Why I abandoned PDP for APC –Femi Olajobi

Comrade Femi Olajobi is a chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. The Ilupeju Ekiti-born politician, in this interview with LEKAN ADEJUWON, expresses his worries on the state of affairs in Ekiti State and his reasons for dumping the party for the All Progressives Congress, APC. Excerpts:

You’ve just declared your intention to defect from the ruling PDP to the APC. What informed the decision?

There are two reasons why I had to leave the PDP for APC. One is personal, the other is nationalistic. On a personal note, I joined the party in 2006 to see if we can build the party as a truly national party but the problem with PDP all over the country is that there is no discipline. Somebody would leave the party, go to three or four parties like the incumbent governor. He was the governor when he was impeached. He went to the ANPP, from there he went to AC, from AC, he went to Labour Party and finally returned to the PDP and we held no primaries in Ekiti State. It was an ‘arrangee’ PDP primaries and all of a sudden we had Fayose was elected as the PDP candidate.

A distinguished son of Ekiti State and a former senator, Ayo Arise, took it upon himself and said that this party must not fall that we have to remain in the mainstream. He reconciled the whole 13 aspirants starting from his brother and the present Minister of State for Works, Prince Adeyeye. He reconciled all of them excluding Senator Gbenga Aluko who refused to be part of the reconciliation. Immediately after he won the election he stopped picking Senator Arise’s calls. This is after he had promised him a senatorial seat and by the time Arise would go to the primaries, there was even no form for the congress election in three out of the five local governments

You sound as if you are fighting another person’s battle.

No, I am not fighting another man’s battle. I am only stating part of the personal reasons why I am quitting PDP. I know Fayose like the palm of my hands. In 2003, he stormed my village because he knew I was contesting for the House of Assembly though in another party. He said even if I won the election, he would not allow me. I was robbed at the collation centre on the day of the election.

How come you remain in the party?

We remained in the party because we felt we had to be in the mainstream. We felt that if Ekiti people had to be in the mainstream, some people had to chart the cause. So, we all remained. But by the time AC came on board based on the Ekiti Agenda to fight PDP, then there was a primary in the AC but unfortunately 13 aspirants out of 14 that contested felt cheated because the exercise was not transparent and yet the party announced Fayemi as the winner of the controversial primary. 13 aspirants left the AC and joined PDP and we have been there ever since. But why is this your move coming at a time when the PDP lost power at the centre? Whoever knows me in Ekiti State knew that I never started my move today. The very day that ‘arrangee’ primary happened at Eagle Event Centre, I wrote my Local Government PDP in Oye that for the next 1,640 days whether Fayose wins or not I don’t have anything to do with party arrangement.

I will remain a member of PDP, I will be active in my ward but I will never be part of any arrangement whether to support the governor or against him. Because this is a person who wounded the PDP, got PDP out of power by supporting somebody who was to have a rerun in another party against his party, the PDP, till we lost. After we lost and another party came in, he now came back to the party and when he wanted to be governor, he never allowed a smooth primary. So, it is about conscience to say is there any primary in the first place to foist this man on us? That was what happened it was not a spontaneous action.

I can understand where you are coming from but what do you think of Ekiti in the current political equation, being, perhaps, the only PDP State in the South West?

Thank you for that logical question. Ekiti can manouvre itself if the incumbent governor decides to give peace a chance. Ekiti is about the smallest state in the country with the same homogenous people. Believe me, since we know ourselves, there is nobody in Ekiti State that governor will say, “come and see me in any party”, representing any interest that will not want to be there. It now depends on how you want to handle the situation. We only need a good manager to take Ekiti State to the next level.

Another raging issue is about this impeachment saga. Do you think this is what Ekiti people deserve at this time?

I have not seen the impeachment notice either online or served to the governor physically and I know that if you are going to impeach somebody, it is not going to be a la carte. It is a process. That people go to APC does not mean I cannot tell people the right thing. What I know is that in Nigeria today, impeachment is no longer possible under 60 days because if you are setting up a committee, the governor can say that committee does not follow due process. He may go to court. The court can say, okay, go and set up another committee which might take another two weeks. That means you are buying time which goes to tell you that it is not going to be possible in the next two months, the last life line of the present House of Assembly. But for anybody to tell me as an outgoing PDP man that House of Assembly members cannot come to Ekiti… We voted them to stay for 1,640 days. Under Segun Oni, we have 13/13 which has never happened in the annals of Nigerian political. He managed them to a level that we are all happy that Segun Oni is one of the best managers that ever was here. But people never sang his praise until he left.

But here is where you have the opposition. In Nasarawa State there are 33 members in the House of Assembly with only 3 APC members, the remaining 30 members were all PDP. The only time they made a move against Al-Makura, Governor Al-Makura was in Aso Rock to see Goodluck Jonathan and said these are the people who had been running government with me for the past 3 years. And by the time Jonathan went through his case, he sent a warning signal to the House and that was the end of the matter. It shows that Al-Makura is a very good manager. Can’t our governor manage a homogenous state like Ekiti? These guys, you know, have only six months. Somebody can manage 30 people for 4 years and you cannot manage 19 people for 7 months. Just ask yourself the question: If you were in his shoes what would you do?

But let us look at the issue from the governor’s point of view. He said there was a premeditated moved by the Speaker to make himself the Acting Governor even before his inauguration?

How can seven people impeach somebody who has 19 behind him. Seven over 26 is zero in any exams because it is not even up to one third and even the six out of the seven are those who want to have a piece of the cake. Six APC members just coming to reap where they never sowed. How can seven people impeach 19 members even in absential. Where are they seated to raise their hands?

Another school of thought has it that in a situation like this, the court is there to intervene in the sense that the governor is having more than one pending cases in court. Don’t you see the action of the 19 lawmakers as politically motivated because by April 14, the Supreme Court will give a final judgement on eligibility. Why can’t the lawmakers exercise some patience till that date?

Before the issue of eligibility, there is the issue of illegal impeachment of the Speaker because it was after the Appeal Court judgement over election tribunal that the issue of eligibility based on the judgment of Appeal Court that now says is he eligible? That is for a higher court to decide. The case has been there ab initio; that he was illegally impeached. I never met Omirin one on one in politics, but I know him as an outstanding Ekiti citizen. It is not about person or party but about the general interest of Ekiti people.

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