FORMER Minister for Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe has given insight into how former President Goodluck Jonathan forged an alliance with the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to destroy the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State. In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, he spoke on various issues.
Your party, PDP lost again to APC during the recent gubernatorial election in Lagos State, and that has been the trend since 1999,why has it been impossible for PDP to defeat APC in the state?
It didn’t come to me as a surprise that PDP lost to APC again in the recent gubernatorial election. PDP in Lagos State has a lot of problems. Among the problems is that of leadership. Whether we want to accept it or not, within PDP, the fact is that the party is fast disintegrating in Lagos State and something has to be done very fast to save the situation.
One curious thing I notice is that before election time, PDP is always strong in Lagos but when time comes for the election, then different kinds of problems will start rearing its head, and this will make the party to go into election in a very weak position.
What my investigation revealed is that there are several moles within PDP work- ing for Bola Tinubu, the APC national leader. These people who are PDP party members are on Tinubu’s payroll. After being settled by Tinubu, they now sabotage the party. The situation in PDP today is very pathetic. We go into elections as a house divided against itself. For PDP to win Lagos, a lot of things have to be done. We have to re-strategise. We have to identify the moles within the party, and flush them out. These sell-outs are what we refer to as enemies within. They are saboteurs.
But some people are saying that the national leader of APC , Asiwaju Tinubu’s political strategies is the secret be- hind APC’s success in Lagos since 1999, what’s your take on that?
Who is Tinubu? It is saboteurs within PDP that are working against the party’s interests in Lagos State. If these enemies within are not working for Tinubu, PDP would have won Lagos State. But because of greed, because of the money, lands and other things Tinubu gives to them, these saboteurs within PDP have been working against the party’s interests. There is nothing special about Tinubu. There is nothing invincible about him. People should stop dressing him in borrowed robes. Tinubu gets away with some of these things be- cause of money he spends.
Then again, I must not forget to mention this one, a serving PDP president also worked in hands with Tinubu to destroy PDP in Lagos State. I’m talking about former President Goodluck Jonathan; in 2011, he worked in hands with Tinubu against PDP in Lagos State. Jonathan virtually conceded Lagos to Tinubu in 2011 to appease him. Why he did that still re- mains a mystery to many of us. Tinubu is a clever politician, very smart and would go to any length to get whatever he wants.
On your allegations against the former President Yes. It is a fact that Jonathan worked against PDP in Lagos State in 2011. It is not even only in Lagos that Jonathan worked against PDP that year, he did similar things in Edo State. He refused to campaign for PDP that year. It took the intervention of the late former Minister of Works, Chief Anthony Anenih. At a point, Anenih was virtually begging Jonathan to come down to Edo to campaign for PDP. You know one thing is that you can never predict politicians. Who would believe that in 2007, Tinubu worked against the interest of his own party, the then ACN, and campaigned for late Umaru Yar’Adua to become president. This same Tinubu is very desperate to become President in 2023, and what many don’t know is that he has already pocketed APC national Chair- man, Adams Oshiomhole, and other nota- ble APC leaders as part of his strategies to become President in 2023. Yes, quote me, Oshiomhole has been pocketed by Tinubu. But what these people don’t know is that it is only God that knows tomorrow. Who know what will happen between now and 2023? Only God knows. I think it is too early for Tinubu, and others to be talking about 2023 now.
A group recently implored you ,and other notable PDP leaders like Chief Bode George, Kofo Bucknor-Akerele and others to join hands with Asiwaju Tinubu in moving Lagos forward, and put politics aside.
Me join hands with Tinubu or work with Tinubu? Never. It is not possible. Myself and others that you mentioned can’t work with him or join hands with him. Tinubu is a stranger in Lagos,and apart from that, his politics is politics of exploitation. Since 1999, Tinubu has been exploiting Lagos State, and up till today, his company on a monthly basis takes 15 per cent of IGR in Lagos, and that runs into billions of naira monthly. Why should anyone suggest that we should work with an exploiter of Lagos State resources?
Tinubu is not an indigene of Lagos, we can’t work with him. Then one thing that many don’t know about Tinubu is that he uses and dump people. Me work with Tinubu? No. How can that be possible? What do I tell my children and coming generations of Lagosians that I was part of a system that oppressed the people of Lagos State? It is not possible. But one thing is this, Tinubu has been there in Lagos since 1999 but he should however know this, no empire lasts for ever. His time will soon be up in Lagos sooner than later.
On your party’s candidate, Jimmy Agbaje’s loss to Olusola Sanwo-Olu of APC, it has been alleged that one of the reasons he lost was because many notable PDP leaders in Lagos refused to support, and campaign for him, what’s your take on that?
That is not entirely correct. On my own, I did my best for Jimmy Agbaje. I was on his campaign train, and followed him all over the state. But on his own part, Agbaje also made his own mistakes. It was when he won the party’s nomination as PDP candidate that many members of the party started seeing him. Before then, he has not been very visible in the party. He didn’t show enough commitments to the party much earlier. With this, he alienated some members of PDP from himself.
Another error that Jimmy Agbaje made was to have shown interest in contesting the position of PDP national chairmanship with Chief Bode George some years ago. Chief Bode George was like a political father to him, and he shouldn’t have done that. Agbaje’s action was akin to a stab in the back for George, and many supporters of George didn’t take kindly to that, and that also affected Agbaje’s electoral fortunes. It was like Agbaje sowing wind, and he reaped whirlwind. It is unfortunate that Agbaje has become an Olympian re- garding governorship elections in Lagos State. He comes out every four four years and ends up losing. He has become a serial contender. But then, all hopes is still not lost for him. It is unfortunate that Sanwo-Olu won because what his victory meant that Lagos State will continue to be under APC and Tinubu’s bondage.
Are you saying that he should still persevere when some people have advised him to quit having ran unsuccess- fully for the same position more than three times?
Well, the choice is his to make. I can’t stop him from contesting. But if he wants to make any headway, he should put his house in order. He needs to re-strategise. It is like when some people asked me whether I will or that I should quit politics because PDP has been losing to APC in Lagos State, I told them that I won’t. I will still remain in politics because I have my own followers called the Global Man- date Group. I can’t abandon them. We have also resolved that we can’t work with Tinubu or defect to APC or any other political party. We will remain in PDP work- ing hands together with others to make the party more formidable not only in Lagos but in Nigeria.
Before the general elections, a group tagged: O to ge Movement went to Kwara where its leaders led by no- table APC leaders from Lagos and other parts of the country campaigned against what they called the dominance of Saraki family in Kwara politics for several decades………
That same O To Ge Movement, we need it in Lagos State. We need the movement to put an end to Tinubu’s oppression of Lagosians. We need the movement to stop the exploitation of Lagos State resources. Lagos State is ripe for O To Ge Movement. These APC leaders that went to Kwara State are hypocrites. They are complaining about political situation in Kwara but they are doing worst things to us in Lagos. But no situation lasts for ever, their own time will soon be up in Lagos State.
What is your assessment of 2019 general elections?
It is the worst in the nation’s electoral history. INEC failed woefully. Not only that, INEC wasted a colossal sum of N244 billion naira on the failed elections. INEC also surrendered its mandate to the military, as the military openly hijacked the show from INEC in a shameless manner designed to keep APC in power.