Hon. Jude Idimogu, an Igbo man, is a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly from Oshodi- Isolo 2 Constituency. In this interview with The Nation Newspapers, he explains why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
You left the PDP for the APC recently. what is the mood in your constituency after your defection?
Of course, a lot of my people followed me. Also, there is a process to be followed, when you decamp. We have done the first one on the floor of the Assembly, we need to do the second, whereby people would follow you to the secretariat of the party, when they ask you to come. That is what we call open declaration. The party you are going to would also want to see your supporters. We have not done that because the state Chairman of the party, Hon. Henry Ajomale is not in the country now. All of us would do it at the same time. We don’t know where it would be done yet, maybe it would be at the party secretariat or somewhere else.
Concerning my people, some are happy, while some are not happy. it is a mixed bag. I have dIscussed with them, especially the Igbos, because majority of my followers are Igbos; not that Yorubas are not following me all the same. The Igbos are the brains behind the PDP in the state. We need to discuss and rub minds with them to know that change is imperative and that it is for the interest of everybody. We are in Lagos and the dominant party is the APC. I think it is right for us to work with that party. They understand, and most of them have accepted, while some have not. But, it is a daily dialogue.
Did you face any hostility from the APC members in the area since you joined the party?
For now, I am not facing any hostility because I have not mingled fully with the party very well in the area because the process has not been completed. I have not been attending their meetings. Of course, the whole world knows that I have defected from the PDP to the APC and I have started paying my dues to the party as it is deducted from source. So, I am a stakeholder in the party already. I can attend their meetings if I want to because I am now a member of the APC. I have to wait for the state chairman of the party to come back. We must complete the process even before I go to ward meetings. Afterall, I am representing everybody in the constituency. Dialogue is important, I want to win more people to the party. It is not everybody that supported the move, you must learn how to play your cards, and learn how to humble yourself when you get there. Relationship is important, may be by the time they relate with you, they would accept you well.
Two members of your former party in the Assembly that did not defect see those of you that defected as traitors. What do you say to this?
People are entitled to their opinions. Everybody has the right to decide his own case. You must know that the crisis in my former party is still there. If the crisis was not there, it would not have been easy for us to move the way we did. Also, you have to look at your future. I felt that where would I realise my dreams and future. Lagos State had never been in the same party with the government at the centre until now, so for the first time, the state is having alliance with the central government, I felt this is an opportunity for me. Moreover, ACN and the APC has always been strong in the state. I have looked at it and I have weighed it and considered it and for me to make impact for the people of my constituency, I have to do what I did. I want to see that after four years, I should have done many things for my people. I might not be able to do more, if I were in the opposition, but I feel happy for what I have done. I have followers and many people are with me, they know I am a grassroots person.
Many people feel that the federal government has not fulfilled its promises. what do you say to this?
There is no doubt that things are hard and difficult in the country, but you have to look at the indices. We are in a monolithic economy, there were crisis in the Niger Delta region and it affected us. Also, there was fall in the price of oil in the international market. Moreso, it would take time before the government could solve our numerous problems, it could take two, three or even four years. It is a global occurrence; it is not just about Nigeria. The government has recognised that the economy is not doing well and they are doing everything humanly possible to get it back. For example, foreign exchange is getting better through the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It is not yet Uhuru, but we will get there.
What advice do you have for the government?
Nigeria belongs to all of us. Whether I like this government or not, I have to pray that God should help the government in power to do well. Whatever happens would affect all of us. To do this would take time, so we should encourage the government to do the right thing. They have done well in the area of security and they have also dealt with corruption. If President Muhammadu Buhari had not come to power, all these discoveries would have been buried and it would affect all of us. People that kept foreign currencies are now bringing them out. It is not just about Buhari, our problem has been that we lack leadership. Right from the military government, what have they done for us. I remember in my secondary school days, I used to board train from the East to the North. We should examine ourselves to see if we are doing the right thing, how can someone steal an amount of money that could take care of a whole state.
Are you saying it is the stolen money that got us to where we are now, with the increase in prices of goods?
Of course, corruption is part of it. Talking about prices of goods and services, they are being imported with dollars. We must go into production because even the intervention of the CBN cannot last. We should ban certain goods that we can produce in Nigeria to encourage local production. A country like India had to close its borders at a time to encourage local production. If we fold our hands and allow importation anyhow, we will kill the industries and we are complaining that there is unemployment, is it the government that would employ people.
DSS wrote a report against the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. do you think the senate is right in denying him confirmation, based on mere allegations?
The Senate is made up of 109 people that are representing all of us, which is why I say we should be careful of what we do today because tomorrow might be a judgment day. Though some people are saying his confirmation was denied because some senators have cases with the EFCC. The fact is that the senate has the right to confirm him or not. I heard Senator Dino Melaye saying that he was not rejected just because of the DSS report, but that he did not answer their questions satisfactorily. DSS brought two reports against him despite the fact that both agencies are under the presidency. May be Ibrahim Magu does not know how to play politics, everything in life is about politics. He ought to have met with the Director of DSS. He should have found out what happened, they came up with two reports against him. May be he felt the President could protect him. Everybody lobbies, even abroad, they lobby. Everybody cannot like you, we also lobby during elections to get what we want. I don’t think he is humble enough.