My staying in PDP is the reason the party still exists in Oyo —Mulikat Akande

PDPHonourable Mulikat Akande-Adeola is a former Leader of the House of Representatives and currently aspiring for the Senate seat in Oyo North senatorial district. In this interview by Laolu Afolabi, she speaks on her chances and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), why she has remained in the party since joining in 1998 and efforts by members to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. Excerpts:

 

You have remained consistent over the years as a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). What has tied you down to the party?

I thank you so much. Like you said, I joined PDP in 1998. The party appealed to me as at that time, it was the most inclusive party. The members were not party because they were of a particular tribe. It was, a national party and it had everything to show that it is, indeed, a democratic party.

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That was why I joined PDP and by my nature, I don’t believe that when there is problem you run away and then come back. So, I have been in PDP since 1998 because I believe in the party and I believe that having attained the position of leader of the House of Representatives through that same party, I cannot desert the party now just because we lost an election. It is not way of doing things. I believe that when things are good, we share it together and when things are also not too good, we still remain there. We have tried to build up the party to encourage other people who are still coming and that is the reason I have been in PDP and I still believe with PDP, things could be better.

 

In some states, returnees to the party are likely to cause rancour and problems for current party members. They want to have a say in party structure. How is the party handling the returnees?

It is a natural thing, depending on who it is that has gone and is coming back. I’m sure those who they are coming to meet within the party will not just submit the party to them because when they were not there, if we had left the party, it wouldn’t have been there now.

Like me for example, in Ogbomoso here, in 2014 when Governor (Adebayo) Alao-Akala left and went to Labour Party, if I had not remained in PDP, there wouldn’t have been PDP in Ogbomoso today. My remaining in PDP is the reason some people can say there is PDP in Ogbomoso, and even Oyo State. After the election and PDP lost the Presidency, we also lost at the state level. A lot of people just became nonchalant about the party, nobody was doing anything for like two years. The first meeting that really got us off the ground was called by me in Ibadan at that time. You can see how PDP has gone so far since this political activity started. Those who are coming also would feel like, let’s go back and take over, but it depends on if those members submit to them.

In Oyo State, a lot has happened. We believe that we are opening our doors to people to come in, since democracy is about number the more you are, the better for you. So, if we open our arms or our doors to people, we don’t expect that they will come and push us outside and that’s why you see a lot of in-fighting and it took a very long time before we could stabilise and I thank God today that all that had been put behind us and now, we are working for victory by the grace of God.

 

You said the party has stabilised in Oyo State now, so what are the chances of PDP in 2019 elections?

You know we are not going to vote for ourselves, it’s the people within the state who are going to vote for us, and you can see right now, the people are clamouring so much for PDP to come back, because PDP has been tested. They (the people) tested us when we were in power and they’ve seen that we are, indeed, a very democratic party. We carry people along. In our time, there was no hunger in the land like we have now; nobody was being sacked from their jobs, students were going to school; there was no problem, and all that. I’m not saying that we don’t have issues here and there, but basically, when you have two husbands, you can compare which is better. Now, PDP is the better husband and people are clamouring for the party to come back and we are not going to take that for granted. We are doing all our possible best to ensure that we take back the government, both at the national and the state levels, because we, in the PDP, believe in the people and we believe that once you are in government, you must take care of the people. You must do those things that will endear your party more to the people, which we have been doing. We have made our mistakes along the line, but we’ve realised exactly where we went wrong and now, we are ready to correct that and we are going to make sure we field only the candidates who are popular among their people. There will be no imposition of candidate, which usually causes a lot of problem within the party. We shall ensure that internal democracy rise within our party. Once we do that, I don’t think we will have any problem.

 

The PDP, do you think you can perform in government better than the current government?

When we were there before did we not perform better? The people know we performed better when we were in government and so we would do better now, because we have seen the comparison between us and this particular government. This government erred in so many areas, it has left a lot of things undone and we are ready to correct that. We will definitely do better. People have been saying that this government is even worse than PDP, people are hungry, people have no work to do, the roads are terrible, worse than when PDP was there. Even if we had won in 2015, things would have been better now for the people than it is right now. Everything that we have done well have been pulled down, that’s why people are clamouring for a change. They thought the present government would bring about a positive change to them but right now, it’s a negative change that we have.

 

You are a former House leader and now aspiring for the Senate. Chances are high for you to become Speaker this time. Why do you choose to go to Senate?

Ambition is ambition. When you are in class and you pass, you want to go further to another class. While I was there in the House, I did well for my people and I did well to the best of my ability when I was the leader of the House. Since I’ve not been able to make it back in 2015, I feel it is time to extend the goodness of my time in the House of Representatives to our senatorial district. I have done it before and I know by the grace of God, I will do it better this time around. We’ve gone round our senatorial district four times in the last three months to meet our people and I’m happy to tell you that everywhere we went; there was no need for introduction. Everybody knows who Honourable Mulikat Akande-Adeola is, everybody knows what I have done, and feels it is right for me to aspire for the Senate and by the grace of God, I will make it.

 

Are you so sure you will clinch the ticket in the primaries holding next week? Won’t there be imposition of candidate, especially the returnees?

No, within my senatorial district, there is nobody that has come back that the party can give it to. If the party has to give anybody, the consideration favours me. I’m a woman and the only woman aspiring for this post, especially in the senatorial district, or even right now in the whole of Oyo State. I’m the only woman and within PDP, there are about five senatorial candidates and this time around, the 35 per cent affirmation for women will favour me to clinch the ticket. Apart from that, I’m not relying on what the party is even going to do. I’m the candidate in the market, selling myself to the delegates and by the grace of God, they will vote for me on October 2, because like I keep saying, when two or three people are vying for a position, you put them on the scale to know which is better.

I think I’m a better option for the party. Look at my antecedents, look at everything that I have done and the fact that I have the interest of senatorial district at heart. I’m a peace-loving person, I’m a mother, I’m not supposed to be saying much about myself, but like I told you, we have been there four times which is just for primaries, so that shows I’m a woman of the people, I’m a grass-roots person and I love my people. Whenever I am among the people, the reception we get, I’m amazed and the way they also commend that I mingle with them so easily, as if I’ve been part of them. For Ogbomoso zone, there is no problem for us, Oke-Ogun also, that’s the new terrain we are going into and it already seems it’s been part of me and they’ve been relating well with us. The party is not going to impose anybody there’s nobody to impose, just two of us in our senatorial and we are both PDP.

 

There are political heavyweights from this section of the state who are in opposing political parties. Are they not threats to your ambition? Do you think you can win an election against them?

That should be left to the electorate. I’m not the one voting for myself, so it would be left to the people to choose. Like I say, when two or three people are aspiring, people will check which option pays them better. We are all from Ogbomoso and we are all brothers and sisters, so it will be left to the people to make a choice.

 

What will you tell the electorate about the rebranded PDP?

I want them to know that their vote is the power they have, they should not misuse it, they should not sell it cheaply, because the money you get selling your vote is for one time, the benefit you get when you make the right choice is forever. This time around, let them be wise in choosing who they know will deliver. Let them forget temporary things and look forward to permanent things, which PDP has done for them in the past. Let them consider the suffering in the last years and vote wisely this time and vote PDP. We know exactly where the shoe pinches the people and we are ready to end that suffering, come 2019, with their help and the help of God.

The post My staying in PDP is the reason the party still exists in Oyo —Mulikat Akande appeared first on Tribune.

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