Elder Joju Fadairo is one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party, and he is also a member of the party’s National Executive Committee. A one-time chairman of the party in Ogun State, Fadairo is not happy with the roles being played by Ogun-born Senator Buruji Kashamu in PDP; and he bares his mind in an interview with KAYODE FASUA. The PDP chief also speaks on the December 9 convention of the party, expected to produce its new leaders. Excerpts:
The PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has been preaching reconciliation and unity among PDP members since the caretaker committee won the case against Senator Modu Ali Sheriff’s faction. But recently, the Southwest PDP recommended the expulsion of Senator Buruji Kashamu from the party, and some are saying this is against the spirit of reconciliation and unity being preached by Makarfi. What is your take on that?
Makarfi was very, very clear about what he said, and people should not misinterpret him. Makarfi didn’t say we should condone indiscipline. Yes, he extended a hand of fellowship to everybody; but having done that, he didn’t say we should condone indiscipline. But PDP Southwest is recommending the suspension and final expulsion of Buruji Kashamu from the party as a result of indiscipline.
You are one of the members of the committee that recommended Kashamu’s expulsion. But did your committee explore all other options before you concluded on expulsion?
Kashamu can never change. He is like a leopard that can never change its dark spots. There are several grievances or disagreement the party has against him. More than anybody, Kashamu is fond of taking PDP to court over issues the party is capable of resolving. He started this bad habit of taking PDP to court on issues that the party has internal mechanism to resolve. He started it in 2009 when I was chairman of PDP in Ogun State. He would go to court to obtain various kinds of judgments and injunctions.
Kashamu would go to court, no member of the party would receive any summons to appear, and the next thing we would hear is that Kashamu has obtained judgment against the party. After Kashamu started in Ogun State, he later spread the same thing to the entire Southwest PDP, and from there to the national headquarters of PDP. He loves rushing to court to obtain various kinds of judgment against the party, and this is against the spirit of the party. We believe that issues that are capable of being resolved within should not be taken to court.
Are you saying that the situation was not like that in PDP until Kashamu joined the party?
Kashamu introduced it. Dragging the party to court on issues we are capable of resolving internally is alien to PDP.
If you are aggrieved as a party man, there are ways to resolve such without going to court every time, but Kashamu was jumping from one court to another, and obtaining all sorts of judgment and injunctions against PDP. He is not behaving like a true and committed PDP member.
The curious and strange thing about judgments and court cases initiated by Kashamu is that you will not be served any court summon; what you will just hear is that Kashamu has obtained court judgment. Kashamu is notorious for obtaining jankara judgments. Like I said earlier, Makarfi has never said we should condone indiscipline. Kashamu is not disciplined as a PDP member and it is better we do away with him. PDP is better off without Kashamu, a known APC agent and mole.
What happens if Kashamu calls for peace and expresses willingness to work together with you people in the interest of the PDP?
After the party’s mini non-election convention in Abuja recently, and even before that, after the Supreme Court judgment, which affirmed Senator Ahmed Makari’s caretaker committee as the authentic PDP chairman, Kashamu still went to court, saying that Dayo Bayo’s faction of PDP in Ogun State, which was loyal to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, should still be the one to be recognised. Is that not an affront to a Supreme Court judgment, which recognised Ahmed Makarfi’s faction as the authentic PDP? But as God would have it, at the party’s non-elective convention in Abuja, both factions of Makarfi and Sheriff’s exco in Ogun State were dissolved.
The dissolution of the two excos in Ogun State was done by the party’s convention, which is the highest organ in PDP, so I don’t know the kind of judgment he will say he is getting or looking for now. And again, the Supreme Court has recognised that whatever action taken at the convention is the final and binding because the convention is the highest organ of the party. Now that the convention has dissolved both excos in Ogun State, what is Buruji Kashamu looking for again or why is he insisting that Bayo Dayo’s exco to which he belongs and which has sympathy for Senator Ali Modu Sheriff should be the authentic PDP in Ogun State? That’s nonsense. It shows you the kind of character that Kashamu is. He is anti-PDP, and an APC agent. He is bent on causing confusion in PDP, but we will not allow him to destroy PDP, and that’s why we are insisting that he should be expelled.
But some people are expressing fears that PDP may be losing an asset if Buruji Kashamu is expelled or allowed to leave?
Which asset? Buruji Kashamu, an asset? Rubbish. Buruji Kashamu has even become a big burden, a big problem and a big embarrassment to PDP; he should go. Expelling Kashamu from PDP is good riddance to bad rubbish. A lot of PDP members will heave a sigh of relief at Kashamu’s departure from PDP. Kashamu has become a big burden to PDP, he should go.
Since Buruji Kashamu joined PDP in Ogun State, there has not been peace in the party. Now that Buruji Kashamu’s PDP exco in Ogun State has been dissolved by the party’s national caretaker committee, there will be peace in Ogun State. The caretaker committee set up will ensure that harmonisation of different factions of PDP in Ogun State take place, and once again, peace will return to our party as it used to be before the adventure of Buruji Kashamu into the party.
Can you recall the time Buruji Kashamu joined PDP in Ogun State; was it during your tenure as the party’s chairman?
I can remember when I was in the United States in 2009 during my tenure, one of my party members called me that the chairman of my own ward and six other people went to take car gifts from Buruji Kashamu under oath. When I returned to Nigeria, I called the ward chairman and others that accompanied him to Kashamu’s place and told them to go and return the cars, and they did. But on one occasion, Kashamu came to my office, and when he came, I told him that if he wanted to give gifts to people, it must not be done under oath. I also told him that whenever he wanted to give gifts to people, it must be a party affair, and not something that people would be going to meet him secretly and taking oath. He initially agreed but later reneged but I, as Ogun State PDP chairman then, never attended any of the occasions he organised to give people gifts under oath. I’m an elder in the church. I can never take part in any event where people take oaths. It was shortly after this period that he started flouting party’s rules and regulations, around the time that my tenure ended and the there was nothing I could do about his case again, because I was no longer the party chairman.
But apart from accusing Kashamu of indiscipline, your committee also accused him of being an APC agent, that he is a mole for the ruling APC. Do you have any proof?
Buruji Kashamu is a confirmed APC agent. He has never seen anything wrong in APC. He has been singing praises of APC and President Muhammadu Buhari from Day One, up till now. Kashamu is an APC mole in PDP. He is a chameleon; he can’t be trusted by PDP. Let him go to where his heart belongs, let him join APC instead of pretending to be a PDP member.
Kashamu with Senator Ali Modu Sheriff almost destroyed PDP. Buruji Kashamu is the one that was taking Sheriff to court to get various kinds of injunction against PDP. But now that God in His infinite mercy has delivered us from Buruji Kashamu, let him go, let him leave PDP. If he remains in PDP, he will be a confirmed enemy within, and that will not be in the best interest of the PDP.
On this issue of reconciliation being preceded by Senator Makarfi that all former PDP members that left the party should come back, in Ogun State, what efforts are you making to woo back to the party former President Olusegun Obasanjo who had left the party?
Obasanjo never left PDP. He is still a bona fide PDP member till date. I always get angry when some people say Obasanjo tore his PDP membership card. This is a big lie. Obasanjo never tore his PDP membership card. It was a big lie, and, unfortunately, the media fed the public with the lie.
But everybody saw the video where one Oladunjoye, a party chieftain, on Obasanjo’s instruction, openly tore Obasanjo’s PDP membership card, and the former President was seated on a high table at the event …
If you look at the video very well, Oladunjoye didn’t tear any card. Oladunjoye is my younger brother and he never did such a thing. It was one of the people at that gathering that tore a card, which I guess might not even have a name written on it. Obasanjo’s PDP membership card is still intact.
I’m always in contact with Obasanjo, I call him Uncle; he has never told me or told anybody that he has left PDP. I even learnt that Obasanjo showed his PDP card to some people in Ota recently.
Obasanjo never tore his PDP membership card. He is still with us in PDP. Obasanjo never left PDP so the question of whether he is coming back or not doesn’t arise. Obasanjo is still a bona fide member of PDP. Quote me on that.
On the issue of PDP restrategising with the aim of reclaiming power from APC in 2019, the National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has declared that the party will field a northerner as its presidential candidate, while the party’s national chairman will come from the South. What do you think of the arrangement?
Fine. It is a good arrangement designed to return power to PDP. But on the issue of party’s national chairman, it has been collectively agreed that the South West should produce a candidate that will occupy the position, and to me, that’s very fair and ethical because it is only the South West geo-political zone that has notproduced a candidate for that position.
Right from the inception of PDP, South West has not occupied the post. At the beginning, the pioneer chairman of the PDP, Dr Solomon Lar, hailed from the North Central; after him, Engineer Barnabas Gemade took over, but he also was from North Central; after him, Audu Ogbeh took over, he also was from Northcentral. After him, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor from South East took over. After him, Dr Haliru Bello from the North West took over, and after him, Dr Okwezilieze Nwodo from the South East took over; and after him, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje from Kwara State, NorthCentral, took over; after him, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur from North East took over; then after him, Uche Secondus from South South took over as Acting National Chairman of the party. So you can see that, so far, it is only the South West that has not occupied the post. Then we should also not forget that Dr Ahmadu Ali from North Central; Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu from the North East and the controversial Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, also from the North East, were also there as PDP chairmen.
At the party’s convention in Port Harcourt, the position was zoned to the South West.
Which asset? Buruji Kashamu, an asset? Rubbish. Buruji Kashamu has even become a big burden, a big problem and a big embarrassment to PDP; he should go. Expelling Kashamu from PDP is good riddance to bad rubbish
But even coming to the South West, some people are saying that you have so many people aspiring for the position; people like Chief Bode George, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Mr Jimmy Agbaje, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, A former governor of Ogun State, and a host of others, and that this may even jeopardise the South West geo-political zone’s interest. What do you think?
I can tell you this, categorically, that when the position of the party’s national chairman was zoned to the South West at the Port Harcourt convention, the South West zone met, under the chairmanship of the PDP South West Zonal Chairman, Mr Eddy Olafeso, and prominent people, including Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who was then a state governor, were in attendance and they unanimously agreed on the choice of Chief Olabode George as the consensus candidate of the South West geo-political zone for the post of PDP national chairman, and today, we are still supporting Bode George’s candidature.
Talking about other aspirants like Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Mr Jimmy Agbaje, and Otunba Gbenga Daniel… Adeniran is my close friend, but I’ve told him that I’m for Bode George. As for Jimmy Agbaje, I believe he is a greenhorn and is still learning the ropes. He should still be undergoing tutelage in politics. He is not yet mature for that position.
As for Otunba Gbenga Daniel, I say No. Daniel is not in the race to become the national chairman of PDP. We are very close; if he is aspiring, he would have told me. Also in August last year, he wrote a letter to Chief Bode George, saying that he was not contesting and that he would support Bode George for the post. Daniel is my leader, but he has not told me he is running for PDP national chairmanship race. To me, the report about him being interested in becoming PDP National Chairman is a rumour, which should be ignored.
As for Otunba Gbenga Daniel, I say No. Daniel is not in the race to become the national chairman of PDP. We are very close; if he is aspiring, he would have told me. Also in August last year, he wrote a letter to Chief Bode George saying that he was not contesting and that he would support Bode George for the post