In this interview, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Philip Aivoji, speaks. WIN THE CONTRACT five aggrieved governors of the party during their visit to the state.
Do you think the PDP in Lagos should be worried that the aggrieved governors did not provide protection to the state governorship candidate and his presidential candidate during the visit?
I don’t think we should worry. We have no problem at all. We are focused, we know the people we are talking to, and we know how to work and how to lead. We don’t want anybody to come and win us elections in Lagos State. We are the ones who take fate into our hands, and we will work to win. So what the five governors say is irrelevant. They are free to help whoever they want. So we are not worried at all. I don’t think we should even bother talking about it, because the person who invited them has made it very clear that he is disappointed, embarrassed and humiliated. So what should we say again when God is fighting for Atiku? We are with Atiku, we are with Jandor and we are winning Lagos State.
Do you think the five governors are leading the Lagos State PDP governorship candidate, Olajide Adeiran, to clash with Atiku?
Did they mention Jandor’s name? Did they mention Atiku’s name? Since those who were there said that they did not mention the names of Atiku and Jandor, how can I say now that I was not there? You (the press) interview those who were there; tell us what you saw. As far as I am concerned, the five governors are just opportunists who are not grounded in politics. They all started in politics in 1998 and since the time of the UPN no notable politician would have made such a suicidal move. No one ventures to the party and goes free.
For me, it doesn’t bother me. Hereafter will judge them all. I’m in the party for nothing or whatever. I want to give PDP a state. That is my interest and focus.
Do you think the displeasure shown by PDP supporters was spectacular over the failure of the five governors to rally for Atiku and Jandor?
yes The voice of the people is the voice of God. It shows that Atiku and Jandor are popular in Lagos and can win elections in the state. PDP members are with them. Anyone who doesn’t support either candidate in this party is on their own; such a person is not our member, and he is free to leave the party. No one forced anyone to join the party. We all joined of our own free will. There is a constitution that unites everyone, and we must be people of honor and integrity. What surprised me is that the leader who invited them, who had been preaching honesty, turned out to be the opposite. We respect it; he is old, he has served before, and he is a retired general. But what I see is that most of them lack ethics and discipline. Every profession has its own dos and don’ts. Once you cross the red line, you know you’re on your own. So if the party doesn’t say anything now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t know what to do. Let’s stay focused and win the election.
Were your party members right to express their displeasure with former PDP National Member of Parliament Olabode George after meeting with the governors?
It shows that they are committed party members and people of great honor and integrity; they know what they are doing. If any leader wants to deviate, you will say to the leader, “Sir, you are wrong.” That was the training we had in politics. Anyone I work with, no matter how high, has to hear me tell them when they’re wrong if they want me to. Some of us are honest politicians who are not indifferent, which is why you rarely see me speak. We are with Atiku Abubakar, and we know he will win. That’s why we don’t change our minds.
Do you think APC can exploit the crack in your party?
There are no cracks. What are they capitalizing on? They failed. He has been rejected by the whole society. The people are suffering because APC has failed them; there is no food So what are they capitalizing on? Do you want to capitalize five governors? Five disgruntled governors are also afraid to approach the APC. If they go there, they will all be destroyed together.
Do you think Atiku has handled the situation with the aggrieved governors well?
Well, I’ll just say what I know. I am not a member of the national body, nor am I the national president. I’m not a member of the national labor committee, so I wouldn’t know how he manages it. All I know is that the five governors have gone too far. They are all mature leaders and people who have followers and want people to be like them and contribute their share to society. The way things are being handled shows that they are not setting a good example, especially Governor Wike and the other man from Benue. Governor Benue has disappointed me because I thought he was a “child of God”.
Shouldn’t your party be worried that they may lose the Igbo voters they used to bank in Lagos, now that one of their own is Peter Obi as the Labor Party’s presidential candidate?
I don’t think we should worry. We have to do more work. It will not only divide the PDP vote; It will also split the APC vote. We are not worried because in the end, PDP will win the election. Talk about the Igbo people; we have them at our party. We also have supporters who are Igbo and will vote for our party. By the grace of God, we will defeat APC in Lagos State. I mean it, and it will be.
Is PDP hoping for votes from the Lagos north community?
People’s minds have been made; that’s why you see APC confused. That is why, some time ago, the APC vice presidential candidate came to Alaba to talk to the people. At the end of the day, you will see many Igbos and Hausa voting for PDP. We know those people who are members of Hausa APC; now they are talking to us and they want to decamp en masse. At some point, APC will realize that they have no Hausa representatives other than a few members of their executive committee. They are the people who own them, not the Hausas who are punished and imprisoned every day. Hausa people who sell products worth not more than N5,000 are harassed and arrested. After arrest, they demand N50,000 from them or if they do not pay, they are put in jail. Do you think they are stupid? They will not vote for APC because the party will cause them difficulties. Let them continue to deceive themselves. At the end of the day, you will see the majority of Hausa, Igbo and South-South voting for PDP. We will get more votes than in the previous elections.
What is your take on the school of thought that says he is a bastard Yoruba son who doesn’t vote for Tinubu?
I will say that any Yoruba who votes for Tinubu is a bastard. This is a man without righteousness; he is not Omoluabian, and everything about him is false. This is the man who destroyed what Awolowo had built for the Yoruba over the years; he destroyed it overnight. He is a man who embarrassed NADECO members to death. People are convinced that anyone who votes for Tinubu is mentally ill or needs to get their head examined. Look at how he campaigns. Can that person even administer a local government at his age? No one should make the mistake of saying that anyone who does not vote for Tinubu is a bastard. Can Tinubu himself identify his mother? Will he tell us his father’s name? Who’s the bastard now? Birds of a feather flock together. So whoever votes for Tinubu is a bastard.
What should Lagosians expect from a Jandor administration?
Lagosians should expect a government of peace, a government of unity, a transparent government and a responsible government, not a government that will do whatever it wants. One person has killed an entire civil servant in Lagos. I was once a commissioner in Lagos State, which had the best civil service but when Tinubu came, he trashed the whole system and turned everything upside down. We will do a lot of work to get it right. That’s why I pray that Jandor wins the election. We will bring people who know how to deal with issues, who know how to do the right thing in government; we will put them, and things will work. I draw my experience from past governors I have worked with, like the late Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who achieved so many things during his tenure in government, including housing spread across the state. When Tinubu came in, he made everything his personal property. He acquired so much land in Ibeju Lekki and also in Badagrin. Who owns the entire IGR? Everyone knows all these things. When he is bragging about the money he will give to people, let him give money; we do not serve money. I know most Nigerians know the God they are serving. According to the Bible, some trust in money, others in carts, but we trust in the name of the Lord, and anyone who believes in the Lord is the majority.