•I never took oath before OGD or Kashamu
Prince Nasir Gboyega Isiaka who won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in Ogun State in this interview dismissed the insinuation that the former Speaker, House of Representatives Mr. Dimeji Bankole is contesting his victory at the primaries and blamed the opposition for trying to create crisis in the party. Excerpts:
By Adeleke Adeseri & Dapo Akinrefon
Why the controversy after the primaries and contradicting reports from the National Secretariat of the party?
The fact is that there is no much controversy about the primaries of the PDP in Ogun State, but we have to acknowledge the fact that the opposition party is trying to ignite controversy. Yes, in the contest of this nature, there are some people that will think it should go their way, but that is the beauty of democracy, minority will have their say but the majority will have their way.
I think in this particular case, we had the primary on the 8th of December, out of over 800 votes, I scored over 750, about 82% of the vote cast to defeat my opponent who scored 151 votes and I was declared the winner.
For me, after the primary, the other process has started which is to look forward to the election and how to organise ourselves to win it, any other thing outside this are normal post-primary election reactions that are expected in any democratic party like the PDP. But in this particular case, what we have is the opposition trying to play up none issues and you can observe that they deployed the social media and if you see people talking there, they are opposition members that are afraid of the unity and the strength of the PDP now. They feel the best way to go is to generate controversy and internal rift where there is none. But for us, the primary is lost and won, but we expect people to express their feelings and the process to take care of that is in place. We have passed the stage of primaries, and we have reached the stage to start preparing for the election. I am the candidate and there is no controversy about that.
Don’t you fear a repeat of the scenario in 2011 when you lost the ticket via court judgment?
I am not, the major difference between what happened in 2011 and now is that in 2011, there were parallel primaries which produced two candidates until court pronounced someone. Besides the party was factionalised. But in this case, there was just a single primary and it produced me as the candidate for the party, so no other person can claim that. Also there is no faction of the PDP in Ogun State now. But some people may complain about the process and as I said, the party is big enough to deal with that.
What is your reaction to allegations that you paid N500 million to some godfathers for the ticket and that you took oath before them?
You see, some of the drawbacks of our democracy is that, mischief, lies, and deliberate falsehoods are the order of the day; and for those who engage in these vices, all is fair in war. However, let me state emphatically that there is no iota of truth in this and it is a wicked lie from those anti-democratic elements. You should know that in a process of this nature, a keenly contested primary we just held, rumours are bound to fly around all over the place. I am not new to this type of falsehood.
I contested in 2011, and one of the things they said then was that the whole assets of Gateway Holdings and the assets of the state are in my account but events thereafter including several probes and audits are yet to trace anything to me. The truth is that nobody collected a dime from me. They do not see how anybody can be loyal to a governor or to a leader as I am to Otunba Gbenga Daniel who has never told me to take an oath of allegiance. I did not take any oath and he never asked me to do such a thing, I am someone who believes you must be loyal to your leader especially when the process is going on as expected, but immediately I felt otherwise during the process of crossing over to the PDP from the Labour Party, I had to do something else. And that put paid to lies that I took oath with OGD in the first instance.
The same thing is happening now with Prince Buruji Kashamu and there is nothing like oath taking but people cannot imagine how I moved back to the party within eight weeks and got this far.
There are a number of other people that got to the party almost at the same time like me and they won the primaries in their locations. Did they also take oaths to win? I also remember that in 2011 that Hon Dimeji Bankole, myself and several other aspirants worked together in the same faction of the party, but when Prince Buruji Kashamu won the case against us, Bankole and a few others moved to Buruji side and got the ticket, I wonder if they all took oaths.
The truth is that some people could still not understand how it happened. There is nothing like that, I did not give anybody any dime and if anybody has evidence to support the allegation that I coughed any amount to get the ticket, I will be happy to see, may be I will claim the money back. I don’t have that kind of money to put into this process and that is the truth.
Is the PDP still popular in Ogun State?
I am convinced that if we hold election today in this state, PDP will record a resounding victory with unprecedented margin, I don’t have any iota of doubt in my mind about that. And we are still getting stronger because the worst is over.
The other factor that will work for us is the inability of the present government to deliver dividends of democracy to the people. Amosun is running an ultra-elitist, rudderless and anti-people government which has disconnected him from the people. And this is very clear. Besides, the platform he used to come to power has been divided into two and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) that came out of APC is having a chunk of their membership, therefore whatever happened to PDP in 2011 is what is happening to the APC now, so it is clear to all discerning minds that Senator Ibikunle Amosun has just six months to spend in office.