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INTERVIEW: We supported Arapaja based on equity – Dayo Awude

Rachael Olokungboye

AKURE – Following the last PDP southwest congress held in Osogbo between Arapaja and Dr. Eddy Olafeso, TECHNOCRAT MEDIA Reporter had an interview session with Dayo Awude, the Deputy Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Central Senatorial District in Ondo State on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

Dayo Awude has served as a commissioner for youth and sports, chairman of the state scholarship board and as chief protocol officer to former governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.

Question: Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has recently described the southwest People’s Democratic Party (PDP) congress as a scam! Sir, what do you have to say about this?

Well, that is entirely Fayose’s opinion to which he is entitled, everybody has the right to own an opinion on a subject. All I know is that Fayose attended the congress. I saw him, he addressed the congress and he said he was going to abide with the decisions of the delegates whichever way it went. And after the congress, fayose applauded the decision and promised to cooperate with the winner, Arapaja. If he said all that at that time and now he’s singing a new tune, I don’t know what may have accounted for that but that his opinion to which he is entitled. And that doesn’t in any way invalidate what happened in Osogbo on Monday, the 12th of April.

Question: We noticed that you worked for the faction of Governor Seyi Makinde that supported Arapaja who is from Oyo State, while Eddy Olafeso is from Ondo State. Why did you supported the Oyo State candidate?

Well, it’s not a personal matter. My vote is supposed to be my right, and I’m supposed to put it wherever I so desire. However, to open up the space of this discussion, politics is not about somebody coming from your state – local government or even your house. It’s about the best decision in the interest of the people. The preference of Arapaja over Dr. Eddy Olafeso was simply anchored on fairness, justice, and equity within the party now. The southwest position which was contested between the two of them from the beginning; it is rotated among the six states of the southwest. Osun has done 4 years. Ekiti has done 4 years. Lagos 4 years and Ondo has done 4 years. Eddy Olafeso himself represented himself, took the Ondo slot four years. So, he has done 4 years living only Oyo State which has not held that position before, and when it was the time, it became very obvious, very simple and direct. That since all the states have taken their turns, it was only fair for Oyo State to take their own turn. We can’t be asking for us to do it twice. When our neighboring state Oyo has not done it once. So we taught it was fair and equitable to allow Oyo State to take their own slot since every state of the southwest has taken their turns of four years. “No state has done two terms, I repeat – no state has done two terms, no state! You do your four years. In some cases, some of those states within the four years allocated to them, three people may hold the position for one reason or the other. Ekiti State when it was their turn, three persons held the position. Former Governor Segun Oni was the chairman. When he left the party, somebody has to take over. They don’t take it open because it was the turn of Ekiti. So in this case, as it was the turn of Oyo and that’s why we supported Oyo.

Question: Now that Arapaja has won the congress, how do you see him performing in uniting southwest PDP for the 2023 General Elections?

Arapaja is not an unknown person in the politics of Nigeria. He has held many positions in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He was a deputy Governor in Oyo. He was a member of the House of Representatives. He was an Ambassador. So he has the required experience to lead the southwest going by his track records or going by his antecedence. I don’t exercise any fear as to whether he will perform well or not. I am certain going by what he has done before in the various offices he has held. So, I am certain that he will do well in uniting the southwest.

Question: Just few hours ago, the Tribunal struck out Eyitayo Jegede’s petition describing it as an internal affair of a political party which the Tribunal has no jurisdiction to enter. As a party man, what do you think Mr. Eyitayo Jegede should do?

Well, we can’t abuse the temple of justice. However, what the Tribunal did in their own interest or view was to deliver the judgment the way they did. They even admitted on their own that some of those issues raised by Eyitayo Jegede were constitutional matters upon which they don’t have jurisdiction, that is – the tribunal can’t interpret the constitution and they said it is only the Supreme Court that can interpret the constitution. In order words, the Tribunal has pointed to the Supreme Court for Eyitayo Jegede. So the Tribunal has delivered its judgment based on it’s term of reference and in their wisdom. They felt what happened within APC should be within APC but what Eyitayo Jegede is not questioning what the APC did. He is questioning the infraction on the constitution of Nigeria while I’m sure the Supreme and Appeal courts will adjudicate properly. And I’m very hopeful that Eyitayo will appeal this judgment not only appeal he will go ahead, he will win ultimately at the supreme court.

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