Despite losing the state to the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 elections, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State, Chief Kehinde Bankole insists PDP remains the party to beat in the north-central state, writes Shola Oyeyipo
When the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost power in the 2015 general elections to the main opposition party, the All Progressive Congress, (APC), as a result of discord in the party and some political miscalculation on the part of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, so many states, including Kwara state also fell to the APC.
Worst still for the PDP in Kwara state, not only did the APC take over power, the former ruling party lost most of its bigwigs to the new party as well and the issue has been whether or not the PDP is capable of putting its acts together to come back to reckoning in the next general elections and take over power again.
For many, that is very doubtful. First, the former governor and now President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who was formerly of the PDP is now a chieftain of the APC. Secondly, the incumbent governor, Ahmed Abdulfatai, is working impressively to the admiration of the people. And lastly, the leadership crisis rocking the party at the national level may also make it difficult for the party to claim back its lost glory in the state.
But despite the rather bleak future ahead of the party in Kwara state, one man strongly believes that the PDP is still very much alive and would take back its lost glory come 2019. He is Chief Kehinde Bankole. A strong PDP supporter in Kwara state, who recently told THISDAY that contrary to widespread permutations, PDP was neither dead in Nigeria nor in Kwara State.
The Ekan Meje, Oke Ero Local Government Area of Kwara state’s indigene is quite optimistic that it will surprise many when the party, which once ruled the country for 16 years until 2015, comes back in 2019 to take what it lost in the last elections.
Bankole, the chairman, KAB Construction Company said that so many mistakes made by former president Goodluck Jonathan and other PDP’s leaders led to the failure of the party both at federal and state levels. However, these mistakes, he said, were being corrected.
He said the party would take the nation by storm especially in view of the monumental failure of the APC. According to him, APC has been preparing the ground for PDP to return.
While blaming Jonathan as the cause of the downfall of the PDP, he sad the former president failed to hold the country together as president of Nigeria, but rather turned himself into a sectional leader.
He alleged that Jonathan failed to hold the party together.
“As the party number one, he failed to take total control of the party, so party members started speaking with different tongues and this, to a very large extent resulted in the poor performance and eventual defeat of the party in 2015 elections”, he said.
According to him, it will be surprising to many when the party which once ruled the country for 16 years until 2015 comes back in 2019 to take what it lost in the last elections.
“President Jonathan should not have allowed himself to be misled by sycophants, who surrounded him and controlled him at a time..
“These negative decisions affected the party and the nation too. They affected the party both at the federal and grass roots level,” he said.
On agitation to divide the country, Bankole said calling for the country to break up was informed by ignorance adding that “those calling for the country to break up do not know that the country’s strength lies on its population.
“Our population is our strength and that’s one advantage we have over other countries in the continent. Our population can help us develop faster than other African countries.
“For example, China’s population is a very good advantage for the country and this is because they have remained as one. And China’s potential is twice that of many countries in Europe where so many Nigerians run to,” he added.
Bankole who worked with Oceanic Bank for five years before leaving to start his own business maintained that PDP still controlled the grass roots, especially in Kwara state.
He said: “PDP in Kwara state still has 60 to 70 per cent of the voters cards. PDP in Kwara still speaks with one voice, so there is a brighter chance for the party to take over power in 2019 in Kwara.
“The only challenge I foresee is that the governor, Abdulfatai is doing very well. He is a very brilliant man with brilliant ideas. And is touching peoples’ lives in the state.
“The governor is doing projects that are visible for the people of Kwara to see. That not withstanding, nobody can stop PDP from taking over power in 2019, especially in Kwara state.”