Adedeji Doherty, former National Vice Chairman, South-West of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a 2019 governorship aspirant in Lagos State. He talks about the need to free Nigeria from the stranglehold of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
What is the state of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State? It is taken that APC is Lagos and Lagos is APC?
The PDP in Lagos State is very much alive and very much together. We don’t make noise because it is not noise that makes a party. What makes a party is strategic planning and working together. A lot of people in Lagos do not know that the PDP has six seats in the National Assembly, members of the House of Representatives from Ojo Constituency and Amuwo Odofin are PDP, and we also have both constituencies of Oshodi Isolo. We had close to seven members in the Lagos State House of Assembly, but, knowing APC for what they are, the members have crossed over to APC.
It is not true when people say nothing is happening in PDP, that the party is almost dead. On the contrary, the PDP has fared better than it was before; right now we have several things to our credit. For instance, the ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’ was initiated by a PDP member in the House of Representatives from Oshodi Isolo. So if the PDP with the minority they were are able to pass a Bill and it was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is an APC member and he is now using it to garner positive points to himself, how can one say the PDP in Lagos State is dead?
Except for Femi Gbajabiamila, who sponsored a motion on power in the House of Representatives, no other federal legislator from Lagos State has done anything. Those of them in the senate, Oluremi Tinubu, Gbenga Ashafa and Adeola Yayi are there at the National Assembly, how many Bills have they passed? Let us see their records.
When we talk of the PDP, I will tell you that we are up to the task, we are up to the game and they are going to see a new PDP in 2019, we are going to give them a run for their money. We don’t have as much money as the APC but they are going to tell us where they got their money; they are going to give us the books between 1999 to date. They are going to show us that democracy and electioneering must be played according to the rules and regulations. We have had enough of squandering of public funds. We pay so much tax only for it to be used to run elections in different states. So I can tell you that PDP is very much alive in Lagos State.
How well has the Gov. Seriake Dickson committee been able to reconcile members of the PDP that felt aggrieved with the outcome of the December 2017 national convention of the party?
Gov. Dickson has done his best; he has done what he can. There was disharmony in close to 15 states, but right now it is only in about three or four states that you have disharmony. Look at Osun State, the PDP won the senatorial by-election. In Oyo State even with the squabbles there the PDP won the recent by-election. We are going in for the Ekiti State governorship election and the PDP will win the election because of the bad governance that characterised Kayode Fayemi’s administration. Watch,youaregoingtosee the tsunami that will take place. The tsunami has already been seen in the by-elections
and they will continue with the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections. The Dickson reconciliation committee has paid off but what we now need as a party is to come together and see how we can streamline and crystallise unity in the PDP. The major problem we had in PDP was the Sheriff Vs Makarfi tango, but thank God that is behind us, we can now work out every other thing.
During that convention, the feeling was that the South-west geo-political zone had not made meaningful contributions to the PDP, thus micro zoning of the chairmanship allotted to the south went to the South-south zone. What has changed since then?
The chairmanship position was really zoned to the South-west but about four contestants came out from the South-west. We tried to shrink the number to maybe two. But nobody was willing to step down. We tried to come up with a consensus candidate but that also failed. That was when it was opened up to be a southern affair. Every major elective position in PDP is zoned between north and south. Once that is done, it can fall to any state within the zone. Apart from Prof. Jerry Gana and Prof. Tunde Adeniran who left the PDP, the others stayed with the party. Chief Bode George is still with the PDP, I believe he showed great passion for the PDP by conceding to Prince Uche Secondus. Secondus in his wisdom also reached out to George and visited him in Lagos. I believe that as far as any leadership position of the PDP is not given to an outsider that we must learn to work together because we are all working for the interest of the PDP.
But you saw how the APC fare in their national convention; you also saw that their ward and state congresses was marred by killings. If they can do that within themselves, what should we expect them to do with opposition during general elections and that is why Nigerians should look out; in the PDP our ward, state and local government congresses were peaceful but in the APC, they kill.
What is your assessment of the APC-led federal government?
The APC-led federal government has spent so much time complaining of the past administration which shouldn’t be. You must have seen things you want to do before deciding to contest; you must have a plan because you have a manifesto. So for you to take over and day in day out you are talking about the rot you met shows you are not serious. The rot PDP met when it took over from the military cannot be quantified. In NEPA, telecoms, NITEL, health sector, power, rail, pensions and other sectors, the rot PDP met cannot be quantified, but you didn’t see PDP saying all those things because it belongs to the past. What we had to do was to start fixing things.
Look at the APC trying to take credit for the revolution in agriculture. The PDP revamped the agricultural sector, you cannot cultivate rice and in two years you are harvesting thousands of metric tonnes, it doesn’t work that way. The only thing we see in the APC government is hardship and sorrow; ask Nigerians, they are not happy. We had Boko Haram during PDP time created by these same people, now we have herdsmen going to villages and slaughtering people and the president is looking at it as if it doesn’t concern him.
What will PDP do differently if elected again in 2019?
Definitely, the PDP is working but we can’t reveal our strategy now, if we do you will
see the APC will want to scuttle it. If you say anything the APC doesn’t like, next thing they will come after you. They may get a robber somewhere and tell you the robber said you’re the one that sent them, what kind of country is that, where you get your information from people that are not credible?
Lagos state seems to be a stand out from other APC states in terms of infrastructure development, but you criticise the administration of wasting public funds. What is your vision for Lagos?
When we talk about infrastructure in Lagos State, what are you talking about? When you talk of state infrastructure, I’m talking about bridges; I’m talking about a full-fledged university, modernised hospitals that everybody will be proud of, a transport and rail system that work and urbanisation in the rural areas. We have 28 islands in Lagos State, none has been developed. We should be talking about a Lagos that our children will not even have to go abroad. What can we boast of in Lagos?
Is it the 21 roads that the present administration in Lagos is constructing that we call infrastructure? How does that assist anybody? You have broken people’s houses down and now ask them to bring certificate of occupancy of a house that is almost 60 years old, older than even Lagos State before you will compensate them, is that good? You are paying interest running into trillions of naira every month and you are still going to collect bonds and borrow money and you want our citizens to pay for it? I can tell you that in one term I will reduce the debt burden of Lagos State by at least 50 percent. Lagos state is being mismanaged and we have to come to the rescue.
What do you think are your chances against Gov. Akinwumi Ambode?
I don’t have anything against Gov. Ambode because unfortunately he is caught up in
the web. He met a lot of things on ground that he cannot say but can only act, but that does not mean we will continue with that kind of imposition and utilisation of Lagos State funds. Lagos State funds are for Lagos State people and we have to take back our state from people. I will give you examples of what Gov. Ambode did that are wrong. One is the Land Use Charge, two is putting Alpha beta in the state gazette, are we that stupid? We knew about Alpha beta but people have been quiet about it. Putting it in the gazette is just slapping us in the face. Again, Ambode abolished the PSP that is an employer of several of our youths, putting money in their pockets and brought in Vision Scope, Vision Scope is not doing as efficient as PSP and you are paying them double what you paid PSP. Look at the whole of Lagos, full of garbage. Businesses cannot thrive in Lagos because of the burden of taxation. So we have to come to the rescue.