Friday, February 26, 2010


The PDP has never been well organized in Lagos since the tenure of its first Chairman, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun.
Lagos State, like all other Western states has in the past belonged to the progressive camp, the AG/NCNC axis in the first republic. The present Lagos West Senatorial District and the East Senatorial District and a large part of Lagos Central –Surulere/ Itire / Ikate / are part of Action Group dominated West before the creation of Lagos State in 1966. In fact the Awolowo Action Group had seized the control of Lagos from the NCNC with the election of Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu as Chairman of Lagos City Council in 1964 and since then Lagos has joined the Awo camp making it to be with the Lagos, Ogun,Bendel, Ondo ,Oyo-The UPN controlled LOBOO states of the second Republic.
In the SDP/ NRC era the wall of the Progressives broke to give way for the entry of the proverbial lizard. An Agbalojobi/Sarumi cleavage in the Alhaji Jakande progressive movement resulted in to a defeat by default of the progressives by which the conservative NRC was voted into the executive with Chief Otedola who himself was an Awoist now in a conservative NRC garment as Governor as a result of protest votes cast by both some Sarumi supporters who did not trust Yomi Edu SDP as a candidate and members of the Agbalajobi Group who took decision to vote for the NRC candidate as a result of the backing Yomi Edu received from majority of Sarumi group. In that period ,the progressive SDP won all the seats in Lagos State in the House of Assembly and the NRC controlled the Executive thereby creating the contradictions that placed the conservatives into political limelight in Lagos which they transformed in to the political grip as they relegate the progressives into the background of the PDP, an opportunity they did not get even during the Abacha political program when the progressives were converged in to the UNCP in Lagos .The June 12 political crisis created a situation for political jobbers and opportunists who did not even work for the election of MKO as they used the struggle to achieve their political goals and formed the AD to control elections in the Western states in 1999. As the wind of change spread in the West , the 2003 internal conspiracy of the Abubakar Atiku people in the Lagos PDP whose interest was in preserving Tinubu in power for Atiku Abubakar planned presidency in 2007 through PDP by which Tinubu would be PDP’s Vice President after Tinubu would have seized control of Lagos PDP or another party(AC) they would form if Abubakar Atiku did make PDP Presidential candidacy.
In 1999 the PDP did not win in Lagos State because of the misconception surrounding the struggle for June 12 which the AD used after the so called Yoruba leaders severed the AD From

the APP. The PDP would have lost even if the AD did not leave the APP before they went back into it.
By 2003 most of the members of the APP had joined the PDP in Lagos State and the party looked strong until the failure of the Lagos State Executive of the Party failed to handle the primary well treating Engineer Funsho Williams as anointed candidate even though he could have won a fair primary a fact that alienated most of the gubernatorial candidates like Chief Dapo Sarumi and Chief (Mrs.) Adiekwu-Bakare and others who decamped to boast the AD. The internal conspiracy that manifested in the failure of Chief Obasanjo to do the shuttle stop campaign in Lagos as he did at the eve of elections in the other Yoruba states as the Atiku Abubakar pointman in Lagos, Yomi Edu discouraged Obasanjo from the campaign as Obasanjo was told that Lagos was not ready for Obasanjo while a large crowd of anxious voters and the gubernatorial candidate, Engineer Funsho Williams were waiting for Obasanjo at the Yaba bus stop. In fact one of the members of the public standing there lamented that if Obasanjo comes here today, Funsho Williams will be elected governor tomorrow. The man was right, Obasanjo did not come there and so Funsho Williams was not elected thanks to internal conspiracy within the party. Why the party did not see this coming was a surprise. Minister Yomi Edu did not hide his admiration for Tinubu and never did he show any enthusiasm for Funsho Williams.
The 2007 election was a non starter for PDP. It was an election peopled by hired candidates, who are mere opportunists and the result could not have been better.
A critical analysis of Lagos politics today would see the PDP leadership as being dominated by the Otedola beneficiaries who got in to power in Lagos by default without really understanding how to win election in Lagos as compared with the dominance of the members of the Sarumi Group who are in control of Lagos politics and government now being led by a Tinubu who came lately into the arena through Alhaji Kola Oseni (one of the so called’ Satanic Five ‘ that was accused of creating the cleavage in Jakande’s political house hold ,the rest being Otunba Busura Alebiosu, Prince Kayode Olowu , Alhaji Amzat and Alhaji Rasheed Shitta-Bey all, AC chieftains)as a Yomi Edu man into Sarumi Group as he was one of those who bankrolled Yomi Edu in the last week of his contest with Otedola. I was the Director of Yomi Edu’s campaign and so in a position to know this. The Jakande/Agbalajobi group has since vanished into political oblivion with its members scattered here and there, a prize and punishment for political indiscretion.

The road for tomorrow or today and tomorrow
The first question I want answered is if Lagos is a microcosm of Nigeria, why is its voting pattern at variance with the rest of Nigeria where PDP controls not less than two thirds of the thirty six states of Nigeria federation?
Another poser is why Lagos is not voting along with its kith and kin in the Western zone. The only rationale for Lagos not behaving to type is either there is something special in the PDP in Lagos that is not acceptable to people in Lagos or there is something in the ruling party in Lagos, AC that is especially appealing to the people of Lagos.
There are too many blocks in the PDP in Lagos so much that individual members do not act independently and so members are divided on group loyalty with each promoting its centrifugal forces instead of the party’s centripetal forces that would unite the party. With such strong centrifugal forces it is impossible to build an organism that is necessary to build the spirit within that will successfully challenge the opponent party ‘without’. In such a situation the party without finds it easy to penetrate into another party after badly run primaries.
It is therefore necessary to rebuild from the ward. The idea of allocating positions on basis of mirage of a group will tend to perpetuate the group interest. A Mr. 'A' who got a position not by merit but by group award will hold on to this and will hold his loyalty to the group. Election of people into office is the best means by which political officer are held accountable. A level playing ground for elections is a very necessary measure for the members to interact and build strength into the party. Only democracy can nurture democracy. Who says congress elections can not be held in Lagos. This fear creating idea is the instrument by which the PDP is held into ransom in Lagos as group leaders become tin gods around which every party moves is built.
You conduct a genuine congress by which individuals run for party posts and you will see members of a group competing for one position or the order and see members of another group cooperating individually to achieve their political ambition in the wards ,local government and the state. In doing this the PDP needs to open its doors to give those who do not have good deals with their parties to join the PDP. There are a lot of such people in other parties but the party is not encouraging them from the ward level. It only allows big names to come and contest election and such big names do not carry their ‘so called imaginative crowd’ along and this strategy does not work so far.
The PDP needs a good party organization man with a lot of experience who can think beyond our opponents and counter their moves as they move .Even though the AD looks so formidable but I know it is ‘defeat-able ‘ if the PDP is rebranded and reorganized. The crisis of confidence within the AC can help to de-mystify the organization but its fall out may not necessarily be in the PDP advantage if necessary measures are not taken.

Another key point that the AC is using to blackmail the PDP is the problem of unconstitutional local government. I can not understand why the party allows what it denies its own governors. Why is Lagos State allowed the twenty local governments to unconstitutionally operate 57, what the governors says local government or development areas depending on whom is addressing. As long as Governor Tinubu and his chorus boys are allowed to go away with such an illegality, the more a wall of invincibility is built around him. Does governor Tinubu or Fashola have the right to split the fund sent to Somolu Local Government and give part to a Bariga Local Government that does not exist as it is stated by a Lagos High Count or a local government whose process is said to inchoate on the authority of the Supreme Court? How can a Lagos Governor justify this diversion and misuse of public fund for which he is ‘answerable’ to the National Assembly?
The point is not about justification or none of the present local government structure. That issue should be tackled jointly; no state government should be allowed to take the constitution for a ride. The PDP stand on the matter should be understandable ; that the people of the state are shortchanged when two or three local chairmen are imposed on the local government while each of the Chairmen is earning an equivalent of what their counterparts earn in the federation. The point should be made clear that the PDP as a national party is the only party that is capable of correcting the anomaly and create the local governments that will be adequately funded constitutionally.’
Dismantle the illegal local government system today and the AC will be plunged into a confusion it will not recover from. The myth that heaven would fall if the system is tapered with is false. The truth is that all those so called Chairmen are not chairmen of local government. If any of them is invited to come and face query by the police or security officers they can not successfully justify their spending of public fund after all they do not have immunity. The Governor of Lagos State can not successfully justify his allocation of money allocated to the 20 local governments in Lagos. What more! There was no legitimate election held in Lagos State local government system, yet the PDP in government is behaving as an accomplice in this blackmail that reduced Lagos State into an anarchy as the Lagos State government from Tinubu’s to the present’s has refused to abide by Section 7 (1) that ‘The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed ; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall, subject to section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.’
Local government allocation is made under the laws made by the National Assembly. The National Assembly, therefore, has the authority under Section 88 of the Constitution to ensure through investigation ‘to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.’
This provision gives the National Assembly the power to make an investigation as to how States allocation to local government is disbursed. The Lagos State governor knows in his conscience that he is condoning an illegal system. The judiciary has made pronouncements about it but our PDP
government lacks the political will to act to the detriment of the PDP. What an irony for a government which is supposed to defend the constitution. What happens if all the other state governments defy the constitution? There will be anarchy. By ignoring this illegality in Lagos, the PDP is helping to fuel the myth of invincibility around Tinubu and his chorus boys.
Recommendation to engineer the PDP in Lagos State:
The goal of an institution is to achieve its goal. A political party is established to win elections. To the extent that the PDP has failed elections, it has failed to achieve its purpose .The failure of an institution to achieve its purpose is caused by the institution’s failure to mobilize enough materials to achieve its purpose or its inability to direct its forces properly to achieve its goal and overcome obstacles. In the case of a political party, it competes with other political parties and if it can not organize its materials, its members, its logistics and its knowledge of its opposition and other resources at its disposal properly it often loses to its opponent.
Below we hereby attempt to measure the resources available to PDP and its opponents especially the AC and try to see why the PDP has been failing.
PDP AC Other Parties
Potentials High High Low
Strength Low High Low
Incumbency Low High Low
Organization Low High Low
Vulnerability High High High
Resource MNG Poor V.Good Poor
National Outlook High Low Poor
The PDP controls the federal governments and not less than two thirds of the states in the federation whereas the AD controls only two states. The PDP has failed to use tremendous resources available to it in this respect in competing with the AC in Lagos after all those people in Lagos are not from the lagoon and most of them came from states controlled by the PDP. Why is the voting pattern in Lagos at variance with the rest of Nigeria after all Lagos is a microcosm of Nigeria? The voting pattern in Lagos is against the norm of people voting along with their kith and kin which is a universal norm. The answer must be found in the weakness of the PDP in Lagos and its inability to properly direct its resources. The disorganization of the PDP in Lagos constitutes its vulnerability.
AC’s vulnerability is reflected in its one man control by Governor Ahmed Tinubu, a system which contains its own anti thesis reflecting into crisis of confidence that is apparent in AC in Lagos today.
But this one man control has its own advantage as it gives power to Tinubu to rub fray hands when it appears to be damaging.
Such a system only succeeds where the opponent does not appear to be capable of providing alternatives.
So the dominance of the AC in Lagos is reflected in weakness of the PDP which has failed to provide avenue for people in Lagos to protest the wrong doings in AC as the PDP has so far refused to demonstrate that it could profit a better inclusive atmosphere to operate as a result of which it has given room to the ‘colonialisation’ of Lagos politics by Tinubu,
It is my submission that the weakness of the PDP is the strength of the AC in Lagos. If the PDP provides a better organization than the AC in Lagos there will be a massive flow of people into PDP to start with. The PDP needs to open and codify the registration of its members in each ward to welcome new members and to give new members the right to aspire to positions in the ward through internal democracy that is openly transparent giving confidence to members that PDP is a democratic party.
I have heard stories from those who benefit from the status quo that congress elections are not possible in Lagos. If that is the case how do you conduct a primary where governors, Senators and other political office holders emerge if we can not conduct election in the wards?
To be candid the disunity and rancor in the wards at present must not allow to carry the PDP to 2011, the situation will be worst than we have seen. We may get to a situation where a dark horse party would win election in Lagos State if the contradictions in the AC are played to their logical conclusion.
I am not unaware of the capacity of the AC to cause confusion and mischief in the conduct of our congress, the truth is that with dedicated leadership and honesty of purpose, we shall conduct such a successful exercise that will rebrand the PDP and make it likable in the eyes of the public.
I am confident the AC is defeat-able in Lagos by the PDP. If PDP could win in Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, EKiti and Oshun and other non Yoruba states from where people com e to live in Lagos, I am confident it can win the next election in Lagos.
One of the problems of disorganization of the PDP can be seen in inorganic nature of the campaigns among levels of election .The gubernatorial candidate behaved as if their election was so different so much that they do not need to work together with candidates at other levels like candidates to the Senate and the House of Representatives whereas these elections are held before the gubernatorial elections and their results could have bandwagon effect on the gubernatorial elections.
The gubernatorial candidates who have so much money from the party patrons should take part actively in the campaigns of the early elections to ensure victory so as to ease victory for their own elections.
Another problem is the problem of hoarding or holding back fund for election only to be released at the eve of election resulting into large scale embezzlement .Party funds for election must be released in time to take care of logistics .
Again we must establish an Intelligence unit to anticipate the actions of our opponents and to move positively to preempt their mischief or move.
Obama’s election as US president among all seemingly un-surmountable odds has demonstrated that good organization can win any election if resources are judiciously allocated and utilized.
Bari Adedeji Salau is a political scientist and Investigator with Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Minnesota in 1974 and Master in Public Administration – Inspector General Program from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University Of New York in 2009. A former chairman of Somolu Local Government and the candidate of the PDP for House of Representatives in Somolu Constituency in 2003.

1 comment:

  1. I personally will like to thank God for your intelligence, forsight and insight into Nigeria politics. People like you should be in Nigeria helping PDP to regain its popularity in Lagos. I hope the PDP Leaders are listening or may be they truely did not want PDP to win Lagos State for some reasons. This is a wonderful article, I truely wish we can get it published in Nigeria. Thank you very much, I relly enjoy it.