Prince Dayo Adeyeye, former Minister of State for Works, is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State. In this Interview with select journalists, Adeyeye, the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the party, spoke about his governorship ambition and challenges before the party. YAQOUB POPOOLA brings the excerpts.
Congratulations on the success of you last convention. But, a faction that calls itself ‘Fresh PDP’ has emerged after the convention. How would you react to this development?
I am now home. I am no longer in the executive of the PDP. We have finished our tenure and we have just handed over after serving the party. It will be a big disappointment if we start another (factional) crisis. As far as the National Caretaker Committee in which I served is concerned, we have handed over a very united PDP. We have conducted a credible convention, the first real elective convention in the history of the party and it was very successful. We had anticipated that there would be problems after this convention and that was why we set up a Reconciliation Committee headed by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. He has swung into action already. He is already working. I believe that if we all give support to that committee, it will solve these problems. I believe that within the next weeks, we will get over these problems. It is not unexpected. That was why we set up the National Reconciliation Committee. But, I believe we will get over our problems.
What gave you that confidence that you will emerge as the flag bearer of your party?
Because I know I have majority of our party members exercising their freewill, they want me to be their flag bearer because they know I am the only one who can win for the party in this state. All these other jokers will fade away with time. If PDP genuinely wants to win this election, they know I have to be the flag bearer. Go to the streets and find out from the masses who they really want. That is what gives me the confidence. My confidence is reinforced by numerous telephone messages and calls from party members, including those people thought are on the other side of the party.
They are encouraging me saying, ‘Look, we know you are the only one who can do it, that if you had been picked as the candidate (in 2014), Ekiti would not have been in this condition.’ Ekiti people are freedom loving people, highly educated, highly exposed people. So, that’s what gave me confidence. To do otherwise is to give a death sentence to this party in the state.
The governor has adopted his preferred candidate in the 2018 governorship election and it is expected that the state paraphernalia of power and resources would be mobilised in his favour. Don’t you think that this may put you at disadvantage?
I am not bothered about that. If the governor is saying that he wants a preferred candidate, definitely he is looking for somebody he can continue to manipulate after his exit. He knows that it can’t be possible with me. I don’t see that putting me into any problem or disadvantage. What I worry about is impunity and imposition at the national level. If we allow free and fair primary in the state, I will win it by the grace of God. I will win it, I will win it. The party’s rank and file are with me. They want me to be their flag bearer. We knew what happened in 2014. I was coasting home and could have won successfully with 75 per cent. You knew what the authorities at that level did then. But, this time around, we are not going to tolerate that. I cannot be appeased like that time. I know that this time around, I will emerge as the flag bearer of the party unfailingly by the grace of the Almighty God. I have the confidence and I am going to work very hard. People know that I work hard day and night and I am putting all my energy to it. Let the governor put all the state machinery, all the state money, all the state resources. But, if Ekiti people really want to be liberated, they would really want a paradigm shift in governance. I am available.
Do you think the governor would allow the conduct of a free, fair and transparent primary, being the PDP leader in the state?
The governor is not the party, he is not the part. He is a member of the party, even though a privileged and important member. Should anybody try to hinder the process or affect this process negatively by way of imposition or any other negative attitude trying to manipulate things, we are going to resist it.
How would you encourage the masses to support a free and fair process?
I am home now. I am going to encourage our people and educate them to form the vanguard to defend themselves. I am going to encourage the people not only to stand for the truth, but to defend their positions. They should make that clear to the authorities, here and at Abuja.
What are your prospects of emerging victorious?
If I am the candidate, our party will get many people to support us and vote for us. But, if I am not the candidate, I don’t know what will happen. I look at the APC. I have been in the politics of this state from day one. I am one of the most experienced politicians in this state today. I have paid my dues. I have suffered more disappointments more than any of them. I have seen the rough edges, suffered left, right and centre, and I am much better as a human being. Now, all of them in the APC from the beginning to the end, I can stand against them.
I think Ekiti people are looking for somebody they can trust, who have the greater understanding of what leadership entails, who they know is a selfless person, who is not a selfish person. I don’t have any blemish in my record anywhere. I served at the federal level, I served at the state level. I have served the party even when I was in the AD (Alliance for Democracy), when I was in Afenifere, when I was in NADECO (National Democratic Coalition), there was no blemish against me. I served selflessly in all of these positions and I did very well. People are praying for me, against all comers whether in the PDP or the APC. I am ready and by the grace of God, I am going to triumph. (Independent.ng)