Mr Segun Adewale popularly called Aeroland is leader of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff- led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State. He speaks on the crisis rocking the party, declaring that the party in Lagos now has four factions. He speaks on other national issues. BOLA BADMUS presents the excerpts:
Can we know from you the state of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State right now?
Right now, the PDP in Lagos State is scattered and we don’t know what is really going on in the party at the national level. What is happening at the national level is having some ripple effects on the Lagos State PDP. I will not call myself the chairman of the party in Lagos because the party is factionalised into groups. By extension, I am a factional chairman of the party in the state.
There are so many factions; we have the Jimi Agbaje faction which does not have followership. We have the Bode George group and others. The various court cases raging at the national level is having ripple effects on the Lagos PDP. The Lagos PDP under Moshood Salvador is not really ready to move forward. They are aware that some of us in Lagos have track record of political success.
For instance, I have four House of Representatives members, six House of Assembly members; we have Baba Kola Balogun with us, Modupe Sasore and others. If you look at the record of these leaders in election matters, Baba Balogun won election in his polling booth, won in his ward and his local government. He delivered the local government to his right and left. He delivered all the Badagry Division, but the other faction, Senator Ahmed Makarfi’s camp, led by Bode George lost his polling booth, his ward and his local government. He lost everything that had to do with senatorial district whereas, in my own senatorial district which the result is there for any person to see, I won seven local governments. The three that I lost was because people left the collation centres. The agent in Mushin disappeared during the counting, he is Bode George’s person. I was called by 11 PM that there was nobody at the polling centre; I had to call Assistant Director of SSS to lodge complaint. He went there and met the INEC officials. He said the PDP people violated the rule. In some part of local governments, it was the same story, INEC staff called me to report that those who were supposed to be parts of the election process had disappeared.
The report I got was that results were being recorded in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC). I complained by writing a letter to the REC and at the end of the day, they did not allow anybody from my camp to get there and they announced the result against the one that I got. I did not have anyboby to call at the top, so I paid the price again. Incidentally, it is the Modu Sheriff Camp that we have people that have been winning election, whereas the Makarfi camp is where we have people losing elections.
The problem facing the party is not likely to be solved easily because the same people are manipulating the system over and over again. It is only a mad man that would be doing the same thing and expect different results. We have leaders whose pastime is just to get funds and spend it.
Some have projected that the outcome of the Court of Appeal to settle the wrangling in the PDP, will that offer the solution?
We hope it settles it, but it is taking time. When powerful people are involved, they keep prolonging the matter. If by today or tomorrow they say Makarfi won the case, we will all go and greet Makarfi. But, how do you want to win Lagos, when they (party in power in the state) are spending trillions of naira to feel the Atlantic? The same Lagos State is collecting toll gate and you believe that you want to take Lagos from them? It is going to be a difficult task and if we must win in Lagos, there must be new approach to the way we are doing things.
A few days ago the Makarfi faction called for reconciliation, were you there?
We are begging them to reconcile, but there has never been any serious efforts at reconciliation. You want to reconcile and you are calling people to Abuja to reconcile, but you are calling your own people. When we went to Abuja even when we were not called, they did not receive us well. During deliberation, when we raised our hands, they hardly considered us. The meeting was at the instance of Makarfi group, that was about two weeks ago. During another meeting in Ondo, they shouted at the Sheriff group, that they were the one responsible for their failure; this has characterised each gathering where the party ought to seek genuine reconciliation.
So, if we want true reconciliation, we have Sheriff, the authentic National Chairman recognised by the PDP constitution, we have Makarfi as National Chairman, Caretaker Committee, why can’t the two groups put the house together? This has become difficult because some of our leaders got prophecy that they will become President and, therefore, would not want to meet anybody that would not give them the opportunity of realising their dream of becoming President.
Our leaders like Governor Ayodele Fayose should go back and meet the people who prophesised to them to get the timing when they will become President. This is one of the reasons why we are where we are today. Sheriff told us that Fayose called him and two other governors that he should become the PDP chairman. Sheriff said Fayose told him that he wanted to be the Vice President, but said he told him that he could not decide that one then, that it is the party that will decide that. This is why we have the challenges in the party because of the ambition of somebody.