Leaving PDP For APC Is Like Leaving Jesus Christ For Satan, Says Fayose |RN


Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has laughed off insinuations of his alleged planned defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A former Chief Whip of the Senate and chieftain of the APC in the state, Gbenga Aluko, over the weekend, claimed that Governor Fayose was making moves to dump the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

But in a swift reaction to the claim, Governor Fayose said his reported defection to APC was a ruse. Fayose’s reaction was contained in a release issued by Governor Fayose Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, and made available to Daily Sun, thenEkiti State governor classified dumping PDP for APC as ‘living Jesus Christ for Satan.’

The statement reads, “The news going viral that Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose is making move to defect to APC, is false. It is a figment of imagination of the APC which manufactured the story.
“Joining APC is like leaving Jesus Christ for Satan. It is like wanting to die by taking Gamalin 20, or planning to commit suicide by jumping down from skye scrapper.
“Fayose will never join the APC, rather, he would welcome APC members to the PDP.
*When PDP was embroiled in leadership crisis, Fayose did not leave the party. Is it now when PDP is positioning itself to win back power in 2019.
Is it APC which merely exist only on pages of newspaper in Ekiti that Fayose will join? Fayose is too big for the APC to accommodate.
“Fayose is preoccupied with plan to transit power from PDP to PDP Ekiti in 2018.”         (The Sun)

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We Will Shock Buhari In 2019, Says Sule Lamido |The Republican News


Former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido

•Says APC founders have since deserted the ruling party

In 2015, many thought he was going to challenge former President Goodluck Jonathan, even Jonathan saw him as a potential rival, but former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido did not run. He told Saturday Sun in January this year that running against Jonathan at the time was like passing a vote of no confidence on him.

Today, however, Lamido has left no one in doubt that he would be seeking his party’s ticket for the 2019 presidential contest. In this interview with ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, held at his home in Kano last Saturday, Lamido declared that Buhari was no threat to the PDP, come 2019.

He said: “What is my business if they endorse him or if he runs? Buhari came from a very small party called the CPC. Without the influence of the ACN and the governors who left the PDP, there was no way he would have won because he came from a very tiny party. If those who came together to make him what he is, are no longer in the party, then he has my sympathy for failing to understand this. Look here, Buhari is no threat to the PDP.

“In PDP, we do not give a damn on whoever the APC presents for 2019 because we are more than two-third. We know that as a party, we have made some mistakes and we apologise to Nigerians. If the likes of Tinubu and Atiku feel concerned about what is happening in APC and those who were originally in PDP leave, what will become of him? He would only be left with his tiny CPC, I don’t know how he would do it, but that is his problem, not mine. In any case, the Buhari of today is not the Buhari of 2015.

“The Buhari of today is fatigued; he is faced with what you call political party management in a democracy. It is not where you give orders; here, you have to build some consensus. You can see he cannot even relate well with the Senate President of his own party. So, the Buhari of today is not the Buhari of 2015. Before 2015, he was Buhari the puritanical. Buhari, who they saw as the only man at the helm of 20 million people that Nigerians in the APC were ready to surrender their trust, their reasoning, their honour and everything because they are so lazy. Look at what (Professor Itse) Sagay said about the APC. He said they are all thieves. So if they are calling the PDP thieves, their own man is saying they are all thieves.”

Few days ago, you wrote the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a letter where you analysed the situation in the country and said the party must take the lead in rescuing the country. What informed the approach that you took?

A political party has its own kind of authority and by my upbringing and culture, the party is very important. We need to pull Nigeria out of despondency and the first thing that I chose to do was to intimate the party faithful that I am offering myself  for the job should the party consider me worthy of flying its flag because I believe that it is time that we share the same concern for our country. PDP is the only party that can set things right in this country.

If you compare how things were in the country three years ago to what it is now, you will appreciate why things have to change. Many others may likely join the presidential race, but what is important is that in whatever we do, we should ensure that we share the same dream and aspiration and put Nigeria first. Whoever will emerge after the primary should be a PDP candidate who knows PDP very well and who is popular with the people and who can tell Nigerians this is what we are offering you. If the party brings a very good person with a common understanding, it will be very easy to make progress. We either do things right, or by 2019, there would be some problems in Nigeria and PDP is the only party with the capacity and passion for Nigeria. We have been there for 16 years and we stabilised Nigeria.

There are speculations that some of your party members that left are likely to return and some of them have presidential ambition; for instance we hear the former vice president is likely to return but that he wants the party to assure him that when he returns, he would get the ticket of the party. How true is this speculation?

Those governors who left the party at the time first raised the alarm that there was something wrong with the PDP. We went round the country and we saw other political leaders. We said then that what we were going through may likely endanger Nigeria’s stability and security in future, and we felt that the problem was even beyond the PDP. The guidelines and constitution of the party clearly states that the party must meet at least quarterly, but for a whole year, the party never met. We wanted the party to meet so that when the key players are gathered, we can push for the party to do the right thing. It was our efforts that caused things to be narrowly corrected, but in the process, five governors, some key players and some parliamentarians left the party. To me, that was a big mistake because the party you formed and you campaigned for and people gave you their trust in the rain and sunshine because you were part of the party, should not have been abandoned like that. But that is history now. They left because at the time, they felt that they were not happy about the prevailing situation, but I believe that you should not let your anger and personal mood affect your leadership position. So, it was the mood and feeling in them that made them take that decision. Having gone to where they went, have they found comfort there? Have they been consoled? Have they been rescued from what they were running away from or have their problems compounded? So naturally, they would want to come back because they are more agonised and pained where they are now. This is where naturally they belong; where they share a common history with their friends before they became what they are, and they are most welcome. They built a house, which is APC, but now, they are coming back into their home, which is the PDP and we are ready to welcome anyone who wants to come back for whatever reason.

In that house, ACN, CPC, ANPP and some parts of APGA came in, but now, that house cannot give them what they are looking for, so they want to come back to their homes. No matter where the likes of Saraki, Wammako, Kwankwaso, El-Rufai Ribadu and all of them who left go, the political blood running in their veins is that of PDP. No matter how much they try, you cannot really run away from your own soul.

About the issue of giving conditions, I do not think that my brother Atiku would give any condition because he knows that no one can give him any guarantee because the party is not owned by one person, it is owned by the people. If the people say that they want him and find him worthy of picking the ticket, then so be it. All of them are very welcome back to the PDP where they are cherished, loved, admired and on which platform they became what they are politically. It is better than where they are now, where they are humiliated every day. Every now and then Lai would abuse them calling them PDP thieves and they are there watching where they are being abused and they cannot even defend their honour. No matter what you say about the PDP, we are in charge of the APC government because it is the PDP that got APC corrugated. If you take away the PDP from the APC, the APC would collapse.

In 1999, 2003 and 2007, they tried so hard to get to power, but they couldn’t, it was only when PDP members joined them that they succeeded. I am sure that by now they are tired of the situation. It is just like running away from your family to run into another person’s family, then the members of the new family reminds you of how all the members of your family were thieves, crooks and rogues. By abusing your former family, they are also abusing you. They ran into APC for comfort; they were frustrated and were looking for a shelter, but they are being insulted every day. This is because by insulting the PDP, they are also insulting those who moved from the PDP to the APC. I’m happy that they have been there and went through what they went through in that party, so, they should come back to where they are loved because they are part of us.

President Buhari has not announced his intention to run, but some within his party have already endorsed him for 2019. Does the PDP have what it takes to defeat Buhari?

What is my business if they endorse him or if he runs? Buhari came from a very small party called the CPC. Without the influence of the ACN and the governors who left the PDP, there was no way he would have won because he came from a very tiny party. If those who came together to make him what he is are no longer in the party, then he has my sympathy for failing to understand this. Look here, Buhari is no threat to the PDP.

In PDP we do not give a damn on whoever the APC presents for 2019 because we are more than two-third. We know that as a party, we have made some mistakes and we apologised to Nigerians. If the likes of Tinubu and Atiku feel concerned about what is happening in APC and those who were originally in PDP leaves, what will become of him? He would only be left with his tiny CPC, I don’t know how he would do it, but that is his problem, not mine. In any case, the Buhari of today is not the Buhari of 2015.

How do you mean?

The Buhari of today is fatigued; he is faced with what you call political party management in a democracy. It is not where you give orders; here, you have to build some consensus. You can see he cannot even relate well with the Senate President of his own party. So, the Buhari of today is not the Buhari of 2015. Before 2015, he was Buhari the puritanical. Buhari, who they saw as the only man at the helm of 20 million people that Nigerians in the APC were ready to surrender their trust, their reasoning, their honour and everything because they are so lazy. Look at what (Professor Itse) Sagay said about the APC. He said they are all thieves. So if they are calling the PDP thieves, their own man is saying they are all thieves.

If you pick the ticket of the PDP, would you describe the state of the economy today as an added advantage to you?

There is no gain if a government makes mistakes because it is the ordinary people that would bear the consequences of the mistakes. So, do not celebrate a government’s economic mistakes because you would suffer the consequences too. I am not in any way celebrating APC’s failure in government. This government is Nigeria’s government, but unfortunately, the APC got into government unprepared and because they were unprepared, they kept on churning out lies to mask their own failure.

During the campaigns, they invented lies about PDP; they called us thieves, rogues, evil and all sort of names. Now that they are in government, they failed to metamorphose from a political party seeking election to a party in government where the culture is different. Also, because they do not have that sense of being a government in power, they keep repeating the same thing they were saying while they were in the opposition. I am a Nigerian citizen by right and not by the political party that I belong to, therefore, the government of Nigeria is my government. Unfortunately, by the apparatus and culture of the APC, they have so demonized Nigerians such that if you speak, you are mocked. For the first time in this country, we have a government mocking its own citizens. When you complain, you will be called a wailing wailer. If people are wailing because of what they feel is wrong, what a responsible government should do is to find out why they are wailing.

As a father, if your children are crying, you don’t say, ‘look, why did you steal some of the money I gave you for feeding? Shut up’, and then you start abusing your child. The APC justifies irrationality. They are suffering from ignorance of leadership. They think that you are a citizen of Nigeria by privilege, but you are a citizen by right.

Some of those in government now, what has been their contribution to the development of Nigeria? Nothing! But today, they mock Nigerians. Today, the culture of lies has become an art of governance. When Buhari was in London for treatment, Lai Mohammed and other aides kept telling Nigerians that he was perfectly healthy but when he returned, the President himself told Nigerians that he had not been that sick before in his life, but his aides were saying another thing.

It is very sad. Buhari is Nigeria’s president. When Yar’Adua was ill, the opposition wanted to know everything about him. They accused the then government of hiding the true state of Yar’Adua’s health. Now that they are in government, they are playing a far worse role than the government of Yar’Adua played. They are so overwhelmed and do not know what to do because of the power of falsehood and manipulating people with lies. Again, we are Nigerians and we have the right to talk; don’t demonise, abuse or mock Nigerians when they talk because they are asking questions that are very pertinent.

For instance, they made allocations of billions of naira for Aso Rock clinic, yet they say there is no syringe there, but if you complain, APC would say you are a wailing wailer. Aisha Buhari wailed like me, which means she is also a wailing wailer. When you wail, it is because things are being done wrongly and that is why you are wailing. PDP has been wailing, they are wailers and even some in APC have become wailing wailers too, so we are now a wailing nation.

The PDP is preparing for its convention in December, would you say that the party has learned any lesson from the crisis that rocked it before the apex court came to its rescue?

We are going into election year and the chairman that we will elect now will be symbolic. He cannot have his own authority because the election is about the will of the people where there are key players. People are not voting for him on account of his own instructions. He cannot go to Sokoto or Jigawa or Oyo and give instructions on account of his own personality; it is something collective, a family affair. Even the election of a president is only a symbol because he is going to work for the entire country. In electing a chairman, we are going to ask what the person in his own standing can do for PDP. The earlier chairmen like Solomon Lar was very symbolic because he was part of those that formed the party, but those who came after, like Audu Ogbeh, what was he? We have come a long way and by now, the election of a chairman should be less personal in our affairs over the leadership of the party. No one should say it is going to be A or B or C, because ideally, all those big names in PDP should not align with any aspirant. No stakeholder in the party should be seen taking any aspirant to anywhere, we should allow aspirants to go round and meet leaders. Bode George and Gbenga Daniel came to my house to ask for my support, and that is how it should be. If we decide that for the sake of harmony and stability of the party, we decide that we would have a consensus and support Mr. A or B, we can only do that if we are standing on a high moral ground as not been seen to align with anybody. What we want is a party chairman, whom when he wins, will be the chairman of the party in the entire PDP family and we would all give him our support. As far as I know, there is no crisis in the party.

You were in Kaduna recently to inspect your campaign office, and by the next day, we heard that there was crisis involving your supporters and some hoodlums. What really happened?

I decided to come from Abuja to Kaduna to see the level of development in the office and I went there not to campaign or open the office but to inspect it. While addressing the young people, I told them that we, who are their parents and elders in government, have made some mistakes. I told them that some of us exploited their innocence and their age to manipulate them and because we are their parents and they trust and believe us, they supported us. But now that some of us have failed them, they have every right to be angry. I told them that in the next 30 years, those under 30 will be 60 years; I asked them what will be their future? Do they want to end up as street hawkers or barrow pushers? I told them that in the next 30 years, people like me and Buhari may or may not still be alive, so I left. After I left, I saw a story in one of the national dailies written by someone who was not there at the event. When I read it, I knew that the story was not true because nothing of such happened.

It is believed that Kaduna is the traditional home of President Buhari and you went there…

(Cuts in) No, it is not his home. Kaduna is the home of all former northern governors; and all former leaders of northern extraction, it was the center of the administration during the time of Ahmadu Bello. No one can appropriate Kaduna as his home because it is for all northerners. From 1999 till date, northern elders have been meeting in Kaduna and at one point or the other; all our elders were abused by these youths. Even El-Rufai has been abused by these youths on several occasions, so, it is our failure as northern leaders because we allowed our heritage in Kaduna to be turned into a theatre of hooliganism. Every northerner should feel worried about this trend. Elections take place all the time there but somehow, the youths do not see any effort on our part as leaders to address their needs, future and frustrations. We need to restore these youths to the right path and guide them properly.

All the Mallams, pastors, political leaders and elders have a duty to guide them because in the next 25 years, if these youths are not properly guided, we will be in trouble. It is dangerous for us because the youths are disappointed; they are aggrieved because they feel that they have been shortchanged by their leaders. The first thing leaders should do is fashion out a way on how to restore the innocence and honour of our youths; exorcise the seed of evil in them and plant a seed of integrity and honesty.  So my concern is not about campaigning for 2019 but how to restore the future of our youths. I watched a video of a nine-year old boy who was brutalised by cultists just before this interview and I almost shed tears because it shows the increasing rate of cultism in the country. If that boy as little as he is, was literarily brutalised, then where is the love we the parents ought to give to our children?

What are the plans of the opposition to put the economy on the right track if it wins the election?

The human mind is wired to confront challenges. I have seen people create something out of nothing through their ideas. Ideas create wealth and that is why countries like South Korea, China, Japan and other countries are prospering every day. Even if you have a thriving economy on paper, you cannot grow any economy because our chemistry is terrible. This is a country that is not stable; here, people do not have rights and the government does not have respect for its citizens. In the last two years, how much investments have entered Nigeria? Nothing! A country like Angola has been able to attract a $16 billion investment; even Egypt and Rwanda attract investments all the time because there is stability in those countries. Prosperity is not built on wars, but on love and concern for human beings.

In Nigeria, what you get depends on what you can give the political party in government and this is a breach of the oath of office. The government must make everyone feel that they are dignified citizens of their own country; they should show that they love their citizens and they believe in them. When you see that your government is protecting your rights and giving you all that you deserve, you will support it and stand by it because you know that your government is there for you. So, it is not about economic theories because we have so many of them in this country. Prof. Itse Sagay recently said that the ruling party is a party of thieves and corrupt people. Now, if this is the testimony of someone who is part of this government, who will come from Europe and invest?        (The Sun)

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Federal Gov’t Plans To Jail 50 PDP Members – Party Spokesman |RN


From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over alleged harrassment of its members by the All Progressives Congress(APC) administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The PDP, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, has alleged that the BUhari-led Federal Government is planning to incarcerate 50 of its members, before the end of the year, under the  guise of fighting corruption.

Adeyeye said so far, five PDP members have been arrested and detained illegally by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).

The PDP spokesman said the alleged harrassment is part of plans by the APC administration to cripple the opposition, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“The latest needless onslaught against our party members is the plan by the APC government at the centre, to incarcerate 50 members of our party before the end of this year, with a view to using their arrests to deceive Nigerians that the  failed anti-corruption war is still on course.

“Already, five members of our party have been illegally arrested and detained by EFCC without any charge preferred against them.

“Who the rest 45 members to be picked up are, we cannot say in the immediate.

“However, we are by no means scared of the persecution by the Buhari administration as we are sure that daylight is about to break, after the dark night of the APC administration.

“The current wave of arrests, therefore, has nothing to do with the failed anti-corruption war but everything with 2019 elections.

“Having failed on all its major election planks and with nothing to show for its over 30 months in office, the APC government has come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent its inevitable defeat at the polls in 2019 is to hound, harass, intimidate and suppress members of our party into submission.

“However, we wish to state clearly that irrespective of what the APC government do in an attempt at bringing the PDP down to its knees, we shall remain irrepressible and will not bow to any tyranny.

“The APC has already thrown away its chances in the 2019 elections by its non-performance.

“No amount of intimidation and harassment of the opposition will improve its fortunes.

“We call on all men and women of goodwill to rise up to challenge the invidious attempt of the APC government to turn Nigeria into a gestapo state and undermine our hard-earned democracy on the altar of political desperation.”   (The Sun)

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Amaechi, PDP Defectors Liability To APC – Lauretta Onochie (Aide To Buhari) |RN


Transportation Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi

Former members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have become liabilities to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Personal Assistant, Social Media to the President, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, has said.
She spoke at the 2nd Annual International Conference of the Progressive Solidarity Forum (PSF) in Abuja.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Rabiu Kwamkwaso and Senator George Akume had led a long list of PDP members to the APC towards the 2015 general elections.
Onochie said the defectors constituted over 50 per cent of key players in the present administration, and could be found in almost every sector.
According to her, these defectors were a bad influence to youth in the country, whom she said, had been turned into organs of transmitting hate speech and raining abusive words and insults on the policies of government to discredit its work against corruption.
“People would ask: How do I cope with all the abuses, curses and excitement of the social media? Many of our youth do not understand what they are doing, they have never known freedom; so, we raise young people who are ignorant, who are timid and afraid of challenges, and when their rights are trampled on, they are afraid of challenging it.
“That brings me to those in this government who are here to serve themselves, those that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) called PDP. He said that there are about 50 per cent of them in this government, but I say no, they are more than 50 per cent.
“They are everywhere; they are in the Presidency, they are in the National Assembly, you can find them in the Judiciary, they are in the law enforcement agencies, they serve their personal interests, they encourage our unsuspecting youth to be their foot soldiers on the social media to abuse and curse people while their own children are sipping tea in America, England or elsewhere. They are a bad example to our youngsters on social media,” Onochie said.
She also urged Nigerians to join hands with Buhari to win the war against corruption and indiscipline.
“Laws are meant to follow the smell of crime; if crimes are being committed, and these laws are not following them, then it means that some people are not doing their jobs. Those who are in charge of enforcing the laws, many of them are not doing their jobs.
“The Inspector General of Police is just one man, just as Buhari is just one man. The onus lies on each and every one of us to come together to challenge corruption where we find it. We need to say no to corruption and indiscipline.
“Corruption is everywhere, it stinks, and unless we all begin to fight it and join the president to fight it, corruption will kill this nation,” she added.
In his opening remarks, the Grand Patron of PSF, Dr. Ibrahim Emokpaire, said the essence of the conference was to ensure that the institutions saddled with the responsibility of sustaining the anti-corruption crusade lived beyond the existence of the Buhari-led government.

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PDP Sweeps All Council Seats, 258 Wards In Enugu Election|The Republican News



•Ekweremadu, Okechukwu differ on exercise

From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu and Fred Itua, Abuja

Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) has declared 17 candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winners, in the chairmanship position of the local government election held last Saturday.

The PDP also won 258 wards, out of the 260 wards in the state where it fielded councillorship candidates as election did not hold in Eke and Ubima wards.

ENSIEC Chairman, Chief Mike Ajogwu (SAN), who announced the results at the commission’s headquarters at Independence Layout, yesterday, said the exercise was free, fair and credible. He denied knowledge of any violence during the poll.

“I’m not aware of any bomb explosion, violence, rigging or malpractices during the election. This election was reliable and credible,” he insisted.

However, APC chieftain and Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has described the election as a sham. 

He said “the shambolic nature of the local government council election nationwide, exhibited on Saturday,  November 4, 2017 in Enugu State, remains a paradox to the quest for devolution of powers from the federal to states.”

Okechukwu insisted the election was marred by late arrival of electoral materials, and other irregularities.

He said the election “makes popular participation at the local government level impossible, hence debasing democracy. To compound matters, all state governments run rubber-stamp state Houses of Assembly.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has described Saturday’s council poll as the best in Nigeria’s recent history.

 Ekweremadu commended the state government’s policy of non-interference in the electoral process and also, congratulated the PDP on its victory.

He noted that it is the beginning of payback to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his developmental strides in the state, in the time of financial crunch and the political peace he restored to the State.

He said: “The poor conduct of local government elections has been of grave concern to Nigerians in the constitution amendment process, but the Saturday council election conducted by ENSIEC is, unarguably, the best in recent years.

 “It was one of those rare occasions state electoral umpires inspired confidence in the nation’s electoral process and it added to the democratic credentials of governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the PDP.

“I commend the Ugwuanyi-led administration for ensuring that ENSIEC enjoyed total independence and the necessary resources and also made it possible for the people to troop out en masse, to exercise their franchise, in a secure, free, fair, and credible, democratic process.”

 On PDP’s victory, Ekweremadu said: “This is just a prelude to 2019, when the people of Enugu will fully appreciate the Ugwuanyi administration for the equitable socio-economic development in the state, workers welfare, and political peace in the state.”

 He enjoined the council chairmen and councilors-elect to key into the development agenda of the PDP administration in the state to ensure that the blessings of democracy trickled down to the people at the grassroots.  (The Sun)

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Nigerians Endured PDP For 16 Years, But Can’t Wait To Be Rid Of APC In 2 Years – Prof. Adedoja


Prof. Taoheed Adedoja

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership has been advised to ensure that the new national chairman of the party is elected by the delegates during the party’s forthcoming convention.

Giving the advice in an interview with SATURDAY SUN, an aspirant for the position and former Sports Minister, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, advised the party’s national caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi not to buy the suggestion of consensus or micro-zoning of the position to the Southwest as being canvassed by some people.

Adedoja who was also former Minister of Special Duties said, the most democratic and transparent way to ensure that the best aspirant emerged to lead the party is by ensuring that delegates cast their votes for aspirant of their own choice.

Adedoja also spoke on other national issues with ’TUNDE THOMAS. Excerpts:

What is your view on concerns being expressed over the decision of some party members across the divide to contest for the Presidency and national chairmanship zoned outside their areas?

I want to correct any wrong impression being harboured by any PDP member regarding zoning. Zoning is still sacrosanct in PDP. The National Caretaker Committee Chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi has not made any statement repudiating or jettisoning zoning in PDP. Makarfi has not made any U-turn in respect of zoning in PDP. The situation still remains the same, specifically the position of PDP National Chairman has been zoned to the South, while Presidency has been zoned to the North. Anybody or party member working against this arrangement is on his own. Now talking about the office of the national chairman, that position is a key one especially in view of efforts being made to reposition PDP, and in doing so, my own stand is this, let the best candidate emerge from the South where the position had been zoned, and the same thing with the North, let the best candidate emerge from the zone as the party’s flagbearer for the 2019 presidential election.

Having said this, I also believe that it is not for the convention to decide that the office of the party chairman should be micro-zoned. I believe that PDP should have learnt its lessons, from past experiences and this is one of the reasons why I’m against micro-zoning the office of PDP national chairman. If today Makarfi micro-zoned the PDP national chairman office to the Southwest, then the same logic, the same principle, the same argument and the same political pronouncement would give rise to the need to also micro-zone the presidential slot to any of the three geo-political zones in the North. However, it is a known fact today within PDP and outside PDP that, of all the three zones in the South, it is only the Southwest that has not occupied the office of PDP national chairman, either in the interim capacity, or acting capacity or full time capacity.

But don’t you agree that in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice, the Southwest should be allowed to produce the next PDP national chairman?

I want to tell you that it is the same spirit of equity, fairness and justice that would impress it on delegates from three geopolitical zones from the North to vote for a aspirant from the Southwest as the next PDP national chairman during the convention. It is also the same principle of equity and justice that will also make the Southeast to vote for a Southwest aspirant and the same also applies to the Southsouth delegates that I also see voting for a Southwest aspirant in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice. But I don’t believe that this position should be forced down the throat or impose on any geopolitical zone in the South. I prefer that the conscience of these delegates from other geopolitical zones should tell them the right thing to do, rather than forcing it on them. We should not impose any decision on them. This is the essence of democracy. No imposition. No to impunity.  Again, whoever emerges as the PDP national chairman from anywhere in the Southwest should be by a collective decision of PDP delegates through voting. This is my own position against imposition or micro-zoning of the post. I believe my position will afford all the aspirants the chance to travel throughout Nigeria to sell their candidature.

If the position is zoned just to the Southwest, the question I would be asked is this, Prof. Adedoja, why do you want to contest for the position of PDP national chairman?

But once the position is zoned to the South, they would ask me two questions, and these are, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, why do you want to contest for the position of PDP national chairman? And then why should we choose you from the Southwest?

I would now explain to them why it is me, I will now be able to sell myself. Without being immodest, I strongly believe that I’m the best candidate for the position of PDP national chairman because I’m bringing in an experience that is very unique and exceptional. If I’m elected PDP national chairman, PDP will become a party that is not only well repositioned, but it will also become a party that will be accepted and acceptable by Nigerians irrespective of where they come from. PDP will be umbrella for all. I’m that person that PDP and Nigeria needs. I’m that person that understands the socio-economic and political terrains of this country.

I’m a native of Ibadan, but I was born in Kano. I schooled in Kano. I worked in Kano State. I worked in Jigawa, and Borno states. I’ve also worked in Delta State, and also have array of friends and colleagues from the Southeast, and that makes me that bridge builder that PDP needs, and this is the best time for me to serve.

If I don’t come out to aspire for the office of PDP national chairman, a lot of my friends all over Nigeria would be disappointed. Also Nigerians should remember that I worked as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, during President Goodluck Jonathan administration, and even when President Jonathan left office, for two years I still worked as chairman of the governing council of Federal University in Dutse, Jigawa State. People should remember also that PDP needs intellectualism in governance, a combination of intellectualism and native intelligence work wonders in politics, and combination of these two I possess. I have been a grassroots politician since 1997 during the regime of General Sani Abacha. I was the Oyo State governorship candidate of Democratic Party of Nigeria, DPN, one of the five parties set up during Abacha’s time. Prof. Adedoja has more experience in solving problems. I have never served as a member of PDP Board of Trustees and you can’t be part of a problem and you want to solve that problem. I have never been part of any problem in PDP since I joined the party 15 years ago.

And you can’t say the same about your other co-contestants?

I can’t say anything about my other co-contestants. I can’t speak about anybody but only about myself. The second issue that they asked me is why I want to contest, also why I want them to vote for me, if the position is zoned to the Southwest. The explanation for this is very simple. In the history of the party since it was formed in 1998 nobody for a period of 19 years nobody from the Southwest has been elected as the party’s chairman even in acting capacity for one day. So, when we get to the convention where voting would take place, delegates would vote not on the basis of the post being micro-zoned to the Southwest, but because it is the turn of the Southwest to occupy the position, and that Prof. Adedoja is the best candidate for the job.

Secondly, in the political calculation of the party, the only governor PDP has in the Southwest today is Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, and he has been the one providing the necessary leadership for PDP in the Southwest and also by his position as the chairman of PDP Governors forum he has also been taking care of the political interests of the Southwest. But Fayose’s term would be formally ending in November 2018 as election to pick his successor would take place in April 2018. Therefore, by implication as from November 2018, the PDP in the Southwest may not have a rallying point again. Therefore if PDP national chairmanship position eludes Southwest it will leave a big leadership vacuum in the Southwest. I don’t think PDP can afford to leave Southwest naked for grabs by other political parties. The founding fathers of PDP and other stakeholders I can confidently beat my chest will not allow PDP national chairmanship position to elude Southwest. The party lost 2015 general elections as a result of impunity and other factors, therefore, I see the party, having learnt its lessons, would want to be very careful on this issue of PDP national chairmanship post. Talking about the issue of consensus, sometime we misapply the term consensus. The application of consensus is to the extent that those that are involved in this matter will agree on consensus. And unfortunately for us in the whole of Southwest, there is no PDP leader, elder, or founding father that has not taken sides. There are some of them that have already decided that this is the candidate that I will support, there are some of them that have decided that it is among these two or three candidates that I will support. So who will now have the moral justification to say that this is the candidate that should be picked as consensus candidate?

If this is Southwest affair, if such a meeting is called for Lagos, the candidate in Lagos will bring people, his supporters in large number to the venue and the candidate from Lagos’s hands will be raised and declared as the consensus candidate. The same scenario will play out in Ogun, Ekiti, and Oyo states. In politics, there is no finality about anything. I, for example, want to be an example of somebody going into a contest without deep pocket to do it. I’m going into the race in order to tell Nigerians and members of PDP not to lose hope in this country. If I emerge as PDP national chairman, my emergence will convince a lot of people that my emergence has proven that it is not only when you have money that people will accept you as the best candidate for any elective position. It will help to convince people that it is still possible to win election when you have pedigree, good reputation, integrity and the experience. I have been tested and trusted in the North, same for Southwest, Southsouth and the Southeast.

When I was Minister of Sports and Special Duties I had 27 parastatals under Sports Ministry and four parastatals under Special Duties Ministry, and I believe that I’m the only former minister who served under Jonathan’s administration that is contesting for the post of national chairman, so I have paid my dues. I’m 66 years old, but I became a Professor of Education at the age of 42 years. I believe that I’m eminently qualified to be PDP national chairman. My ultimate goal if elected is to bring PDP back to the people. I will run an all -inclusive administration that will help reposition PDP.

You were part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet, an administration that has been described a failure by some Nigerians, how do you react to that?

The same Nigerians who say Jonathan failed Nigerians, are they not the same Nigerians now saying that they are already tired of APC and that they are already fed up with this government. PDP ruled Nigeria for 16 years, but APC has just been in power for almost three years, and Nigerians are already clamouring for a change. I would have advised Nigerians complaining now to wait and endure APC also for 16 years like PDP instead of clamouring for change – but Nigerians can’t wait, that long, they are already fed up with APC. In less than two years of APC, Nigerians are calling for a change of government, doesn’t that says a lot? APC government has been nothing but a deception.

What is your own candid assessment of Buhari’s administration’s war against corruption?

I believe that the war against corruption should be total, but in this Buhari’s government’s case, war against corruption is selective. Once you have selective justice, then you don’t have justice at all. This is why Nigerians are not happy with the war against corruption the way it is being fought by this administration, and again PDP has been the target of Buhari’s administration’s war against corruption.

How do you react to claims that your former boss, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was a weakling and that, that’s why a lot of impunity took place under his watch?

Jonathan was not a weak president, but circumstances at that time made the result of what you see to happen. If Jonathan were to be weak, he could not have become President of Nigeria. Somebody that is weak can’t be president of this country. So it is not about weakness, but about circumstances at that time. The situation that time was very complex, that was the circumstances under which Jonathan served Nigeria.

It is the same thing now under Buhari and that’s why some things are happening under Buhari’s watch that have become so baffling to Nigerians. Buhari is working under a circumstance, which he hasn’t envisaged but found himself. That’s to tell you the extent to which Nigeria is a complex society.

Some people have raised question about you and former governor Rashidi Ladoja, being aspirants from Oyo State …

(Cuts in)… In the constitution of PDP, everybody has a right to contest and aspire for any position. Once you joined the party, you can aspire for any position. But the national delegates have to choose candidate of their choice. As far as I’m concerned the two of us are eminently qualified to contest the election.

Do you foresee any consequence or backlash if Southwest fails to clinch the position of PDP national chairman?

Political exigencies dictate it should come to the Southwest. The leadership of the PDP in Southwest has also raised a team to go round the other parts of South to convince them on why the Southwest should leave it. The team also went to North. Politics is about negotiation; it is about understanding the dynamics of a game. If anybody should emerge through consensus or micro-zoning by micro-zoning it to the Southwest that candidate would only be chairman that would be acceptable in the Southwest. If you are picked as a consensus candidate, no need for campaign again, but that is not good enough, what is good is that whoever will be the chairman of PDP should move round the country, campaign and interact with different people, and groups across the country. I’m happy to say that today I have substantial number of states across Nigeria. The issue of consensus is not about being democratic. Consensus arrangement is not what PDP want now. Although some people are complaining about the number of aspirants currently jostling for the post, that we are too many, too unwieldy, but I don’t think so. The party should be allowed or given the opportunity to choose the best candidate that will perfectly fit into the new agenda of PDP, an agenda of acceptability, integrity, an agenda of using PDP as a platform for the unity and progress of Nigeria. PDP is the only party that can salvage Nigeria, and that’s why many Nigerians are rooting for PDP’s return to power. With the sorry state of Nigeria today, PDP remains the only sure hope to take Nigeria out of the current state of hopelessness to that of prosperity and stability.   (The Sun)

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Our Members Not Derailing Buhari’s Government, APC, PDP Reply Ali |RN

             Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd)

John Alechenu and Olusola Fabiyi

The Peoples Democratic Party has described members of the All Progressives Congress as desperate people whose main agenda was to hijack government at all cost in 2015.

The PDP was reacting to the claim by the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.) that the change agenda of the Muhammadu Buhari government had been hijacked by the former members of the PDP who are now in APC.

While condemning the claim, the PDP wondered why the APC and Ali would condemn the same people that the ruling party made use of to win elections.

It said the ruling party had no justification to heap the blame of its alleged incompetence on another party.

Spokesperson for the PDP, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, stated the position of the party in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja on Saturday.

Adeyeye said that Ali should not be taken serious, and described his claim as “rubbish.”

He said, “He (Ali) is talking rubbish. First and foremost, those he is referring to as PDP members are no longer members of our party. The moment you leave the PDP and join the APC, you lose our party membership.

“The Buhari government used them to win election, to form government and also form the majority in the National Assembly. Tell me, how are they now PDP members? More than three quarter of their so-called governors were members of the PDP.

“Members of the kitchen cabinet were never members of the PDP. You can’t have your cake and eat it. It is not possible. Once you leave the PDP and join the APC, you have become a saint. If these people have become saints within the APC, why is Ali complaining?”

Adeyeye, a former minister of state for works, equally lambasted Ali, who he said had been disobeying directives of the National Assembly on how to run the customs.

He said, “If you look at those working with the President, I mean members of his cabal, none of them was a member of the PDP.

“They are members of the so-called APC who came from all sorts of political parties. And have never been able to run the government effectively.

“So, instead of Ali to accept that the APC government is a complete failure, he is looking for excuses that are not there. APC is indeed a complete failure, always looking ahead to blame the PDP for its failures.

“They have no plans, no programme for Nigerians. It is a group of desperadoes who want power at all cost. They ran the economy aground. They have destroyed the lives of individuals and have soiled their own hands. Nothing is working in the while country.”

Adeyeye said that the PDP was happy that the APC had admitted its failures and that come 2019, it would be voted out of power.

The All Progressives Congress in its reaction said the views expressed by the Customs’ boss were personal and far from being a reality.

National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi said this in a text message to one of our correspondents on Saturday.

Abdullahi said, “Hameed Ali is not the party (APC) and his opinion does not represent that of the party nor does it reflect the true situation with Nigerians in general and majority of party members in particular.”       (Punch)

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