ON Thursday, September 4, 2014, ENCOMIUM Weekly visited Lagos People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Engineer Adedeji Doherty in his Oregun, Lagos office, where he opened up on many issues revolving around his ambition and the party itself, including the rumour that the party’s governorship ticket has been conceded to Mr. Jimi Agbaje…
What’s the latest concerning your ambition to govern Lagos State on the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)?
Thank you so much. I don’t think there is any new thing other than the ongoing consultation and reconciliation. Consultation within the party leaders and caucuses in the party, that’s what we’re all focusing on now. And we’re also getting ready for the official declaration and official launching of our local government tour, which will extend to next month. After that, we will now be waiting for direct primary, which we believe is going to be free and fair.
When is the primary holding?
It’s going to hold in October, by God’s grace.
But the story at the moment is that the governorship ticket has caused serious rancor among all the aspirants, especially you, Jimi Agbaje and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro. How true is it?
Nothing can cause rancor in PDP, nothing can tear us apart. As at today, I still repeat, nothing can tear PDP apart. All the aspirants are still going to pass through screening. Those of us that need waivers will still
request for waivers, and those of us that will have to resign our present positions will also do that and so on. So, why will anybody quarrel in PDP today? Obanikoro has not resigned, Kamson has not resigned, I also have not resigned as the party’s zonal organizing secretary. So, we all have one or two things to do, and once those things are done, you now know that you can go on campaigning.
With Jimi Agbaje, who is just coming into the party, he will need to get a waiver. So, he still has hurdles to go through. What he is doing now is that he is just introducing himself within the party which is not bad. We want more people to join PDP, not only Jimi Agbaje. If we can get more people into the party, the better it is for our party. So, I am using this medium to invite more people into PDP.
The party’s ticket has not been given to anybody, the ticket is open to everybody who is willing to contest for it. So, we still want more people from all other parties, including All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP) and others. We need all the political juggernauts to come into the party. All we need is PDP government in Lagos. It doesn’t have to be a particular person. It doesn’t have to be Jimi Agbaje, Obanikoro or Deji Doherty but it must be a passionate PDP member. And the person has to be passionate about his party, members of the party and his programme.
But what we learnt is that the governorship ticket has been conceded to Jimi Agbaje by other aspirants, including you. How true is it?
That’s not possible. It’s a lie. A lot of us have never worked with Jimi Agbaje before. A lot of us do not know him from anywhere. Many of us don’t have Jimi Agbaje on the list of leaders in PDP for the past 14 years. So, why will anybody with his right senses say he is conceding the governorship ticket to him? I don’t understand what you mean. And with all due respect to Jimi Agbaje, I don’t think he himself will say that. But definitely you have supporters and sycophants that can say anything. Even, some things some of my supporters posted on Facebook recently, they said I am their choice to be the flagbearer of the party in Lagos, so I was surprised myself. We all have our supporters within the party. We have all these spinners, and it’s part of politics to play on the intelligence of a lot of people. There is nothing wrong with that. But officially, I can tell you as a member of the party’s executive, South West as of today, no candidate has been chosen, given any ticket or imposed in the People’s Democratic Party in any state in the South West, including Lagos and that won’t happen in PDP. I can assure you everybody will go through the primary, be it in Ogun, Oyo or Lagos and other parts of the country.
The last time we had a chat with you concerning Jimi Agbaje, you said his coming into PDP wasn’t a threat to your ambition. You also said he wasn’t a card carrying member then. And now that he has joined the party officially, how do you feel about it now?
I still feel delighted that he has come in because before, Jimi Agbaje wasn’t too comfortable with PDP. I had a one-on-one discussion with him but now that he feels comfortable and happy with the party, it’s a good development. His coming will strengthen the party just like others who have joined the party from various wards and local governments. We are going for a competition, and every aspirant going for the competition just like a sports competition will also like to be on the lookout for how he or she could win. And that’s the position right now. We’re going to compete for the same ticket but only God knows who is going to win. But I know with the passion I have for the party, my diligence and contribution to the development of the party, and with the time I put in building this party, definitely the members of the party will recognize me and give me the ticket.
How will you also feel if at the end of the day, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro also comes out to slug it out with you?
When Obanikoro joined PDP, I was one of those that received him. I can show you the photograph of Obanikoro when he came into the party. We received him because we like people in PDP. We don’t tell people to go, we only tell them to come. And we are interested in increasing the membership of the party. However, Obanikoro has played his role in the party, it’s for the party to judge if he has done it the right way or the wrong way. As far as I am concerned, we have given him the opportunity and it’s the members of PDP that will decide if Obanikoro has lived up to the expectation of the people. They have given him different positions to prove himself, and they will use such positions as yardstick to decide whether they will vote for him or not.
You’re one of those who strongly believe that PDP would win Osun again as it did in Ekiti but the reverse was the case. Now, what’s your reaction concerning the victory of Aregbesola?
Left to me, I don’t see that as victory. Anything that comes in through the backdoor is not victory. Unfortunately, we exposed all our strategies in Ekiti whereby the rigging machineries of APC were brought to a standstill. In Osun, they beat us to it because at the end of the day, their rigging machineries worked for them. But anything built on nothing won’t last.
So, you believe the election was rigged?
Definitely, and we’re at the tribunal now. Everything will be exposed, and when that’s done, let the law take its course. The evidence is there and everything will be tendered. But let me tell you emphatically, in Lagos in 2015, there won’t be any room for rigging. We’re already aware of what they’re already doing in getting ready for the registration for the permanent voters card. We already know who they are talking to, we have heard and seen everything. And we’re following their footsteps and we will catch them. So, I am using this medium to sound a note of warning to collaborators and the APC itself that Lagos State will have zero tolerance for any kind of electoral malpractice. And I will say it, they should not let Lagos burn this time around. Rigging won’t be accepted in Lagos in 2015.