We Are Convinced PDP Won 2019 Presidential Election –Bode George - |Ads4naira Blog|

We Are Convinced PDP Won 2019 Presidential Election –Bode George

Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Chief Olabode George, the Atona Oodua Of
Yorubaland, is a former Deputy National Chairman
of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this
interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on
the state of the nation, new Ministers and
portfolio, as well as solution to Nigeria’s security
challenge. Excerpts:
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President Muhammadu Buhari last week
inaugurated his cabinet but he has come under
severe criticisms for asking Ministers who want
to meet him to go through Abba Kyari, his Chief
of Staff. Do you think Mr. President is right?
My take is this: there is a saying that different
stroke for different times. Maybe that is the
methodology the President wants to adopt. During
the era PDP was in power, the way we operated
when we were in government, ministers have
direct access to the President because as
executive president, he appointed them and
entrusted the running of such strategic ministries
to them to manage. If he now decides to have a
clearing house or choke-point, to me personally,
that will delay decision making. As a Minister,
when you go to the President, you have
discussions with him on the challenges you are
facing in your ministry and if you need his
assistance in one way or the other, you can tell
him immediately. That is the way we operated.
There is no legality about it so if the President
thinks that is the best style he wants to adopt, I
wish him the best because this will greatly delay
decision making. There is no time to fritter away
now in Nigeria. Every minutes matters a lot in
governance because the people are hungry and
they are therefore very angry. That is one major
issue.
As a leader, you fast-track decision making but
when you are mandated to see the Chief of Staff
before seeing the President, it means you have to
first take your case to the Chief of Staff before he
now takes it to the President.
Don’t forget, he is also human and he has his
duties already. He is responsible for the daily
programmes and activities of the President, in
terms of his timing and arrangement so that there
is no collision of events.
If a Minister wants to see the President, he should
go straight, see him and take quick decisions. The
whole thing will slow down governance and that
to me will not be in the interest of Nigerians. On
our part, we are still hoping in our party that
maybe the Tribunal will be quite favourable to us
and our mode of operation will be very different,
effective and impacting on the lives and minds of
Nigerians. There is too much suffering in the
land. The President himself said Nigerians are
hungry and he is now putting roadblock on the
way of the Ministers; that to me is worrisome.
How many ministers can that man (Kyari) attend
to in a day? I wish us the best under this
administration.
The President also created new Ministries and
also removed Power Ministry from the portfolios
of Babatunde Fashola. Do you think this is a good
move?
Like I just said, I am not a member of their party.
As a Nigerian, my prayer is that whatever
methodology the President wants to adopt, that is
his prerogative as long he is acting within the
laws of this nation. The taste of a pudding is
actually in eating it. We saw the last four years of
the current administration. To me, it was a
charade. The next four years, we are waiting.
However, as a Nigerian, we pray for whoever is in
authority. That is what God told us to do in
Romans 12. But when it comes to PDP, as a
party leader, we will reserve our comment till the
last year of his government. But now, we are still
hoping that the court will give us judgment and
that they will be fair and honest. If we get there,
we know what to do. But since President Buhari
is still there, there should be no vacuum. If we
didn’t win in court, we will allow them to keep
running. We will only interject when the thing gets
too unbearable. Also, the last year of his
governance will be time for politics and we in the
PDP will come out massively.
What is your reaction to the attack on former
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu by
members of the Indigenous People of Biafra
(IPOB) in Nuremberg Germany?
One, as a Nigerian, I feel very sad. If you have a
family feud, traditionally in an African setting, you
don’t take your mess to the market place. I don’t
want to go into details what Ekweremadu or IPOB
members did, but this is a nation that is blessed
with many resources, both human and material. If
they have a grudge, there are better ways of
addressing issue. What happened in Germany
lowers our respectability in the civilised world.
From that angle, they could have been a bit
calmer in a foreign land. I don’t know the kind of
news that will spread in Germany. They will say
look at Nigerians. If you remember, Nuremberg is
the place where they had the trials of the Nazi
Generals. My take is that the IPOB members
could have expressed their anger through words.
They could have told him to his face that they are
not happy with what is going on at home but to
resort to hounding, hitting and tearing the cloth of
a former Deputy Senate President is uncalled for.
I want to appeal to them and everybody that we
should please tone down because we are getting
to the precipice. Violence will never resolve any
problem, it is dialogue. That was why I had
suggested on several occasion that this
government must intentionally call for a national
dialogue. Everybody is heading in different
direction and that is not good for the cohesion of
our nation. A divided house is a defeated house. I
am happy that the President accepted that there
is hunger in the land and he said that to the new
Ministers. How do you resolve it? What about the
security of lives and property? Every day, we hear
unpleasant news. It is either one policeman is
killed here or some civilians are killed or
kidnapped. That is enough to call for a national
dialogue. As a democratic nation, if things are
heating up this way, it means there is a need for
a dialogue to be chaired by the President. The
solution to the problems in this country cannot be
resolved by one man. It has to be a collective
responsibility. That is what we in PDP will do as
a party. We need to call ourselves together and
resolve all those grey areas where people are
pontificating on. The gulf between the tribes,
rather than closing up is getting wider by the
hour. We need to resolve this amicably, sensibly
and with the love for all our people.
You are advocating for a national dialogue, what
about the 2014 national conference that the
current administration has refused to implement
but kept in the archives?
What I am talking about when I said national
dialogue, I am not extending it to the whole
gamut of our problems. There is one major cancer
ravaging this country today and that is the
insecurity of lives and property. They keep talking
of herdsmen attacks in the South but what about
Zamfara, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and other
places in the North? So, it is no longer a Southern
issue, it is a national malady going on. For me,
the issues discussed at the national confab are
the detailed way by which Nigeria should be
managed. The 2014 confab report is a much
bigger issue, this discussion or dialogue will be
centred mainly on how to effectively secure this
nation. The national conference took months, this
one I am advocating is like a National Town Hall
meeting which can be done in a day or two. All
over Nigeria, people will be represented; from
governors, youths, traditional rulers, clerics,
market women and so on. It will be televised for
all Nigerians to see. People will say what they are
experiencing in their locality and the President will
listen to them and decisions that can be taken
will be taken on the spot; otherwise the Ministers
at the meeting will know the areas that concern
them. That is how we used to run the traditional
African setting. When there is a crisis in the
village, the king will send the traditional rulers
and invite everyone to a meeting where the issues
will be discussed. We can’t say because we are
now in a civilised world, we now jettison that
method. A lot needs to be done in the area of
security in this country.
What is your take on calls for creation of states
police as a panacea to the security challenges?
I believe there is an urgent need to start state
policing in the country. Let every state go and
look for the best way to manage the security
issues in their domain. We copy the American
constitution. Why did we half-copy it in the area
of security? In America, we have County Police,
State Police and the FBI. Everybody knows what
level they are; once a situation passes a level, the
other takes over. Why can’t we do that here to be
effective? Policing is local. In every community, if
the police there are from that community, they
will be very effective because you will know them
and they know you. If they see any strange fellow
hanging around, they ask questions. Employ the
locals as policemen to secure their neighbourhood
but their activities will be detailed. Once
something is more than what they can do, the
national police take over the place. It will be very
effective at least for maintaining peace and order
in a community. Maybe this can be adopted
during the national town hall meeting because
people will proffer solutions. We have just
334,000 policemen in Nigeria for 200,000 people.
How can they effectively secure the people? It is
not possible. What are the functions of the
military versus the police? I know that there is an
operation we call ‘Aid to Civil Power’ in the
military. Once there is an insurgency and the
Police can no longer cope, they go back to the
Inspector-General of Police (IGP). The IGP in turn
will go to the Commander-in- Chief and tell him ‘
Mr. President, we can no longer cope, we need
the support of the military. It is the Commander-
in- Chief who can deploy troops. Once he does
that, there is a process of taking over and
handing over. It is a short therapy to support the
civil power. But today, what are we witnessing?
People will go for operation and they are shot like
we witnessed recently in Taraba. What the hell is
going on? There is a need for an urgent national
town hall meeting where the issue of security of
this nation must be discussed.
There is this belief that the PDP as the country’s
major opposition party is not providing the much
–needed opposition to keep the APC on its toes.
Do you agree with that ?
I have heard this severally everywhere I go. I
want to believe that maybe it is because we are
still waiting for the outcome of the Tribunal. We
are still in the Court of Appeal. They just
submitted their final briefs now to the court. I
hope very soon they give a judgment and if we
win, we know what to do as a party. But either
way it goes, the case will still end up in the
Supreme Court. So, let us wait until that exercise
is over. I think that is one of the reasons why the
PDP is not doing much in terms of criticising the
government. We are so convinced that PDP won
the election fair and square. Of course, politics is
very dynamic and I am sure the managers of the
party are also managing the other entire crises in
other places. You can see some fly by night, fair
weather politicians. Immediately INEC announced
that we lost the election, they jumped ship to
APC. If by tomorrow the court declares PDP as
the winner, they jump out of APC to PDP. So we
need to be careful and see those who are loyal to
the cause of the party. I believe the outcome of
the Tribunal is what is slowing us down because
what is the essence of wasting all your salvos
when you know the tenure of the present
government may be temporary?

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