Adedeji Doherty, an engineer and a frontline businessman is the new chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is convinced that though the PDP has not been able to make much impact in Lagos State in the last 20 years due to what he described as internal crisis that continuously rocks the party, all that is about to change now.
To him Lagosians are not in love with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), but have not had a credible alternative, assuring his tenure as chairman will put paid to that. He recently spoke with a group of select journalists and PATRICK OKOHUE was there.
The PDP seem to have gone underground in Lagos State probably waiting till election year, what manner of opposition party is PDP in Lagos?
It is true that the PDP in the past has not been taking its rightful position as opposition by challenging the excesses of APC (All Progressives Congress) in the state, however, under the new order and the new dawn that has set in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) I can assure you that we are now ready to take our rightful place as a strong opposition in the state.
What has prompted this is the fact that the APC chairman mentioned it in one of his interviews that PDP is not destined to win Lagos State.
You see, we do not see our members who left the PDP to APC as decampees to APC, we just look at them as people who have gone on a journey and would return back home soon.
We have a situation right in the PDP where we are doing internal house cleaning, putting our house in order, revitalising our structure from the state level, down to the local government and to Ward level.
We are also working on the massive registration of our members in all the local governments.
What exactly is the situation in Lagos that you think your party needs to come and correct?
It is very simple, a lot of people in Lagos State are not happy, they are disenchanted, that is why in a state where we have over 20 million people only a little above one million people vote because they don’t believe in the system, they are being suppressed under a regime that does not give hope.
Let us look at it ourselves, infrastructure wise and income, internal revenue, external revenue, loan, bond, treasury bills and all that have been coming to this state since 1998, let us look at it vis -a -vis the development, let us now look at our children, where they were in 1998 and where they are now, let us ask ourselves valid questions, are we happy?
Now, I am not talking politics here, because I am a full blooded Lagosian and I have a stake, so when I am talking I am talking as a stakeholder, I am talking as someone who is not happy, I want a change, not just for myself but for the young people.
I have a stake that is unquantifiable, because my own grandfather was part of those who pressurised the Federal Government to create Lagos State, my grandfather was one of those who signed the declaration.
So I am talking as a stakeholder who is not happy. A state that rakes in over N35 billion monthly internally generated revenue with federal allocation, we cannot boast of a newly built University in Lagos for 20 years.
We don’t have a newly built Teaching Hospital of international standard with all this money; we don’t even have a world class stadium for young ones who want to become international sports men and women.
We don’t even have outstanding infrastructure that the APC government can boast of in the last 20 years, we have a light rail project that has been on for over 10 years.
How many years ago have we been talking about the 4th Mainland Bridge and now you want to concession it through PPP, whereby Lagos residents will be subjected to capitalist system of enriching certain people at the expense of the people.
Look at the roads, I am sure all of you are right now thinking; “look at the time, how would I get home today,” that is what Lagosians have been subjected to, and we have a House of Assembly that is not concerned about all these.
But the problem with PDP in Lagos has always been internal crisis, problem of division, how will you wrestle power from APC when you are not united?
To tell you about our resolve to be one united party, look at my emergence as the state chairman of the party, the National Working Committee of the party headed by Prince Uche Secondus in his wisdom sent a fact finding body headed by Sen. Ben Obi down to Lagos to investigate what the problem could be,
it was discovered that it is constant imposition of candidates, the very reason we lost Bayelsa election, when candidates are imposed, people get aggrieved and leave the party, so the NWC decided there must be election into all these positions following our constitution.
That is what we did that led to my emergence as the party’s chairman. As I am talking to you, about three court cases instituted by aggrieved member have been withdrawn.
To my knowledge, the case instituted by the former chairman is still in court, I learnt that the case has been fixed for February, that the National Chairman and Ben Obi should come and explain why they went ahead with your election?
No, that is not correct, what happened is this, they went to court to obtain an exparte order, in the exparte order the judge specifically said she is not supposed to get involved based on Supreme Court judgement on Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi, that the court does not have any jurisdiction over internal party affairs, however,
but since you have approached the court telling the court what may likely happen, to prevent a breakdown of law and order we have to hear your case.
Are there political solution to all these?
Of course, there are discussions going on, you know in politics there will be negotiations, agreements, disagreements and later come back to agree and all that, in all,
these discussions must pass through the parameter of truth, that was why when late Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa then, he had to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission because only truth can set us free.
One of the grievances of your party men who left the party, particularly the eight members of the State Assembly who decamped to APC was that they were not given the necessary support when they needed the party’s support, is anything going to change with you in the saddle now?
That is really touchy, we had eight lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly, but today we have none again, it is not a subject that makes me happy as a person, it is not a subject that makes me happy anytime it is brought up,
it is quite unfortunate that this is one of the situation we have to grapple with as a party, but I can assure you that that will not happen under my watch as a party chairman.
We have had one or two crisis in the party in the last two months, but those that were concerned can attest to it that they were not left alone, they could feel the presence of the party, some of them came back to say thank you, so things are changing for better.
What exactly is motivating you to want to head a crisis riddled party like PDP and to be ready to confront an established order in Lagos State?
If you know me all my life you will know I have dared things that are bigger than this, I have always been that fearless, courageous and daring person, I didn’t get to where I am today by just sitting down and not taking any risk.
I have played in deep waters even at a very young age, my life has not always been that of a man born with silver spoon, it has always been that of courage, hard work, risk taking and getting dirty.
When God is with you, you cannot be scared, it is not about Adedeji Doherty, it is about God who wants to set the people of Lagos State free.
So many things will change before 2023, INEC will change, political structure will change, the political system will change, the environment will create a shift, just watch out.
What is your relationship with Chief Bode George?
Chief Bode George is our father, he is the grand patron of PDP in Lagos State, nothing has changed. Chief Bode George has tried tremendously for the party, in fact you cannot even equate him to a state, because he is a national figure as far as our party is concern, Chief Bode George is in a position where everybody comes to him ,
his shoe is too big for anyone of us to wear, in fact, I am not in a position to even do an assessment of him, he is the grand patron of the party in Lagos and nothing has changed.
A lot of people in Lagos State are not happy, they are disenchanted, that is why in a state where we have over 20 million people only a little above one million people vote because they don’t believe in the system, they are being suppressed under a regime that does not give hope.
Let us look at it ourselves, infrastructure wise and income, internal revenue, external revenue, loan, bond, treasury bills and all that have been coming to this state since 1998, let us look at it vis -a -vis the development