Lagos Governorship Aspirant in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has said he has no intention to leave the party whether or not he won the ticket at the primaries.
Agbaje spoke at the Protea Hotel Ikeja, at the weekend during two interactive sessions with PDP youth and women’s leaders representing the 57 councils in the state.
“Why will I leave PDP to go where?” he said. “To me as a politician, such a situation makes no sense. People who insinuate that if I don’t win the primaries I will leave the party forget my antecedents. I am not diverting supporters to anywhere.”
According to the former Governorship Candidate of the Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA), when in 2007 he contested and lost, he remained in that party and sustained the structure until it was deregistered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“In 2007, I aspired on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). But it was clear that there would be no primaries, so I went to DPA. We did not win the elections. But if I was just party hungry, I would have jumped out into another party. But I remained within the party and sponsored several members who contested in the local government elections.”
Recalling that even before he left ACN in 2007 he had been offered the position of Deputy Governor, followed by that of Senator, and he had rejected both posts.
“I do not seek power for myself but for service,” he said.
According to him, PDP represented the best platform for his aspiration, and he would remain there even if he did not make it.
“PDP is my last bus stop. My back is to the wall. It is forward ever, backward never,” said the pharmacist who owns JayKay Pharmacy, a Lagos-based drug-manufacturing concern.
According to him, although he and associates had assisted Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to win the 1999 and 2013 governorship elections, he never went cringing to beg for contracts.
“I never went to Tinubu’s office, except once, and that was during the Ikeja Cantonment bomb blast,” he explained. “Even when he was giving out things, I did not take anything from him. I was the Treasurer for Afenifere, and we saw the way he was treating the Babas. I did not want him to compromise me like he did a lot of people who went cringing to him for posts or contracts.”
Denying that he took contracts from the Lagos State Government, Agbaje pointed out: “I am not a government contractor. I do not supply drugs to Lagos State or even the Federal Government.”
He also denied charges that he had been planted in PDP to act as a spoiler to the advantage of APC.
“People say I am a mole; impossible. I have not benefitted from Tinubu. I even supported his campaign financially. If anything, he owes me, so I cannot be his mole. In fact, back in 2007 when some of us left the party because of his undemocratic tendencies, he told people that of all those who held grudges, only Jimi Agbaje had a justified grudge.”
He also addressed fears amongst some PDP members that should he become Governor, he would favour only his old political loyalists.
In his words: “Ignore such talks. I will not do Amosun to PDP. I will not be a sole administrator. And you can see that my structure is run by core PDP chieftains. My Director-General is Chief Rahman Owokoniran, a frontline PDP figure. You can also see with me here Leke Adefala –Legal Adviser of Lagos PDP, and Engineer Shiaba, a PDP chieftain who is our Director of Logistics.”
Promising that PDP will approach the general elections as one family, he said: “There is no PDP aspirant that I don’t have a one-on-one relationship with. And none of you will hear me abuse or malign any aspirant. My failure to grant press interviews is part of the strategy because I don’t want to be goaded into saying unpleasant things about any aspirant.”
According to him, PDP had a good chance of winning the 2015 governorship race in Lagos.
“This race is winnable. And I am running to win,” he said.