Monday 7 January 2019

By Supporting APC, Oba Akiolu's Action Unbecoming Of A Royal Father - Dr. Adegbola Dominic

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Dr. Adegbola Dominic is the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State chapter. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the chances of his party in winning the forthcoming governorship election and other issues. Excerpts:

Following the governorship primary of APC in Lagos State, many thought Governor Akinwunmi Ambode will move against his benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and support the PDP. But now the governor has pledged his loyalty to APC, are you surprised by that development?

I was partly surprised because I expected Ambode an incumbent governor to have a will of his own, to know what he wants and go for it. Apparently, he wasn’t happy because he knew that Tinubu was overbearing and has cornered all the resources of the state. So, the governor wanted a change and that was what caused the problem between them. Now, Tinubu sensing that the governor is unhappy with him just came and howled at him like a bulldog and Ambode just cowered without even a fight. That is very surprising to me. He behaved like a man who does not have conviction. 

I expected that with the resources at his disposal and the power of incumbency he enjoys, he will be able to fight for what he believed is right. The fact that he cowered in the face of Tinubu’s howling is what surprises me. 

But he is also a product of Tinubu’s system. He connived with Tinubu and the others to put all the resources of Lagos state into Tinubu’s hand and himself. But I still expected that a man of his calibre who is an incumbent governor and who knows all the dubious activities of Tinubu can still cower just like that. It is very surprising to me. Tinubu’s Alpha Beta is being oiled by the state government; it depends absolutely on the government. 

All the funds of Alpha Beta are public funds which Ambode controls directly as governor and could use this to save this state and stop the bleeding of Lagos state economy into the pockets of Tinubu? Since he didn’t do that, we the PDP have to battle Tinubu to free Lagos from his grip.

Some lawmakers who got the ticket of your party into the Lagos House of Assembly have defected to the APC. Do you still see PDP retaining these seats in 2019?

As I always say, the PDP is going into this election to win. It is the party, which is PDP that the people voted for in the first place, not these people who defected to APC. It is the umbrella, which is the logo of the PDP that is on the paper. So, the people who voted for these lawmakers actually voted for the PDP, not them. I believe the PDP still enjoys the goodwill it had in 2015 which made it possible for these lawmakers to be elected. The party will still use the goodwill it enjoys to elect these candidates. We are floating new candidates now and I am confident that the people will again vote for them to defeat these ones who got APC tickets. The PDP lawmakers who defected can’t win on APC platform.

Do you see your party winning more seats compared to the votes you got in 2015?

Of course! In 2015, we had some resources more than we do now. But we didn’t have the goodwill of the people as we do now. I believe that the goodwill of the people is more important than these resources because if you rely on resources alone, the electorates will collect your money and then decide to vote for the candidates of their choice. That is what we are telling Lagosians now. APC will come with bribes because they are expert vote buyers. They have impoverished the people and make them hungry. So, we are telling them to collect the money if offered them by APC, but they should vote for the candidates of their choice. If they do that, I am sure that if they do, we will win more seats and even the governorship election. The major challenges we are having now are the security forces who will assist the APC to rig the election. But we are putting in all we can to prevent this from happening.

Are you not worried given the fact your predecessor, Moshood Salvador is now in APC?

We are not worried about Salvador at all. When he was Chairman, he was chairman of Mushin Local Government from Ward C1. When he was the state chairman of the party, we lost in his polling unit. PDP lost the election in the polling booth where he voted. So, what influence does he have that he is now taking to the APC? If he keeps telling them that he was former state chairman of PDP, it was just for propaganda purposes. We are not missing him. Now that he has left, his constituency is even better now for the PDP after his exit. A good number of the electorates did not vote PDP then because they don’t want him. I believe his exit to APC is an advantage to us. We are now more focused and united after his departure. It is good riddance.

Is the PDP thinking of forming an alignment with other smaller parties?

I have some experience with these smaller parties. A good number of these parties are just one-family party with just five or six members. In 2011, I brought together about 26 parties in Lagos state. We called it Coalition of Lagos State Opposition Political Parties (COLASOPP). We discovered that most of the parties, except for one or two are just on paper. Though there are one or two that can make really make an impact and we are already working on that. It is just like when the APC announced that 30 political parties have endorsed Sanwo-Olu. We are not worried about that because most of them are on paper.

What is your relationship with critical stakeholders in the state such as Traditional rulers, market leaders and so on, or do you want do without them?

We cannot do without anybody. We need the support of everybody, including market leaders, traditional rulers and so on. But the reality is that some of these traditional rulers are dependent on the state government for their daily needs. There is a case of a traditional ruler (Baale) here in Idimu. His son was contesting as a councillor on the platform of PDP but the Baale was campaigning publicly for the candidate of the APC against his son. He was telling the people to please vote against his son that if his son should win, the Lagos State Government will severely deal with him and punish him (Baale) . So, we are not dependent on them but we still reach out to them as a matter of courtesy. Look at the utterances of the Oba of Lagos. His actions have been so partisan, unbecoming and unexpected of a man in that position who should be neutral and see everybody as his children. We have to tell him that he is not doing what is expected of him but at the same time, we give him the respect due to him.

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