PDP ‘ll Come Back Strong For 2019 Polls – Adeola

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Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola is the immediate past leader of the House of Representatives. In this interview with KAUTHAR ANUMBA-KHALEEL, she speaks on the future of the PDP, restructuring and other national issues.
The supreme court gave a judgement on the crisis that has rocked the PDP. How do you view the judgement and what does this mean for the party?
The judgement is not just for PDP but for whole of Nigeria; a judgement that is bound to entrench democracy further, a judgement that has brought joy to every Democrats; if it had to been the other way round, I could imagine what would have happened to democracy in Nigeria. In democracy, the majority would always have their way and we are the majority. I see it as a divine intervention because everybody was confused on the issue until finally the right judgment was given and so that has sealed it. Now, if such an issue happens again, we already know what the result will be.
It is indeed a welcomed development; I am very happy about it; Nigerians are very happy PDP are excited about it especially for us that are still in PDP. For those who have left, I would enjoin them to come back, because PDP to me, is the only democratic party; you may say am speaking like a party member but honestly, it is the fact. Yes, mistakes have been made, but it is time for us to move forward and the way forward is to fashion out new ways of doing things because for us to return to the Nigerian people, we need to have something good, practicable; something implementable.
Do you think the party can make any significant impact in 2019?
PDP would defiantly make a significant impact come 2019; see the reaction of Nigerians all over the federation after the court judgment. It was, like thank God and that goes a long way to show that the people have seen that PDP is a party they can align with once again, forget about all those corruption issues in the media.
Are you saying that it wasn’t the high level corruption that led to PDP’s loss the 2015 elections?
That was not why the party lost elections. Corruption came up after this government came in and started labeling people corrupt and, you know those things are not substantial; you need to go to court to find somebody guilty; you can’t just accuse someone on the pages of newspaper and expect that it ends there. If you feel that a person has done something wrong, take them to court, let the law take its cause and when such person is convicted then, you are right. I agree that we made mistakes; even the best form of democracy, the US which we look up to, things are not perfect there. But for us to have sustained it for 16 years, whether good or bad, people were okay; things were moving.
Are you saying the APC government has made life more difficult; that Nigerians are not better off under this government?
You have to ask those who voted this government, those complaining that things are not moving well and the down turn of the economy; there are a lot of issues. But right now, am basking in the euphoria of our judgment; I am not talking about this government; I did not vote for it; I am PDP and there is no way I can rate them.
But you are a Nigerian?
Yes, I am a Nigerian, but I did not vote for them and I must have my reasons for not voting for them; maybe because I felt my government would have been better. So, for those who felt this is it, those are the ones who can tell you whether or not we are happy with it. For us, we are focusing on right now on how to come back in 2019, by God’s grace.
Beyond allegations of corruption, what do you think is the reason PDP lost election?
I would think that the card reader greatly contributed. I would use my own case in my constituency as an example. I ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and it was the card reader that they used to rig. And it happened nearly everywhere; it was new to our system in Nigeria; it was not tested before the elections to see if it will work or not; they just brought it on us. In my case, a lot of my supporters could not vote because the card reader did not recognize their thumb print, there were denied their rights to exercise their franchise; a lot of things happened during the elections but you see for me, at the end of the day I would say that is the way God wanted it. For the president to accept the result, then you know it is divine; maybe be God wanted us to take a rest before the next elections.
What should your supporter expect of you in 2019, do you intend to run for a seat in the House of Representatives? And there are feelers that you may run for governorship of your state.
I was in the house of Representatives for two terms and am not ready to go back. Like I said, am still in politics but whatever I would do, it is too early now for me to say; like I said right now, we are trying to organize the party; ensure that things are properly laid out and if there is an opportunity for me to run, why not; but certainly not governorship.
What of Otunba Akala?
As you know, He is my brother, issues that made him leave PDP happened over two years ago; if he wants to come back, I don’t think it is out of place but I am not aware he wants to run for governorship. Like I said, the party will be open to all who want to return as we need the numbers to win elections. That said, the important thing is working together and ensuring nobody’s labor go in vain. I’m concerned about the way things are done in the party. You recall that I contested for the position of national secretary at the convention that didn’t hold; it was to ensure that things are done properly.
I’ve contested two elections and seen loopholes where amends can be made to better position our party. Again, the issue of women; when you look at the party hierarchy, you only see national women leader and for all we care, men can have that position if they want, women are asking for important positions like secretary; financial secretary, deputy chairman and more where we can make our input and our voices heard. We need to come up with new strategies to accommodate everybody and That will endear it to the people.
What advice do you have for PDP members nationwide because though the problem at the center has been resolved, there are still crisis at the ward and local government level?
I just got back from my constituency and I have already started giving the message. This judgement is an intervention and I see it as another opportunity for the PDP which we must not truncate or toy with; we know where we have erred, our past mistakes, we must not repeat them; the party members must come together irrespective of whether a person left and come back. The thing that causes problem in a party is the process: primaries, congresses and then impositions, impunity. Once we do away with that at all levels, we will be fine as a party.
So many people are calling for Restructuring? Do we need to restructure?
I think the restructuring people are talking about is federal character. Something to do with equal representation of every zone. I think what they are saying is: this is our country but we’re not getting enough from funding and development generally; and we need to get it on equal basis. But then, we had a national conference, I have would have expected this government to look at the report of that conference as it reflects the aspirations of majority of Nigerians to see if there is anything they can take from it and if they can’t, they should bring people together to discuss; we can’t have a federal system devoid of complaints. We need to come together and do it. Also, I am an advocate of a national government as one party cannot do it alone; you may have the best in a particular area but in a different party; you can invite him to join your government so you progress. I think It is basically about patriotism and trust. If you are patriotic, you will only think about Nigeria; you won’t be thinking a particular zone. We have a lot to do in terms of national orientation.
 
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Source: News

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