Hon. Rahman Owokoniran
For the past 24 years, election year in and out, the PDP, which is and should be the foremost opposition party in Lagos, fields candidates that can best be described as lacklustre. This has allowed the ACN, now metamorphosed into the APC, to have a strong chokehold on the seat of government at Alausa Ikeja, with almost nothing to show in democratic dividends, despite the huge resources that Lagos possesses.
The Late Funsho Williams, who had a formidable knowledge of Lagos and the vision to transform Lagos for the benefit of both young and old Lagosians, fought gallantly to redeem this Centre of Excellence from the clutches of the usurpers at the helm of affairs only for personal advancement. This devoted scion of Lagos, who already was a household name on the lips of Lagosians both home and abroad, was cut short in the confines of his home. Till today, the mystery and criminals behind his gruesome murder still remain unknown. This would remain an indictment on the then government of Lagos State and the then PDP-led Federal Government in the year 2006. We should not forget in a hurry the many sacrifices that the Yoruba people had to make during these dark days of political killings.
One would think that the PDP, which this man had chosen as the party to run, would sit tight and act right to regain the momentum already put in place by Engineer Williams. It would have by extension fulfilled the dreams of the deceased by winning elections in Lagos. This would bring about the liberation of Lagos, building an all-inclusive Lagos. But alas this has not been the case. It is a slap on the memory of a man so brutally murdered because it was almost certain that he was the next Governor of Lagos in the year 2007.
Since William’s demise, we in PDP are yet to produce a formidable governorship candidate, one similarly widely accepted by all and sundry.
Ever since this unfortunate incident, the PDP in Lagos always comes up with excuses as to why we have been losing elections, some of which include:
1) Interference from the National Arm of the Party on the selection of candidates
2) The APC incumbency factor which results in outspending the opposition thereby pocketing the security outfits and the Independent National Electoral Commission’s officials in Lagos
3) Infiltration of the party by double agents working largely for the APC
4) The shortage in the recruitment of skilled party managers
5) The constant blame game on the older party leaders by the younger members of the party
Though these are strong reasons, the last of the reasons which harp on leadership is the strongest of all. Since 1999, Lagos PDP has had the same ineffective leadership delivering poor election results each election year. Surely, one must ask questions? Is it deliberate? Is the leadership of the party compromised?
A hallmark of a great leader/captain is the ability to win seemingly arduous tasks, leading the followership to deliver outstanding results. This is not the case in Lagos!
The results of the last election held in March of 2023 were pitiful with the Labour Party having a strong showing than the PDP. This is a pointer to the fact that PDP lacks the ability to transform itself to a viable alternative in Lagos. This is not only a shame but a monumental disgrace to the leadership.
However, we must begin to look inwards as a people and as a party, and restructure the party. We have constantly disappointed Lagosians, who are desirous of a change, who have waged their bet on us wrestling power from the elitist governance of the APC.
This is a clarion call to all and sundry.
The party is ours to build and build and build, not for one person alone or a gang of individuals. Any organisation that is not dynamic is bound to crash, perhaps a pointer to the imminent crash was seen in the results of the last election. Growth is about renewal of sense and purpose. We need this growth in Lagos PDP.
The Lagos PDP needs to do better, enough of the recruitment of ‘strangers’ who will be groomed by some persons just prior to the primaries and hand-picked as candidates, only to sabotage, sell and lose the elections at every cycle.
HON. RAHMAN OWOKONIRAN (ACTING CHAIRMAN PDP SOUTH-WEST) WRITES FROM LAGOS STATE