Elder Ogunrinde carpets Prince Okafor over comments

Weeks after an interview granted this paper by Prince Aloysius Okafor ,Lagos East Asst. Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party and leader in Ajeromi/Ifelodun, Elder
Israel Ogunrinde the defacto Elders Council Chairman and leader of the 65 group before the party split into two has taken exception to some of the issues raised in the interview.

He said the allegation that he has accepted the position of the deputy chairman of the Elders’ Council of the party is false because, he never discussed  that with anybody and before the party split into two, he was the party’s Elder’s Council Chairman. The crises in the party threw up two groups which are group 35 led by Alhaji Rasaq Fakunle, and group 65 led by Elder Ogunrinde.

He pointed out that in bringing the two groups together, there has to be a reconstitution of new Elders Council. The one in existence now is not valid. He also noted that after the two groups have been brought together, that positions like the chairman, deputy, and secretary of
the Elder’s Council can come up.

His words, ‘’sincerely, there is nothing like that. We are just at the preliminary stage of the reconstitution, where we cannot talk about positions. You know the leaders are meeting, we know ourselves. The issue of deputy chairman of Elder’s Council has not been discussed and
I do not know anything about it’’.

Reacting on Prince Okafor’s assertion that he is not consistent, though they are age mates, Elder Israel said, it’s a non-issue, as Prince Okafor is an Igbo leader, while he (Ogunrinde) is the leader of the PDP, in the area and so there is no basis for comparism between both of them.

“There are Igbo’s in my group, there are South-South people here, I also have Hausas in the group, not to talk of Yoruba’s. My political philosophy is to carry everybody along on whatever I am doing’’
‘’But they cannot do anything like it because some of them do not even have members and because of their way of life.  I, Elder Israel Ogunrinde build people. Today, there is no Ward, I will go that I cannot attract people that matter because of my style of politics’’ he added.

He observed that his style of leadership has endeared him to a lot of followers. This he said is making his opponents jittery and that is why some of them are trying to create a wrong impression that there is crisis when there is none.

The politician said the idea of somebody coming to the area to hijack power without doing his ground work and familiarizing himself with the grassroots’ will not work. Noting that the people on ground are not weaklings and cannot watch a new comer hijack what they have labored
for all these years. As a grassroots’ leader, Elder Ogunride, said he has been using his influence to seek opinion from the leaders of the various Wards on how to reconcile the warring members of the party in the area and make the party stronger for the upcoming elections.

He boasted that his influence is causing jittery among some of his colleagues in the area.
A sober Elder Ogunride said, the death of some of the party’s influential leaders in the area in his group in the last few months have caused some major setbacks to the growth of the party.

The list of the dead party members  include: Alhaji Tajudeen Ibrahim a.k.a Omo Eko,  Ward H,  M.A Aleshinloye (Baba Alesh), Ward A,   E.O Ajani, Ward D, Solomon Popola, Ward B, Pastor  P.U Nwajie from Ward D and  Pa Ganiyu Adigun Salami from Ward K. All these people he said were the prominent members of this party under his group. According to him, their group has not forgotten these illustrious sons and he is still communicating with their families. In the last few months the party has lost seven prominent people and he hopes they can come out of this stronger.

On the issue of reconciliation, he said the party continues in the process of reconciling all the aggrieved parties and he is sure it will be a success. He however revealed that the other group in the crises has not been completely sincere. He throws more light on this, ‘’I am seeing the many ways that they are not sincere. There is no sincerity of purpose in what they’re doing, but I am following them. Their reason is that they are afraid’’.

‘’I know those of them that are not sincere and the ones that are sincere, but whether they like it or not, we will succeed. Those that are not sincere lack followership and I know their followers will also realize very soon that the fault is from their leaders. I have tried
this reconciliation for more than four times but later in the future; I will publicly say it for everyone to know. They do not want reconciliation because they benefit a lot when there is crises in the party ‘’

Elder Ogunride sees himself as a strong willed person who will never
waiver whatever the situation and no matter how you use money to tempt
him.

Ogunride explained further that Fidelis Okonkwo accosted him and had pleaded with him on
behalf of Hon Rita Orji, but he had asked him to ask Hon Orji to call him, so
that he can assuage his angry members to sheathe sword because the former House of Representatives member has called. He opined that money can never change his
principle and its only political jobbers that will always give in to
the bidding of the highest bidders.

The PDP chieftain said he is ready to work with any politician that
has the right program for the people. For him, the problem is that
some of these politicians are not consistent and so immediately the
baton changes they will switch allegiance and he is not that kind of
politician.

‘’The person that said I am not consistent, we were together in the
struggle before he jumped ship and  Hon Rita gave him a position in
Lagos East as Assistant Secretary. Just imagine all those
illegalities. Today, he is boasting and none of them are talking good
of Hon Rita, including all of them that benefited from her because
they have seen another person. Please, who is more consistent?

‘’I Israel Ogunrinde, will never bite the finger that fed me and if
anybody does it to me, I will not be happy. All of them that benefited
from Rita are all against her, but where I stand, that is where I will
remain. I have not changed my mind, even though it is only God that is
permanent and anything can change but it must have genuine reason.

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