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p16 for page planning It’s one year of promises and deceit by the APC -Ayargwer From Hope Abah, Makurdi The deputy chairman of Peoples Democratic…

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It’s one year of promises and deceit by the APC -Ayargwer

From Hope Abah, Makurdi

The deputy chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue state, Dr. Tsetim Ayargwer, in this interview, speaks on mass exodus from his party and the performance of the new ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Excerpts:

How do you react to the mass movement of PDP members into the ruling APC both at the state and national level?

That is an artificial movement. People from Benue South district, up till the eve of the senatorial rerun election between Senator David Mark and Dan Onjeh of the APC, were criss-crossing, yet the PDP won. The movement visible to the public is that of hungry politicians who want to get money. And when they go there, how many people do they take along? So, the experience in Benue South district would play out again, no matter the level of defection we are seeing now. The APC has nothing on ground. They are not performing and they know.

With the magnitude of decamping from the PDP at all levels, do you see your party wresting power from the APC in 2019?

As you can see from recent elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, Benue and Rivers, we have been winning more than 70 percent. That shows that all these purported movements and decamping is just to put food on the table. You know, politicians don’t like to be hungry. If they see that you are dangling money, they will hide under the cloak of decamping and get your money so that they can survive. Most of those who have purportedly decamped to the ruling party are still with the PDP. They are in the APC to put food on their table and survive. They are temporarily taking refuge to protect their businesses and get daily food. When the chips are down, you will see that they will come back.

But is there no sanction for these set of people? Why do you still accept those who decamped from your party at critical moments only to come back later?

The constitution allows freedom of association. So, if someone decides to move to another party today, he cannot be sanctioned. If he decides that he wants to come back, of course, politics is a game of number. We want follower-ship, and if somebody goes and decides to come back, why will we not accept him? But people should be disciplined enough not to move. But those who are moving here and there, swinging like pendulum, people look at them, they know they are not dependable. It is not correct for an individual to keep jumping from party to party. It shows that without government patronage, that individual cannot stand. However, if your style is to jump from one ruling party to another, if you come to the PDP, we will not send you away but it is your reputation that you are playing with.

The PDP in the state appears to have been lying low since it became an opposition. Are you not worried?

The perception that we have been lying low is not correct because we have been very active. If you follow what we have been doing, you would discover that we have been criticising the wrongdoings of the ruling APC every step of the way. For example, if you remember, some months ago, we objected to the manner in which they handled what they called bailout funds. It was a big controversy then. We felt the state government should have paid everybody according to what they captured in the first instance since the federal government gave them everything they asked for. And they were pretending here, hiding under the canopy of screenings. Secondly, we have been talking seriously about the manner in which they cannot pay salaries and lack of infrastructural development in the state as it should be. And very recently, we have also been talking about this massive fuel scarcity which has been prolonged. I think since Nigeria got independence, this is the first time we are seeing this kind of fuel scarcity. And we are surprised why the black market is sustained and fuel remained scarce in our filling stations. So, we have been quite active. One of the things they were using against the PDP was salary, fuel and so on. They accused us of paying half salary during the PDP regime. Now, they can’t pay salary too. These days, they get three allocations and pay one month salary. So, we are asking why because, when it was made known to the public that there was dwindling oil fortunes, the APC denied and said they could run Nigeria perfectly well with this present oil situation. Now, it is obvious that they can’t.

How prepared is the PDP for the forthcoming local government election in Benue State, especially with the constitution of the new electoral body to handle the election?

First, we have problem with the new body. The life span of the old body that was put in place is to expire on June 7, next year. But they have been sacked by the government of the day with no tangible reason for their sack. And they have put in place, card carrying members of the APC. The chairman of the newly constituted state electoral body was a senatorial candidate of the APC in Zone A. How can such a partisan individual be entrusted to do something that is impartial? We do know that their intention is not to conduct the elections but to write down the names of those they want as local government chairmen and councillors. We are mobilising and advising them to desist from doing such because that move will be resisted.

Is your party going to resist by boycotting the election?

We are not going to boycott any election but we will make sure that every ballot box is put in place. And we will ensure that every vote counts. We will also make sure that the card reader is put to use. That is what sent the PDP out of office. So, we will ensure that same card reader is used for this forthcoming council poll in the state. They brought card reader into the business of politics and we are happy that it is being used.

The PDP national convention is by the corner but, there seems to be internal wrangling among members over the ascension of your national chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff. How are you handling the matter at the state level?

At the state level, we believe in zoning as enshrined in the PDP constitution. And if you have been following us critically, we, as an exco, had paid a courtesy call on the national chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff because we are strongly behind him. So, there is no controversy or any disagreement as to whether he should stay or go.

Is the PDP working towards merging with the new political parties expected to be registered soon?

Yes, that will be a welcome idea because politics is a game of number. If any political party wants to merge with the PDP, the party is welcome.

But that might necessitate the PDP changing its name…?

No, nobody has discussed about that yet.

How would you assess the ruling APC since its assumption of power nearly one year ago?

I want to even start at the local government level. I have seen nothing at the local government level. At the state level, occasionally, I hear about one or two programmes that they want to do but I have not seen anything tangible that they are doing. All have been promises. At the federal level too, I have not seen even one kilometer of road being constructed. So, I think we have had one year of promises and deceit.

But the APC has been saying it is cleaning up the mess of the 16 year rule of the PDP?

They will complain till their tenure is over in 2019 because you would agree with me that the nation makes money on a daily basis. When the PDP came in, it was not the money that was kept for them by the military that they spent. If APC is saying it has not met money in the treasury, what money have they made in one year? Is Nigeria no longer making money for itself? So, when they keep complaining about the mismanagement of the past government, what about the money they have made for 11 months now? How are they using it? There will come a time you can no longer deceive the masses.

PDP feasted on Nigeria – Opara

By Saawua Terzungwe

National chairman of the Peoples Mega Party (PMP), a political association seeking registration from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a political party, Chief Perry Opara, has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ran Nigeria like a bazaar during its 16 years in government.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Opara said the challenges facing the country should not be blamed on the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) alone, but the PDP as well.

He alleged that ?the PDP within its 16 years in power failed to build new refineries, could not repair existing ones to perform optimally and left the youths unemployed.

?”I must say at this juncture that the Buhari administration must not take the blame alone. The ?PDP government should take the lager chunk of the blame.? The PDP government ran Nigeri?a like a bazaar.

“The rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer. Looting and sharing of the country’s resource and funds became the order of the day. Government functionaries and chieftains became racketeers of public resources. The then President, Goodluck Jonathan became helpless, could not call his men to order or even wield the big stick. Things went from bad to worst,” he said.

?Opara, the founder and former national chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP) urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assist in eliminating what he termed “administrative bottleneck” that hiked the cost of elections” in the country so as to provide a veritable platform for those who are not rich to participate.

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