Engineer Afolabi Yunus served as Commissioner for Works in Kwara state between 2003 and 2007 and was a key associate of the deceased strongman of Kwara politics, Senator Olusola Saraki. In this interview he responds to issues arising from the factionalisation of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its effects in Kwara State. Excerpts:
How has the factionalisation of the PDP affected the party in your state?
The original PDP is still on ground in Kwara State and PDP in Kwara State has no problem with anybody. People are still interested in PDP. But really, the original PDP is on ground in Kwara State and people are prepared to go with PDP. Those that call themselves the new PDP in Kwara State, we don’t know how they will define it. We don’t know what they will tell us, whether they are a faction of PDP or not.
The belief is that the followers of original PDP or Baba Saraki have moved to the ACPN, which Baba endorsed before he died?
I want to say that before now, Baba Saraki directed everybody in Kwara State to remain in PDP. So, the issue of ACPN in Kwara State is not happening now. Even long before now, while Baba was alive, he directed that nobody should go to any other party, whether CPC or ACN. He said they should all remain in PDP. We believe that the leadership of PDP was given to Baba Saraki and Baba Saraki brought PDP to Kwara.
Given that the governor and his predecessor are championing the nPDP don’t you fear the PDP would disappear?
We have PDP that has been there long before some of us joined and the party is still there intact. Many of us that were that were working with Bukola were not comfortable. Because of this one-man-show attitude that he has been playing all along. But I want to tell you that when you consider the list of PDP Executives in Kwara State today, Bukola has been so selfish that he ended up picking the State Chairman, the State Woman Leader, the State Youth Leader all from one Ward.
Why is this? Not even only that. From Kwara Central, you discover that majority of these executive posts were just picked from Kwara Central. He gave only the position of Secretary to Kwara South. I am from Kwara North and we are being marginalized even more than that of the South because he gave South the State Secretary and he ended up picking all other ones from Kwara Central. So, as a result of this, you can see how he has continued to marginalize people and at the end of the day, that is one of the reasons why people are not comfortable.
Are you saying that when election comes, the PDP members in Kwara will not follow the party Bukola Saraki is leading?
Right now, Bukola has come up with the idea of new PDP faction in Kwara State. But majority of the old PDP and many of us that later joined the PDP, we are not in support of the self-styled PDP that Bukola is bringing. We are prepared to go with the original PDP in Kwara State and that’s what is giving us hope now that when election comes, we believe strongly that it is we in the original PDP that is going to defeat the self-styled factional structure that he has introduced.
What if Bukola and Baraje change their minds and realign with you?
Supposing they can change their mind and realign, it would have been better. But I want to tell you that there is no going back in the agenda of these people. There is great awareness now on the side of the people and that is why they will be ashamed to come back because it is not in them. The arrogance and one-man-show attitude that is so much in them will not even allow them to come back. I want to say that they are prepared to go to another party which they are yet to announce and even they must have been discussing it with some of their followers.
They are just buying time by telling people that they are still in PDP. They are really not in PDP. Take it from me that all these G7 Governors that are leading a rebellion right now, their minds are already in another party.