How did you take the news of your suspension as the PDP Chairman in Lagos State?
The news came from unserious people who did not read the Constitution and who just want to cause problems for the party. I don’t take it as a serious issue. They went to court and the court told them that the status quo should remain. So, they didn’t wait until the day they were to attend the court before going ahead to do so many illegalities. As far as I’m concerned, the state chapter is intact, we have just had our meeting comprising well-meaning working committee and non-working committee members, almost 30 of us sat this morning and a resolution was passed affirming Tai Benedict and myself as the deputy chairman and state chairman of the party respectively. Those people don’t know what they are doing.
The decision to suspend you was informed by an ongoing case in court against you. Can you give us a brief about the case?
There is also an ongoing case that involves them too because when they forged signatures, we took action swiftly and wrote a petition to the police and Department of State Services to do their work and trail them. On the day they will go to court, we are going to be there with all our executive members. Let them come and point at anyone who wrote anything against the state chairman and his deputy. They just want to cause disaffection among the party members. Those behind the scenes are just using it to look for a way to dissolve the state executive which was properly constituted through an election when we are running a constitutional party system. They thought they could go through the backdoor and do all those things. They have failed because they failed from the beginning by faking names and signatures. We are going to get to the root of everything. There must be sanity and discipline in the party. All these things are what we are going to put to bear and we are going to handle it all legally.
Can this post-election crisis rocking the PDP be linked to the party’s performance in the general elections?
Well, it’s possible, that is why we are not leaving any stone unturned. The party set up a high-power committee to look into all areas before the election, during the election and after the election, and proffer solutions for better outings in the future. Until the committee comes out with the report, I don’t have much to say about that since we have assigned some people to do that.
Yes. We have the Elders Council and the state executive who is in support of all that I’m doing. There is nothing I do as a party man without consulting the elders of the party. I’m a party man and I don’t do anything without consultation. Those who don’t have party experience will just come out overnight and take illegal action which cannot stand. The whole nation is watching. If they allow illegality to stand, it will snowball into other places. So, we are not going to allow it and we know our judiciary will not allow it too. The judiciary will follow the rule of law.
Is the party’s governorship candidate in the March 18 election in Lagos, Olajide Adeniran, also mediating to end the crisis?
I don’t think he’s meditating. Rather, he’s fuelling the crisis as far as the information I’m getting. Until I get the full report, I will not be able to speak much. For me, I’ve not seen him bringing the party together.
Has there been any intervention from the national body of the party?
No, there is no intervention. This is a state chapter, the national body is very clear that proper things should be done, and that if you want to take any action, follow the constitution, follow the due process. That is what we must do as a party. The state chapter will get the report of the committee we have set up, look at everything inside out, and present it to the national body.
Do you believe that the disciplinary committee set up by those who suspended you will come up with a decision that will favour you?
Who do you think are those backing the group fuelling the crisis in the party?
By the time the arm of the law gets them, they will tell us who is backing them because I know they cannot get away with it. Except we want to agree that there is no law in Nigeria anymore. There is no rule whereby anybody can just forge a signature and get away with it.
Can you brief us on the latest development since the announcement of your suspension?
My lawyers went to court and they got the ruling from the court which that group said it went to, and they discovered that the purported injunction gotten was all lies. The group approached the court and the court said they had no sufficient evidence for the judge to go ahead with what they asked him to do, and that they should come back on May 12. They committed another heinous crime which cannot be condoned in our society. They have turned our politics into jungle politics. They think they can just get up and do whatever they like to do, which is totally unacceptable.
We are taking the necessary steps to make sure we get to the root of all of this mess. My lawyers will inform security agencies about the development. I believe you have heard about the press conference we had concerning the situation. For me, I’ll remain decent because I believe I became the state chairman not based on what I wanted to get but because I wanted to improve the quality of politics and ensure that things should be done rightly. That is what I’ve been trying to do. I established a transparent administration and that is what I’ll continue to do. Whatever they do today by wrong means will not be acceptable. If you allow it to go on like that, it may continue and it may snowball into other issues. That is why we are not leaving any stone unturned to see that justice is done. The entire executive and I are together, we are united and we’ll make sure we set up a committee that will ask questions, bring suggestions, prove every record, and proffer advice that will be tenable towards improving the politics of the party.
What are the efforts in place to ensure that the party is formidable before the next election?
For now, we are trying to make sure that we grow the party because as it is now, so many people have left the party because of what happened. In the past, candidates were just brought up arbitrarily without due process. So, we are trying to rebuild the party and make it stronger than it is now by the grace of God.