Alhaji Yinka Aluko, a former Security Adviser to Governors Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed is the Deputy Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for 2015 election in Kwara State. In this Interview he spoke on sundry political issues as it affects the state. Excerpts:
Sir, you are perceived in some quarters as a politician that is inconsistent going by the way you dumped your senatorial ambition for running mate of your party's guber candidate.
It is true that I vied for the senatorial seat and through the support of the people, I won the primary. But you see in every attempt to serve the people, you might have a position and your people or party might want you in another position. What PDP as a party wants is success and how to move forward in the state. If part of the sacrifice to allow the party to move forward and be successful at the poll is to drop my senatorial ambition for deputy governor, so be it. What is important is to serve the people and it doesn't matter at what level or capacity.
You served as security adviser to former Governor Bukola Saraki for eight years and the incumbent Abdulfatah Ahmed for two years, what really informed your decision not to decamp to the All Progressive Congress (APC) alongside your ex-bosses?
You know in politics, there is the slogan that there are no permanent enemies but interest. The fact that one is a politician does not mean you don't have your focus and principle. Governor Ahmed and Senator Saraki have their reasons for going to APC and for whatever reason they left for APC, I don't blame them because they may believe that APC will serve their own interest but I believe that it's only PDP that can serve mine.
What is your interest?
My interest of course is nothing but that of the people I represent in Kwara State. It's not a do-or-die issue
Now that you are in opposing camp with your ex bosses, how has been the relationship?
Unfortunately, ever since they left PDP, we have not had cause to really meet except when I lost my mum that senator (Saraki) came a week after to pay condolence, which is normal for all Muslims.
Are you really a mole in the PDP as being rumored by some people?
That to me is cheap blackmail. For those who really know my background in Ilorin, I am from a very wealthy background without being immodest and as far as Ilorin is concerned, I have a name (to protect). The truth of the matter is that I, Ahmed Yinka Aluko, was the arrow head of the struggle that brought in Senator Bukola Saraki and also Ahmed as Governors of the state. And even, security wise, you don't plant people that are known. But I know the quarters from which that came from even within our PDP circle. They used it during the primary because that is what some people believe can sell. But the people that voted believe in me, they know I'm principled, thorough and that won't condone what is not in their best interest. So, that to me is nothing but a cheap blackmail and does not bother me.
In about a month from now, the PDP will lock horns with the APC in the state. How prepared is the PDP to take over power from the APC in the state?
Right from the time the governor and other members of the party pulled out of the PDP, the party had always been strong. Majority of the people are in the PDP because they know APC has failed the people. For instance, what will you point to as a concrete achievement of this government, all they tell you is it's a government of continuity. Because the PDP has interest of the masses at heart, our government will listen to the yearnings of the people. I want to tell you that we are very much prepared to make the difference. We believe in welfare of the civil servants and that indigenous contractors, markets and consultants should be patronized for the economic activities of the state that revolves round the civil servant to be boosted.
In most states where PDP primaries were held, there were grievances which prompted the reconciliatory process by the party leadership, what is the situation like now in Kwara?
You see, normally after every election, a reconciliatory committee is set up whether there is crisis or not for them to look at the likely areas and at the same time bring everybody on board in the remaining process. That is the essence and they have gone out to meet people. Some people may feel offended and not say it out. So far, we are all one in Kwara and there is no problem
But there is the insinuation that some of the guber aspirants like Belgore, Ajadi among others are still bitter over the issue.
That is not correct. One interesting thing about PDP in Kwara is that we are one family and the state is very unique. Immediately the guber primary result was announced, all other aspirants congratulated Senator Ajibola. There is no frosty relationship between anyone of them. Today (Tuesday) I have spoken with Belgore and same with Senator Ajadi yesterday (Monday). We all met on how to ensure that all the elections are won from the presidential to the house of assembly and we have been meeting on how to put up structure to achieve these things and everybody is on board. Most of our people outside have been very supportive like the Minister and Alhaja Muinat Shagaya.
What is your reaction to the scathing remarks that have trailed Ajibola's controversial guber poster?
That is just cheap blackmail. Ajibola is a Christian and I am a Muslim from the Central making the ticket fair enough to both sides. I want to believe that these are clone things which might have likely originated from the government, not even the people. But we don't believe that religion should be tampered with when you talk about politics. We have lived happily and peacefully over the years and there is no need to bring that into the picture. As an advice we should stay out of religion because politics is not about religion but service to the people. We should consider issues and not employ cheap blackmail. After all turbaning is a way of dressing. When JayZ came to Kwara, he was turbaned as Serikin Waka. In this state most of the gigantic and big edifices like stadium and even the praying ground where built by George Innih, a Christian.
How would you react to the allegation that the PDP primary in the state was heavily monetized?
I don't know what they mean by monetized, but all I know is that it was free and fair and nobody complained among the aspirants that he was rigged out or cheated and everyone agreed to the fact that it was free and fair.
What is the true picture of the party's senatorial candidate after your elevation and have you withdrawn your law suit?
What I can say on that is that immediately I was picked as a running mate to Senator Ajibola, I wrote to the party that I have been picked even though they were aware and consequent upon that, I have stepped down as senatorial candidate of Kwara Central and the court order was withdrawn immediately. The party, INEC and all those concerned have been copied. The choice of who will fly the flag of the party's Kwara Central senatorial ticket is the choice of the party.
How do you view the coming contest between the APC and PDP, don't you see it as a big challenge?
In any contest, there is certainly a challenge no matter how little, I think if the election comes tomorrow free and fair, the PDP has every reason to win because I know the achievement of the present government is open for everyone to access. For those of us who are in PDP, we have been tested and trusted. Professor Oba, Belgore, Shagaya, etc are successful people in their various fields and for them to come out to tell the people to come and vote for the PDP they believe in, there is confidence that these are tested and trusted people and that is why we have this large support of the people coupled with the fact that we know some of what our people need that are not being addressed by the present government in the state. We grew up here and understand the needs of our people and they have absolute trust in us to fight for them
What is your appraisal of President Jonathan's Administration, on the backdrop of MEND's castigation and endorsement of President Jonathan and Buhari Respectively?
For the first time in the history of governance in Nigeria, President Jonathan is running a civil government. In the past, it was not possible to insult a seating councilor, chairman or governor and not get harassed, talk less of insulting the seating President and not get harassed. It is to his credit we have freedom of information in Nigeria today.
There are quite a number of achievements by the Federal Government. Most of what the opposition does is to push their lapses to the domain of the FG. I don't think there is any state in the country that you cannot see the presence of the Federal Government. In Kwara State, the Kosubosu–Chikanda road was awarded by the state government but reimbursed by the federal government; it invariably means that it is the federal government that did the road.
As far MEND is concerned, you know that has the politics of Henry Okah because maybe some of them who believe because the President is from the Niger Delta should ensure his release. But President Jonathan has demonstrated that it's about the rule of law.
They talk about insecurity in the country; we all know insecurity is world over a phenomenon which is very difficult, especially those of us with security background, as the enemy is not clearly differentiable.
What is your advice to the electorates of Kwara as the elections draws nearer?
I will advise them to cast their votes for those who believe in Kwara State, they shouldn't be cajoled by the excuses of the present government saying the allocation at their disposal is meager and that they will do better if re-elected.
I am assuring them the PDP government will be accountable to the people. I want to advice that our people get their Permanent Voters Cards, safeguard it and don't give it to anybody nor sell it. On the Election Day they should come out in an orderly manner and cast their vote for the future of Kwara. We should also eschew violence in its entirety, as the ambition of a politician is not worth the life of anybody.