Otunba Segun Adewale popularly known as Aeroland is a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, in this interview with Freedom Post, he discussed his senatorial ambition, why PDP can’t afford to go into the next elections divided, among other issues
Why are you aspiring for a Senatorial seat at this particular time?
Actually, getting a political position is not a do or die thing for me, because politics is so complex, you will win an election and APC knows how to use INEC and the judiciary to steal your sweat, so the main reason I just wanted to contest in this election is that I come to the realization that a lot of our people are suffering in Lagos.
There is no policy or law from the so-called parliamentarians representing us in Abuja or even here in Lagos that cares about people’s welfare, there is no one.
I thought that somebody should be a voice for the masses and the less privileged.
Most of these people representing us collect allowances for their Senatorial districts running into hundreds of millions every quarter, yet, we can’t even see them, the one that stole my election twice now is operating in Ogun State while he got the opportunity to serve the people of Lagos from Asiwaju, meanwhile, he is operating right now in Ogun state.
So, I thought there is a vacuum already, we need to go in and fight such that we can get a good representation at the National Assembly, people that will be ready and committed to serving. It is not all about sharing Okada, Grinding machines,s and tricycles alone, but coming up with policies that can affect the lives of our people in their thousands and millions.
What can we do? How can we bring the national, federal government presence to Lagos West Senatorial District? How can the constituents feel the impact of the national government?
In Lagos West, you are on your own. The other senatorial districts are faring well but I am talking about people living in Ajegunle, Badagry. It is like they’ve been abandoned.
You have been contesting for the Lagos West senatorial seat and never won, or allegedly rigged out, what will you be doing differently this time?
If I have the opportunity of contesting this time around I will make sure I tidy up the collation centers, because I was terribly rigged out at the collation center, especially in Mushin, Ifako-Ijaiye, and Alimosho, because none of our agents were there at the collation centers.
Even when I recorded the issue when the results of the seven local governments came that we won, results from the three others were stepped down. I still have the letter that I wrote to the INEC boss that they should compel them to release the results but, it all ended when Jonathan put a call across to Buhari on Sunday to concede defeat, that was the end.
Engr. Deji Doherty group has the delegates, how do you intend to win the party’s primary since you are not with them?
Although I’m at loggerheads with the Deji Doherty group and my grouse is just to ensure we win at the general election, people are suffering, it shouldn’t be about PDP anymore, it should rather be about the people of Lagos, the suffering masses in Nigeria.
It shouldn’t be about us, I am fighting because I want us to do the right thing that will give us the much-desired victory at the poll.
While they are more particular about grabbing the structure and system to themselves, which will give them the opportunity to make money. I am not about the money, some people want to make money using the position they hold in the party, I am looking beyond intra-party politics.
I am looking at the hundreds of millions of people that are in penury now, having lost their businesses because of this particular government, so we need to change this government, from the ward, local government, state to national.
That is why I aligned myself with Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Chief Bode George, that we should have a consensus so that it won’t be winner takes all.
We put the positions on the table and everybody comes together and we share them amicably. If there are places where some people are not represented let’s look at it together, that is my position, but because they had the advantage during the defunct Secondus administration to garner most of the delegates to themselves they believe that they want to go to polls and have an elective Congress.
Let me tell you, in Alimosho alone, we have almost 2,000 polling units so, in Lagos, that means we are talking about more than 20,000 polling units and if we are fighting each other, how will one group be able to produce 20,000 polling units officers to man the polling booths?
That means we’ve lost, that is the reason why in most of the polling booths there are no PDP agents. That informs why we are losing the elections every four years, you are talking about 20,000 polling unit agents, so can one group churn it out?
Chief Bode George’s group cannot produce 20,000 likewise that of Dr. Bimbo Ogunkelu. We have to come together, not only in producing the state exco but in producing the polling booth agents too.
What do you think is the way forward for your party in Lagos given all these problems?
As I am talking to you now PDP doesn’t even have a secretariat in Lagos and we want to go and win elections and by extension win Lagos.
That is why I am fighting, it might cost me the senatorial ticket. I will be happy losing the ticket as a sacrifice for us to come together and win Lagos, produce more Assembly members, produce more Reps, and be Governor, I don’t care.
I care more for us taking over Lagos and Nigeria, so if I am fighting for us to unite such that some people will not take advantage of their group to hijack the structure which cannot produce 20,000 polling unit agents alone,
In essence given the inconclusive nature of the last state Congress you still await the intervention of the party at the national level, are you asking for cancellation or?
I am asking for outright cancellation or we all come to a round table to have a consensus if we didn’t agree we then go to the polls, if as terrible as APC is, even inside APC there is implosion but they still have consensus, what is wrong with us having a consensus in Lagos, if APC can have consensus, if the PDP national can have a consensus during our national convention, what is wrong with us having the same thing here?
I know my decision to align with Governor Makinde and Chief Bode George on the need for us to reach a consensus is giving the people that believe they have the advantage over the delegates sleepless nights.
To date INEC has no data or results to give to the party’s NEC. That is why we are stranded, we need to fix another date and vote, sort, count, and announce. Since you claimed you have the majority of the delegates, let’s have a fresh congress, where the constitutional procedures will be adhered to.
Do you believe Jonathan’s candidacy was a factor in the few positions your party won in 2015, how do you intend to reinvent the success now that Jonathan’s factor is out of it?
I don’t think so, I think I was the factor then, people say it was a coincidence, but if true, what happened in 2019? In 2015 we had eight Assembly members and six Reps members, some believe I didn’t contribute, no problem, but I know that I contributed and worked tirelessly.
In fact, let me tell you today, we won in ten local governments, that is why if you go to INEC today when you ask that you want to see the result of 2015, they will not give you. We won in the ten local governments, the same goes for the Assembly seats, but they chose to give the few that were declared in our favour.
In 2019, I didn’t contest, I came back from Ekiti but decided not to contest because I was really angry, some people were saying they did it on their own back then, that was why I felt okay if you did it on your own, go and win this time around, and from 8 Assembly members, we don’t have one, from 5 Reps we only had two.
Imagine Atiku even did more than Jonathan because the kind of money we had not seen before was in circulation. Then we have enough money to win anything but at the end of the day, the money was stolen.
We couldn’t win the governorship in 2015 in spite of the well withal and federal might because we were not together, the little victories recorded only surfaced where we worked as a team and that was in Lagos West Senatorial District.
I campaigned with all our candidates even within Oshodi where you have MC Oluomo, Ajegunle, Badagry, Ojo, and more, that was not the case in 2019, even the governorship candidate could not campaign in Oshodi and other areas, how do you want to win without rigorous campaigns?
With all these disunities, and lack of cohesion in your party as you have described, is the APC not right by saying the PDP is nonexistent in Lagos?
PDP exists in Lagos, but within ourselves, moves to grab positions of power and get wealth causing the mess we are in. That is the reason I am clamoring for us to come together and exist for ourselves and for the people.
In this party since I joined, we can’t even count ourselves during the elections, we can’t count our finances before and after elections and during the elections, we can’t even count our votes.
So, if we can’t count ourselves, we can’t count our money, we can’t count our votes, how are we going to win? The emphasis of a lot of people in PDP is to grab political power inside PDP to make money and to hell with general elections.
When I was the Chairman of PDP in Lagos, it was divided, this same Doherty and co went to the Labour party all against me, you are much aware. I single handedly fought and we had six councilors when the party was divided. When the party was now together under Doherty we managed to have one councilor, the second one that won in Amuwo got his ticket back through a lawyer that I contacted.
So, where is the energy? I am in Alimosho and I want to win, even on election day PDP members will go and join Accord and Labour to ensure they thwart our efforts, that is it. Seeing that we are about to do the same thing in 2023 that is why I am saying that let us come together.
I collected the Senatorial forms which are close to 4million naira with the belief that before the general election we will come together, I might lose the primary but let whoever wins go ahead and also win in the general election. Not to win because you want to collect money from the presidential candidate.