Alhaji Abdullahi Enilolobo is the Organizing Secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with The Gazelle News.com’s DARE OJELADE, Enilolobo, who is also the APC Apex Leader in Alimoso Federal Constituency, speaks on the party’s membership registration exercise and the alleged factionalisation of APC in Alimoso. Excerpts:
Q: What is your opinion about the membership registration/validation exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?
A: The purpose of the exercise is just to attract new members into the party.
We are telling Nigerians that our doors are open, we want you to be members of this great party.
Q: Many fear that registering now as new members will affect their chances of seeking political offices
A: No! Registering now makes you APC member and gives you equal right with other party members including those of us who have been foundation members of the party.
There won’t be any discrimination and our target is to give every member sense of belonging.
The party is open for all members irrespective of status, ethnic group or religion. The moment you register, officially you become a card-carrying member of the party and that accords you all the rights of being an APC member, which include seeking elective offices on the platform of the party.
Therefore, I want to seize this opportunity to call on Nigerians: male, female, young, middle age and old to register and become members of this great party, the largest and greatest party in the continent of Africa.
Q: After the registration, what future do you see for APC as a party?
A: The exercise will make the party stronger. We all know that the asset of any political group is human, and the population determines this. The population is what we are targeting, so as to give everybody the opportunity to not only become members of the party but also to participate fully in political process aimed at strengthening good governance. So I believe this exercise will give the party more strength than it is presently.
Q: In Alimosho, as a party state official, what preparation have you put in place for a successful exercise?
A: A lot of things has been put in place, before now we have sensitised our members. We are creating awareness on the importance of the exercise across all the zones in Alimoso Federal Constituency.
All the zonal chairmen have been informed, all our members right from the street, zones are fully aware, fully prepared to mobilise more people to register and become members of the party.
One of the main items needed for this exercise is possession of passport photographs and I can assure you that over 75 to 80% of our members have their passport photographs ready.
We are set for the exercise and fully ready to participate and mobilise more members into our party.
Q: The recent happenings in Alimoso politics is that there are factions of APC in Alimoso, how will you react to this?
A: Honestly speaking, I do ignore it, and I will tell you why I have not been responding to it. Politics is a game of number; majority will have their way, while minority will have their say. Those who are claiming to be minority, they are not even minority to me, they are minute. People who could not boast of controlling a ward in the 36 wards of Alimoso Federal Constituency call themselves minority.
This is one of the works of the social media. The way Nigeria is now, we have population of over 200 million from the census statistics, four or three people will go on the social media and write all sort of things, creating an impression that is not existing, and when outsiders go through it, it will have certain influence on them.
I am not sorry to tell you that we are not social media politicians, we are physical politicians, who deal with reality on ground. We are closer to our people. We live among the people not a politician in Alimoso residing in Ikeja or Ikoyi.
Q: If there is a way for reconciliation, will you agree to this?
A: Who am I not to agree? In as much that I agreed that they are not up to a ward, and they can’t even win a ward in Alimoso, the essence of politics is to embrace everybody. There is no basis for this initially. Ask them that what has Enilolobo done to them, none of them will be able to level any allegation against me.
They were just being influenced by external forces to create imaginary crisis in Alimoso. In 2015, this particular person was suspended by his local government as a member of the party, we lifted the suspension.
Overtime, we have been taught by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola that there are no permanent friends and enemies in politics. Let them come now, we will embrace them. He is not contesting, but he joined us and work and he was compensated, we have even over compensated him. He is in charge of Okada, Market and Parking at Alimoso Local Government; at Mosan Okunola LCDA, he is In charge of MOT. The only thing that we have not given him is to hand over the green biro.
Nobody has become anything in Alimosho base on financial inducement. Political offices and positions are not prerogative of the highest bidder in Alimoso.
Aspiring for political offices in Alimoso, you must have paid your dues, the people must have seen the stuff you are made of, promoting and protecting the rights of the people must be inherent in you and you must have all it takes to be in charge of the office you are aspiring for.
Those are our key major reasons for supporting any aspirant. And when we support you, you will go and democratalise it. The constitution or guideline will still take its place, the congress will be held not by us, but by external bodies. So we have no problems with anybody, we have been fair to everybody. It is only God that is perfect, but we have been very fair.
Q: There was a social media report that you said something that Asiwaju Tinubu may not be APC presidential candidate and that Ogbeni Aregbesola is the anointed candidate?
A: We challenged them to bring an evidence to that. Going through that writeup, they said I had an interview and I discussed with some of my followers, the cheapest thing to do on earth is to make an allegation. They could not bring an evidence to prove it.
In no time have I ever said this and in no time will I ever say it. Through Asiwaju, we know what is called dividends of democracy, through Rauf Aregbesola we know what loyalty means, through both of them, we know the combination of loyalty and compensation of loyalty. So, none of us will ever toy with them. Rauf has never called us at any time to tell us that he has interest in presidency, rather he has always been telling us that we should work for Asiwaju, that Asiwaju is getting closer to the ticket. That has been the words from Rauf. So where did they get their story from? The aim of that article is to create chaos between the two leaders so that for them to fill the vacuum. Some of them are targeting Rauf Aregbesola but they have failed because Rauf will remain loyal to Asiwaju and committed to his ideals.
Q: As we are moving forward, Alimosho, as the Apex Leader of the undisputed Alimoso, is there a mechanism the party has put in place to monitor the performance of the local government chairmen?
A: At least we have meeting thrice a month, and the essence of the meeting is to monitor and for them to give the stewardship of what they have done with what was allocated to them. Most times we assign someone from different local governments to go and inspect what the other local government chairmen have done. One of the major agenda is the performance of the chairmen. This is done almost once in every three months.
Q: In monitoring their activities, don’t you think believe some stakeholders be involved apart from the one involving politicians alone?
A: We do involve the stakeholders; we have the CDAs, CDCs involve in most things that we do in Alimoso, we always carry them along. The media too are always involved.
Q: Going back to the write up that you were tagged sir, can I ask why you are the main target, despite all the political giants in Alimosho APC?
A: Alimosho is the largest local government not only in Lagos but also probably in Nigeria and the reasons for this are not far fetch. During the governorship election of Ambode, he scored 74, 000 plus votes, Alimoso alone gave Sanwo-Olu 194,000 votes. And the local government is united because we get and follow instruction from a single person, that is, Asiwaju. So, some of the enemies of Asiwaju are trying to destroy us. They have tried it severally. If you want to get an existing and successful organisation, you must try to disorganise the leaders, but if the leaders failed to be disorganised, you have failed. Those doing this have failed.