It has been the ambition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State to win the governorship election of the state. But much as the party tried, controlling the government of the cosmopolitan state and the commercial nerve centre of the country has been an elusive venture for the party, which ruled the country at the centre for 16years. For a factional Chairman of the PDP in Lagos State, Moshood Salvador, however, the time is ripe for the party to take over the mantle of leadership in the centre of excellence. Oladipupo Awojobi recently engaged Salvador in an interview, where he spoke on issues affecting the party, the state and Nigeria in general
Moshood Salvador, factional PDP chairman in Lagos State, declared during a recent chat that it was so clear that Lagos State could be won by the PDP, recalling that the party won six seats at the Federal House of Representatives, and eight seats at the state House of Assembly in the 2015 general elections.
This, he maintained, serves as an elixir, and stressed that the party was waiting for the forthcoming local council elections in the state to further prove its mettle with an assurance that they would win the bye election of the House of Reps coming up in Ifako/Ijaiye area of the state with the recent death of the lawmaker representing the constituency, Dr. Adewale Elijah.
The politician added that it was glaring that the PDP could still control the central government provided the managers of the party manage it right.
“Good enough, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has started cleansing the PDP. Some people call it persecution, the government calls it prosecution, but I call it cleansing of my party. If you can have it in mind that if I misbehave somebody is there watching me, then you would adjust,” he said.
Salvador does not agree with those who say that the PDP is factionalised, but admitted that there are crises in the party.
He accused the media of magnifying the issues in the party, while admitting that there are factions within the party, but that when a party is really factionalised, they will have different secretariat in all the states of the federation and at the national level.
“But nothing of such is happening in the PDP. You were in this country in the early days of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), when Abdulkadir was used by the PDP against Mamman Yusuf of AD then. The faction was supported by the government of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdukadir’s faction had secretariats in Abuja and all over the states of the federation, that is what we call real faction.
“In politics, where you have 10 offices, and over 1,000 people are vying for the offices, you would see the losers protesting that they were rigged out. We are never honest in this country, so we have no confidence in one another.
“Do we even have confidence in the government not to talk of individuals. I don’t blame anybody for that. I would appeal to the media to help solve the problem in the PDP rather than aggravating it. Some people are aggrieved in the party, but the best thing is for us to make sure we reconcile and solve the problems,” he said.
He cautioned that the fight against corruption by the government of President Buhari could not work, and accused the ruling party of chasing thieves and leaving the remaining goods, adding that other people would steal the goods.
According to him, it was wrong for the government to concentrate on fighting corruption, while other areas are suffering.
“You can fight corruption, protect what you have and hand over any culpable person to the anti-graft agencies, it is not for you to be fully involved in fighting corruption and leave economy, security, healthcare and others to suffer, I would not agree with them on that.
“Everybody agrees with him on the fight against corruption, it is a way of cleansing my party too. You cannot see my name on the list of corrupt persons. I didn’t collect a dime from the PDP in Lagos State, not to talk of at the federal level. I contributed my money for the success of the party, I gave N5million to Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe to assist the party in the last general election,” he said.
Salvador does not see the current probe by the federal government as giving his party a negative image, adding that the whole thing boils down to the fact that those are the people they have exposed, and that there is no government without corrupt individuals.
His words: “Who can convince you that there is any government without thieves, when you can wake up one morning to see someone that came to beg you for N1,000 having all the money two months after getting to power and driving a Rolls Royce without anybody asking questions.
“It can only happen in Nigeria. We were in Lagos, when somebody went to Dubai to celebrate his first N1 Billion less than six months of getting to a public office. I mean just a Special Adviser to the Governor.
“It happened in Lagos State and instead of condemnation, we celebrated him, only God knows how many billions of naira he has stolen now. Immediately they stole all these money, they would come to say they want to be governors or senators.
“This is why it is difficult to correct anything because 80% of the people that are now governors or senators are guilty of corruption. They made their money in such a funny and nasty ways and use it to buy power.”
The issue of budget padding that recently rocked the Federal House of Representatives also came to the fore during the interview and Salvador disclosed that this is another matter of concern, saying that “it was unimaginable that the Speaker of the House of Reps, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara could have the gut to say that budget padding is not a crime.”
“This is a man that does not have much experience in legislative services, a greenhorn. This year, they would pad the budget and make N100 Billion, another year, it is N200 Billion, the following year, it is N400 Billion and so on like that. By the time they leave office, they would have made so much money that they can ever manage.
“They are not even trained to manage, they don’t have any experience to manage things properly. Even if you fill a building with N1 Trillion, they would waste it. That is why I am recommending life imprisonment for anybody that is found guilty of corruption.
“The reason is that they are killing some people. Innocent people are losing their lives, I have a team of doctors I give money to regularly so that they could treat indigent people in the society. I give money to people to eat and it is affecting my pocket too. I almost shed tears, when someone told me he had not eaten for three days, I had to put N20,000 in his account to assist him, “he said.
He accused the incumbent government of not going in the right direction on the economy, and said that they were not even prepared, or experienced to handle power, while advising that they should have hired experts to help them.
He made reference to what former president Olusegun Obasanjo did, when he got to office in 1999.
“How much did he meet in the coffers of the country, but he went ahead to bring the likes of now Governor Nasir El Rufai to develop the FCT, Abuja as minister, he brought former finance minister, Mrs. Okonjo Iweala, Ezekwesili and others.
“Didn’t you see the effect of Iweala, she was not after money, she was just after a cause. Buhari is old, he could not jump the way ex-president Goodluck Jonathan was jumping then, he cannot jump the way former president Olusegun Obasanjo was jumping because he was younger, when he got to office in 1999.
“We have to pity Buhari, he needs assistance and he should open the windows of assistance for experts to come in. Now, our industries are dying, industrialists are leaving the country, many airlines have left.
“The next thing was for him to approve N179 per dollar for pilgrims, when those in the productive sector buy it at N400 per dollar, I see this as a big problem,” he stated.
On the Edo State Governorship election, the PDP chieftain emphasised that all the crowd in the campaign grounds of the two leading parties; PDP and APC could not translate to votes, alleging that they are hired crowd.
“Go to the electorate and ask questions, they condemn the APC government in Edo State. The PDP is prepared to win, though we don’t have police or military power, we just need to protect our votes. We want the people of Edo to do that, it is difficult for the APC to win in Edo State again,” he said.
The issue of state and community police, he said, were addressed in the AD many years back as he said that they are the ones that can protect the people better, while making reference to the architecture of a house, which he said belongs to the owner before the architect is called to design it.
“So, nobody can know the corners of my house more than I do. You cannot just bring someone to come and take care of my area and police it. In a particular area, we know what they do in the compound without entering the place.
“We know their culture and tradition, there are some compounds we know that they deal in masquerades, we know, where they are Osun worshipers and others. So, nobody can deceive you about what they do in those places. So, all these can be handled by state or community police,” he said.
The veteran politician was part of the delegates at the 2014 Constitutional Conference organised by former president Goodluck Jonathan and he felt the report of the conference is one of the things that could turn the nation around. He made it clear that if any government thinks the report should not be implemented, then they should have other ideas.
“Now, it is obvious that they don’t have any other idea, they would still go back to the report of the conference because there is nothing you want to do that is not there. If they have the money to waste, they can organise another one, but the money is not even there for them,” he stated.