Mr Francis Orogu is the Chairman Nasarawa state chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview, he speaks on the party’s chances at both the state and national levels in 2023. He also believes the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has not in any way, progressed the country in whatever form. ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU reports.
State of the Nation after PDP lost power
Strictly, I want to say as long as development and governance are concerned, APC has not achieved anything and the answer to that question is in the street. You don’t need to go a distance before you know that the APC Government is a failure, they have lost the confidence of the people because their performance is grossly below expectation.
They came and deceived the people, created an impression that they were going to be a better government, abused the mind of the people, set people against the People’s Democratic Party Government, unknown to the people they never knew they were preparing to enter one chance.
But the good thing is whatever has beginning always has an end. I want the people not to think too much but to prepare themselves ahead of 2023, so they can do away with the confusion created by the APC.
The security challenges in our country is in a high proportion, is something that Nigerians can’t explain. In Somalia, only 92 persons died of cholera, and the people came out and reacted by refusing to celebrate their National Day. But in Nigeria, thousands are being killed in one community, including the President’s state- Katsina- and nothing is being done.
The president often times gives orders but are not carried out and nothing appeared to happen, no one is fired but rather being rewarded by reappointing them for the job not done.
Security under the PDP government
We cannot say there was no insecurity in the country during the PDP government, but what we are seeing presently is 10 times higher than what was happening then. Thousands of lives are being lost in all the regions of the country, yet, the National Assembly is propagating a law to take away small Rivers in my village, that they will take over or control all the rivers in the country. Every water phase will be the property of the Federal Government to regulate the affairs of water route.
There are already existing perception about this government on land grabbing. Coming up with such laws will create an impression that the government wants to permit herdsmen across, knowing fully that the government of the present administration is on its exit way in the next six months. Why in a rush to implement such law at the time Nigerians are demanding for restructuring?
Nigeria is bigger than one person ambition, when the people are clamouring for the devaluation of power to state and local government, the present government are busy planning to take over water from the river and streams to the Federal Government because of some groups belief.
I must say that this administration has caused a lot of confusion in Nigeria. The division, lack of trust is enough to stop them not to go beyond 2023. In fact, even the northern unity we used to enjoy this administration has put it in coma. We need a political surgeon to revive this national unity and that is Dr Atiku.
State of our economy
The economy today, if you have ten thousand dollar in your house, you will not want to touch it because it is perceived to be gold, it is now an investment when you have dollar, this government has completely messed up the reputation of our dear Naira.
I remember when they were accusing the then PDP government led by Goodluck Jonathan, saying they would adjust the dollar rate even it was then 150, has it happened? It is also on record that the APC said during campaigns that in six months if they can’t change the system, the people should stone them.
“Stone us if we didn’t fix the economy, security and kill corruption,” so they said.
It is panful that until this time they are still giving people reasons to leave them for another 8 years, how could that be? When they could not fix any as said, they rather shamefully accusing PDP for being responsible for their failure, saying that it was the foundation laid by the PDP.
The people are now paying the price for that accusation, nothing has changed in Nigeria. The foreign reserve is empty, nobody could tell you about what the country’s reserve is right now.
The Buhari’s corruption fight
Corruption, it is the worst of it all, it is either Python is stealing money here, or snake is swallowing or termites is having its own shares and all these are said without remorse or shame as if they don’t go to church or mosque.
The APC has undermined Nigerians when it comes to stealing and deceit. This administration has more scores when it comes to corruption. Do you recall that it is in this administration that a sitting Governor was captured putting dollars inside Babanriga and nobody said anything? In fact the nickname of corruption in this government is NOTHING IS NEW.
I think what should be done is to stone the APC out through the ballot papers because they have further caused more damage to Nigerians.
On Wike saga
Well, as far as I am concerned, no election comes without a dust. I want to believe what is happening now is the internal dust as a result of the primary election held earlier this year. So, it is part of the electoral process. You will agree with me that Wike has never said he will leave the party, he has often referred to Atiku as the legitimate and the duly elected candidate of the PDP. That solved 75% of the problem the 25% that is left is a normal thing.
In politics, once you have the weight to influence policies, decisions in a political party you will always look for a space and assurance to still be more relevant to continue to make a mark, and if that is not given, you demand for it. That is exactly what is going on which will come to pass, because we are talking about someone who has the party at heart, committed to the party and had spent a fortune to keep the party together.
I don’t think that Nyesom Wike will want to tear the umbrella considering all his efforts and achievements in the party. Atiku on the other hand, has seen it all in 2011, 2015, 2019 and what happened during the Abiola election. So, in politics, it is not over until it is over and nobody knows this game of politics better than Atiku today.
So, I want to believe that he knows how to handle issues like this, it is just the remnants of what happened after the PDP primaries. Even as it is lingering, it is political, somebody or group of persons wants it to linger for selfish reasons. That is why Tinubu followed Wike to London, and Atiku was also in London, but it will come to pass.
Wike is a major stakeholder in the party and we are not ready to lose him. I want to believe that those that matter in this matter will handle the problem, the process of reconciliation is ongoing, so let’s wait and see the outcome
Is Obi Movement a threat?
Let me tell you, PDP did not lose the 2015 election because one person or two left. The PDP is like an ocean as you are flowing out another water is flowing in, when one flesh is cut off another is growing up and it gets healed. PDP is not a party that injury like cancer will stay for a long time.
What led to the loss in 2015 election is because of the gross misinformation, blackmail used by the amalgamation of political parties and actors that formed APC. The bitter message they passed against the party PDP instigated the electorates against the party. In fact, somebody could instigate you against your mother if you are not careful and the mother is the most lovable being.
That was exactly what happened to the PDP, people were instigated, threats of all kinds were issued, the president at that time was not a desperado, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who loves the country, he is a man of honour. The party knew, the people knew, even the opposition knew that he did a lot in the area of security to a large extent, even economical and otherwise.
So, in summary, Mr Peter Obi, yes, he may win one or two votes using what some politicians use for election; religions, tribes and regions to win the consciousness of the people. But it will not be enough to be the president of the largest Black Country in Africa. His political scope is not widely spread enough to give him what it takes to be president. The same with His Excellency Kwankwaso, he will also grab votes as well.
Taking over power in Nasarawa
I came into the office of the chairman full of experience, I was well loaded with the weaknesses of the APC before I came in because I was a legislator and I knew that this government could be displaced if the right message was passed and a good team was formed with the right candidates provided through a credible democratic process.
One of the reasons we all lost the 2019 election was as a result of accumulative breach of trust, lack of internal democracy. Some people believed that they were not fairly treated, and moved to another political party that was why we lost as a party.
But since I came in, one thing I believe was to give those who deserved to be in the party the opportunity to share their experiences and that was why we zoned our candidate to the northern zone, and we stood by that in the primary election which came through a democratic process.
But we had a fundamental problem that could not be resolved at that time which led to people like Labaran Maku leaving the party and moving to APGA which became a major division in the party.
About two elections he(Maku) contested, in 2015 and 2019 that is what happened, I did my best to bridge that gap, asked him to come back to the party and seek for justice but he could not see wisdom in my opinion, I knew at that moment we had issues to deal with.
If you look at the votes Maku had, about one hundred and forty thousand votes, why His Excellency Ombugadu had about One hundred and Eighty something, I stand corrected. But if you add those two figures together, you will discover that the PDP won that election, not to talk about the over One hundred thousand votes that was fraudulently cancelled at Karu axis. If put together, that zones result would have given the PDP the victory in that election.
But today based on commitment and hard work, we politically reached out to Maku others, and they saw wisdom in what we wanted or pleading intimating him to consider Nasarawa State people even as he has own ambition and he graciously came back to the PDP and had collapsed its structure for the PDP.
It means the PDP has about one hundred and forty Seven Thousand votes already before the governorship election from Maku.That is what I have done differently. He is working tirelessly for the party 24 hours to ensure that the party wins and also working with the governorship candidate of the party. Now, we have other leaders who joined the party and added value to it. Like General Angbazo who came with his good profile added more capacity to the party to work and win.