We’re talking about reconciliation in PDP because all have erred – Adai, party chieftain

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In this interview, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party in Lagos State and the national coordinator of the dissolved PDP Project Atiku/Okowa, Adai Edwin Adai, speaks on recent developments in the Lagos State chapter of the party. He scolded the governorship candidate of the party in the 2023 elections, Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, saying Chief Olabode George remains the national leader of the PDP. Excerpts:

What is your take on the comment by the governorship candidate of your party in the 2023 elections, Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor, that people who engaged in anti-party activities have already left the party and his advice to President Bola Tinubu to do a reset?

The statement made by the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the last election is not correct. There was no time Chief Olabode George said he had left the party. I know that a lot of things happened in the cause of our election in 2023 but to say that Chief Olabode George has expelled himself from the party is incorrect. A lot of people were involved in anti-party activities.

Even Jandor; if I should dig into all the things that he did in Lagos State during that election, would that also not amount to anti-party activity? Right now we’re talking about reconciliation within the party. Even the presidential candidate of our party in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar has called on the likes of Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso to tell them that they were all members of the party. He said that based on personal interest they left the party. At this particular point in time, they shouldn’t be talking about personal interests.

So, the statement made by Jandor, in my opinion, is a joke taken too far. The acting national chairman of our party is working towards the reconciliation of members. He is reaching out to warring factions to join hands and build the party. This is the time for us to come down from our various high horses and rebuild the party. So, I don’t think that statement he made is correct.

You said that you’re on the path to reconciliation, have you reached out to Jandor to have a meeting with the chieftains he seems to have issues with in this pursuit of peace…?

Jandor is not the national chairman of the PDP. The members of the National Working Committee have said that this is the time for reconciliation.

I remember vividly that I had a candidate that I supported. Don’t forget that I led one of the formidable teams in PDP and the candidate in my support group won a primary election in Lagos State. His name was removed by the same Jandor.

If I want to hold that against him; that is also anti-party activity. Jandor worked against the candidate that won the primary election and brought a weaker candidate, who lost the election in Ajeromi-Ifelodun. If that is the case, Jandor should also excuse himself from the party.

Is there no way that members of your party can resolve their differences rather than going public?

The PDP has an internal conflict resolution mechanism that is supposed to be explored before taking such matters to the public space. Saying that some PDP members have expelled themselves is absolutely unacceptable.

What we’re saying in the party is that all have erred and we expect that at this particular point, we’re reaching out to everybody. For example, I’m from Benue State; I know what happened in my state when my governor worked against the party.

Will I now say that because he worked against PDP; he is no longer a member of the party? Has Chief Olabode George said that he is no longer a member of the PDP? I suffered the same humiliation. This is not the time for us to begin to dig old wounds.

“This time around, nobody is talking about anti-party activity. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the party in the last election is reaching out to everybody. He has told them to come and join hands to put the house in order, so that they can rebuild the party”

Apart from the Ajeromi-Ifelodun case, what do you have against Jandor?

I have nothing personal against Jandor. The point I’m making is that there’s nothing wrong for young people to aspire for leadership positions, but if you must do that, there are certain boundaries you mustn’t cross. Chief Olabode George is the national leader of our great party, and he remains so. He is a member of the Board of Trustees.

So, you cannot just come and make claims you cannot validate. At this particular point in time, we’re talking about reconciliation and not whether Jandor has shown leadership. He was given an opportunity as a candidate of the party, how effectively has he been able to carry out that responsibility that was freely given to him in Lagos State? You cannot lead by trying to tear other people apart; it’s not right. The opportunity was given to him to mobilize; what did he do even when the presidential candidate of the party was in Lagos State to test his capacity to mobilize?

How much of the party does he know? He just came into the party barely a few months ago. He is one of the luckiest young people who came to the party. What does he know about the party he is aspiring to lead in Lagos State?

Has he done due diligence? Has he developed the capacity to withstand the complexity of Lagos politics? If you are trying to be the leader of the party, there’s nothing wrong with that, but trying to say some people are expelled because they were involved in anti-party activities is not correct.

This time around, nobody is talking about anti-party activity. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the party in the last election is reaching out to everybody. He has told them to come and join hands to put the house in order, so that they can rebuild the party.

If I say that Jandor was involved in anti-party activity by bringing a weaker party, will it amount to anti-party activity? We’re concerned about rebuilding the party at the moment. Look at what is happening in the country; Senator Abdul Ningi was just suspended from the Senate for three months. Is the budget, not a double budget?

You said that Jandor was not efficient, didn’t support the presidential candidate and brought a weaker candidate. What are the other things that he has done?

We’re not here to apportion blame. My duty is not to apportion or pinpoint what he has done wrong or what he has done right. The point that I’m making is that this is not the time to divide the party in Lagos State. I’m partnering with other groups to reach out to members of the party.

There are people in the party that we have been trying to reach out to to see the reason why they should come down from their high horses to rebuild the party. We’re trying to see what we can do for the leadership of the party to call a National Executive Committee meeting. We have congresses that are about to start. We need to put our house in order, that’s the point I’m trying to make.

What do you think about the constitution of the party; do you think it should be reviewed as there were members who worked and campaigned openly for other parties and were not apologetic about it?

I think there are more things to be done with respect to instilling party discipline in the party system as a whole in Nigeria.

The responsibility to correct some of the abnormalities lies in the institution called the political party. The party has the responsibility to come up with the right laws to ensure that party discipline is instilled across the board. I’m not satisfied with what is playing out right now. So, I think the leadership of the party needs to do more.