that he didn’t have control over the outgone executive council of the party in the state and they were in office, where is the godfatherism coming from. They were in office until their tenure lasted. If he was a godfather, he would have imposed everybody on the party as members of the new exco, but it did not happen that way.
Recently, it was reported in the media that you met with Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State shortly after the PDP delegates led by Chief Raymond Dokpesi visited your group at Liberty House, was your defection part of what you discussed?
Not at all, that is in the past now, we had a discussion with the Kogi State Governor on some issues, and he did everything to prevail on us not to leave the party. But he agreed that politics is local and that what was happening at the national level might not be the case at the state level.
Like APC, Lagos PDP is crisis-ridden and one wonders why you still went on to join the party. Do you think the crisis will not affect your aspiration?
There is no crisis in Lagos PDP, there is no party without tendencies, but the tendencies in Lagos PDP are working together and the caretaker committee is coming in as a unifying factor. There is no where you will not find tendencies. If you have skirmishes or crisis as you may want to call it, this is normal, but it’s unlike what we had where we were coming from.
What would happen if you don’t become the flag bearer of Lagos PDP come 2023?
If you look at what we have said, we are where we believe we can subject ourselves to a fair primaries alongside other contenders there. If the APC members were sure of themselves why didn’t they go into the field with us during the congresses and win us. That was what we were calling for, we said we wanted elective congresses. If they were so sure that we were inconsequential, why didn’t they go into the field and win us, may be by now we would just accept that they beat us and we will go back home. Why were they scared of elective congresses with us.