The U. S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, said on Monday that his country would remain committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in Nigeria. Mr Stuart made this known at the opening ceremony of a two-day Nigeria HIV/AIDS Intervention symposium held in Abuja. The symposium with the theme “Partnering for sustainable HIV Epidemic…
•We’re ready to welcome Atiku, Saraki, Dogara, Oni, others back
Former Minister and National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Dayo Adeyeye, has said that the party is preparing to receive back into its fold prominent APC leaders such as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Reps Speaker Yakubu Dogara among others. In this interview with VINCENT KALU, Adeyeye stated that the second term bid of President Buhari will make it easy for PDP to return to power in 2019.
The way All Progressives Congress (APC) is going, there is the fear of possible implosion, if that happens, would the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be ready to embrace members from the ruling party?
Our doors are wide open, and PDP is a party for all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or anything. It is an umbrella that is big enough to accommodate everybody.
The plans of the founding fathers are for all Nigerians to be in the party. Any day, anytime, we are ready and our doors are wide open for anybody who is ready to leave APC. We know that the implosion would occur, and we hope to take advantage of it when it happens.
Is it not as they say, what goes around comes around? APC is facing the same challenge that PDP faced towards the build up to 2015 general elections that led to its members decamping to APC, and eventual defeat?
I agree with you that what goes round comes around, but APC was never a party and has never been a party and will never be a party. It is just an association of desperadoes who came together just to wrestle power from us. Now, that objective has been achieved, because there were no viable ideology, policies and programmes, that is why they are scattering.
So, there is nothing to mix them together as a party; it is just an association. A kind of alliance by desperate elements from different groups, that is why they cannot hold on as a party, and PDP despite its challenges, remains the biggest political party not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa. Some PDP bigwigs beat their chests that the party is taking over power in 2019; don’t you think that if President Buhari is running, it is going to be an uphill task for your party?
Buhari running will make it very easy for us. What achievement would he use as his campaign message? What would he tell Nigerians is the reason for his coming to do a second term?
In our national life, there has been no improvement, it has been retrogression. Is it in politics, economy, security, and his fight against corruption? There is no record to present to Nigerians. It is going to be an easy finish off for us, and we pray he should be the APC presidential candidate.
We are not bothered about that, short of any rigging of the election, which we are going to be very vigilant and would not allow it to occur, there is no way Buhari will win another election in Nigeria. Even in the north, he lost his popularity, because Northerners ask themselves, if their lives are better today than some few years ago under the PDP? The answer would be an emphatic No.
Whether Buhari or any other person, we are very sure we are going to defeat APC in 2019 presidential elections, because we have records of achievements in 16 years of rule. You can compare our records of 16 years to their two and half years and see where they are taking Nigeria.
In their two and half years, with EFCC and ICPC, they are yet to tackle the issue of corruption, they have not even added any institutional work to what we left on ground. It is the PDP that left the institutions for which they are using to fight corruption, and yet they are not fighting it with genuineness of purpose.
Nigerians can see monumental corruption in a government that says it is fighting graft – the issue of $21 billion contract scandal in NNPC, recall of Maina and promoting and reinstating him, Babachir Lawal, Ayo Oke and other scandals just in two and half years, but we didn’t have this kind of thing in our two and half years.
We have seen two and half years of this government and by 2019, Nigerians shall compare the four years of APC and four years of PDP, and know the party that cares for them. The records speak in favour of PDP.
APC says that it is saddled with cleaning the mess PDP brought upon the country and that is why it has not done much They forgot that PDP took over from Abacha and the years of military misrule and disaster, but the party never complained any day that because it inherited the military wastages that was the reason it couldn’t perform. That is expected of any leader. When you are asking the people to give you post you didn’t ask that you were going there to play. Otherwise, that is the easiest thing anybody can do to blame the previous government for his problems. Anybody can blame a previous government for non-performance. You told the people that the other party was not doing well and you are coming to improve the situation, but you came in and made the situation worse.
It is very stupid for anybody to continue to blame PDP for his inadequacy, and we will see how this blame game will help them in 2019, whether Nigerians elected you to come and blame anybody or to come and perform. We will see in 2019.
APC also says that the PDP immigrants polluted the party, is this also another excuse?
Those people whom they accused of polluting APC, we are ready to welcome them back into our fold. Let them go, or simply expel them; our doors are wide open for them.
The truth of the matter is that this government doesn’t have anything to offer; it is always blaming, and blaming. When you have a government that is always blaming and looking for scapegoat for its inactions and failures, then you have seen an unserious government that can never deliver on any of its promises. That is the stock in trade of the ruling party, just to find scapegoat for all its inactions and in adequacies.
APC is fixated on finding scapegoats for its failures. If they said that some people in PDP that came into their party polluted them, why can’t you just tell them to leave your party now, so that we can welcome them back and continue our march in progress towards 2019.
The PDP is said to have cleaned and put its house in order, but don’t you entertain fears that the people who were accused of polluting the APC, on their return to PDP may still pollute the party?
The PDP has a system that naturally cleanses all sorts of contamination. When they come back to PDP, they will meet a party that is well grounded in ideology and philosophy, a party that has policy, plans and programmes already well articulated for Nigerians. The thing that makes APC to fail is that it doesn’t have programmes, no policies that people can easily understand and key into, and that is why they are like rudderless ship, being driven away by the wind. They have no compass that can lead them to the shore.
If you come to PDP you just key into the ideology of the party, so there can’t be any problem for those who would return to our party. There is no confusion in PDP at all.
When you have a big party that is united, and has commonly accepted ideology and philosophy; that has a commonly accepted and articulated programmes and policies, there is no way the entry of any individual or group would contaminate the party. You have to come into the party and key into the programmes of the party. We are not afraid.
If you are rudderless, and you are not united by ideology, any programme or policy, then people can behave the way they like and that is what is happening in APC, and it won’t happen in PDP.
If they say former PDP members polluted their party, let them release them to us, we are ready and willing to accept them back. We need people like Atiku Abubakar, we need people like Saraki, we need people like Dogara, all the leaders in the National Assembly, and some of them that have been made ministers we need them back, including the APC Deputy National Chairman, Segun Oni.
Is it right to say that PDP has learnt its lesson in a bitter way?
We have learnt our lesion no doubt about that. By the grace of God, we are moving forward; we have a new umbrella, which is clean and larger to accommodate more people.
What should Nigerians expect in 2019?
Nigerians know that things have not been so bad in their lives as they were under APC. The simple question is whether their lives are better four years ago than now. What we have seen in these two and half years are increment in everything – Customs tariffs, electricity tariffs. Inflation skyrocketing, and income continues to go down. Whereas, they promised to create two million jobs, but Nigerians are losing their jobs and they continue to rake in more and more taxes.
It is not for the PDP to tell Nigerians anything, but for them to ask themselves the simple question about their lives under the APC.
They should use that answer appropriately in the ballot box. We are very confident that Nigerians will throw away this APC government in 2019.
In 2015, the PDP easily conceded defeat, are you sure that the APC will do the same if PDP wins?
They are not democrats. The first four or five elections conducted by APC were marred by massive irregularities, despite the monumental achievements we left behind in 2015, which have been destroyed by the APC. The elections they conducted were massively rigged and manipulated as we saw in Edo State, where election was postponed giving way for rigging.
In Ondo State, they made sure that we didn’t have candidate two days to the election. I don’t believe that these people will organise credible election, but I believe that the vigilance of Nigerians supported by international community will make sure that APC doesn’t have its way. Whether they like it or not, they would be thrown out of power.