PDP Not Ready For General Elections – Ajulo

PDP Not Ready For General Elections – Ajulo

Olukayode Ajulo is a lawyer, politician and civil rights activist. In this interview, he speaks about issues concerning the next general elections even as he says the opposition PDP is not ready for the polls.

MUYIWA OYINLOLA met him.

The 2023 general elections are around the corner and it appears the game is between the APC and the PDP.  This is a shift from what we used to have in the past where you have dominant parties yet we still had not so big parties making waves. What is your perspective about this development?

It depends on the perspective, the position and the background one looks at it. Yes! It is like this is a battle between the APC and the PDP but to some of us, it is not that way. It depends on the way you are looking at it and from the information at one’s disposal. I’m sure you have been hearing about ‘Third Force’, recently; the likes of Kwankwaso, even yesterday , last week, inaugurated another political movement and many others. I must say this, there are some other people making waves diligently, seriously. I know someone, Adewale Adebayo, who has been going virtually everywhere though many people will be thinking he has been around for some time. You can see Moghalu warming up, and some other people. The likes of Kwankwaso are already saying the PDP and the APC have already failed us and there is a need for a new party.

Talking about the PDP if I have the opportunity to be an administrator of the PDP particularly being someone who has been an administrator of a political party and as National Secretary, the political party which happened to be the third then with a governor, that is the Labour Party; if I have my way what I think the PDP needs to do is to grand the machinery at least from four to eight years sit down and strategise before even presenting any person for any post at the national level. I said this with clarity of thought. I said this with what I’ve known and we need to know the PDP was so bad. Even though there was a time many people raised the issue that the name of the party needs to be changed, we thought it could be changed but along the line they stopped.

But as it is, we have to understand Nigerian political dynamics.

Many who are ready to go, defect, one year is long enough to finance and mobilise for political engagement. Many will tell you if I should start now I will spend too much money, forgetting that running for Presidency should be a collective engagement. It should not be that only one soul will look for the money. I want to believe that if today, I want to run for Presidency all I need to know is to ensure that at least in each state I must be sure of nothing less than 30 to 40 of my friends who are ready to support financially and otherwise and with that you can know; because we always have somebody without any calling jump out to say I want to be a president and that is why we are having issue. As it is, a lot of people are warming up.

It’s been about 365 days to the general elections, people will be coming up. But be assured many people will participate and come out to contest for Presidency.

On the issue of the Third Force, are you looking at it from the point of a merger of different political parties like the APC was formed?

From my little understanding of the Third Force, if you remember Labour Party; apart from the APC, the PDP during the time when I was the National Secretary, Labour Party was the third political party. I remember that we used to have this Third Force. The essence of Third Force is to allow other political parties to come together to adopt a certain candidate, without merging.

What matters most is to ensure that Nigeria moves forward, what matters most is people’s aspiration. And when I mention people, I’m not talking of the have none. I’m talking about those that have and those that don’t. They all have aspirations. And what is that aspiration? Whether you are poor or rich, we all want Nigeria to be great.

It’s more of a collective aspiration of all Nigerians, whether you are a minister, a school teacher or a bus conductor, we want a better environment to live peacefully. That is what I want any politician to think of.

Are you saying that people should look at individuals rather than political parties? This is considering the fact that there is no provision for independent candidates in the nation’s constitution.

Unfortunately in Nigeria and I agree with that provision that there is no provision for independent candidates. If the PDP cannot really help you, at least we have nothing less than 60 political parties, anybody can move and call people to join.  It’s about how to make Nigeria forward. The most unfortunate thing I see most times is the lack of this ideology because a political party in Nigeria today seems to be like a bus stop where you can stand and pick the next bus to move to the next destination. And it should not be that way. Like every bus stop, you do need to know the name. Even if the bus stop belongs to someone you don’t want to see eyeball to eyeball but you have to be there because you want to pick a bus from there. But it shouldn’t be. It should be a situation that you are birds of a feather. But here you see birds of different feathers flocking together from different points of view, from different backgrounds. That is why I ask some questions about what would make Obaseki and Oshiomhole to be together under one roof.

What is your view on people calling for a generational shift that people above a certain age should not be allowed to contest elections?

The clamouring for generational shift is universal. It’s all over the world. It is how to attain it that differs. In both the United States and the United Kingdom, there is always a generational shift. But how do you achieve this and how genuine? Mind you, those who have power today will never want to relinquish it.

If anybody clamours for generational power shift, I will like to submit that the clamour is just part of achieving power because as the young is complaining, looking for a generational shift, the old too in one way or the others are colouring, apart from Obasanjo who believes in generational shift.

In governance, you need over 24 hours a day. I’ve been in the government. I know how it is. I remember then the governor of my state when you checked him both day-in day-out, he was working 24 hours. I think that is the basis for generational change. 

How do you think youths can attain this quest for generational change?

Youths can attain it with integrity of purpose. Most of the youths I see in politics now are supporting some politicians. I see some people at the age of 25, if you ask them, where do you work? ‘Oga’, I can’t get any job. I’ve been following the APC, I’ve been following the PDP. That is where I see myself not as a professional politician but I see myself as professional in politics in the sense that I’m a lawyer and we have a second address and for you to be a professional you must have been in a certain industry for a certain number of years with the ethics of the profession. But what do we say about these politicians? Some, from day one; they want to stay in the house of godfather day-in day-out.  After two or three years they will tell you I want to become president, I want to become governor, I want to become a member of the House of Assembly. They will give him because they know him more than you.

There is a need for sincerity of purpose, we need to be focused.

You don’t think they have to form a cluster and be under a political party?

That is one of the things that were mistaken during #EndSARS. I did not see #EndSARS as a revolution, I see it as another phenomenon that will define Nigeria’s political landscape but unfortunately the way that they became uncontrollable they did not have any hierarchy of command. Nobody seems to take any command or any advice from anyone. That was unfortunate. They got it wrong from the time the president spoke and said let us discuss and to find a way out.

Very soon somebody may rise among the youths that will be like a rallying point.

It will be unfair to our readers to read everything about you at this period and not read anything about the Osinbajo Presidential Project because a number of people including me have been following your write ups and comments and it seems you have something on for the vice-president. Will I be right that you see Osinbajo as the right candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari?

Let me answer your first question. I don’t need to mince words in that I see him as the right person to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. Therefore, the reason is that you can only attain greatness through three ways, either you are born with greatness or you achieve that greatness within your own capacity, or it is tossed at you. I may not know whether Osinbajo is born with greatness but you and I can see that greatness has been tossed upon him and with the little opportunity given he has been able to demonstrate capacity and capability. There are a lot of people that had greatness tossed upon them but cannot even manage it but to Osinbajo, it is not only that greatest has been tossed upon him; he has made a better judgement for that application of that greatness. He has even achieved some greatness within his own capacity.

We talk of somebody who became a lawyer. I know what it is; I know what it takes to be a Senior Advocate Nigeria. He’s been a co-pilot for the past seven years. He has been living peacefully with his principal till today.

Not only that, the constitution sees the vice president as a spare tire till when the principal is not there, that is when you can function and in a few times he functioned as somebody that held the affairs of the country, I think you know how to handle things.

For the APC to succeed or to be reckoned with and if the APC wants to win this election, it needs to follow the right path.

Are you nursing any political ambition?

Not at all and I said it with clarity. If you have gone through my journey of life both in my profession as a politician, at a very tender age, almost 11 to 12 years ago, I ran for senate in Abuja. Later, I became the national secretary of a political party. And just having considered whatever it has to offer and what I want in life, I realise that I started as a lawyer, I have a good practice, I’ll rather go back to that practice and see what I can make, I need to make good of that practice and to attain all what we wish as a lawyer to attain.

The only reason I need to go back to my profession as a lawyer and to do what I love doing most is ensuring that there is development in my country and that is what I’ve been doing so far. So, to move back, I don’t think this is the time.

What advise will you give to professionals ahead of the 2023 general elections?

I want to advise professionals to come out fully. They need to dominate that space because it is necessary to dominate it.


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