"PDP will flush APC out of Lagos; ...Lagos deserves better than what APC is offering" – Obanikoro

Ambassador Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Senator, who contested the 2007 governorship election in Lagos State, was until recently, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ghana. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Industrial Training Fund(ITF). 

In this interview, he talks about plans of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead the 2015 poll, All Progressives Congress(APC), governance in Lagos State, among other issues.


You were seen to have put up a good showing the last time you contested the Lagos governorship election in 2007. Why didn’t you contest the 2011 election in the state?

 I was on a national assignment as at that time in 2011. I was the country’s representative (an Ambassador) in Ghana. There is no way I can abandon the responsibilities given to me by the Federal Government and come home only to be chasing a political office at state level. Now that I am home, I am strongly reflecting on the last 15 years of [Senator Bola] Tinubu and the present administration in our state. I will not sit down here and tell you that we don’t have a few things to celebrate in the state but, by and large, there are still many holes to fill and I can honestly tell you that as a citizen of Lagos State, the overall decision I will take in terms of performance of the state government in the last 15 years, for me, is slightly below average.

You were once a member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), the platform that brought in Senator Tinubu as the governor of the state in 1999. You were also a member of Tinubu’s kitchen cabinet for about four years before you defected to PDP. Why did you opt out of AD that time?

I left AD when I saw the kind of character that was leading us that time. I am not a member of the hitherto Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN]; I had left AD before they formed ACN. With the benefit of hindsight, I did the right thing by pulling out of AD. There was no internal democracy in the party in those days and they carried this style to ACN. You can see that in ACN and other parties that now refer to themselves as ‘progressives’, they don’t do primaries. What they usually do is anointing candidates. Their leader will just stand up and say this is the party’s candidate and his word is the final word. It still happens till today and that is why they worship the so-called leader. 

I decided on my own to quit AD when I saw some of these shortcomings of the undisputed leader of the party. I saw the naked abuse of opportunity as an insider and I felt that some of these things could not be defended anywhere. You all saw what happened when my son won the chairmanship election of Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area as a PDP candidate. The ACN under the guise of the government went to the Appeal Court to impound the victory of that young man.

Somebody won an election that was free and fair and a judge sat somewhere and on technicality, said the person should not be sworn-in. To me, that was the height of which all well-meaning individuals in the state ought to have risen up and speak out because that was another June 12 that took place in Lagos, the annulment of the mandate of the people of Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA by the powers-that-be in the state. How can I be a party to that kind of association? The same thing happened in Badagry and Epe.

Despite the claim that PDP victories in Badagry and Epe were usurped, why did Nigerians not hear from the people of those areas? Why were they silent unlike the Ikoyi-Obalende issue?

I disagree with you. Number one, at the Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, I personally led the protest for about four days. That was the first time the whole result of the winners of the election would not be declared. I don’t know if you noticed that a retired Chief Judge of Lagos State declared the election result without stating the total votes scored by the party that won and the parties that lost. We asked this question but they couldn’t provide it because they were working to the answer. When we went to the Election Tribunal, the results which they refused to read earlier were read in the open court by the judge and the results were pronounced. Don’t forget, the judge is a retiree, so there was no need for favour of promotion from the government.

But, the issue has been that you [members of the PDP] in Lagos have never been united during elections and that is why it is difficult to ‘wrest’ power from the ruling party?

They (the APC) are not united either. What you are looking at as unity in their party is peace of the graveyard. An honest member of their party will tell you all is not well in that party either. All what you see them doing is make belief. With time, you will also come to this conclusion. They will be torn apart. In a system where a single person determines who become the councillor, council chairman, members of the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly, including the governor, then you should know that the alleged peace in their party is that of the graveyard. Do you think the market women and men in the state are happy that the same man anointed his daughter to become the leader of market women and men in the state? People like us cannot just stand by and allow all these to go unchallenged.

But have you been meeting on party issues with Senator Ogunlewe, Chief Bode George and other notable PDP members?

Recently, we had a meeting at the party’s state secretariat in Ikeja. Our leader as you know is not in the country for now. I spoke with him for about an hour. We are all united now. As I speak with you, the Lagos PDP is one big family.

So, you have all agreed to work together?

I don’t know why you are particular about our party’s internal affairs.

Because we have seen that the members in Lagos used to fight one another all the time, especially during elections and that does not show any sign of seriousness for an opposition party?

That is democracy for you! Democracy is about us dealing with our convictions. We don’t have to see things from the same point of view all the time but, I think we are more united now than ever before and we are coming out to say enough is enough! Right now as I speak with you, we are united.

Credit: Taiwo Adisa/Nigerian Tribune


  1. Flush indeed! Can you please tell us how? By rigging cos I don't see the miracle that will give lagos state to any other party except APC

  2. Obanikoro is no longer relevant in Lagos politics, APC cannot be flush out.

  3. PDP in south west? lol


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