A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George, in this interview debunks a media report of his purported plan to move to the All Progressives Congress, APC. He, however, throws his weight behind the alliance forged in Lagos State between the Makarfi-led PDP and Labour Party, LP for the local government election. Excerpts:
By Dapo Akinrefon
The APC chairman in Lagos State, Chief Henry Ajomale, was reported to have boasted that you are making plans to join the party, is this true?
I was told, I did not read the story and I felt that was the greatest joke of the year. He (Ajomale) is older than me, I will respect his age but it is a wishful thinking, I can never abandon a party well organised, a party well entrenched, a party that is the most nationalistic in its colours, its composition, regulations, and membership and go to a party that is a congregation of strange bedfellows. They are yet to get their acts together.
I am well trained, I have been to strategic schools and I know what is good for this country. I won’t waste my time; maybe he woke up from the wrong side of his bed and was day dreaming. If he is looking for the big fish, he should go and look among themselves, not me and not even anything that I stand for.
Was there any time anyone approached you and discussed such issue with you?
Nobody in their wildest dream will even bring that topic to discuss such issues. I am not a wishy-washy person. I am a retired general, you don’t roll around like a stone that gathers no moss. It is a huge joke.
Now you are hearing from the horse’s mouth, I will never join the party. We are waiting for the judgment of the Supreme Court, if it is positive on our side, we will rebuild the party in line with aspirations of the founding fathers of our party. If it is otherwise, it means goodbye to politics because we will be heading into a tunnel of darkness.
I pray that the justices of the Supreme Court will remain fair and just and equitable like they have always been.
We are waiting and hoping that justice will be delivered by the Supreme Court. If it is positive on the Makarfi side, we will rebuild the party, if it falls on Modu Sheriff’s side, some of us will take a bow and head home.
Are you in support of the Lagos PDP going into alliance with the Labour Party ahead of the July 22 local government elections?
I am absolutely in support of it. The Makarfi PDP had alliance with Labour Party. Simply put, the Independent National Electoral Council, INEC, which should be impartial, sent a letter to the LASIEC that they recognized Sheriff’s faction, this is a faction that never went into any congress, they congregated themselves and made themselves state executives. When I saw the number of candidates interested in contesting, it gladdened my heart because we thought it was all over.
The mansion we were living had been occupied by the micro unit of the party, so the larger group now thought of looking for a platform that can accommodate and support us to assist the ambition of the young minds who want to contest.
It was cleared all the way from Abuja, it was not my decision. We would have been caught napping. That is the long and short of why we have this alliance with the Labour Party.
We went into serious discussion of why we want to work with them and I hope that would develop into a bigger union in the future.
We will soon have the launching and flag off of the campaign very soon so that people will know. We will hit the town.
In a nut shell, what is your take on restructuring?
In a nut shell, to say it in few words, what it means is that reduce the power at the centre and give more economic power to the states, in other words, the resources that are being harnessed and being paid to the federal purse, let each state keep 70 percent of what they can produce and send 30 to the national.
Just like we had in the First Republic where the centre was weak and the region’s were powerful. Also, policing is local, let us have state police.
To me, that is the solution, reduce the power of the centre. This means there will be political and economic restructuring but defense, external affairs will still be national and this means that the states will have more powers and then they will be more responsive to the needs of the people in their state.