Kwara 2015: Wrong choice of minister led to PDP's defeat - Yinka Aluko

Date: 2016-01-23

Alhaji Ahmed Yinka Aluko was the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kwara State in the recently concluded 2015 elections. The former Special Adviser fondly called ‘Esho’ in this interview speaks on why PDP lost the election, lessons and his fallout with the Saraki political family among other issues. Excerpts;

Would you consider yourself an accidental politician?

Yes I will want to see myself as an accidental politician. I also believe every human being is a potential politician. I was in the public and private sector before coming back home to pick up appointment as a Special Adviser in November 2003, though I have been dealing and relating with people to balance situations which require some political experience.

How has been the experience thus far?

The primary and basics of governance is security of lives and properties, which to a large extent is centred on welfare and provision of basic necessities of life, once that is absent, governance is meaningless. I have learnt that people come into politics for different reasons and orientation; it doesn’t however stop the good ones from joining politics.

As a Special Adviser on Security for 10 years, do you have any regret?

Well, I started as Special Assistant Inter-governmental affairs, where I was able to use the office to stabilise government before I was elevated to security adviser. I have no regrets throughout my stay in that office, because I was given a free hand to operate, we ensured that we brought crime to the barest minimum, and our watchword was there is no sacred cow and today when they talk of record of service, I am an eloquent testimony of success.

Do you regret supporting Goodluck Jonathan in the last election?

I don't regret supporting Jonathan. It was not about an individual rather it was a support for our party the PDP. I don't regret my actions and decisions because I have my reasons for doing same, I was trained to always give critical analysis to issues and when someone give me a superior argument, I will accept it.

What would you ascribe to the woeful performance of the PDP in Kwara State at the last polls?

The problem with the Kwara PDP started with the choice of minister, because at that critical moment we needed somebody who would impact positively on the fortunes of the party, unfortunately he couldn't.

A situation when you bring a teacher from the class room to be a minister who will be the leader of the party in the state, all he was after was how to build houses, buy cars and make fortune within the remaining 7 months of the administration. Those that supported the minister for the appointment did it based on business and nothing more. Principally those of us in the PDP believe we need a change in the system, we believe the system is not running well, while some are all about positions they want to corner and occupy. Some insisted it's either they were given the party's flag-bearer or they will not support the party and by so doing we dashed the hopes of Kwarans, which was why they opted for the devil they knew.

Do you agree that choice of governorship candidate contribute to loss of the election by your party?

Talking about choice of candidate, it is very important and when talking about choice, it deals with the Ilorin Emirate and because Ilorin Emirate is a predominantly Muslim community, they make up about 44 percent of the voting population in the state, and majority are not enlightened. Because when you complain that somebody is a Christian therefore you cannot vote him, those at the helms of affairs are Muslims, are they following the injunctions of Islam? Are they their brother's keepers? Are the people made the priority in governance and policy formulation? Well, choice of candidate may be the reason in terms of gubernatorial due to the religious factor, what about House of Assembly and Senate seats? Don't forget Ajibola is a three time senator, would his people be re-electing him if he were a bad representative?

All you need to win election is get about 10 percent of votes from Kwara North, 10 percent from Kwara South and around 40 percent from Kwara Central and you're home and dry, with the fact that majority of our people in the Central are uninformed then the result is obvious. These are people ready to sell the future of their children for peanuts. When you have a larger population and the entire party structure supports him, an average candidate will shine at the polls, Ajibola would have been governor for all Kwarans.

He is not a personality that believes in flamboyant lifestyle and he has no overbearing godfather, he would have been our best governor as a home-grown person.

Your aspiration started with the Kwara Central Senatorial seat which you won the ticket, analysts however believe you chickened out and settled for the Deputy governorship, because of the popularity and clout of the ruling party's candidate, Dr Bukola Saraki; is that true?

I would have given him (Saraki) a good fight. Again, this takes us back to the choice of minister, this is a minister who was supposed to be the leader of the party, but he was already biased. When I won the primaries they went to the National Secretariat of the party to substitute my name with another name which was then forwarded to INEC, I proceeded to the Court and got an injunction against INEC, PDP and Abdulrasaq, and this lead to a stalemate.

Some party elders however came around and advised me to take up Deputy Governorship and relinquish the Senate ticket for Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, to which I rejected on the premise that he was not known in the state, he couldn't have given Bukola Saraki a good fight. This is a politician that only comes around during electioneering and takes flight immediately after the election until after another round of elections, unlike someone like myself who is well known in the state, even the incumbent Senator enjoyed part of our goodwill then.

The PDP's reliance on moneybags like Muinat Shagaya was adduced as another reason for 'defeat at the polls; do you agree?

We never relied on anybody's fortune and I want to tell you finance was the least of our problems, though they didn't support us, we however financed the election ourselves, if it were about her finance the son should have won.

Senator Gbemisola Saraki left the PDP for the APC some days to the election, do you consider her a betrayal?

I don't see her as a betrayal. When you talk of betrayal it is only when you're in the system and you're working against it, at her own level she believed the party did not keep to its promise to her and she opted out. Those who stayed and worked against the party are the real betrayals, some people decamped to the PDP and because they couldn’t get the ticket they worked against it.

He was even the Presidential Campaign Coordinator, he collected money and never worked for the party. Did you see the Minister, Shagaya and the rest on the election day? They all worked against the party.

Aftermath of the election, any lessons learnt?

I have learnt that people are not just trust worthy, even the so called enlightened people are more concerned about what they get out of the system and not what they put in the system, even if you like, get killed they don’t care as long as they smile to the bank.

Furthermore, the people we were fighting on liberating aren't bothered, they are more concerned about peanuts, and they will sell their rights, they always regret immediately after the election to return to the same mistake again.

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