Barrister Kayode Oduoye is a chieftain and the House of Representatives candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency in the 2015 general elections. He is fondly called Superkay by his admirers. In this segmented interview with CityMirrorNews, he stripped the masquerade on the controversies surrounding the conduct of the PDP ward, local government and state congresses in Osun state. Excerpts:
Your party’s congress has ended with controversies and more friction between members of the party in Osun state. Is this not impediment to the stabilization of your party?
In every political party; people with divergent interest will definitely belong to different camp or group. As a party man, I believe that the party’s laws should be supreme and outmost in the heart of true party faithful. In what we are seeing in Osun; build up to that congresses-ward, local and state, has clearly shown that the party is evolving from the old order into a new phase. What I mean by that is that everybody must have sense of belongings as a member of the party, everybody must see himself or herself as stakeholder in that party. If these two things are right; then everybody must have a measure, I mean a commensurate measure of say in exercising their franchise and what the party should be. I also believe strongly that PDP, where we are now, have learnt our lessons from why we failed from our last general elections. Going forward, we need to make sure that we correct the wrongs and also make sure that it is all about what the voice of the people is. It is not so much about what we want internally. We are a fragmental portion of the state, so we need to listen to what the electorates and the general public are saying. In doing that, we need to rebrand ourselves: we need to flow with the people, we need to give the people what they want, if truly what we say we are and who we are, are genuine. Our slogan says ‘Power to the People’, not power to the party. The people must have a say, and in listening to what the people are saying, we have heard: “You need to correct your error, you need to give us a new order. It has to be something totally different.” And in doing that, if truly we love the party and we want the party to serve the people, we must listen to the people we want to serve. So, it is a departure from the old order and branding to something that is new and different.
Back to the congress issue, definitely, we would have little skirmishes here and there. There are things that are normal to happen. Even in the history of our party, things like this would definitely happen when congresses approach. That is why most time, we don’t have our congresses close to elections, so that we can resolve issue and reconcile before election. This will give us enough room to come out stronger and better than even what the public is expecting of us.
Why didn’t your faction obey the court injunction against the conduct of the state congress?
No; there was no court injunction against our congress. We need to put the record straight, I know and by what I have before me, there is no record of any injunction. I speak not as ordinary member of PDP but as stakeholder in the party, and at this level, I don’t think anything would happen to the party where I am deeply committed to without coming to my knowledge. And more also, I am also involved in the process of getting our party restructured, rebuild and rebranded. What the other faction has that is being tainted and presented to the public as court injunction is just an order to serve a party outside the jurisdiction of the court in the suit they filed at a state High Court in Ikirun. There is no injunction anywhere. We are law abiding people in our camp.
We were meant to hold a zonal congress on Saturday, May 13, 2016 but because there was a subsisting court injunction, the party upheld and obeyed. We believe in the rule of law. We respect the law and that is why we suspended the congress that was scheduled to hold, particularly in the South-West. We suspended the congress that day because we are properly served with an injunction from the Federal High Court that made the Zonal. But for the one that concerns us in Osun, there was no subsisting court order from anywhere at all, and as a result of that, we went ahead and conducted our congresses at the wards, locals and state levels and our people won the election.
There were insinuations that your camp, I meant the faction you belong to, is trying to frustrate Senator Iyiola Omisore out of the PDP in the state. And you indeed manipulated the process of the congress to oust him and people loyal to him. How true is that?
How can we do that; it is not possible. To every game there are rules; and to every rule, there are also players and we also have umpires. The National Working Committee of the PDP sat down and brought out the guideline for the ward, local, state, zonal and national congresses and convention for the party. And parts of the guidelines are the procedures, something that you have to do before proceeding to the election. It became very mandatory across the country, not only in Osun, that all party members vying for any political office must ensure that your annual dues are paid. The subscription for three years annual dues became very mandatory because we have been uncommitted about that. So, the party at the national level sent out notices and wrote all the state chapters to notify everybody. So, as long as you are vying for an office, whether you want to become a ward, local, state, zonal exco member, or you want to become a delegate, you must first and foremost pay your annual dues for the last three years. Record has shown at the national secretariat that most of us have not paid, so that becomes a condition, and per annum is N600-hat meager. That means if you have not paid for three years, you cannot be a delegate, you cannot vie for any post at the party level, either ward, local, state, zonal or even national. Once you have paid the annual dues, it gives you the opportunity to obtain the nomination form where you declare the office you are vying for. Also, you must be a card carrying member of the party. Those conditions are very key and important for everybody contesting for any post in PDP, or anybody that wants to become a delegate to vote. If you have complied with these two, you have access to everything you need to become what you want in the party.
Another thing is that, there is time frame and limitation of time for everything. We were meant to have paid when the initial first congresses were held. The group I belong to paid, with the candidate that we had who is now the state chairman of the party, Hon. Soji Adagunodo and the rest of us came together and complied with those requirements. We paid for the subscription fees; we paid and we obtained the forms. We have our receipts and we were ready for the congress. So, it is not in our interest to know whether the other group has complied or not, ours is to comply with the guidelines and the requirements and we did that. But you know that when there are camps, even within the same party, information will be filtering to you what the other camp is doing. We knew the other camp had not paid as at the time we were close to having the congress, and we believed we should not be held responsible for their non-compliance. If they did not pay to the bank-in the designated account, they would not be able to obtain form. Later we discovered that they only paid three-point something million which was only for one year annual due, what happened to the other balance? It was important for them to pay for their three years. Whether they paid or not is not our business; ours is to comply with law and show that we are ready to go for the congresses and we did that. We had the first congresses and they protested; they said the notice was too short. From there, we proceeded and we eventually agreed that if the notice was short, we would give time a little time to comply. The first congress committee that came from Abuja agreed with us that let us bend the rule a little, even when we are not breaking the law, and let us extend the date; give them additional two-three working days to effect their payment in the bank. Once their payment has been effected, then they should obtain their form for everybody to participate in the congress. We all agreed on that. There was an agreement that was signed by the two representatives of the two groups, and also witnessed by the chairman of the congress committee that came then. The agreement was dated 30th of April and signed by the representative of their group; Hon. Bade Falade, a former member of the House of Reps, we were represented by Barr. Wale Ojo. As soon as we signed the agreement, we made sure that we notified the court that is why we have a Certified True Copy. We were guided by everything we did. As at the deadline of this agreement, which is 3rd of May, they did not pay; they did not meet up with the deadline. So, how do we control when they pay? We had a designated account; they were sourcing for money and that is their problem. Our group paid and we met and the requirements. The National secretariat gave us another congress committee. When the committee from Abuja came, the other group paid on Friday to the Saturday congress. They paid Friday before Saturday the congress day. So, look at the bureaucracy behind ensuring that the logistics of getting forms distributed to the people and so on. The congress was made to commence on Saturday and they paid on Friday afternoon. We all know that these processes are expensive. They sent another congress committee again from the nation secretariat and they came. The committee requested for the evidence of payment from the other camp and they refused to show up; they boycotted, they did not come. We knew that, with the level of work we had done, it would be difficult for them to even have 10 per cent of the entire votes. We had gone round the state twice. I led the first committee that went around the state before we started our campaign. When we launched the Soji Adagunodo campaign committee, we went round the state again twice to campaign in readiness for the congress. That was painstakingly expensive, time and energy consuming. The committee from Abuja came the second time again, gave us guideline and we complied. We went to the field and the other group boycotted. Please tell me where we erred!
We said we are rebranding to build a new party; a new PDP that can thrive on integrity; a reliable party that people can believe in, that can deliver on the campaign promises, not just speaking in fables and throwing propaganda in the air. Some of us have integrity that brought us where we are and on the strength of that, we cannot afford to compromise and lie to the people. Our party has developed to a point now that the people are having confidence in us. We have worked hard, I for one, has worked hard on building integrity and a new face for the party. So, I will not let somebody to just wake us and start rubbishing our work by lying.
What is your take on the last national convention of the PDP, considering the fact that Osun was not represented in the constituted national caretaker committee? Isn’t that a concern for your group?
For the first time in the history of our PDP, we had a convention without election into the principal offices at the national level, due to the fact that we had different court orders relating to the same or similar matter. I mentioned above in compliance with court orders as a law abiding party. What finally played out at the convention is still a process of having to rebuild, restructure and also to reposition the party for the challenges ahead in the various elections across the states between now and 2019. As a party, we have learnt and are still learning to improve and also take advantage of our political opportunities as it affects our party structures across the six geopolitical zones and 36 states of the federation. We are working collectively to achieve a common purpose. Presently, our goal as a party in opposition is singular and collective towards all forthcoming elections in different states and the general election in 2019. Without doubt, sacrifices have been made and more will still be made for us to get it right. It is only when we get it right as a party that we can actualize the expectations of Nigerians for better governance.
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