PDP in Ajeromi/Ifelodun is one indivisible family – Prince Okafor

Prince Aloysius Okafor is the present Secretary of the Elders Council
of Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government council, the State Asst. Secretary
of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Secretary, Lagos East
Senatorial district. He talks about the party’s reconciliation moves
and how the party is being re positioned for a greater feat.




What has been happening since the PDP lost the House of
Representatives seat to the All Progressive Congress in the last
election?

 All Progressives Congress, truly know they lost that election and to
say PDP lost is to underestimate the enormity of the robbery that took
place. We never lost the election, we won. It was a collective theft
of the ruling party directly from Abuja, down the line and then,
the manipulation of the judiciary process. We took it to a judicial
conclusion because there’s always another day.  We are looking forward
to 2023, believing that we will do better.

Before 2023 general election, there will be Council election in 2021,
or will PDP not participate?


PDP is always ready to move into any electoral contest with any
opposing party. Ours is a democratic set up, even though by the nature
of the threat, sometimes we disagree, but we have this machinery of
quick reconciliation and joint action. So, PDP is aware of the Council
election and we are preparing for that election. We are sure that we
are going to meet their opposition with whatever it requires.

Between the Council election and reconciliation which one is more
important to PDP?


 Reconciliation will always come first because politics is an everyday
affair and what makes it thick are agreement and disagreement.
However, in PDP, we tend not to have too much of disagreement and the
disagreement have always been conditioned to the threat.

Anytime election is approaching, there would always be a conflicting
interest across board. At the end of the day, somebody must take the
ticket, people will always disagree and we still meet to reconcile, to
appease their brevity because it’s one political family. The candidate
does not represent the party; it is the umbrella that we will vote for
on the day of the election.

So, any real leader or member of the party knows that once there’s a
conclusion of the nomination process, we will have to reconcile with
the reality on ground and be a loyal member of the party because the
party is always greater than any member, no matter how highly placed
the person is.

So, for our reconciliation, it is ongoing and we have recorded massive
success so far, and if it continues this way, I can assure you that
sooner it will be part of our history.

Is the reconciliation mandated by the PDP national body or the state
or who, because committees set up by the party in most cases people
from outside are included, and we understand this one is reconciliation of two
groups?

I am not aware of the two groups you mean, but reconciliation
process is two way traffic. One anchored by the national and the
other one by the state leadership of the party, then down the line.
That of the national was anchored by the sitting governor of Oyo
state, who led a delegation where all the aggrieved parties were met
in a round table. Issues were discussed and resolutions made and
directives issued.

We have a reconciliation committee which toured round, made their
recommendations to the state executive council of the party,
thereafter, even at the local level, we also wanted to be proactive
while enjoying the processes, and our leaders picked it up from there
and so far, so good.

Tell us more about the Ajeromi –Ifelodun local government reconciliation

 Basically, once a congress is over, there’s only one leadership
across board and that is what we have till date and Ajeromi-Ifelodun
local government will not be an exception. So, what the leadership is
doing is to create a sense of belonging to those who felt aggrieved.
Bring them closer and give them a sense of belonging and encourage
them to wait for another time.

It offers us the opportunity to sit down next time and emphasize less
on personal interest and promote more of group (party) interest, where
leaders can sit down with maturity and arrive at a political consensus.
 In this case, everybody becomes a winner. The days of winner takes
all is gone because year 2020 is a 21st century and it allows for some
kind of elastic approach to issues of common interest. I think that is
the level we are now and I think PDP is succeeding.

What are the points of references in the ongoing reconciliation in the
local government?


Contents and terms from very personal point of view is internal .The
party cannot disclose what the terms of their intra reconciliation
arrangements are. One thing is of note, the party acknowledged the
need for reconciliation from all the aggrieved parties. We have been
talking and we have achieved success so far and it is believed that
very soon we round up the reconciliation process.

So, what are those things that you have been talking at the
reconciliation meeting?


 You asked about reconciliation and I told you that we’ve talked about
congress. We talked about winners, losers and bringing the losers
together for the winners to agree that it is not end in itself, but a
means to an end. The most important thing is for us to work together.
We are working together towards another congress where every interest
will be protected and then another election where all sides of the
coin will be part of the game, so that we will have a beautiful and
quality candidate that can face the opposition from anywhere.

In your party there is always this reference to 65/35, is that still
part of the discussion?

 Abuja and the leaders of the party have since buried 65/35 and as
it’s not even a discussion in the reconciliation process. The
leadership of the party at the national level, the south west zone,
and the chief proponent of the 65/35 formula, Chief Bode George, have
asked his followers to jettison the idea. They agreed that the party
belongs to everyone and we should work together now to achieve unity
before any internal election takes place.

Those who talked about it at that time had long distanced themselves
from it as there is nothing like that in the constitution of PDP. This
is rather a contraption or marriage of convenience to serve a common
interest at that particular time which has long been overtaken by
events and there can never be relevant in the issues of the party as
we talk.

One of the issues looked at is recognizing the leaders of the party,
some of whom have been away from mainstream party participation.
There’s need for us to come together as leaders and members of the
party to discuss our common issues as leaders and have some minimum
agreement.

The leaders are acknowledged and respected and members are given sense
of belonging and everybody goes back to his wards and local
governments to be fully involved in the management of the party,
because leadership is a collective responsibility and no man enjoys
monopoly of knowledge.

 I think that is the level that we are. It is being done without
sentiments and without any pre concealed positions, it is as free as
air, and then we are bound to take propositions from both sides as it
best suites the good of the party to the best of our knowledge

From our findings, the only state officer of the party in the local
government is not part of that reconciliation, please can that be
true.


 Well, eh, I don’t believe in unanimous souls, I do not know who that
officer is.

Okay, please, is Prince Okafor, part of that reconciliation as the
state officer.


Prince Okafor is part and parcel and the key player in the
reconciliation process. Just last week, we met at the level where the
other side led by Elder Israel Ogunrinde was involved .We have been
talking to ourselves. Elder Ogunrinde is a leader in the party and he
was my colleague at the inception of the party, even though he has not
been consistent.

What we have been talking about is basically in the interest of the party
and personal interest should be down and that is the level we are
going.

 Since you are involved, enlighten us more on the reconciliation.

We cannot preempt the reconciliation process, it is better at the time
we are through, resolutions would be there and we might be in better
position to address you further.

Some members that are not happy have been saying that the
reconciliation moves are bound to fail, what do you think?

I have never been a prophet of doom, but I believe as we get to the
bridge, we shall cross it gradually. Reconciliation is bound to
succeed because those who must reconcile are involved as there’s no
other authority other than those involved is in the reconciliation.

 Supposing they disagree, sir

 There is nothing like disagreement, but let us assume without
conceding, as Lawyers would say, the status quo would remain until the
next congress where the popularity or the weight of the opposing side
would be tested during the congress. There is no reason why
they cannot agree because there’s nothing personal about it. It is
about the party and its interest which is super and we are very much
aware of the interest of the party.

 How about the issue of the people excluded in the exco asking for
slots or making it a rotational exco

That notion is imaginary and exists only in the minds of those who
felt aggrieved. But as an officer of the party, leadership of the
party has since finished their congress in 2017 and the tenure of the
current officers expires by November 2021, personally, I cannot be a
party to anything that will amount to illegality because it is not
known to the constitution of our party.

At any point, once congresses are over, people are elected, the
offices of the people are with the INEC, Police, SSS, any addition or
subtraction will amount to illegality. If it has never happened in any
other local government, it will be an albatross for such to form part
of the reconciliation process because it will amount to illegality.

How are you sure that the reconciliation will work?

 I am not a prophet; I am only saying that the issues being discussed
are issues of the party that it is more than individual interests take
it or leave it. The party’s interest will always prevail and I am on the
side of the party.

 What other unnecessary demand was made by of the parties in the reconciliation.

You have just said it, part of which  was the issue of bringing two
excos together because there’s only one exco,we do not have two or
expanded exco,  it is still an illegality. I am a politician, I know
when I am on the disadvantaged position and once that happens, I will
beat to a tactical withdrawal.

I will continue to ask God for life to witness another opportunity and
this means, going back to the drawing board. I will look at why I
failed and then take some corrective measures before the next
opportunity.

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