By Kennedy Dimaku
“It is a known fact that PDP in Kwara is intact even as at this moment. The people that defected to APC were the same people that came and joined us.” These were the words of Hon. Iliasu Ibrahim, member representing Maleta/Ipaiye/Oloru constituency in the Kwara State House of Assembly. In this interview with our correspondent, he highlighted the true state of politics in Kwara and how PDP is forging ahead in preparation to winning 2015 election. Excerpt:
Recently you were handed another suspension from Kwara State House of Assembly, What really transpired?
sThe so called leader, self-acclaimed leader that is Senator Bukola Saraki defected to APC, with the governor, Ahmed Abdulfatah. The speaker of the house invited all the members that we should come and pledge our loyalty to say that we will all defect with them to APC. As far as I am concerned, At this my age, I should be able to determine what is good for me and what is not good for me and what is good for my people who voted me in to represent them in the state house of assembly. I am in the second term in the house of assembly. I won election in 2007 and won another election in 2011 under the platform of PDP, I contested election twice and won. I have benefited immensely from the party so, what ground do I have to say I am going out of the party. I told them categorically that I am not loyal to Bukola Saraki and will never be loyal. I cannot just be following anybody sheepishly. And you discover that at the end of the day, even, other members who claim that they are loyal to Senator Bukola Saraki, with what happened today(defection of 20 house of assembly members to APC), back at home, they cannot stand any election. They cannot. What happened today shows that those members, back at home cannot stand even to win any election in their ward let alone in their constituencies. They know it and that is why they believed they need to go to somebody who can help them win. But they forgot that time has gone for Dr Bukola Saraki himself.
They alleged that you threatened one of the honourable members and they suspended you?
That is not true. Maybe, you did not follow the story very well. What happened was that somebody called me and told me that an honourable member, that was the man who wrote petition against me, was organizing thugs to come and attack and kill me. It was another honourable member of the house that spoke to me that he was aware of the arrangement. But because I am a man who always want to find out facts before I react, so I then called the honourable himself that I heard that he was planning to come and attack me with thugs and demanded to know how true it was. That was all I said. I only alleged him of planning to come and attack me with thugs. So they said I should come and prove who gave me the information. And I did not want to disclose the source of my information, no more, no less. I did not threaten anybody. I only allege him of planning to attack me.
How about the suspension?
They suspended me for three months without any salary. The suspension started December 18th and will come to an end by March 18th.
What is PDP as a party doing to fight your course?
The party is doing its best. I have hope that something will happen. My case has been taken to the upper end and they have been working to see how they will ameliorate my suffering. I am very sure that the party is doing something to get me out of the financial embarrassment.
What is the fate of PDP now that 20 members of the state house of assembly have defected to APC and there is strong indication that the local government chairmen will also defect to APC?
My suspension would not have come in the first instance if not that they know that with that they could force me back to their fold. But I can assure you with all honesty and sincerity that come 2015; PDP will sweep every election in Kwara State. God used me to make Bukola Saraki the governor of Kwara State, and God will also use me to get him out from Kwara State come 2015. There is no doubt about it. PDP will win Kwara hands down. We are the people that are there, we know what is on ground. We know what is happening. We are the ones that made him and we are there to take him out. In fact, his down fall started when he decided to walk out of Mr. President on the day of our convention that marked the beginning of his end politically in Kwara State. And if you have been following the trend of events as to how things are going in Kwara State, you will discover that Bukola Saraki is not himself again.
Why is it now that the people will start to talk about Saraki dynasty when it has lasted for decades?
The dynasty that is the father of Bukola Saraki had been in the affairs of Kwara State for some time. But the issue is very clear. Leadership is not transferable. Yes, the people of Kwara State served Olusola Saraki for many years, but he is no more. Olusola Saraki is no more. We cannot just move from the father and the son takes over. We also have our own children; we also have our own destiny. At this period, The Kwarans are saying we want to hold our destiny by ourselves not an individual holding our destiny any more. Tell me in Nigeria, you know how influential Awolowo was; did any of his children take over after him? We had the likes of Adedebu, Akintola, Ahmadu Bello, and Tafawa Belewa,they were also all there. Name one that after his exist, the children took over. I t is not possible and that cannot be possible again in Kwara.
The picture created in the minds of Nigerians is that PDP is dead in Kwara , what is the true state of things?
It is a known fact that PDP in Kwara is intact even at this moment. The people that defected to APC were the same people that came and joined us. If you remember, between 1999 and 2002, Bukola Saraki was a member of APP that metamorphosed into ANPP. So they came and joined us in 2002, when the then governor of Kwara State disposed Saraki of the leadership of the party. The party was taken away from Olusola Saraki in 2001. So, we had sympathy for Baba and said since he was driven away from APP, he should come over to PDP. And those of us who had the arrangement wanted kwara State to join the National politics. Also, our belief was for Kwara to be in the mainstream of national politics. So, if you are not in PDP, you are in opposition. And we did not want Kwara to be in opposition.
How early can this reconciliation in the party be to enable it win in 2015 election?
I don’t see any reconciliation. Kwarans said they do not want Saraki in PDP. It is the people of Kwara State that said that they do not want him.
Do you have the capacity to do so?
It is the people that said so. It is not a question of having money. If he likes, let him have the whole money in the world. Our colleagues are all over the places, he would not win the heart of the Kwarans any longer.
Your advice sir?
I want to advice the Kwara people to be law abiding and go about their normal business peacefully. There is no cause for alarm, there is nothing to fear. We are going to fight their course and get them out of the net.