2019: Atiku PDP’s only hope – Sowunmi


The PDP’s only chance of defeating the APC’s presidential candidate in next year’s presidential race is by fielding the versatile and most popular candidate- former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Segun Sowunmi, the Director Media and Publicity of Atiku Campaign Organization, in this interview with PATRICK ANDREW, reveals why none of the other aspirants can match Atiku
The siege of the National Assembly complex by heavily armed DSS men and the face-off between the PDP and the APC arising there from, must be a setback for democracy? We must be very vigilant about we allow, what can be acceptable, is tolerable and what is condemned in its entirety in a democracy.
Investigation should take place by the appropriate authority on how such brigandry, lawlessness, embarrassingly difficult to explain position came about.
Suffice to say in a democracy moderate conduct, independence of other organs, respect for the rule of law and separation of powers are what people look out for to say how is your democracy faring.
What happened around the National Assembly complex is sad, unfortunate regrettable, unacceptable and condemned in its entirety.
Every explanation that the managers and handlers of the federal government have in this matter only makes them incapable, unworthy, dictatorial and immature in handling democracy.
Without taking sides, how do you imagine other nations of the world would react to the commentary of every blessed day they wake up to read about Nigeria in newspapers and internet? They read about all manners of things that suggest that we are almost turning our country into a banana republic.
The rule of engagement on who controls what, gives what instructions, has what right to give what instructions, are clearly spelt out in the schedule of duty of the federal government; the operational manual of government.
It would be difficult to accept that the top echelon of the Directorate of the State Security can be manipulated and moved about without some permission.
The kind of gears that you saw them wear, the military fatigue that they put on and the timely at which they moved, the coordination of the vehicles and the instrument of coercion and the guns they were holding all of these suggests that somebody must be responsible.

The APC seems to suggest that the incident (siege) was staged managed by the senate president? We must be careful when we listen to rumours or react to rumours.
Rumours are just as they are called rumours: unsubstantiated, unverified, unproved and sometimes out right falsehood that shifts out in this new information management opportunity that social media and the internet avail us.
What you would expect a decent and responsible government, President Muhammadu Buhari to do is to investigate and determine what has happened.
But you see when a set of activities take place that is not good for democracy and it is ignored like what you saw in Benue State and what was happening around Ekiti State after the loss of the election what you are going get is that people get emboldened to continue in the direction that leads nowhere honourable.
And had those who had the responsibility of managing the agencies of security been up and alive to their responsibility they would have sent a clear signal that that level of meddlesomeness and unprofessional conduct is not acceptable in a democracy.
So, it is a regrettable, unfortunate needless set of activities that our country has been bedeviled with.
And that is one of the reasons why we say to Nigerians that our democracy has a lot to learn from a democratic leader.
For the one thing a democratic leader; who knows how to build consensus, how to listen to people, whose approach to such things is not the barrel, the stick and the guns, brings to the table is that he is able to allow democracy to thrive and find some more democratic ways to resolve knotty issues.
The relationship between the legislature and the executive is always a topsy-turvy one all over the world.
You see it in America, in Europe and sometimes when you are watching the Prime Minister of Britain address her colleagues in parliament and you see the level shouting you understand that truly in a democracy everybody must be given opportunity to have their way and separation of powers must be respected.
When you see how much time and effort and persuasion that it takes the most democratic leader in the world- the American President- to get his way even with his own congress you that the principle of managing executive power in a democracy fits better with someone that has democratic credentials.
And I dare say that Nigerians would quickly yield the leadership of the country to my Principle the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency the Waziri Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar to be president now.
Then all persons would learn and see that it is possible to be president, be democratic and still wield power in a way that institutions become bigger and better managed than converting it into a cult followership of just one man and his tendencies.

With the entry into the Presidential race of the Governors of Gombe and Sokoto States respectively, do you feel threatened? A democratic party or a democratic process imagines that once it is time for people to present themselves in an aspirational manner for any office, the presidency none the less, people that are qualified and not exempted by law it is within their right to push, market, and present their aspiration.
What we would be looking for is to see that the processes are free, fair, transparent and credible and once you are presented to the processes that fit those minimum requirements then we would say may the best man wins.
But what do we need to do to signpost who the best man is? We would have to look at the situation in the nation per time.
Some time the person that would lead a nation is not a fathom person that carries on in a caprice but you would have to look at the totality of where the life of that nation is and he would then say based on the situation this man is best prepared to handle the nation.
Now give me the opportunity to say where Nigeria is today.
Every Nigerian knows that right now our country is divided for some needless reasons: brothers are no longer smiling with their brothers, farmers and herders that have cooperated for thousands of years are no longer able to see themselves as friends and relatives or as neighbours or even contemporaries.
If you are a farmer and you hate a herd man, what about asking yourself is there no symbiotic relationship with manure and yourself? If you are a herd man and kill a farmer are you not worried that you are at the base of the pyramid where all of you are trying to egg out a living and that you are just killing yourselves for nothing? People are divided cross tribes. When you see a nation that is divided you need to ask which of the aspirants has the capability to unite them from previous earned-experience.
I make bold to say that Atiku is.
He is very at home with the South West, has his businesses are there, he’s at home in South East by marriage and some of his children are half Igbo and South-south by long time relationships that have never created any problem, very much at with middle Belt as one of the highest none indigene title holders in Benue State.
He’s Fulani by tribe so nobody can come and wipe up any sentiment about and against Fulani.
He is royalty being the Waziri of Adamawa – Prime Minister of a large community who is also able to connect with traditional communities.
He a big consummate businessman that the business community are at home with him, an employer of labour so that those in the business of creating employment are able to connect with him.
That is Atiku for you.

Why is Atiku most qualified? Look at the past Atiku has always been somebody who is able to come up with good ideas.
Let count some of them: the pension fund, EFCC, Privatization, Bureau of Public Procurement and the latter was interesting.
Atiku had found out that there was a report by the World Bank sometime in 1999 that every procurement in Nigeria was the most expensive in the world.
It means that if a Nigerian government agency wanted to buy biro or paper they found out that the price the agency was paying for the biro was more expensive than any other procurement in the world.
That was dangerous.
So Atiku came up with the idea of Bureau of Public Procurement as a policy to say that public procurement must fit into a particular template and it cannot be above it just to be sure that from managerial framework Nigeria’s procurement does not become the most expensive in the world.
If the PDP must go into the 2019 presidential contest it must go into the race with strong brand and let me say to our people, people don’t vote by easy manipulative talk but they vote with residual knowledge, it is what they know and remember.
They have to be a differentiating and distinguishing points between the two persons you mentioned to me (Dankwambo and Tambuwal) the PDP must put people on the table that the electorate must differentiate from


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