By ’Tunde Thomas

The All Progressives Congress, APC has been advised to forget the idea of retaining power in 2019.

Making this submission is a former acting National Vice-Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and ex-gubernatorial aspirant in Lagos State, Adedeji Doherty. He also spoke on other national issues.

Having served as an acting National Vice-Chairman of PDP and Organising Zonal Secretary, how best do you think the present crisis rocking the PDP can be resolved?

To be candid, serious mistakes have been made in the party over the years, especially when you put people who don’t have passion for the party, or who have not been part of the party from the beginning, you now put them in leadership positions, this is the kind of results you get.

When you put strangers in positions of authority, above loyal members of the party, this is the result you get. But we thank God that Peace Committee put in place headed by Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson has been working round the clock to restore peace.

I also implore all the PDP state governors to cooperate with the Dickson Committee. Gov. Dickson is sacrificing his own time to ensure that peace returns to the PDP. Personally he has nothing at stake for now, Dickson is not contesting election either now or in 2019, but because of his commitment to peace and the party, the man has been working round the clock to ensure unity of PDP members. We should all support him.

I believe that it is only a political solution that can solve this PDP problem. Any court judgment even at the Supreme Court level will not bring a lasting solution.

Why did I say so, if any of the parties to the conflict get favourable judgment at the Supreme Court, the other party will still feel embittered, and will be reluctant to work with the other party, so the best option for us is dialogue — it is the best and the only option. PDP was in control of the federal government for 16 years, recorded some successes and also some failures, but at least PDP has shown itself to be a matured political party committed to the entrenchment of democracy in the country and that we did by handing over to an opposition party after PDP was defeated in 2015 presidential elections.

It is to PDP’s credit that the party didn’t clung to power at all costs, we didn’t manifest fruits of do-or-die politics in our approach to the defeat suffered by the party in the hands of APC in 2015. What most PDP members should realize is that the party should come first before we start talking or thinking about who becomes the party’s national chairman or presidential candidate. The party should have strong structure first. Members should look at the bigger picture in the interest of the party and the country.

What should the party be doing now?

We have already made mistakes, all of us but what we should realize is that we can’t afford to allow the crisis to linger because gubernatorial elections will soon be coming up in some states next year, and following will be general elections in 2019. If PDP continue to be in crisis, how do we have time for these vital elections? As at now PDP is no longer a vibrant opposition political party it ought to be. PDP should have been the watchdog on this APC led Federal government, but since PDP is in crisis, it can’t play this role, and this is sad. It is a kind of disservice to Nigerians and Nigeria.

Right now PDP should be rebranding, virile and look forward to bounce back into reckoning through coming elections. PDP should not have been in this crisis at all.

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Many Nigerians are not happy with what is happening to us in PDP because they were looking to us for salvation, and to help salvage Nigeria from APC’s misrule. APC led federal government has failed. The end has come for APC or let me put it more clearly; APC has come to the end of road. APC has failed Nigerians performance-wise. Many Nigerians are hungrier and angrier now because of APC’s bad governance. There is hunger in the land. Many families and more individuals are finding it difficult to survive. Nigerians are eagerly awaiting these coming elections in 2018 and 2019 to punish APC for being unfaithful to its electoral promises.

But with Buhari still in charge, many Nigerians believe that in 2019, his name will still do the magic for the APC. What do you think?

Anybody asking Buhari to seek a second term is Buhari’s enemy. I believe that his family members will even persuade him not to run if some cabal wanted to push him to run because of their own personal interests. I don’t think Buhari is healthy enough to withstand the rigours of campaign talk less of now being in charge for another four years. Those wishing to drag Buhari into 2019 don’t love him. They also don’t love Nigeria. Campaign for Presidency is not a joke. Buhari may not be able to withstand the rigours.

On the PDP crisis, do you see a third force trying to destroy the party?

I want to say that I don’t believe in the argument that it is the APC that is trying to destroy PDP. In the first instance, is it the APC that brought Sheriff to PDP? Were we (PDP members) not the one that invited Sheriff to come and lead PDP?

Sheriff might have soft spot for APC because he was once an APC member but on his issue coming to PDP, we PDP members invited Sheriff to come and lead us. We should leave APC out of it. Again, by the way if APC as a political party see some cracks within PDP and it then tried to exploit the situation to its own advantages that simply mean that APC is smarter. It is all part of politics.

What is your reaction to the defection of six out of eigh PDP lawmakers in Lagos State House of Assembly to APC?

We should blame it on mismanagement on the part of PDP. PDP should blame itself for the lawmakers’ defection. PDP was careless in managing the situation. The party should have taken more interests in the affairs of the lawmakers, like encouraging and supporting them psychologically by going once in a while to the assembly to show solidarity with them, PDP could also have formed an association of a group of PDP lawmakers that are in opposition across the 36 states. This would have provided a forum or platform for the party to regularly interact with these lawmakers and also tutor or orientate them on how to perform as opposition lawmakers. But PDP failed in this regard and you don’t blame the lawmakers. PDP today is like a flock without shepherd.

Those six lawmakers came to me a couple of time, but there is nothing I could do because I‘m not PDP and I can’t speak or talk to them on behalf of the party.

With all these crises facing PDP, are the APC leaders saying PDP is dead in Lagos State not justified?

How can they say PDP is dead in Lagos State? Are APC leaders all that invincible? Were some of them including APC chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale not defeated by PDP in his ward during the last general elections? PDP performed very well during that election, and for the first time, we won eight seats in Lagos State House of Assembly and some seats also in the House of Representatives. Such had never happened before.

But it is very sad and unfortunate that rather than for PDP to have consolidated on these political gains, the party is now enmeshed in leadership crisis. It is so sad. For those PDP lawmakers that defected, all hope is not lost on them. We are hopeful that they will still come back. In politics you don’t shut your doors. Freedom of association is allowed, but I believe that these lawmakers are on a sabbatical in APC, they will still come back to PDP.