Jibrin:No plan to abandon PDP
Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jibrin, in this interview with SAXONE AKHAINE, Northern Bureau Chief, spoke on the protracted crisis in the party and ongoing efforts to bring sanity to the party.
On plans by PDP to form alliance with other parties ahead of 2019
I wish to say authoritatively that there is no plan to dump PDP, as it was never discussed by any organ of the party. Rather what we are doing is to strengthen PDP to effectively play its role as an effective opposition party in Nigeria. It is wishful thinking for anybody to think that PDP will abandon its qualitative and acceptable products for any new born baby that have to start all over again, by learning to sit down, crawl and walk before getting its bearing. PDP is already a household name, dearly loved by every household in Nigeria. Changing its name and brand would be a disaster for Nigerian political development, especially when we cast our minds back to hard work and foresight of our founding fathers that came up with the brand name, PDP that is fully accepted and cherished by Nigerians.
Abandoning it would mean abandoning your well-built house for yet unknown house. It will create fears of building the structures, which PDP has. Abandoning the name of PDP would be a very costly venture, as it will be very difficult to assume that all PDP members that are in PDP now would leave the party collectively, at the same time for a new brand. Dumping PDP would mean leaving entirely the party to somebody, or group with all its assets, the Watada plaza, the legacy house, the Peoples Democratic Institute and our multi-billion naira uncompleted headquarters.
And you cannot also stop any person for hijacking the already legally registered brand, the PDP. It will open more courts litigations in attempt to share the great assets and you will have no guarantee of stopping the original PDP members remaining in the party if you attempt to change the name, PDP. Dumping PDP is also a temptation of coming up with regional parties, as being contemplated by some groups. It will be dangerous for our party to lead the ground for the creation of regional parties.
It means we are not progressing; we are coming back again into the old days. What we need is a genuine alliance that would woo other parties and the individuals to PDP. The aim of coming up with the newly inaugurated strategy and inter-party committee is not to kill the party, but to make it effective opposition party, and not to create one party system in Nigeria. Posterity would judge anyone with the ambition to kill PDP for his or her own ambition. This is contrary to the hard work of our founding fathers and mothers that worked so hard to produce the brand, PDP. PDP, which is already associated with men and women, youths of honour and integrity.
Recent story in a section of the media is to divert attention of Nigerians from joining PDP, but leave it to never-do-wells and selfish people who are eager and praying to see PDP divided and throw us into more confusion. This campaign will not work. People like Sule Lamido, Jerry Gana, Adamu Ciroma, late Abubakar Rimi, late Chief Solomon Lar, late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, and many others will never forgive us if we destroy their hard work of making PDP a household name in Nigeria and in Africa. We are the largest party in Nigeria and in Africa. Rather, we should make it stronger. I want to appeal to our members and supporters to remain steadfast and they should never allow the party to be hijacked by anyone, as it is being contemplated. Our stand on Ondo is that Jegede remains the candidate of our party, come November 26 election. We are praying very hard for Edo, so that the Tribunal will affirm the victory of our respected pastor and candidate.
On why the leaders are wooing other parties to join PDP
You see, many people have been complaining that we should not remain as we are now. That we should come up with a way forward for other parties to join us, because of the various litigations going on now, and which hopefully, we pray to come out of very clean. You know we made attempts several times to reconcile. A lot of efforts were put into this direction, the last one was the one organised by the two leaders, that is Makarfi and Modu Sherrif, but unfortunately you can see how Modu Sherrif himself scuttled it.
I don’t think he was ready for it. The party is open to many suggestions and recommendations. But, the first and foremost is to ensure that our party remains as one party. If anybody wants to come and join us, he is welcome. Right now, we have not identified particular parties that are coming. We have not identified particular individuals that are coming. There may be many of them that are interested to join us. They are welcome. Our party will continue to grow from strength to strength and anybody who wants to join the party is welcome.
On plan to sanction Senator Modu Sheriff for allegedly thwarting efforts at reconciliation. I think we must praise the northeast caucus of our party for their stand. They said that since Modu sheriff is working contrary to the party, they have refrained from supporting him. They have advised him to retrace his steps and join the main stream of the party. All his actions, and all what he is doing, is not with the support of his people from northeast. So, the question of expelling somebody now, with our cases in the courts, with so many litigations, I think will not be a good thing to do. We are waiting and we praising the judges for what they are doing.