BY GBENGA ARIYIBI
Surveyor Biodun Aluko, former deputy governor of Ekiti State under the regime of Mr. Ayo Fayose, in this interview, spoke on his governorship ambition, his chances and the crisis ravaging his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) among others. Excerpts:
On whether the dissolution PDP executive at national and zonal level will affect it in Ekiti 2014 and subsequent polls
No. PDP is only being law-abiding. We are only obeying the rule of law. In the South-West, the PDP chose to abide by the court decision that the processes that led to the emergence of the South West executive was not according to the constitution and guidelines of the party.
The executive was set aside in obedience to the court order. In the national executive, those who left did so because the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said that the process that led to the emergence of some of the national officers was not constitutional. The party decided to obey INEC and chose to sack those whose elections were questioned by INEC. We want to set an example for others to follow that the courts are there to adjudicate in any dispute between two people and once the court says this is the situation of things, the parties involved should abide.
On fears that the emergence of many governorship aspirants will hurt PDP in Ekiti
The emergence of so many aspirants is a good thing for the party. In a party that has no hope of winning an election, members will not come to waste their time jostling for the ticket. There are some other parties that are looking for aspirants now that cannot even get, whereas we have over 20 in PDP. That shows the viability of PDP. That shows that PDP is the party to beat in Ekiti State.
The aspirants have already agreed to the consensus arrangement that Mr. President has proposed. We will come up with a consensus candidate and everybody will join hands with whoever emerges as the consensus candidate of the party to make sure that we win the election.
On zoning controversy
As far as zoning is concerned, it is legally recognized by PDP. Zoning is legally recognized by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is no difference between zoning and Federal Character. As I have always said, Ekiti South Senatorial District, where I belong, is not agitating for zoning because we do not have competent hands.
No. Take a look at all the people who are jostling for the governorship seat in Ekiti State today, who among them is better qualified educationally than those of us in the South? Nine of us from the South have shown interest in the governorship and we have met. Two are PhD holders. None of us has less than a first degree. About five of us are Masters Degree holders.
Those from the other senatorial districts – what qualifications do they have that are better than we have?I believe that zoning or no zoning, I, Abiodun Aluko, I am well qualified to slug it out with anybody from any senatorial district in Ekiti State.
What the nine aspirants agreed at the meeting
We all agreed that the next governor should come from the South and that all of us are going to support whoever the party picks from the nine of us. We agreed that each person should go and sell himself to the electorate. You do not go out abusing the other person. The point remains that any of us who eventually emerges will get the support of others morally, financially, and with everything we have to ensure that one of us becomes the governor.
His assessment of Governor Kayode Fayemi
I have rated Fayemi low in so many areas although he is rating himself high. What do you expect of him? It is the public that ought to rate him, but this will be shown at the polls. APC has adopted him and by the grace of God, PDP will field Abiodun Aluko and we will meet on the field, then he will know that the public is not rating him high as he has rated himself. Talk to the teachers, talk to local government staff, talk to Ekiti State University workers, talk to health workers, talk to the Obas, talk to students! As far as I am concerned, he has not performed to expectation.
His preparedness for the governorship task
I have what it takes to realize the dreams of the founding fathers of Ekiti. Educationally, I have two Masters Degrees, I worked in the civil service, I worked in private capacity, and I was a deputy governor. I have the experience and capacity to address the needs of Ekiti. I have already constituted a 60-man think-tank to work out a blueprint and roadmap for Ekiti State to make it the number one state in this country within the four years that I will be in office as governor.