‘I am not afraid of Jimi Agbaje joining PDP’ – Deji Doherty

ON Friday, July 18, 2014, ENCOMIUM Weekly was at the Oregun, Lagos office of Lagos Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Engineer Deji Doherty, where we had an encounter with him on the latest about his guber ambition and much more.  He, however, rubbished the tale that he is afraid of Jimi Agbaje joining PDP.

Deji Doherty

Deji Doherty

What’s the latest about your political ambition as Lagos Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant?
What is happening is that we have to go through the primary election, and we are getting ready for that.  We’re consulting with the leaders of the party, we are also consulting with the ward chairmen and various structures within the party. I believe that’s all we can do at this period.
But the tale is that President Goodluck Jonathan has endorsed Jimi Agbaje, and that the battle line is now drawn between you and Jimi Agbaje, what’s your reaction to this?
I don’t believe that.  I think it’s just one of the ploys of politicians that are working with Jimi Agbaje that maybe flying that kite.  But we should know that President Jonathan is not the type that condones imposition of any kind.  Definitely, he would always want a situation where a consensus candidate can be reached.  And at a point where that’s not reached, he will definitely opt for primary which is what has been enshrined in the party’s constitution.  So, that’s the position today.  Jimi Agbaje coming in or any other person willing to come in will surely have to go through the constitution of the party.  And the party’s constitution has already stated that the primary will take place.  Then, the better person will emerge.  If it’s me, fine.  Also, if it’s him, all well and good.
We also learnt you’re afraid of Jimi Agbaje coming into PDP because of his perceived credibility…
(Cuts in) I don’t know the point you’re trying to make.  I am credible also.  So, I don’t know what the point is about the perceived credibility.  Jimi Agbaje and I have spoken.  We have discussed whether he was coming to PDP or not, he stated clearly that he was not really interested in that because of factions in the party.  I even tried to convince him, it’s something you can verify from him.  I tried to convince him to join PDP because I see his coming into the party as something that

Jimi Agbaje

Jimi Agbaje

will only help our number.  And politics is a game of numbers.  You will never tell anyone not to come into your party.  I don’t believe that it’s correct for anybody to say that somebody is afraid of another person coming into the party.  I think he is credible enough, I am also credible enough to bear the flag of the party, come 2015.  Also, we have other credible people in the party, including Dr. Ogundimu, Ade Dosumu, Dr. Tokunbo, Dr. Dominic, Sali and others that are also vying for the same governorship seat of the state.  So, Jimi Agbaje will just be one of us.  I don’t think his being in politics is to the extent that anybody will be afraid of him coming into our party.  But he is very much welcome into the party when he comes and if he comes.  I will still implore him to please, come into the party. He is free to try his luck too.
Is he not a card carrying member of the party yet?
I am not sure because when I asked him, he said he was not a card carrying member of PDP but that does not mean that he can’t be a card carrying member at any particular point in time.  He can choose to come into the party today and become a card carrying member.  I don’t think there is any specific prerequisite for that.  All he needs to do is go to his ward, register there, he becomes a card carrying member of the party automatically.  So, that’s the easiest way.  Even, you as a journalist can walk into the party and say you want to be a member.  We make it very easy in PDP for anyone to come into the party.  We never shut our door against anybody willing to join the party.  And I am using this medium to tell other political bigwigs in all other parties that our doors are open, we want more people in the party.  We want sitting senators, sitting members of House of Representatives and many more from other parties to come into our party.  The Lagos project is the one that we must all work together to become victorious at the end of the day.
What if Jimi Agbaje declares for PDP tomorrow, and the powers that be now endorses him as the party’s flag bearer in the 2015 Lagos guber election, what will be your reaction?
That’s what I am trying to explain that all these things you’re saying don’t happen like that.  People just bandy them around.  There are several examples.  Anyone can say Mr. President has endorsed him. I can also say it tomorrow that the president has endorsed me.  But for anything to happen in PDP, you have to go through the normal politics of cajoling the state executive, local government executive.  You will still have to cajole the ward executive councils.  Then, cajole the leaders of the party so that they can vote the way the president wants things to roll, if that’s the thing. But at this time, I believe the president has not endorsed anyone in Lagos.  And that we have confirmed from the national headquarters of the party.  I believe it won’t just happen in 2015 whereby the president endorses someone to go and be the flag bearer of the party in a particular state.  He is not that kind of person.  They can do that in APC, APGA or any other party, we don’t do that in PDP.
What’s your preparation for the primary election and how popular are you in the party?
I don’t think it’s something you need to ask me. I don’t want to start blowing my trumpet.  I can’t tell you my strategies for winning the primary election.  What I know is that, come end of October 2014, I am going to carry the flag of PDP for the governorship seat of Lagos State by the grace of God.
Let’s talk about the Ekiti guber polls which is still generating reactions.  All Progressives Congress (APC) has petitioned the PDP, INEC and governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, alleging that the election was electronically rigged, what’s your comment on this?
When you write examinations in those days, and you failed woefully, you will invent all sorts of excuses why you failed.  You can say, you couldn’t see the questions well or somebody charmed you, and when you got to the examination hall, you couldn’t see again and more and more.  It’s not uncommon for us to see something like this. It’s something we all have to look at very well.  It’s something that the people of Ekiti State shouldn’t condone.  The election had come and gone, and the APC lost which cannot be turned because the people of Ekiti turned out en masse to vote out APC and they have their reasons for doing so.  Now, for them to save face because they didn’t win any local government in the state, and this is a sitting governor, definitely, they must come up with a reason or reasons they couldn’t win even a local government.  It came to them as a surprise.  I believe APC leaders are just flying the kite of a tribunal to just save their faces so as to give their supporters a kind of hope they can hang onto before drowning in Osun State.
Osun election is around the corner, APC and Aregbesola have been alleging PDP of plans to rig the election, they alleged that about 250,000 master voter cards have been distributed by INEC out of about 1.3m people that will participate in the election, what do you have to say about this?
From the last report, I heard that there were about 1.3 million registered voters, and out of these, it’s only 700,000 permanent voter cards that have been delivered to Osun State.  Definitely, it will be more than that by now.  so, I don’t think what they are saying is correct. PDP is not a party that has rigging machinery.  So, it’s wrong for anybody to say we’re planning to rig an election.  The negative thing that APC has done cannot be washed away.  And this is why, in the entire Yorubaland, APC is not wanted anymore.  This is because the party’s policies have been anti-people. So, if you have been carrying anti-people policies for so long, it’s one or two things. It’s either you don’t believe in those people or you don’t even believe in their votes.  Maybe, their votes do not count because they have the machinery of rigging and that’s why their policies have been anti-people. So, they will lose the election in Osun State, and which I am sure they will.  So, whose headache is that?  After all, we’re not the ones who told Aregbesola to take missionary schools from the original owners. We’re not the ones who advised that he should insist that hijab should be worn by all the girls in public schools.  So, these policies and many more are not acceptable by the people in Osun.  He’s the one that dug his hole, and definitely, he has to enter it.  As you lay your bed so you lie on it.  There are no two ways to it.  So, that’s about to happen to him now.  Let’s all wait till August 9, 2014.
Now, back to your ambition, what’re your chances of winning the Lagos guber election if you scale through the primary?
At this particular time, we have already taken from my own analysis and independent surveys by private organizations, we have already had about 45 per cent of the votes, even without going for an election.  So, if you go for an election today, PDP will emerge victorious in Lagos. On a one-man one-vote, PDP is going to win.  We will rule the state, and it’s due to their handiworks.
Can we call it revolution if PDP eventually wins across the South-West?
Not if we win, we are winning already and Lagos won’t be an exception.  It is a Tsunami of the people against the APC in the South-West.  And that can’t be stopped.  Let me give you these, are we the ones that asked Fashola to ban okada operation, are we the ones that told them to privatise hospitals and make poor people pay N12,500 for a pint of blood?  Are we the ones that told them not to create good school facilities?  Are we the ones who said they should not adopt the minimum wage approved by the Federal Government?  Are we the ones that told them to pick up the people walking on the streets and take them to Badagry?  Are we the ones that put BRT buses on the road to kill a soldier?  Are we the ones that asked them to introduce multiple taxation?  Are we the ones that said they should raise Lagos State University (LASU) school fees to N250,000?  Are we the ones that told them to start taking up the markets?  Are we the ones that told them not to put in place a commission for enquiry for the markets that have been burning since about 10 years?  We have a lot of markets that have burnt, including Alaba, Ladipo, Tejuosho and more.  Are we the ones that said they should create all sorts of taxes, including consumption tax, merriment tax, radio tax and all that?  We’re not the cause of their woes.  So, they should look inwards and see what they can do.  As a matter of fact, they are even after me now.  They are coming to shut my company down for picking dirts, garbage in my own company.  LAWMA is threatening to shut my company down.  Even LASTMA is also threatening.  This is the way they are operating.  All the private enterprises and industries don’t want them.  And this is the power of the votes.  I thank God, they are already on their way out.
–               TADE ASIFAT



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