Former governor of Oyo State and a chieftain of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Senator Rashidi Ladoja, has been in the news for moving from one party to another.
With less than two months to the general election, Ladoja’s defection from the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to ZLP has continued to raise dusts.
He has however opened up on his reasons for moving from one party to another with journalists, in a new interview drafted from Nigerian Tribune.
You have moved from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Accord Party (AP) and later back to PDP from where you moved to African Democratic Congress (ADC) and now you are in Zenith Labour Party (ZLP). What brought about the decision to ditch ADC with less than two months to elections?
The election is not as close as many people think. The first election is still about two months away. In politics, how many times do you have to tell people where you are going before they begin to know where you are going?
For me, it is not about how long, but how well. With the level of communication today, there is virtually no area in Oyo State today where you don’t have a radio station. So, you can disseminate your information through radio, television, personal touch and even visits.
You can drive round the state in two three days and meet the people you want to meet as you prepare for elections. So, all you need to do is to canvass very well and let the people decide. The people of Oyo State trust me; they just want to know where they are going.
So, it is not too late to move if you emphasise what you stand for. It is not too late to make the right moves. The people already know where Ladoja stands. They know when I recommend something and they trust me so much.
Talking about trust, you have moved the same set of people and structure from one party to another over the years. It is expected that some people might be tired of moving around without getting what they truly want. Why are you sure the people will trust your decision again this time?
What I mean by ‘trusting me’ is that they know that I am always looking for what is best for my people.
When you left Accord for PDP, you moved your political structure into the party but when you left PDP for ADC, some of your loyalists, like Chief Bisi Ilaka, stayed back. While in ADC, some of your loyalists picked up tickets in the party. Now that you are in ZLP, you seem to have your loyalists scattered across the parties in the state. Don’t you foresee a repeat of what happened in 2015 when the sitting governor had 32 per cent of the votes?
I will tell you that what happened in 2015 is different from what is happening now. After the 2015 election and the governor scored 32 per cent, I had 29 per cent, while Adebayo Alao-Akala had 14 per cent.
Teslim Folarin had seven per cent and Seyi Makinde had five per cent. Some people felt then that had I, Alao-Akala, Teslim and Makinde pulled our resources together, we would have won the election. But people tend to forget that politics is not arithmetic.
You can’t say that because Ladoja scored 29 per cent and Alao-Akala scored 14 per cent, if the two of us had worked together, we would have defeated Abiola Ajimobi.
But that’s not true because that was what got us to PDP in the first place, only to find out that after the tenure of the former PDP chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, the succeeding leadership was not as diligent. We discovered that the decisions they wanted us to take did not go down well with us. So, we pulled out of PDP.
As I always say, politics is personal and the fact is the number of people actively involved in politics is just 10 per cent of the people that would vote. In most cases, the voters are the ones that determine who they want to vote. So, it is not about the number of people in a party that matters, what is important is the people that would vote. In ZLP, our winning strength is in the masses.