Hon. Matthew Iduoroiyekemwen is a former majority leader, Edo state House of Assembly. He was also a governorship aspirant on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform during the 2012 governorship election in the state. In this interview with journalists in Benin City, he bares his mind on some issues as they affect the polity. PATRICK AHANOR reports
APC directives to its NASS members
I think the comment coming from the APC leadership is most unfortunate. It has gone to show that they are not nationalists, they have put partisan interest above national interest. I see that call as an invitation to coup d’etat. How will a reasonable party that is trying to appeal to Nigerians to give them the opportunity to lead; either at the federal, state and local level, take the issue of nation building in such a careless manner? You cannot build a nation; government cannot do anything when there is no enabling appropriation law to implement any of its programmes.
Once you win election, and now in government, your loyalty is no more to your party as it where, your very first loyalty is to Nigeria as a country from the very day you take oath of office and other relevant oath you need to subscribe.
So, in the first case, the legislators will not even listen to them, because being elected… they now know better and have more commitment to nation building than party leaders who are only interested in taking over power at all cost.
For the interest of this country and our collective future, people must take good national interest before personal consideration and affiliation.
Mass defection of PDP members to opposition APC
It’s unfortunate situation for PDP at this time, but I do not see the issue of cross carpeting as the main thing. I am seeing it as an opportunity for the party to get itself reorganized- which is what the new national chairman of the party is doing now.
It is also an opportunity for the party to put into cognizance that when it is picking candidates for a position, they must be candidates that are trusted. They must be candidates that see the party as their own. They must not be candidates that see the party as vehicle to get to their destination.
Members of political party doing cross carpeting as we are now seeing today in the country; are people who have shown to everybody that they only use the party as a platform to get to their destination.
Declaring defectors seats vacant
I agree with it absolutely. The constitution is very clear on the process of decamping. If a lawmaker belongs to a faction of a political party, INEC must recognize that faction. And if that faction decides to move to another political party as well as a serving lawmaker… the legislator will not lose his seat. But when there is no faction; and you move on your own, the constitution is very clear on that.
The mere fact that it happens in the past and nothing happened was because people were not following the rules. This is because some persons became over bearing on the parliament. And at that time, the leaders of parliament slept on their authority.
The situation as it is and prescribed by the constitution is very clear, which is the basis for the creation of the parliament. That is, when you decide to decamp to another party. So, when you violate the constitution, you should also be prepared to face the consequences. They have right to associate with anybody politically, but that right can only be exercised at the expiration of their tenure. The lawmakers may not obey party directives while they are in parliament, but to openly cross carpet, they stand the risk of losing their seats.
Advice for new PDP chairman
My advice for the new PDP chairman is that he should be a team player. From what I read of Bamanga Tukur, he was not carrying every member of his committee along. I heard he was absent from the national secretariat for about eight months or in about eight months, he only went there twice.
Being the chairman of the party does not confer on you the authority of sole administrator, you are only first among equals. The positions were zoned to different parts of the country, and the perceived best candidates were sent from those areas based on the zoning arrangements of the party.
And for me, the new chairman of the party should try and see himself as the father of all.
Jonathan and PDP chances in 2015 elections
I strongly believe that PDP will win the 2015 election. Mr. President has done enough for Nigerians to see reasons why they should re-elect him. It’s not just about sentiment, I think President Jonathan has done better than his predecessors.
Take any aspect of the economy and put it side by side with other persons that have been presidents of this country… Is it in the area of roads, agriculture, education, security and national defence? I think any Nigeria who is concerned about the future of this country must identify with the transformation agenda of the president and vote for him.
His achievement is enough to give him vote with; or without the PDP. But the good thing is that he is a president and this has added a good advantage for him to win the election.
Jonathan’s fight against corruption
It depends on how you see the fight against corruption. Nigerians are used to taking witch-hunting as fight against corruption. During President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, he sent the anti-graft agencies after persons who were seen as key opposition to whatever programme he had. And it was reasonable for the whole world to see as if he was fighting corruption.
How do you fight corruption? The ICPC, EFCC, Police have the legal authority to fight corruption. I think Jonathan has provided the enabling environment for all of them to work. We have never heard from them that they are not able to do their job or being under funded. We have not even equally seen government interfering or stopping prosecution of charges against any corrupt person.
Alleged romance with the APC
My answer to that question is very simple. I am a party member and a leader in my own local government. And whatever it will take for me to ensure that my party wins an election, I will always do.
I am not at war with anybody. I may have personal differences on how things should be done at any particular point in time. The mere fact that my opinion was not carried at a particular time did not turn me against the system that I belong to.
If I am unhappy with the system at any point in time because things where not done, I will continue to be a party man. That is what it means to operate democracy. It does not necessary mean that your opinion must be adhered to all the time.
2016 governorship ambition
Having indicated interest to become the governor of Edo state and it did not come through does not mean that the interest is dead. But in deciding whether to run for election or not, so many factors will come to play. The election is still very far, I will consult with my political team. We will analyze politics as at that time. And if they so wish that they think I can, so be it. Because, ultimately, I may have appeal as somebody contesting for the election, but they are the ones doing the job.
Disagreement over NDDC nominee
I think the decision to appoint any person into the NDDC is purely that of the president’s prerogative. But in doing that, Mr. President equally decides who to consult with to give him nominee. It’s not an elective office where you could have been nominated. Whoever the president thinks fit into the programme will be appointed in that state.
But it’s only unfortunate that politics has taken a toll of the appointment in this state. And because Mr. President is not on ground in the state, he still needs to consult with Edo people and take the opinion of Edo people into consideration before appointing anybody.
The disagreement between the PDP and people who are supposed to be representative of the Oil producing area is the reason for the non-appointment. But I don’t think this is a good thing for Edo people because you lose so much when you don’t have representative -whereas other states have. However, I believe sooner than later, we will have. It cannot continue like this.