INTERVIEW: “I shudder to think of how this country will be if the opposition ever gets power” – PDP’s Olisa Metuh

Olisa Metuh

What scares me about the opposition is the degree of undemocratic tendencies that they exhibit. I shudder to think of how this country will be if the opposition ever gets power.

The National Publicity Secretary, of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, in this interview with JOHN ALECHENU, speaks about allegations levelled against the party by the opposition and the PDP’s chances at the 2015 elections.

There are allegations that the functions of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees are clashing with those of the national chairman of your party. How true is this?

I have read about these in the papers; I have read about the crisis in the National Working Committee of the party in the papers; I have read about all sorts of things in the papers and there is nothing we can do about it. The opposition has taken over the media; the media are more interested in negative stories about the party than positive ones. All our press releases on positives in the party don’t get favourable publicity. I don’t understand how somebody will be writing that there is crisis between the BoT chairman and the chairman of the party. The BoT chairman has his own functions and the national chairman has his own functions. The BoT chairman is a notable Nigerian; he is a party administrator per excellence; he is a person that has been in party administration for the past 30 years. He is somebody that is highly experienced, highly respected and somebody that is adding value to the party. The national chairman himself is happy with the complimentary effort of the BoT chairman and we have said this several times; we put up press releases that there is no crisis. The chairman of the Board of Trustees is complimenting the efforts and agenda of the national chairman. We have no problem with him, we are happy with the BoT chairman and the contributions he is making to reposition our great party.

Opposition political parties have come together to form a mega party. Are you not scared that there is now a unified opposition?

It doesn’t scare me. What scares me is the fact that our achievements are under publicised. We don’t make any effort to put out there what the PDP has been able to achieve and this is why we are in the process of organising a performance tour where we will assess our programme and projects and the impact and benefit of the PDP administration in the last 14 years. We are going to visit every single state, every local government, every ward and showcase what we have achieved at the end of that tour. Let the people of Nigeria decide whether we have done well or not. We want to bring out the past achievements of leaders of the party and those of the present administrators, then we will be able to see the score card and let Nigerians decide. What scares me about the opposition is the degree of undemocratic tendencies that they exhibit. I shudder to think of how this country will be if the opposition ever gets power. There will be a civilian dictatorship; look at what happened in Edo State during the local government elections. The governors will not share materials and they will refuse to conduct free and fair elections. Look at Lagos State where they finished conducting the elections and announced a different set of results, also see Ogun State. If these opposition governors are controlling the electoral bodies in their states and they do not allow opposition, and do not allow people to practice their democratic beliefs that is totally against the principles of democracy and its tenets. How can we make progress democratically when the opposition even in their own little enclave do not respect democratic principles? That should worry all Nigerians that believe in democracy. Let us get the opposition to believe and respect democracy the way it is supposed to be practiced before they can talk about taking power at the national level.

How does this tour you are talking about differ from the ongoing Good Governance Tour by the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku?

It is different because one, what the minister is doing is for the whole nation, it is not for PDP, two it is centered around the performance of the people who are in office right now, the governors, the President and other people who are in office at present. We are predating our own to 1999. The Good Governance Tour did not show us what the former governor of Edo State achieved; it didn’t show us what the former governor of Bauchi, Adamu Mu’azu, did. We want to see what Adamu Mu’azu did for Bauchi, what the governor of Gombe did, we want to see the impact of what the Federal Government did in Lagos State in 2000, 2004 and 2012. We want to see what the Federal Government has done in Ogun State; we want to see what the PDP government did in Anambra. We want to see the impact of the federal, state and the local governments. We want to see what the local government chairmen elected in 1999 on the platform of the PDP did for idinmili North Local Government of Anambra State. We want to know what a House of Assembly member in Kwara State in 2003 contributed towards the good governance of the state and the impact that was felt in his community because he was elected. We want to see what a former House of Representatives member did for Kano State. We want to bring up these things. This tour will be limited to PDP achievements alone.

What is your response to the allegation that the PDP is the brain behind the formation of the African People Congress and the other APC to truncate the opposition All Progressives Congress?

The PDP was not formed to subsidise the incompetence and to correct the inefficiency of the opposition. We are focused on our own programme. We will not assist them (opposition), if they want assistance, they can request for that in writing. If they are having any problem with their registration, it has nothing to do with our party, we don’t want to dignify their allegations with an answer, let them go and sort out their own problems. We have our own challenges and we don’t accuse the opposition of being behind our challenges. The problem they are having with their registration is purely their matter. If they are not smart enough to handle their politics, it is left to them; I don’t think we can help them.

When are you holding the National Executive Committee meeting of the party?

Soon, very soon.

How soon?

We are very much on course, we are consulting stakeholders and we will soon have the meeting, this is not in dispute.

We hear you are reaching out to chairmen of the party in the states to avoid a possible rancorous meeting. Is it true?

There is no need to reach out to anyone as you are suggesting, we are on the same page with our governors and leaders at all levels. We are on the same page, there is only one NEC, there is only one NWC, there is only one BoT and there is only one PDP. We are one big happy family, we may have disagreements every now and then but it does not mean we are no longer members of the same family. Some of the challenges we are having is normal within a big family like ours but it is usually convenient for those in opposition to magnify such challenges, this is all part of politics and we cannot dwell on such issues.

 How prepared is your party for the 2015 elections?

About 2015, with the performance tour we are about to embark upon and the performance of the President who is in office now, we have the full believe and confidence that the PDP is going to win the elections. Opposition exists to magnify the tribal and ethnic differences among Nigerians and to push for religious extremism that is what they are, that is their manifesto and that is their objective. Those are the two things they want to do. Nigerians will see that we are the only united nationalistic party. PDP is the only party that represents all shades of opinions and national interests. It is the only party that keeps on fighting for the interest of all Nigerians, for the unity of this country and we have made impact in the lives of ordinary Nigerians. We will be voted into power. The last thing I want to say is that Nigerians will ask you why we are supporting the President, why is the NWC working with the President? As a party, the party’s structure has to work with the President to enable him to deliver on the mandate given to him on the platform of the party. His success is the success of all of us in the PDP at the federal and state levels.

Read interview via Punch Newspapers

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