Seye O’Dairo, dental surgeon, is a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State and the campaign director general for the PDP gubernatorial candidate in the state for the 2023 general election.
In this exclusive interview with Iniobong Iwok, he spoke on the recent tribunal judgment, what affected the party’s chances at the March gubernatorial poll and the Bola Tinubu administration. Excerpt:
Jandor has rejected the tribunal ruling on the Lagos gubernatorial election and may go to the Court of Appeal. What is your take?
He has his reasons for wanting to appeal that ruling, even though he did not really go to court to challenge the outcome of the poll based on the results of the election, but because of the things he saw about Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu certificate and about Gbadebo’s time of defection.
I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but one thing is that, whatever comes out of the court we are preparing for the 2027 general election, we will galvanise our people and win the election in Lagos State.
Yes, he still has the Supreme Court after that anything can happen, if he has a good case good luck. If the Appeal Court can overturn good luck and if they don’t he can get it in the Supreme Court. But the truth is that he has been in the APC and he may have something that he is bringing to the table about Governor Sanwo-Olu’s certificate issue that we don’t know.
A lot of people are wondering why you resigned as the DG of the campaign unceremoniously before the election?
I tried as much as possible to resolve issues between him and the leaders, he came and apologised to Bode George; Bode George asked him in front of other leaders, to say what transpired between two of them in respect of the deputy governorship position and he accepted that he was at fault.
Jandor said that Gbadebo was supposed to be his running mate and he did not follow the agreement. But despite that Bode George forgave him and accepted his running mate, but after that he just left everyone, he was doing things on his own. Later, I told him the importance of reaching out to leaders and not doing things on his own.
But towards the end of the campaign he was insulting leaders, even the party board of trustee leaders, he left the structure; he was doing things on his own. I know I did my best to make things work. I know I did the best I could to reconcile him and the leaders, and I advised him.
I told him that since you have problems when it comes to party structure, why not call the party leaders and discuss how you can share positions, if you become governor but he never did that.
He left everyone; even in my own local government he did not give me the opportunity to talk and handle things, he gave it to someone who had no political background. He messed up so much that was the major thing.
A party that has waited for more than twenty years to govern this state and suddenly a candidate emerges and they said; we cannot work with this person, it means that something is wrong.
Thousands of people can’t be crazy, agents’ money you have not given them, but you are doing selective payment; that was the major reason I left.
But party leaders in Lagos have not reacted to the tribunal ruling; few of them were in court on the day the ruling was given. How do you react to that?
What we hear is that he is still going to appeal. The truth is that, if a candidate of a party goes to court to fight for his case, and doesn’t carry the party structure along there is little they can do.
PDP has been in opposition in Lagos, we know the shenanigan in Lagos, not that the PDP is not winning elections in Lagos, there is no party structure that do not want to be in power, this period we believe we had bigger opportunity to rule Lagos and with the candidate we had, we believed we rallied round but at the end of the day, there was no cohesion.
Truly people are not carried along even if you have all the strategy, you can’t do this thing alone, you need people to do it with you.
One out of thousand members, a tree cannot make a forest; you need the collective efforts of everybody to succeed. What has transpired with the leaders, party structure there was lacuna of synergy, I would blame the candidate, not the party or party structure, and he refused to carry the party structure in dealings.
Some of these issues were pre-election matters; I wonder why the party did not settle before the election?
Yes, we had issues before the congress, there were misunderstandings even after the candidate emerged, some party members stepped down for him and after his emergence things turned around, especially, he was not answerable to the party structure.
We have four BOT members in Lagos and you could not seek advice from these people. These are party members and party structure which we are supposed to take advice from.
Even the campaign team which I headed was abandoned. That campaign structure had all inclusive tendencies that were ready to work together.
I tried my best as DG, but he was only interested in working with the structure he had which had people who came from him to the APC, Lagos4Lagos, and just a few other members. Even with that, I still tried to galvanise and bring other people to join the campaign structure.
The party campaign structure was more solid and more inclusive; you can’t abandon the people who own the structure in Lagos and had experience. If you look at it, this is the worst result of PDP in Lagos since 1999; no candidate has ever abandoned party structure before.
If you respect party leaders, chairman, there is no big deal they would work with you, but if you think you have a personal agenda they would leave you.
What is the state of PDP in Lagos now, the chairman and deputy was suspended some months back?
The party is still solid, no chairman or deputy was suspended, and the court has nullified all that. It is only the national NEC that can expel a state chairman, we are looking for reconciliation, and there is no need for all that.
Moreover, the elders of the party, like Bode George have said we don’t need all that now. The issue is not about Lagos PDP, generally, there are issues across the country and the party is trying to reconcile and get people back together; even the presidential candidate is working at getting his mandate in court.
There were defections of chieftains after the 2023 polls;
Some people said the party should have pursued reconciliation side by side with Atiku pursuing his case in court in view of recent defections. How do you react to that?
Defection is not a new thing; we have a situation where people are defecting from even the ruling party. They have their reasons for defecting, the acting national chairman is trying and I have seen some of the things he is doing, even when people are trying to put him down.
When you lose an election, there would be general analysis because you lost, if the APC had lost they did the same, it is natural for people to do that.
Some people do not have that virtue of endurance; they want to go to where their bread can be buttered, some of us believe in our party. We know that there are issues; we believe that the issues can be resolved. The BOT has met and said we should go back home to resolve issues.
But the party executive in Lagos is not active, they are not holding programs. Is this not a worry?
Yea, in due time we would have a new congress where a new chairman would be elected. It is not as if they are not talking, they have a spokesperson; the PRO who speaks sometime.
You know we had issues from the congress, when the root was a problem, the tree cannot stand. When the root is a problem the tree cannot stand, when you don’t have an inclusive state exco, which is also one-sided, you can’t have the best of the best.
We are looking forward to a more vibrant state exco that would emerge, a lot of things happened last time that were not supposed to happen.
You can’t know more than the landlord, the issues caused a lot of problems. A lot of party members are regretting and they are saying they would have done it differently next time.
We have a party structure for the upcoming by-elections, we have candidates in these constituencies in Eti-Osa the Labour Party guy has appealed the tribunal ruling. Also, in
Surulere we have someone who ran before and is going to contest again; we would do an election to pick him as a consensus candidate.
How do you react to the Bola Tinubu certificate controversy?
The truth is out, Tinubu forged his certificate, nobody is saying he did not attend Chicago State University, what we are saying is that; what result did he use to enter the school?
He said he graduated in government college Ibadan in 1970, but the school was founded in 1974. Atiku has done very well in court.
What is your take on President Tinubu’s economy reforms since assuming office?
Within four months, even with the floating of the naira you can see the difference; a dollar is over one thousand now. The naira is falling daily, yes he made some economic reforms and we thought we would get there, but so far there is no impact.
Fuel prices are high, inflation is up and the price of food is high people can’t buy. It is there for us to judge, even if he is giving palliatives, where is the data that the palliatives has gotten to the poor masses?