Hon. Abdul-Hameed Oladipupo Alli, popularly known as MR. NIGERIA is a former TIC Chairman, Ilorin West Local Government and the factional Ilorin West/Asa House of Representatives Candidate of the Kwara State APC. The Professional Journalist/ Career Publisher who made history of becoming Nigeria’s Youngest Publisher at the age of 16 in 1990 when he single handedly published MORAL MAG., launched by the then Minister of Information, Chief Alex Akinyele on 20 March, 1990 moved to make another history of becoming the first indigenous magazine publisher in Kwara State when he published KWARA PEOPLE magazine which made its debut on 5 September, 1992 in Ilorin, Kwara State. He speaks with THE INFORMANT 247 on why he belongs to the Balogun Fulani led faction of the APC and his plans for Kwara state. Excerpts:
The Informant247: What’s your position on INEC not recognizing your candidate in the recent by – elections?
Mr. Nigeria: That our candidate’s name was not published by INEC does not mean that our candidate or faction is not recognised. I believe that INEC has done the right thing according to the constitution.
I laughed whenever I saw some members of the other faction saying all sort of things including making expensive jokes on the social media that we are not recognised, I just hiss and say “ignorance is a disease” because instead of carefully studying the law that guides the entire process, their interest is that its only the National Chairman and Secretary that could submit names to INEC. We definitely know that our names would not be submitted by the National Chairman but we thank God that even the National Chairman himself has confirmed that he would respect the Courts injunctions. So let’s wait and see how it goes now.
When the name was released, some people felt we should have challenged it and make the Courts stop the candidates from contesting but I think that wouldn’t make sense since we belong to the same party and no matter how long it takes, we shall still come together to work as a team. We believe it will get to that stage of harmonisation but it’s they that are fighting. So, stopping their candidate from being recognized by INEC was not the solution, coming out triumphantly from the court cases is the solution and we can reclaim our mandate and laugh last to laugh best.
If it took Aregbesolala almost three and a half years to reclaim his mandate from Oyinlola, who says we can’t do so if we have a good case before the law. One thing about us is that we are law abiding and peace loving Kwarans and would do anything to encourage a healthy coexistence among fellow party men and citizens in the state.
The Informant247: Are you positive about winning the court case against the BOB faction?
Mr. Nigeria: If we are not positive of winning, we wouldn’t head for the Courts. Even they themselves know that all things being equal, the law is on our side which is why they are technically applying delay tactics in the Courts to push the case till after the Presidential election when they thought they could seek for Presidential influence in scuttling the court proceedings. We are privileged to have a sneaked recording of a conversation by someone from their side that revealed this plan of theirs. But I am of the opinion that President Muhammadu Buhari would not support impunity. Some of them are even proud in saying that they know PMB would not respect the rule of law. I see this as an aberration on the personality of our President. I am writing a book on my stewardship as TIC Chairman of Ilorin West Local Government and My Agenda for Ilorin West/ASA Federal Constituency which I am dedicating to MR. PRESIDENT because he is a role model. How dear would a fellow party man believe in the use of Presidential influence against Judicial judgement? My President and National Party Chairman would surely comply by the Court’s judgement and make effort to unite us together as a party. The wisdom with which they are applying with the inauguration of the national reconciliation committee should be applied to unite the party in Kwara state as well. That’s my own views anyway.
The Informant247: What if you lose, what would be your next line of action?
Mr. Nigeria: Honestly it would be difficult for me to answer that question now because I have never thought of it. I see myself and our team as winning this legal tussle which has made it impossible for me to think of what would happen if the otherwise happened. I don’t want to imagine it because that could only happen if they no longer use the party’s constitution or if the judge also refused to give us fair hearing. If I had thought of losing, I would have told you a ‘PLAN B’ but right now, I can’t think of any because I see us coming out victoriously and see us working harmoniously to take over power from the ruling PDP in Kwara state come 2019 Insha Allah.
The Informant247: People see you as a good man but the problem is that they are not convinced that it isn’t Saraki that is influencing your faction on all actions.
Mr. Nigeria: To me, only God knows who is a good man but since God also gave us the ability to reason, whoever fellow men considered to be good is good before God and vice versa. The voice of man is the voice of God.
What then happens if one was discovered to be good? Such person should be encouraged to do better. He should not be demerited due to differences in political affiliation, religion or tribal sentiments. When I was TIC Chairman, I was able to touch lives even among the opposition PDP at that time but their leaders refused to acknowledge my efforts simply because I was serving under their perceived enemies. I have to commend you for being a true advocate of the change plantar they said they are clamouring for. If others have also been able to identify those who are good in the society and learn to work together, then, the Kwara of our dream would be realised. Get those who you know are good from your group, get the good ones from other political parties or community development associations, get those good ones from the Saraki camp too, then we can think of a new Kwara not when we are doing things in a way that suggests that we are out for vendetta, or trying to humiliate some people.
What I am saying is what I have practiced when I was in office. I am from Ogidi ward which is divided into three zones with each zone having a traditional head. We have the Mogaji Ile Ogidi in Alore Zone where I come from. There is Daudu Banni in Banni zone and Daudu Guniyan in Guniyan Zone. I came at a time when the traditional stool of Daudu Banni was vacant and the incumbent was about to be Turbanned. I was able to practice what I preach by pushing aside what people believed to be an age- long rivalry between the people of Banni and Alore which had been preventing one from attending the coronation of another. I was told by some people not to attend the ceremony in Banni since I am from Alore but I told them I stood for peace and I went all out not only to attend the Turbaning at the Emir’s palace, we left the palace together on horse riding down to the Balogun Ajikobi’s Fada for blessings then I followed the convoy back to Banni and went back to attend the evening lecturer by Imam Afonta. I also co-sponsored the ceremony. With that, I was able to let them know what an ideal healthy society should look like. The gesture was so appreciated that the Chief Imam of Banni led the entire community to pay me a Thank You Visit after the ceremony. This is leadership by example. I would have been able to reconcile the entire ward if I had stayed longer as chairman using the instrumentality of my office.
So, we need to identify people who have genuine interest in community service,irrespective of religious or political affiliation, then Kwara would progress if such progressive revolution is allowed to take place.
Come to your belief that you are not convinced that it is not Saraki that is using my faction; you probably need to expatiate further on this. ‘Using’ in what context?
The other time they said we were Saraki’s mole but I was able to argue it that we are a faction and there is no way that we could have been seen as mole when we don’t even move closer to them. If I had stayed with their factional APC in my ward, they would be right to have suspected me as a mole.
They are personalising this issue which I believe ought not to have been personalised. Let’s treat the matter on its merit and leave sentiments out of it. Some even said Saraki is using us to cause mayhem in their factional APC and thank God that we don’t even go near them until they were finally reconciled but that was their factional reconciliation it still remains the general reconciliation to harmonise the two factions. This ought to have taken place long ago but because some things were done in a error of which its only the competent Court of Law that could correct. If I was working for Saraki, I wouldn’t be proud to publish in my ‘Open Letter To The Good People of Ilorin West/ Asa Federal Constituency’ that I was planning to replace the Bukola Saraki’s Birthday Commemorative Program with PMB’s Birthday Commemorative Lecture. I boldly have this published and even Balogun Fulani has been leading us in chanting ‘Buhari Mukeso’.
I think the best thing is to leave Saraki out of this and deal with the existing structure led by Balogun Fulani. This will mean that the other faction would collapse into ours and we can all give the State better governance as progressives. In doing this, We don’t need to insult or be insulted. We would embark on issue based campaign using the precedences of our candidates to convince the electorate and not using Buhari or Saraki’s achievements or demerits to campaign. Every candidate should be proud to use his of her worthy antecedents to win people’s votes. For instance, I was not going to ask people to give me their votes riding on APC or PMB’s achievement, I am going to present my manifesto to the electorate and let them decide that am the best candidate to represent them at the House of Representatives.
So, since the matter is before the court, I think it’s better we leave it till the ruling is made before one could conclude on if Saraki is sending them or not because their lawyers too should be able to argue it before the Honourable Court that we are being used by Bukola while ours would argue against it. Till ruling is made, let’s keep our fingers’ crossed and be prepared to take Kwara to the Next Level together.
Let me quickly add that another reason why it is wrong for anybody to think that Saraki is using us is that we are not saying that those who stayed behind in PDP are being used by its former leadership. I understand just about 25% of them were left behind or should I say that didn’t go with them to APC? It was this 25% that received Saraki and his defectors in the party. I know very well that Prof. Sulaiman Abubakar and his team welcomed Saraki to PDP before they began to harmonise. Balogun Fulani is expected to play the role played by Prof. Sulaiman hereby welcoming the the PDP defectors back to APC and if for whatever reasons they said Balogun Fulani erred, is it the entire structure from State to Ward Executives that erred? Do we have only Balogun Fulani in the party? If Saraki left, must everyone else leave? If you say Saraki and Balogun Fulani are so close, am I or any other person in the state , local or ward level either executive member or not also close to Saraki? I believe it is morally wrong for the party to attempt forcing us on the people we have not really associated with. We joined the party willingly at different times and we participated in electing our executives from the Ward to National, we were not forced and now, we are being forced to follow the leadership that we have not worked with before. Rather than solving the problem within the party and harmonising us, they tried to send us out of the party for those who left their original party because someone came to join them. If they could not stay and fight their right in PDP, if they could not go to court to defend the structure they believed they worked for over time, then, they should not blame us for standing to defend our right. Ile baba omo,kiiba omo leru. APC is our house, not owned by anybody at the central but owned by all of us. So, koseni tomalo f’enikan. No one will leave for another, the court will resolve it amicably for us.
Let me give you another instance. I have known Alh. Moshood Mustapha, Ambassador Yahya Seriki, Senator Muhammed Ahmed, Alh. Gani Cook Olododo and Alh. Abdulraheem Adedoyin among few others long before now. I have met MM, Seriki separately after they have crossed to the other side. I also saw Baba Rex, Olododo etc in Abuja during the Screening for House of Representatives Aspirants at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja but I could take pictures with Olododo simply because we have been having good relationship before, I could not do that with Baba Rex and co simply because we hadn’t any form of relationship before. Same goes with Dr. Oloriegbe who happens to be from my ward but we have not met till now. How then would anybody expect those of us that didn’t go with Saraki to PDP to go and become alien in the hands of those who left the home they built for someone else. There is no way the cordiality would be there if we didn’t put up an harmonisation committee to cross the ‘T’s and dot the ‘I’s. They seemed to have come to hijack the party and ready to disgrace the people they met out to pave way for them. It is morally wrong and I guess the law will not support it too.
I am to meet Olori Odo, Alh. Raheem Adedoyin and my mentor, Senator Mohammed Ahmed any moment from now. I practice what I preach. Until the court decides, I will be supporting Balogun Fulani’s candidates and President Muhammadu Buhari as the only symbol of APC in Kwara state. I have another good example of Alh. Raheem Adedoyin who is now with MM in the factional APC but his P.A of many years, Hon. Kazeem Adekanye is still in PDP. Hon. Adekanye is my very good friend who was the ALGON Secretary when we were serving as TIC chairmen and we remain very close till date. Will it be right to say that Alh. Adedoyin has left Hon. Adekanye behind in PDP to distabilise the party or as mole? Balogun Fulani is to Saraki what Adekeye is to Adedoyin. We can go on and on with references to state that it is wrong for anybody to think that we are being used by Saraki when we are entitled to our freedom and reasoning.
They said that Balogun Fulani erred that he did anti party for calling on Saraki to take them out of APC, that was when they were both in APC and then, when Saraki left, they felt he should have gone with him hence they dissolved his executive and the entire state structure. Though, they said the Party Constitution allows them to do so, they have forgotten that the same constitution stated clearly that before such punitive measures could be carried out on any member, he must firstly be issued query and be made to appear before a disciplinary committee and even if he was found guilty by the disciplinary committee, he still has right to appeal within the party to ensure fair hearing. This aspect of the constitution was ignored while they rushed to sack him. Even the National Working Committee (NWC) didn’t wait for the National Executive Committee (NEC) to ratify the decision before they implemented it.
To me, I believe one of the he reasons why Balogun Fulani didn’t go to PDP with Saraki was because he was not going to remain.the Chairman at the new place and since he has already been elected at a congress for another period of four years, he remains the certificated chairman that was duly elected and not appointed like those who are there today. Haven discovered this, he decided to remain where he was and leave Saraki to sort himself out because he is up to the task. Balogun Fulani might have thought that its not wise for him to leave a party he has been its pioneer chairman and under which he is a certificated chairman for another four years because his leader was leaving while he was not going to leave his position as a Senator or Senate President which I think is logical enough.
After asking Saraki to come and take them away, their is no place he said he had left the party. I could recall that after Saraki left, Governor Abdul Fatah Ahmed also decamped publicly then members of the National Assembly, all Commissioners , House of Assembly members up to Local Government Council Chairmen made public declaration to PDP. Hon. Saheed Popoola didn’t decamp just as Balogun Fulani himself didn’t either resign or decamped. I think 10 State Executive members also resigned to join PDP with Saraki but there is no where or record that he did so why the desolation and later suspension from the party without fair hearing?
The Informant247: Thanks for your time sir.
Mr. Nigeria: You are welcome my brother.