Thursday, August 29, 2013

Afolayan: APC will Meet Its Waterloo in Kwara

A former member of the Kwara State House of Assembly and State
Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Chief Yemi Afolayan,
addressed journalists on the issues of the forthcoming local
government councils elections and other state matters. Hammed Shittu
was there. Excerpts:
How is your party preparing for the October 26 local government
council polls in the state?
We are the party in power; we are the party that is in government. The
people of Kwara trust us and we trust our own people too.
We are prepared for the election, we are ready come rain, come
sunshine and PDP will deliver any day. Our past achievements since
year 2003 till date have continued to be our strength and the people
of the state have known that.
Even, the present administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has
continued to consolidate on the achievements and he has beenable to
meet the yearnings and aspirations of the electorate since he assumed
the leadership of the state on May 29, 2011. There is no doubt that
the ruling PDP is fully prepared and by the grace of God, PDP will win
the election with a landslide victory in both the councillorship and
chairmanship positions in all the 16 local government councils of the
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently
registered the APC as a political party; will the party not be a
serious threat to your party's hold on power in the state?
It is a welcome development as far as politics is concerned.
Fusing together of opposition parties under the umbrella of APC is a
welcome development because it is going to make politics dynamic.
But that being as it were in Kwara state, all these opposition
parties coming together does not even make any difference to us
because we have seen them coming together for a long time and they
have never been able to make any appreciable impact on our people.
Kwara State is very unique. It is true we had ACN, CPC and whathave
you, before. CPC has never had any showing. I don't even know where
their state headquarters is, not to talk of my local government.
CPC does not even exist and it doesn't exist in many other local
governments. Talking about ACN, they tried in the lastelection. There
is Lai Mohammed and Dele Belgore.
Now Lai Mohammed and Belgore are two people that are constantly at
each other's throat. Now, as the local government election is coming,
they kept on boxing themselves, fighting over who would be
councillors, who is going to be council chairmen, who is going to be
what and they have never had a settled home. So, ACN has a
misadventure in Kwara.
Now, joining people of strange bird fellows together is a more
disaster. Because today in Kwara, you would go to Igbomina whereLai
Mohammed comes from specifically in Oro, he came for Ramadan lecture
and he imported people to come to his home town, 26 vehicles followed
him from Osun State, he even had to bring the governor of the state
to give him impetus but the Oro people didn't go there.
Igbomina people didn't go to him. I am from Irepodun, we come from the
same local government, nobody went to him I can tell you,APC has
already lost the election which is yet to start because few of them
that are there, the infighting is already tearing them apart. Even for
2015, that is still far away, they are already fighting over who wants
to be governor, is it Lai Mohammed or Belgore?
But the opposition has continued to score the government low in performance
One interesting thing about the opposition in Kwara State is that we
were in the House of Assembly when the Assembly organised a public
hearing on the amendment to electoral Law andone of the stalwarts of
ACN, a former member of the House of Assembly stood up to oppose it.
He knows what public hearing is but he got up to oppose what they were
doing just for the sake of opposition.
So for opposition in Kwara, it is not that they don't appreciate; they
are only talking for talking sake because they have to say something
so that their master in Lagos can give them pets and growth; they need
some money, they need some financial assistance and unless they do
some sorts of criticisms on the pages of newspapers, those people
would not believe they are working. So, today they are criticising
Bukola Saraki, tomorrow they are criticising Governor Ahmed and when
you have a profile of a leader like Bukola Saraki that is rising
everyday, then you just want to give dog bad name because you want to
hang it.
So whether they appreciate it or not is immaterial, what is important
is the people.Just a few weeks back, there was a proposal to name
Kwara State University in honour of our late father, Dr. Abubakar
Olusola Saraki, and then they kept on criticising. If we are building
good roads, they would still criticise, if we are providing water they
would criticise. Even give them food to eat, they would still
criticise. Kwara State government is doing wonderfully well and you
know the government is not a vindictive government. Even people in ACN
are part of this administration.
As a former lawmaker in the state, how would you assess the
performance of the State Assembly in the last two years?
Well, I have moved round quite a bit in Kwara. I have been
CouncilChairman, I have been Special Adviser (political) in the
cabinet, member of Kwara state House of Assembly and here I am running
the party. And then from a vantage position, I can say that Kwara
State House of Assembly has been doing wonderfully well.
You see on the quality of legislation, some external research fellows
rated Kwara State House of Assembly as one of the best in the country
because when you see the quality of the legislation,it is standing the
test of time and there is no crisis between the House of Assembly and
the Executive. In Kwara State, you find will find out that the
Executive, Judiciary and Legislature are working in harmony. Hon.
Speaker, Abdulrazaq Atunwa, is leadingthe house well.
Still on the local government election, the party is currently
screening aspirants to select the standard bearers of the party and in
most of these local governments, there are up to 20 aspirants vying
for a ticket. How do you want to manage this multiple aspiration
without creating problem?
I just told you now that you have to manage success. Because it is
good here because PDP is highly successful and local government
election is coming. Any candidate that emerges as the party's
candidate knows that he has won the election.
Anybody that emerges as candidate of PDP in any local government knows
that he is already Council Chairman and that explains the struggle.
This desire informed the multiple aspirations, so many people who
covet power and you know it is not a crime to covet power. So,
Godalmighty is the one who gives power to anyone he wants to and God
has given us power in PDP. All those people coming, we havecriteria
whereby you screen the candidates and get the best.
Offa Local Government is very strategic for PDP and the rerun election
has been fixed for August 31. Do you think your party will make it?
PDP took the former Chairman, Saheed Popoola to the tribunal and we
got judgment against them and we are going to have a rerun. So, as far
as we are concerned, we have done our home work.People of Offa trust
us and we trust them.
So at that time, what happened was internal fighting within our
leaders in Offa and everybody has come back to the fold. So, there is
no problem of winning that election. All the stakeholders of our party
in Offa are working together. PDP is going to have a smooth sail.

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