Former Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Dr Ade Dosunmu in this interview expressed optimism that the party will win not only win the governorship election in the state but defeat All Progressives Congress (APC) in the presidential election in 2023. He spoke with MUYIWA ADEYEMI on issues that will work in favour of the party.

Why has PDP not been able to win the governorship election in Lagos State since 1999?
There are several reasons responsible for PDP’s inability to win the governorship election in Lagos. If you look at it from 1999 till now, you will discover that PDP has made steady progress. You can’t compare the result of 1999 to that of 2003 up till the last election in 2019. This shows that PDP has been coming up stronger in an attempt to win the election in Lagos State. It is not as if the result has been going down, PDP has been showing strength over the years; it’s just that the effort has not culminated into victory. However, we are hoping that this time around, all things being equal, PDP will be able to win the governorship election in Lagos.

What will you say about the internal crisis at the party?
By the nature of politics, a political party is an amalgamation of interests from different backgrounds coming together for the purpose of winning an election or forming a government. And for that reason, there must be some form of disagreement, but the most important thing is that we disagree to agree. So, the internal crisis is not only peculiar to PDP, it is what you see in all political parties and APC is also not free of internal crisis, it has a crisis of leadership, all sorts of crises, ditto PDP. However, the most important thing is the ability of the political parties to manage their crisis in such a way that it will not affect the parties or affect them at the point of the election. That is why you will see PDP after congresses talking about reconciliation and that is ongoing. To a large extent, I don’t see any major crisis in PDP whether at national or Lagos that cannot be resolved.

What do you think PDP can do to win Lagos governorship election in 2023?
There is no particular winning formula other than to come into the election with comprehensive programmes and strategies. And of course, you will agree with me that winning the 2023 election, our strategy for doing that will not be disclosed. But I can tell you that we have our strategy for doing that and we are coming up stronger. It is not going to be like in the past, it’s going to be different this time around.

Also, the fact that APC has been in power in Lagos State for 23 years is a minus for the party. What have they got to show for it considering the huge amount of money that has accrued to them over the past 23 years? What is in Lagos that is commensurate with the type of resources that has passed through the hands of the APC government in the state. This year’s budget alone is N1.7 Trillion naira and at the end of the year, you won’t see anything to show that, that type of budget has been implemented in the state. The people are not fools and I know that they are watching keenly and I do know that Lagosians are asking questions.

What is your opinion on the options of picking candidates, direct or indirect primaries?
The options of picking candidates for elections should purely be at the discretion of political parties. It is the political parties that produce the candidates and they should be able to come up with options that are suitable for them. I don’t think it is the responsibility of the National Assembly to choose the option for the political parties. Rather, I feel that they should have left that provide the way it was in the Electoral Act, where the political parties were given options of direct or indirect primaries, instead of removing the indirect and adopting only the direct primaries.

The political parties should be given the freedom to decide on which option to choose, which option to adopt during their primaries based on their own Constitution. That aspect does not need any amendment. The whole process can heat up the polity and cause unnecessary distraction.

What are the prospects for PDP going into 2023?
The prospect is very high now given the fact that Nigerians are now in a better position to compare between the PDP period and the APC regime. It is obvious now that the PDP era appears to be better in terms of how it was able to impact the lives of Nigerians in the area of the level of inflation, the exchange rates, the pump price of fuel, etc.

These are things that have direct impacts on the lives of people. I think that Nigerians are in a better position to decide now. Even during the last election, it was not a wide margin and you can see how close it was, talk less of now.

You know the last election was a contest against an incumbent, but now the candidates that will emerge will likely be fresh and there will be a level playing field. So we believe that putting all these into consideration, and the realities staring Nigerians in their faces now, they will be able to vote right.

What is your opinion on the alleged overbearing influence of governors in directing affairs of the party?

I won’t say that the governors are overbearing, rather, the fact that they are the highest political office holders of the parties in the various states and they also have the numbers. When they come together, they are so formidable, they have the resources and they also control the machinery of government in their respective states. Nobody can wish that away.

Maybe that’s why you say they are overbearing. Supposing the governors go in different directions, they won’t be as formidable as they are now. I also think it’s good for our democracy for the governors to work in the same direction. It also helps to bring unity among the parties instead of governors working in different directions. You know they also have Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, which is like a clearinghouse for governors where they exchange ideas, compare notes and once issues are resolved at that forum, each of them goes to their respective party platform and executes them. Thus, if the governors don’t work together, if they work at cross purposes, it is going to be more dangerous for the states and tear them apart. It will be difficult for them to harmonise their interests. If they work together they can disagree to agree and that is good for the party.


TV Presenter/ Content Writer

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