Publicity Secretary of Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ganiu Taofeek, spoke with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI on disruption of the state congress and the jitters the emergency of Senator Iyorchia Ayu as the national chairman of the party, has sent to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
What is the way forward following the impasse caused by the disruption of your state congress recently?
We are expecting that the National Working Committee (NWC) would give us a new date. They said the current officers should continue to work pending other directives.
Who is the substantive chairman of the party in the state now?
We don’t have a substantive chairman now but we have an Acting Chairman, Alhaji Waliu Hassan, who is our deputy chairman. He is working in acting capacity for the party.
Does it means that all the officers in Lagos PDP are on acting capacity now?
We are not acting, it is an extension. By implication, the constitution says that we will spend four years, but by the doctrine of necessity, our tenure has been extended. The only person that is acting is the deputy chairman, who is acting as the chairman.
But when do you think then the congress would coming up?
We are waiting for the National Working Committee (NWC) to give us direction.
But how would you described the invasion by gunmen that led to the abandonment of your congress, was it a sponsored act or a reflection of the disunity in the party?
No. We have a position on that, which we released after the event. I will blame the invasion on the opposition party because the election was going on smoothly and the leaders had agreed that there would be a unity list. On that same day, some parties were having multiple congresses. Some persons came to disrupt the process to give us a bad name.
So, it was not sponsored by people within the party?
It couldn’t have been. As far as we are concerned, those that did that were sponsored by the opposition party.
Is there a guarantee that your party is still united following this incident?
It’s in the interest of the party to be united and it is the expectations of the people of Lagos State that the PDP, as the only viable alternative, is united. And at the end of the day, when they vote their votes would count because it is the only party that can protect the interest of the voters. We are working assiduously to ensure that every member of the party in the state work for the party to win. For us to win the next election, it means all hands must be on deck and united. As we work towards it we want to prayerfully say that God will help us to achieve this.
Following the success of your recently held national convention in Abuja, would you say that the party is now well positioned for the 2023 general elections?
There is no doubt about it, the symbol of the party at the national level, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, is a threat to the ruling APC. This is because this is a man who knows the in and out of the PDP and he can bring everybody together. The only thing that can be an albatross is if there is last minute unresolved issue. He is also a veteran in politicking. He has learned more than enough to be able to face the APC.
How would the adoption of e-transmission of results boost the credibility of 2023 general elections?
As a party, we do not see it as a true talk or what they are ready to implement. It is just a political statement, at the last minute you will see that they would not allow it. If they allow it you will see that APC cannot get 20% of votes in this country, so, they will not allow it. Former President Goodluck Jonathan had put everything in place to allow for credible election only for the APC to pull us back by 20 years in 2019. Why was it not assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari? They just want to wear that clothe of being democrats. I will challenge them to allow it come to play. Once we are able to allow it there would be reduced violence. That is the only time Nigerians will know that their votes count and the people they have given their mandates are the people in power. Any serious president should allow it, but we know that APC will not allow electronic voting or electronic transmission of votes.
The body language of the APC is indicating that they want power to shift to the South in 2023, but it’s like the PDP is not disposed to this. Will your party follow this pattern?
It is the strategy of my party and we are not going to disclose it. We are also not in doubt that the APC is only deceiving Nigerians. We are waiting for other considerations before giving the presidential ticket to anybody. For us in the PDP, we are not sacrosanct about where the presidency will come from. The other party has bastardised the zoning system. Nigerians are now talking about giving them the best candidate, they are not talking about zoning now. We are not going to follow that fake talk that they want to give the presidency to the South.
But PDP governors were at the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) that agreed that the presidency should go to the South, would it not amount to betrayal if your party does otherwise?
How many PDP governors were there? Only one. If he had opposed it, it would not have amounted to anything. He was still a minority. It is a talk by the APC.