Senator Alex Kadiri, one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recently defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with the SAM EGWU, Kadiri explains circumstances leading to his defection.
You recently defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). What informed this decision?
My decision to join the APC from the PDP is a fallout of a catalogue of misdeeds on the part of the PDP. They were no longer inviting me to meetings where I constitutionally ought to be in attendance. I once confronted the State PDP chairman in the presence of the North Central Zonal chairman, Alhaji Aitogo, in Senator Ogbeha’s house, here in
Lokoja. I requested to know from him if I had been expelled or suspended from the party, but he denied it. I also confronted him when we met in Captain Idris Wada’s House in Odu, when his father died. I told him they have been ignoring me and that I felt neglected as I have not been involved in all party activities. I believe I have contributed so much for the party at the state level and at the national levels that I don’t deserve to be so treated.
Three months later, the situation did not change, I was still being excluded. So, I wrote a letter to the state chairman of the PDP and I made him to sign an acknowledgment of the letter. The letter was copied to my Local government chairman as well as my ward chairman. As I am talking to you now, I have not received any response from anybody.
Would you say the treatment meted out to you is symptomatic of what the PDP stands for?
We have been shouting, impunity is the alternative word, for the PDP.
They do things and believe that nobody can challenge them. Those who are in power today believe they own PDP and they have been steering the ship of the party to the point of wreck, I think they are virtually wrecked now. It is their making.
Recall that the national chairman of the PDP, Adamu Muazu, told the president that most of those that left the party did so was on account of injustice, and many like you are waiting for the burial of the party.
The people I know who are still in PDP spoke with me after I joined the APC; a good number of them sent text messages to me which I have refused to delete from my phone. And the messages are very instructive, I wouldn’t mention names but at a point in time we will all answer our fathers’ names.
One said, Oh! He was even surprised that I waited this long. Another said it was catastrophic, all kinds of phrases. I know Adamu Muazu and he knows me as Alex Kadiri. He knows me in person and he knows that for me to take a decision like I have taken, I must have been pushed to the wall and I was really pushed to the wall.
Is the party at the state level any different or better than at the national level?
I think they are the same thing, to be honest.
So, how are you taking advantage of this in the APC?
Like I told somebody, APC is a ‘new party’. What I may suffer in APC cannot be worse than what I have suffered in PDP, it is a new beginning.
Since you are from the same place with the governor, have you tried to advise him on how the state should move forward?
I think every well-meaning, Nigerian, every well-meaning Kogite, every well-meaning Igala and Dekina person must have spoken to the governor on the course to follow but all of them went on deaf ears.
The crowd at the APC rallies were alleged to have been rented, what is your take?
What is the problem, if we are able to rent the same crowd during the election, so be it. Let those who will not rent crowd but who have natural supporters show their strength at the election.
As a stakeholder in Kogi State, what is your assessment of the state in the last 16 years?
Well, Kogi has been very unlucky. We are an unlucky state. Maybe you were not at the public domain when the agitation for Kogi State started. I was the assistant national secretary of the Kogi State movement. T.W.B. was our secretary, Ahmadu Ali was the chairman. In my custody today I still have all the manuscript from which we typed for the request which we sent to the national assembly, in 1981. All the aspirations we had for Kogi have not has been actualised.
Right from the Military, to Abubakar Audu, to Ibrahim Idris to the current fellow. In the first place, they have no vision for the State therefore they also had no mission. Like a friend in Okene told me recently, his message was clear; see Alex, we asked you people to give us somebody to govern this state you gave us a tailor, we said the tailor was not good you gave us a carpenter. What do we call the one that you have given us now? This is a highly placed citizen of this state.
The questions he asked me, I couldn’t reply him because I understood where he was coming from. We ended up now with a governor who was not even a member of the party that put him up for election. He was never a gubernatorial aspirant, he had no thinking as to what to do if he got power because he never asked for it, he never struggled for it because he was not in the system but somebody brought an in-law to cover his track and look at where it has landed us.
Are you insinuating he is an accidental governor?
He was imposed on us and we were all so stupid we accepted, and we all must take the blame but if we refused at that time what was the alternative? The power that be, that is PDP for you.
Do you have ambition to become governor?
Only God knows, once a senator always a senator but only God knows what my next plan would be.
What is responsible for this Buharimania that is going on?
You people have been following the campaign train. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu spoke in Abeokuta recently. He said when America was in trouble, the Americans called on General Azinha. When France was in trouble, they called on De Gore, when the UK was in trouble, they called on Churchill. Nigeria is in trouble, whether we like it or not we are in serious trouble.
Of all the people who are pretending to run for the presidency, Buhari is the only one that we can fall on. Our incumbent president, I voted for him and I worked for him but my corpse will not vote for him now because he has no clue as to what to do.