Alhaji Adebisi Olopoenia, is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State. In this interview by NURUDEEN ALIMI, he highlighted reasons all the aggrieved members of the party must return to form a formidable opposition in the state.
Some members of the PDP in Oyo State, last Friday, held a meeting in Ibadan and you were not part of it. Being one of the party leaders, can you tell us why?
I cannot be part of such meeting, though I learnt about it and of course I was not invited, so there was no basis for me to be there in the first instance since I got no invitation to such meeting. The reason I said I cannot be part of such meeting is that the set of people coming together for reasons best known to them are those that were responsible for the failure of the party in Oyo State during the 2015 general election. I think what is paramount now is for us to look for a way of bringing back those who left the party during the build up to the governorship election in 2015. As far as I am concerned, if we do not make move to lure back those who have left the party, all those meetings may not hold water.
It baffles me when I discover that people are not reasonable enough to know that there are certain things which cannot work. There are some set of people whom if we do not try as much as possible to ensure their return to the party, PDP in Oyo State cannot in any way achieve anything politically because those people we are talking about have unprecedented political values. But because of the selfish interests of a particular set of people, those that were capable of winning elections for us left in anger and pitched their tent with some other political parties. The best thing for us to do now is to unite in one voice and ensure the return of our prominent members. It is after this that I think we can form a formidable opposition in Oyo State and something tangible can come out of our party.
Are you saying those who attended the meeting have no political value at all?
I would not want to say that to a certain extent. But the issue I have with them is that of the judgment they got from the court which ordered the exco of the party in the state to continue in office till 2018. I wonder where it is done anywhere in the world that there will not be periodic congress to elect officers that will run the affairs of the party. It is this kind of judgment that was given to Jimoh Ibrahim in Ondo State that is causing confusion in the party. All of us know that Jimoh Ibrahim’s candidature will not give PDP a victory at the polls as, to the best of my knowledge, he is not a popular and preferred candidate. Only a candidate preferred by the people can win election. So, the issue of going to court to get all sorts of judgments due to selfish reason is something we need to put to an end if we have to move forward.
I must not forget to say this: I am so happy to hear that the likes of Honourable Mulikat Akande and Senator Hosea Agboola were not at the meeting. Though I am not surprised by their absence because they are people of proven integrity and they will not do anything that is capable of bringing their names and political CVs into disrepute. However, of all those who were at the meeting, the only person I was shocked by his attendance was Senator Ayo Adeseun. This is because he was the one who went to court to challenge the said judgment. So, I am still wondering why he is now hobnobbing with those he dragged to court for not doing the right thing. Why am I even expressing shock? I learnt that he is aspiring to be the governor of Oyo State in 2019. But to the best of my knowledge, he has not made his intention known to the appropriate quarters. I am not even sure it is true that Adeseun wants to contest as governor; it must be a rumour or better still, he is planning to do that on the platform of another political party. But if it is true that he wants to contest on the platform of PDP, I will advise him to drop such ambition because there are pools of better candidates to choose from and who can win such election for the party.
It seems you are so much interested in the coming back of those that have left the party. Why and how do you think they can be convinced to rescind their earlier decision?
I have said it times without number that PDP as a party in Oyo State must come together under one umbrella. Engineer Seyi Makinde who contested the 2015 governorship election under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is one of us and he actually left with his followers. Also, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and his running mate, Alhaji Sharafadeen Ali, who contested on the platform of Labour party as governor and deputy governor respectively. We need these people to come back so as to form a formidable opposition in Oyo State. In order to achieve this, I have, alongside some set of people begun the quest of bringing back our aggrieved members. We will ensure we get to all the geo-political zones of the state to plead for the comeback of these people. We must not allow what happened to us in the 2015 general election repeat itself. So, we will do everything humanly possible to ensure we do not fail the party and the people of Oyo State in general. The people of Oyo State had it rosy under the PDP administration and we are aware of what they are passing through now. So, there is the need for us to put our house in order so that we can give the people the dividend of democracy they deserved.
Are you prepared for the brick walls you might come across in your quest of bringing back the aggrieved members of the party?
Definitely, we are not expecting it to be rosy all through. We envisage possible resistant on the part of some people. But we are determined and we will try as much as possible to convince them on the need for them to return to PDP. It is understandable that it is not their wish to leave the party at that point in time, but the circumstances at that time prompted their exit. With God on our side, I believe we are going to succeed.