‘PDP cannot manage its success’ || Alex Ekwueme is not happy with his party

by Akan Ido

Alex Ekwueme1

Former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme has warned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to be over-confident about getting block votes for President Jonathan in the general elections coming up in February.

The soft-spoken politician who happens to be one of the founding members of the PDP warned the party not to take South east votes for granted.

Ekwueme who granted The Sun Newspaper an interview spoke about his level of involvement with the party, his relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan and what to expect at the polls next month.

Read excerpts from the eye-opening interview below:

From the picture you have paint­ed, it appears that the foundation of the PDP is now shaky, do you think it will be able to stand the opposition of the APC that is strongly rooted in the North and in the West in the 2015 general elections?

Strongly rooted in the North and in the West. Until you get to the ballot box you don’t know where you are strongly rooted because what I can tell you is that the PDP will not have an easy walkover this year as it did few years ago, seven years ago, and 11 years ago; in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 be­cause the party is finding it difficult to man­age its successes. The person contesting for governorship in Sokoto is PDP elected Speaker, Tambuwal, the person contest­ing for APC governorship in Katsina is a former PDP elected Speaker, Masari, it’s like that everywhere. People who founded and worked for the party are alienated by poor management of success, and those who do not have the patience, some of us have decided to find new channels to ful­fill their political ambitions. I, for instance, the chairman of the party, first chairman of Board of Trustees, first chairman from the civil society to G34 and so on, if I was not myself, I’m not bragging, I am being mod­est, I have no reason to be in PDP today. All I have received throughout the years is humiliation and neglect. When there is crisis, they remember that I’m around. The late Yar’Adua, when he came on board as the President, invit­ed me and said he knew our party was in a shambles and he felt that I was the only person, as the person who started it at first place, that could bring people around and together and he put up the reconciliation which I handled all over Nigeria, visited people, talked to those who are disgruntled, people who had issues resolved and made our recommendations. Unfortunately, those recommendations were not fully fulfilled, President Yar’Adua himself passed on.

How would you assess that of the President Jonathan. How would you see the presidency under Jonathan?

Well, it’s not a question you should be asking me really, as long as I’m in PDP, I cannot come out to say PDP president is rubbish.

In our time we had Maitatsine, I think in the same Borno State, the same Maiduguri but President Shehu Shagari didn’t waste time in crushing them. They resurfaced in Kano, we faced them again squarely, surfaced in Sokoto State, his own state, in area that was our showpiece for rural development, irrigation, there they were finally crushed, they didn’t rear their heads again until we finished. Then when Buhari came in 1984, they resurfaced again this time in Yola and he dealt with them as well. Some people said that you can’t kill insurgency with the force of arms, but even insurgents are not immortal, except for few who are suicidal elements; many of them don’t want to die in the final analysis. So, if you face them squarely, they are bound to retreat.

How is your relationship with President Jonathan?

Well, if I should describe, I will say the relationship is cordial, but that doesn’t mean that he gives me my due or that I endorse every action he takes, that’s how I can put it. I try to make our relationship as cordial as I could.

It’s a good question to ask him because Obasanjo was here in this house in No­vember 1998. While he was President and on visit to Anambra State, he slept in this house in my bedroom. He came here and we had dinner with Anambra leaders, tra­ditional rulers, political leaders and others and he spent the night here and the next morning he went on visit to some projects and he left. When he came again on a state visit, he couldn’t sleep here because the governor insisted that he sleep at the Gov­ernment Lodge but he came here for lunch. I’m giving you examples, Jonathan since he became President has visited Anambra State severally but he hasn’t come to this com­pound, so I’m using it as an example.

Does it not mean that your rela­tionship with him is not cordial in­stead as you claimed?

It is cordial, but maybe he doesn’t appre­ciate that without my risking my life there would have been no PDP and the popular­ity that made it possible for him to become the President of Nigeria. Okay, I know, for instance, my friend Braithwaite of NAP had his birthday, the President went to Lagos to celebrate with him but I had my 80th birth­day and he did not come.

My worry is that many of them in the leadership of PDP don’t even realise that there is this danger, they think it is busi­ness as usual, so they take South-East for granted that they will vote that same way.

One comment

  1. Interesting….

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