Lere Olayinka is the media aide to former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose. In this interview, he speaks on the state of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West and the furore over his principal’s recent acclamation for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, among other issues. WALE ELEGBEDE reports
Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West appear to be angry with ex-Governor Ayo Fayose over his recent showering of praises on the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as a leader in the zone and have accused him of anti-party activities.
What is your reaction to that?
Those saying that don’t know what they are saying. That Ayo Fayose said Tinubu is a Yoruba leader; is it a lie? Is he not among the leaders of Yorubaland? Is Fayose not among the leaders in Yorubaland? Is Governor Seyi Makinde not among the leaders in Yorubaland? Is Bode George not among the leaders in Yorubaland? Can anybody erase that? Can anybody erase the fact that our Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, was made by Tinubu, politically? Can anybody erase that I am a follower of Fayose and I am being made politically by him? Can that fact be removed? They can keep on saying what they feel they want to say. Last weekend, the son of the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, got married to the daughter of PDP’s North- West chairman. The National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus and other PDP leaders like Sule Lamido were there. Are you going to say they were involved in anti-party activities? So, because we are not in the same party, should I slap Asiwaju Tinubu when I see him? Or because we are not in the same camp in PDP politically with Governor Makinde, I should slap him when I see him. That is not how to play politics of development.
The argument is also that when Fayose was the governor of Ekiti State, he had his fingers all over the affairs of PDP in the South-West?
He did not. Let them show us evidence, where Fayose as governor came to Oyo State and claimed he was the chairman. In 2016, Senator Iyiola Omisore was very close to Fayose, he was always in government house. Senator Omisore, who was a former deputy governor, wanted Bayo Faforiji as chairman in Osun State PDP. If Fayose wanted to impose, why didn’t he impose Faforiji as chairman of PDP in Osun State? When the people of Osun said it was Soji Adagunodo they wanted as chairman, at a point, Omisore was even quarreling with Fayose that he didn’t impose his choice on the people, but he didn’t budge as he said people should be allowed to make their choice. Was it Fayose that made Engr. Faboyede PDP chairman in Ondo?
They PDP leaders are saying that Ekiti PDP should suspend Fayose…
The only senator we have in Ekiti State during the COVID-19 lockdown took food items to APC local government secretariats across Ekiti State. I am saying this with facts and figures; it is there on the internet.
There are two APC senators, six APC House of Representatives members, 26 House of Assembly members, 16 local government chairmen; they have the governor and his deputy. The only senator we have rather chose to take food items to APC local government secretariats across Ekiti State. Will they say that the senator is working for the other party? In the last six months, nobody in South-West PDP has spoken against Tinubu as I did. I have evidence, all my writings are there on my Facebook timeline. Will Fayose be working for Tinubu and I will be writing against him? These people are the ones that would do PDP in the day time and APC at night. We have asked the man that is calling himself the leader of PDP in Lagos State, Chief Bode George, when last he won his polling unit for PDP in the last 16 years. He should produce results for his polling unit. These are people who have been using PDP to trade.
The moment election is coming; they would be seen in Bourdillon to collect money. In 2010, I was working closely with Dr. Wale Ahmed, who was then PDP Publicity Secretary in Lagos State.
I was writing press statements against the government of Babatunde Fashola but when Fashola won the election in 2011, Dr. Wale Ahmed was appointed Special Adviser on Special Duties to Governor Fashola even as PDP spokesman in Lagos.
He was among Chief Bode George’s boys. So, they have been using the party to trade and we are trying to change that and they are not happy.
They keep saying Fayose is having issues with Governor Makinde but the cause of the conflict between them is that Governor Makinde is backing the Senator Biodun Olujimi group in Ekiti PDP.
You don’t expect Fayose to be friends with him. Governor Makinde is sponsoring cases against Fayose’s interest in Ekiti PDP; you don’t expect us to align with him. He is also sponsoring dissidents against Ladi Adebutu in Ogun State.
He wants Adebutu to bow for him. He is in Oyo State but sponsoring cases against the Adelekes in Osun. If not that the election in 2016 was rigged, Senator Demola Adeleke would have been the governor of Osun. Will Makinde be telling him how to run his state? In the South-South, South-East where PDP has more than one governor, which governor is the leader of the party there? They keep saying he is the only governor but there are PDP governors in South-South, which of them is the leader.
Where is it in PDP’s constitution that when you have a governor in a zone, that governor is the leader of the party? Who is the leader of PDP in North Central? There is Governor Samuel Ortom from Benue State, is he claiming leadership over Senator Bukola Saraki in the North Central? Is he claiming leadership over David Mark?
There’s this also argument that Fayose is doing some things in the South-West because of his closeness to the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike…
In politics, you use your influence when you have it. Makinde should use his influence as governor too. Chief Bode George was once Deputy National Chairman of PDP, he used his influence during Jonathan’s era, he made his wife, DG of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
If Fayose is using his influence, others should use their own too. Fayose is playing his game; they should play their own too. As I am talking to you, there is a 12-member caretaker committee in the South- West, seven are with Fayose. There are six state chairmen, four are with Fayose. With Fayose, we have four states’ structures. Even in Oyo where we have Makinde, he doesn’t have Oyo State 100 per cent, so they should stop complaining about Fayose.
Is former Governor Fayose having an upper hand in the affairs of Ekiti PDP?
What do you call upper hand? We have had a congress in the wards, 14 local governments out of 16. We have had the state congress. Senator Olujimi can be making noise, he is a senator representing Ekiti South, I am from Ekiti Central, how can you come from Ekiti South to claim that you are my leader in Ekiti Central?
But she is a former deputy governor…
She was deputy governor under Fayose. If I become a senator tomorrow, will I stand before Fayose that I am his leader; will I stand before Segun Oni that I am his leader? It doesn’t make sense. Can former Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed stand before Bukola Saraki and say he is the leader of PDP in Kwara. Can the governor of Adamawa, Umaru Fintiri stand before former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and say because he’s the sitting governor; he is now PDP leader in Adamawa. Olujimi served under Fayose as a special assistant, she rose from being special assistant to House of Representatives and became deputy governor under Fayose.
It was when Fayose was running his 2nd term that she went to Senate for the first time. If Governor Makinde leaves office tomorrow and one of the people serving under him becomes member of the House of Representatives or a senator, will they stand before him and claim to be his leader in PDP? The unfortunate thing is that most of the people talking are not schooled in the workings of PDP.
The truth of the matter is that in 2011, Governor Makinde was in All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). In 2015, he was in Social Democratic Party (SDP), he only returned to PDP in 2018. He hasn’t stayed long enough in PDP to understand the workings of the party. This party, especially in the South- West has never been controlled by one person; every state has its own leader. Even in Ekiti, I’m from Ekiti West local government, in my town, Okemesi, there are three wards, we were the ones that chose the party exco members, Fayose didn’t choose our exco for us.
If Fayose did not impose an exco on my local government, how can Makinde be in Ibadan and impose who will be the chairman of my local government? Nobody is saying Makinde is not the governor of Oyo State, nobody is saying that he is not the only governor of PDP in the South-West but he does not have the power of an emperor; he doesn’t have the power to also dictate what will happen in my local government, we will resist it.