BEVERLY HILLS, May 02, (THEWILL) – In this interview with AYO ESAN, Chief Bayo Dayo, who is a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, speaks on the issue of reconciliation within the party, the defection of Otunba Gbenga Daniel and former House of Reps Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, to the ruling All Progressives Congress, the general insecurity in the country and the chances of PDP winning the 2023 presidential election, among other issues of national importance. Excerpts:
We learnt that the crisis rocking the Ogun State chapter of the PDP has been resolved. How was that achieved?
Many years ago, I wrote a personal letter to the National Secretariat of the party, telling the NWC that the only way to move forward in Ogun State was to unite members of the party. I begged them to come to the state and do this for us. Unfortunately, nothing was done.
About a year ago, some elders of the party and I met Hon. Ladi Adebutu and and we told him there was a need for reconciliation. We also went to our leader then, Sen. Buruji Kashamu. He said we should hold on, that it was not yet time for reconciliation. That led to a disagreement between Kashamu and I because I knew the only solution to the Ogun State problem was genuine reconciliation. So we parted ways.
Some other leaders of the party and I started having a series of meetings with Adebutu, since he was ready for genuine reconciliation. Eventually, most people realised that we would not go far unless we stayed together. The Buruji Kashamu’s faction split into many groups. In the end, we all understood that until we worked together, we would not achieve any success. So we came together and started talking. That was how it started.
As of today, all the splinter groups are now together. Both Buruji Kashamu’s group and Ladi Adebutu’s group are now united. I am very happy for that because now I know the PDP has a very bright future in Ogun State.
It appears the task before the new exco of the PDP in the South-West is how to resolve similar crises in other states, such as Lagos, Ekiti and Osun State. How soon can there be peace in these states?
I know that the two major groups in Ekiti State are now united. I learnt they are now working together. I know there are two factions in Lagos State, but whoever means well for the party must understand that there is no way out other except the two groups work together. If somebody is planting something and somebody is uprooting it, how can that thing grow?
If we want the party to grow, we must all ensure genuine reconciliation among ourselves without anybody telling us to do so, if, indeed, we want our followers to enjoy the dividends of democracy. That is the only way out. My advice to all the state chapters in the South-West is to work together and talk to one another because the APC is the party that is ruling us now, except in Oyo State. So we shouldn’t divide ourselves. We must work together. Until we work together, we cannot achieve anything great.
Just recently, the APC admitted some members of your party, including former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and former Governor Gbenga Daniel, into its fold. What is your reaction to this?
I don’t have much to comment about them, but all I know is that Otunba Gbenga Daniel has lost relevance. He is no longer relevant to modern day PDP. He was very much relevant when he joined the party in 2002. And I can tell you that he was a great mobiliser, but that was then. He has been struggling in the PDP since 2011. Even when he was a sitting governor, he couldn’t have it his own way. You can then imagine now that he is no longer the state governor. Although everybody is important and he was one of our leaders, he has lost relevance. I can tell you that we are not feeling his absence. We will not feel his absence in Shagamu. We will not feel his absence anywhere in Ogun State because all his followers are with us.
The elders alone cannot do this job. The youths will do the job for us. The youth are now wiser. If a leader is heading somewhere, they know what is good and what is bad. They will say you can go where you are going, but we are not going with you. Many of Daniel’s people are left behind in the PDP because they know the party has a very bright future.
What are the chances of the PDP winning the 2023 presidential election?
We do not need so much campaign. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. People are now wiser. You don’t need to go to rural areas to talk to them. You don’t even have to do much talking. All you need is simply to ask them whether they want the suffering to continue. Who wants the present situation in the country to continue? Nigerians have never had it so bad. Everybody knows that it is when we have a good government that we can be happy. Look at the local government secretariats. Everywhere is dry and nothing is going on. All the money that should go to local governments is being spent by the states. The nearest government to the people is the local government council. If the local government councils are not functioning, how can we the people enjoy the dividends of democracy?
The government we have now is like an aeroplane that is running on auto-pilot. The plane flies itself. This country is being run by the Grace of God. No expert in any field is running this country now. So we don’t have much to say other than to stick together. If we are united in the PDP, Nigerians will know that we are serious. Once they know that we are serious, they will follow us. We don’t need any campaign.
The security situation in Nigeria right now is not encouraging. We want a change of government. We want somebody who can take us back to where we were coming from. If you don’t know where you are going, you must know where you are coming from. We need somebody to take us back to 2015. That is all we need now and the people know it will be worse if they don’t follow the PDP.
The issue of zoning came up recently when a committee set up by our party to review the 2019 general elections said the presidency in 2023 should be thrown open to all the zones. What is your take on this?
You know we are in the opposition for now. So we must pick somebody from the North or the northerners will not vote for us. We need their votes. That is what we can do now as an opposition party. We need somebody we can vote for, somebody who is popular in the North. We can then pick the vice presidential candidate from the South. That is my own thinking and that is what I think can assist our party. I am sure we have people that are reasonable in the North, people that are loved in the North and equally loved in the South-West.
The South-West recently tasted and felt the impact of the general insecurity in the country. What is your reactio to this?
When we talk of security, it is nothing to talk about in Nigeria these days. Only few weeks ago, a friend of mine was kidnapped. I don’t know how many millions of naira they took there before he was released. We thank God for his life, but can we continue to live like this?
We want a government that can contain this insecurity. We want a government that will push these foreigners that are in our country back to their own countries. Nigerians have lived together for ages and we never heard of these things. We need a leader that can shut our borders to these foreigners that do not mean well for our country.
Some people are calling for self determination. Don’t you think such demand is dangerous for the unity of Nigeria?
I believe Nigeria is three countries put together as one. The cultures of the Hausas, the Igbo and the Yoruba are different. These are three countries put together. Let the northerners have their own country. If we want to go there, we shall apply for visas. If they want to come to the South, let them apply for visas. Let the easterners have their own country, too. The East and West can even work together, but the South and the North cannot. We are not together. Why did the British colonial administrators lump us together when they knew our cultures are different? If we can go our separate ways peacefully without going to war, it is better. In other parts of the world, people have opted for division without going to war with each other. That is actually what we should do. Let us leave in peace. Let the northerners live the way they want it and let the Igbo, Yoruba and other tribes live the way it pleases them. If that is done I believe there will be peace.
Let every tribal group be on its own. That is the solution to all the problems of this country.
Nigeria is not one country. A single tribe is holding on to all the powerful positions in this country. What can you say to that? There isn’t petroleum in the North, yet northerners are in control of the oil that we have in the South. They are the ones controlling the NNPC and Customs. There is no river that can take a ship in the North, but northerners are the ones controlling the Nigeria Ports Authority. Is that okay? Let us stay in the South and they stay in the North and do whatever they like there. I don’t think it is an offence. If I tell my neighbour that I don’t want to come to his house and he should not come to my house, is that an offence? But we must go in peace. We don’t need to fight a war before going our separate ways.