INTERVIEW: Saraki Behind PDP Crisis - Oyedepo
A factional Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State, Iyiola Oyedepo, tells SUCCESS NWOGU of Punch that Senate President Bukola Saraki could be responsible for the crisis in the party
Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State recently alleged that the All Progressives Congress was sponsoring the division within the PDP in the state, so that they can have an easy ride again in 2019.
I believe it because the division is needless. The only contentious thing is the state congress. The Sunday Fagbemi faction tried as much as possible to present another delegate list through the congress committee, which was rejected. Some thugs were drafted to the venue, but to the glory of God, they were unable to disrupt it. That evening, Fagbemi publicly withdrew from the race. If you publicly withdraw, the whole field is left to your opponent. So, I won because he withdrew. If they are not being sponsored, somebody that withdrew from the race should not continue to claim to be the chairman of the party. The process was recorded on tape. We have sent it out and many people have seen it.
I believe the APC has its hands in all these things. They will do it for two reasons: Firstly, they are uncomfortable with me, as a person, as the leader of PDP in Kwara State because when I became the leader of this party, specifically two years ago, after we had lost election, we made our party extremely vibrant and we are so critical of the government of Kwara State. They are not enjoying our incisive comments on their policies, whether in the print media, electronic or social media. They do not want a very powerful opposition to themselves here.
Secondly, I suspect that the leader of APC in this state, Senator Bukola Saraki, would want to behave to type and, in his traditional style of jumping from one party to the other, it is likely that if APC becomes too stuffy for him, he will want to jump to another party. He has many of his friends in my party. He might be eyeing our party to realise his ambition and he would not want to come to PDP with me as chairman. He would want an amiable person; somebody he can override and use to enter the system.
Are you saying that Saraki is behind the crisis in Kwara PDP?
I have said it. APC is personified by Saraki in this state, so I will not be surprised at all if he is sponsoring them.
But people say Saraki might want to return to PDP through your faction.
That is funny. Nobody in Kwara State today will believe that Saraki as the leader of APC in the state will willingly and voluntarily want to be on the same political platform as me. I have never done political business with him in my life. I was with his father to some extent, but for Bukola, I have never done any political business with him.
I do not like his method. He is not a democratic leader. He is not a leader that will allow ideas to blossom. I want a place where, even if I am not occupying any office, I will be relevant in decision-making. That place (Saraki’s political camp) is not a place for it. I am not a politician that is just looking for his daily bread. Anybody that wants to be with him might want to have a daily bread. That is not my kind of politics. I have a vision and it cannot blossom under an undemocratic leader. Therefore, I can never be with him. It is not possible that we flock together. We are not birds of a feather.
But some people claim that you are merely deceiving the public with your criticisms of Saraki as they alleged that he often reaches out to you.
I must say on my honour that I have only met Saraki, one-on-one, once in my life and it was at his own invitation. That was in 2007 after he first won the election as governor. I have nothing to do with him and he knows. I have written, at least, five petitions against his administration to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission. If he is my friend, will I be writing petitions against his government? I wrote a book: Letters to the Emir with a lot of it dedicated to his government. Shonga and the looting of Kwara State is a book that is highly critical of his commercial farming policy. A pretender will not write all those things.
Can you relinquish your position for the sake of reconciliation?
If I am asked to sacrifice my position for the purpose of reconciliation and if it is proved that that is the only way it can be done and they go further to tell me that the vision that I represent can also be advanced by whoever will take over, why not? Am I the only one in this world? But it is not a situation where you will bring Fagbemi or a person like him or people in their category because I know all of them. I am a chairman without a single member in the House of Assembly, the National Assembly, or a governor, or even at the local government and council levels. I do not have anything. Then you must wonder how I survive. But for the passion for change that consumes me, I do not need to be in this position. If I have somebody whose passion for change is greater than mine and I have confidence in him, why not? I can sacrifice the position. But I will
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