Segun Adewale is a factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State. In this interview with OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU, he speaks on why the PDP has not been able to win governorship election in Lagos, among other salient issues.
There is this belief that you are now a member of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) having gone to Ekiti State to contest the last governorship poll on ADP platform, what is your reaction to this?
I didn't go to ADP to contest on the party platform; I went to Ekiti State to contest under the PDP. I paid all the necessary fees to contest for the gubernatorial seat, but the then sitting governor, Ayo Fayose, insisted that I can't contest because I am not a PDP member in Ekiti State. So, in Ekiti, they didn't allow me, they insisted I am PDP member in Lagos.
I knew I can't defeat Prof. Kolapo Ishola, because former Governor Fayose was the one sponsoring him, even Prince Dayo Adeyeye that has structures couldn't do that. But I decided, just let me contest, so it would be on record that I contested for this position and lost in the primaries and in four or eight years' time, one can then build on that but they refused.
That was why I said okay, let me use another platform. Some parties now adopted me and I then chose ADP because it is new. I did not decamp, if I did, you would have seen pictures of me and my people moving to ADP, I did not.
So, immediately after the party primaries towards the 2019 poll, I went back to my town, got people together, gave them money to go and prepare for the presidential election. I have the pictures too where the leaders were present then, those people that followed me to ADP for the election, I had to bring them back again to PDP.
Since then, not much of you have been seen in Lagos PDP. What is happening?
Yes, that is one of the reasons why I am trying to let the world know that there is no need for anybody to be in PDP in Lagos State until Chief Bode George is pushed aside or retired forcefully. If that is not done, we are just wasting our time.
That is why if I had gotten involved in the last election, I knew PDP cannot win the last election, I knew even Agbaje himself was not even ready. That is what I saw in advance and didn't get involved. If I had got myself involved and there were fracas in Lagos State, people would be saying that it was Segun Adewale that caused the defeat of 2019.
That is why I decided not to do anything at all. I saw the defeat coming and I saw the premonition that the outcome of the last election was going to be worse than what we have been having before and that was what happened. Some party leaders decided to work against the party's interest, so how can I be part of that PDP?
It is anti-party and Chief Bode George keeps on doing it. You can recall that when I was the chairman of the party and we were about getting ready for the local government election, Chief Bode George went on on air on Channels Television and announced that PDP in Lagos would be using Labour Party (LP), platform. He also wrote a letter through Salvador to the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, (LASIEC), that PDP was not contesting. We had to go and demonstrate at LASIEC before our name was included and we had about seven councillors and they, with all the monies given to them from Abuja, could not deliver one councillor.
Nobody gave me money, but I used my little resources, organised the election and we had seven councillors that were declared. So, in Lagos PDP, we are the one winning elections for the All Progressives Congress (APC); APC is not winning any election. It is PDP who has been helping APC to rig elections, quote me anywhere; I will mention names and give you evidences. Simple, they (PDP) are not ready to win Lagos.
Do you blame the scenarios on Bode George, especially using the last election as a parameter?
The number one person to blame is Chief Bode George. You see, if the head is rotten, the other parts will be bad. Everything boils down to Bode George. When I had the PDP ticket for Senate, I defeated Bode George's son, Salvador. But that didn't affect my performance. I scored 485,000 votes. They led me with about 4,500 votes.
Seven local governments were declared, and three local governments were not declared until the next morning. I do not want to go into Jimi Agbaje's issue. Bode George is the one giving birth to other failures. I don't want to fight two enemies at the same time.
Bode George controls Lagos PDP, being the pioneer member. He was the party's national vice chairman for eight years. He's been in power for over 11 yrs. He's made some people ministers, board members and the rest. They believe in him not for them to win election, they are not ready to win Lagos. Sometimes,
I just laughed when Asiwaju Tinubu spends billions of naira to bribe Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials and all those people he bribed.
If the PDP is not the one supporting, abetting or joining them to rig in favour of APC, then nobody can win us. PDP does not really need to campaign for state House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governorship seats, because the people are tired of APC.
Even in Lagos, there is double taxation from the local government level to state level, but still you can't even see the money. There is traffic logjam and everywhere smells. The tenement rate is going higher every day, toll gates are there, who is taking the money? That is the issue. The people are tired and the only option that can defeat the APC is the PDP. But to forestall that, the leader of the APC planted some other leaders in the PDP to make sure they have to keep on producing a candidate that does not want to win election.
How best can this issue be addressed?
The issue can be addressed if we have a proper congress. Since inception, PDP has never had a proper congress here in Lagos State, that is why Lagos is the only state where PDP has never won a governorship election in Nigeria, because there has never been any congress, that will allow the right candidate, the right personnel, the right functionaries to emerge and run the party. Until there is a change of leadership, nobody should even bother; it is a waste of time.
This leadership you are talking about, we learnt that you have taken over the Lagos State PDP secretariat, is that true?
Yes, I have taken over the secretariat and I am the state chairman and I would make sure I give you the copies of my letter from Ali Modu Sheriff. Sheriff was removed by the court, agreed, but I was not removed by any court, no court said I should vacate office. The same paper that is binding on Ogun State chapter and the rest of South-West states, applies to Lagos.
But I just allowed peace to reign in Lagos after almost two years of fighting.. They asked me to step aside for Hon. Moshood Salvador, but in reality, my chairmanship would expire in 2021.
I obeyed the party leadership because I wanted peace in Lagos. If I didn't allow peace to reign, they would blame it on me that I did not allow peace, and that is why Agbaje lost.
I am the authentic chairman of Lagos PDP until the court says otherwise, but PDP is saying that people should not go to court, that is why I have been taking my time.
Chief Bode George brought Salvador who left for APC? I came back again people started begging me that election was two months away and so we should allow peace to reign. The chairmanship was to another elderly person, Dr Adegbola Dominic, who came and fictionalized the party more than before by creating additional chairmen in each local government and ward in addition to the one that Abuja created. So we now have two or three chairmen in each local government, what can they do?
Now luckily for us, Dominic's tenure is 90 days, which expired on December 21, 2018. So I am the chairman now until the national leadership of the PDP tells me otherwise or a court of law says so.
Bode George took the chairman, secretary and even when people came from Abuja to settle the matter, they gave us secretary and Bode George the chairman. Mrs Maina, another PDP woman leader who doesn't want PDP Lagos to win, connived with Bode George and relinquished the secretary position given to us to Bode George, who now has the chairman and the secretary.
Mrs. Maina went for finance secretary and treasurer, where there is money and left the key area, which is the secretary. These people have tried, they have been there, and they have been failing. Can they show me today that they have ever won their polling unit, let alone their ward?
I have won my local government several times. Sego, an area boy beats him every four years. Bode George has not produced any councilor since his assumed leadership of PDP in Lagos. Now what merits you to be a leader, leading Lagos?
But you supported Chief Bode George when he contested for the PDP national chairmanship?
Yes, I did because I just want him to take his wahala to Abuja and leave Lagos alone so that we can reorganise the party here in Lagos.
Given your claim that PDP is factionalised, why do you still show so much interest in wanting to lead the party?
I have much interest in the party because it remains the only party that people can use to challenge the political hegemony of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; there is no other, none. People are used to the PDP. The two political parties in Lagos that are viable are the APC and the PDP. I have tried it using another party, which is the ADP, people did not understand. So I am going back to ensure that for the first time, the PDP should be able to count themselves.
It is a shame that we can't even count ourselves, we can't count our monies, we can't count our votes. Those are the three things and you know why? This is because we have about 20,000 polling units in Lagos State, PDP does not have enough members to put there. And there are so many people willing to do that, but we can't fill up the 20,000 polling units, that is how we keep on losing.
So those are the three things I want to tidy up. Try and get people that have left the party like Babatunde Gbadamosi (BOG) and Owolabi Salis to come back. All these people should come back and build the party.
If you can't get the governorship, go to the Senate. We need them, you need to have a platform that is solid and they know I can do it, so that is the reason why I am fighting more enemies in the PDP than in the APC.
With all these problems, what is the way forward?
The way forward is to project myself as the bonafide chairman of the PDP in Lagos, which I have done. The second thing is to hold a proper congress, because we have never had a congress in Lagos, all we have had were kangaroo congresses, wherein names were written by fiat. There has never been an election whereby people would queue up and be counted, that is direct delegate election, from where delegates emerge from ward to local government, to state. So when they brought Salvador and Dominic, I just left for Ekiti, that was what actually transpired.
Let us tidy up ourselves and our acts, to be able to get state House of Assembly members, enough House of Representatives members and senators. How can it be getting worse? Now we have none in the state House Assembly, whereas when I contested, we had eight members in the state House of Assembly and six members in the House of Representatives.
What will be your counsel to loyal PDP members in Lagos?
Loyal PDP members should not do anything, until we get it right. The moment there is no congress, the result will be same. Look at Taofeek Gani, the PDP PRO in Lagos; people have been cheated, yet, he has not released any press statement about that. Okunola won an election, he was beaten to stupor. Was there any reaction from our publicity secretary? None.
What we heard was that a lot of PDP members didn't vote for Agbaje because Agbaje said he didn't have money. I told him to give N100,000 for mobilization, he said he had no money. He didn't give anybody money on the eve of election.
No leader went back to his base with one kobo. Only five people were given N500,000, from which the area boys collected 200,000 at the venue. Were candidates given any money?
I was the one that said each candidate should be given N1 milllion each, but what will they do with N1 million, when others were collecting as much as N200 million in each local government?
I even asked Agbaje, he said he has arranged in my own local government, I gave N3,000 each to the agents. I gave N10,000/N20,000 to collation agents, despite the fact that I wasn't contesting. I just have to spend millions just to ensure we are not embarrassed.
This is the first time a governorship candidate would poll less than a senatorial candidate in an election.
Do you foresee yourself winning the battle you have started?
Of course, yes because the last one I won; it was only Mrs Maina who we see as our woman leader who betrayed us. She went behind to collect treasurer position. Even the chairman position, police came, the area commander, we fought; and I told him it is none of his business.
I had to petition the IG, where I got judgment against him and that was almost two years. After that, we were supposed to have congress, but the leadership connived with Bode George and said let's share the offices - Bode George had 55 per cent, they gave me 10 per cent, Mrs Maina 20 per cent and Agbaje 15 per cent. I gave my own 10 per cent to Bode George to make his own 65 per cent, so that he can easily deal with Agbaje and Maina who were working together.
What actually transpired between you and the BBC Pidgin Service, who you were alleged to have slapped?
I never slapped any lady. A lady was videoing me and I told her to stop. That was it all. And BBC Pidgin called Lanre, the secretary to Accord Party that they heard there was a fracas in polling unit 019 that Segun Adewale was fighting with a lady.
BBC Pidgin now put it as Segun Adewale slapped a lady. BBC Pidgin franchise owner worked directly for Tinubu. That's the point.
2019 elections have been concluded, according to you, your task is to reposition PDP, and come 2023, what political ambition do you have in view?
One, I have none for 2023, but I will contest governorship position in 2027, anywhere, either in Lagos or Ekiti.
Why 2027 and not 2023?
Because we have to reposition the party and get the right people there, then use that as a springboard, come 2027 because those in control of party affairs would not let go easily.
Bode George will not easily go down for me to reposition the PDP because he makes billions every four years. How? I will tell you.
First, when you have control of the party, you can negotiate the party's vote with another party. Two, you will conduct local government election in between, all the money goes to the party leader, Chief Bode George's pocket.
Three, through congress and four, through delegates' election for the presidential election, among others. Bode George is fighting Agbaje at the moment because campaign funds for Lagos was given directly to Agbaje. I am sacrificing my ambition for us so that we can have enough state House of Assembly members.
For me, that is what we 'gonna' fight for four years.