Former governor of Ogun state and chairmanship contender in the forthcoming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) national convention, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has advocated national integration as a panacea to the raging disunity in the country.
Daniel stated that fighting corruption has an insignificant role in ending poverty while improving government effectiveness plays a significant role in reducing poverty.
The former governor, who stated this Wednesday while formally declaring his ambition to contest the national chairmanship of the party, added that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has busied itself picketing the PDP instead of building leaders.
He however, noted how indiscipline, impunity, lack of internal democracy, imposition of candidates as well as dangerous introduction of ticket racketeering to unpopular candidates marred the chances of PDP before the 2 015 general elections.
He added that the alteration of the time-tested zoning formula and convention also contributed in no small measure to the undoing of the PDP.
According to him, the new PDP leadership under his watch will keep working towards reducing corruption, but using a different strategy.
He said rather than fight other arms of government, “we will promote national integration. I want to be a leader not just the National Chairman of the PDP. My role is more important than my title.”
Speaking on the state of the nation, the former governor, who said “it was regrettable that people did not vote out our party for want of performance, said they lost out because we miscalculated on certain aspects of our politics.”
He said “The solution to a national problem cannot just be in fighting corruption; the solution is to first fight ‘national disunity’.
“Recently, Prof Ricardo Hausman of the Harvard Kennedy School concluded a research where he stated “Fighting Corruption will not end Poverty”. His research showed that improving Government effectiveness played a significant role in fighting poverty, and that fighting corruption had an insignificant role in ending poverty.
“Part of the questions we also failed to ask and provide answers to was why many young Nigerians became unhappy with our party. The pattern of the votes reflected not only who people elected as their President, it more importantly showed who people ‘refused’ to elect as their President.
“When the results were finally announced, the evidence had shown that the priority and fight of the next Nigerian leader (Muhammadu Buhari) should have been ‘National Acceptance’ before fighting ‘National Corruption’
“Let me also say, that today, the difference between the PDP and APC is in two words ‘Vision’ and ‘Mission’. The PDP has a ‘Vision’ for Nigeria, while the APC only has a ‘Mission’
“Like I said, especially in the light of current reality in the management of our Commonwealth in the present dispensation, Nigeria’s economy was better managed, under the PDP. For instance, under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s leadership (1999 – 2007), a government ran by the PDP, the Nigerian economy grew by 91% (as measured by GDP), while during the administration of Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua/Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2007/2010 – 2014), the economy grew by 24%. That has been the fastest growth under civilian rule in the history of our great nation, and it happened under the PDP.
“Since 2015 however, Nigeria is yet to have an appreciable 12 months of economic growth under the APC. That’s an F9; failure.
“It is disquieting that the APC led government claim to focus on fighting corruption, while facts on the ground suggests that Nigeria has become worse off and sinking low even in graft. For instance, latest corruption index in Nigeria (2016) according to Transparency International (the global watchdog for measuring corruption) was 2.8/10. Before 2015, Nigeria had a P8 in corruption but and A3 in economic growth, now we have an F9 in both economic growth and corruption.
“About two months ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s number 1 repository of facts and data, revealed that more than N402 Billion was paid as bribes within the last 12 months. What is N402 Billion? – It is more than the Federal Government’s capital budget for Defense, Education and Health combined together.”
He said a new PDP leadership is going to fight Poverty like never before. “The judiciary, legislative or several unhappy people are not our enemies. We have a common enemy in ‘failed promises’. A common enemy in ‘poverty’. A common enemy in ‘high interest and inflation rates; which by the way is not interesting.”
He further threw his weight behind the clamour for restructuring, adding that”Rethinking Nigeria means our new PDP will focus on what works and less on what is failing. Added to that is what ought to work that is failing.
However, former minister of police affairs, Alh. Adamu Waziri, urged the South-west stakeholders to put their house in order so that they can produce the next chairman of the party.
Waziri said: “If for any reason Gbenga Daniels, does not become the chairman it is the South west that is losing. If for any reason the South west does not produce the chairman it is the south west that is losing.
“I for one I don’t believe it is the right thing for our party. While I wish the best chairmanship material soulful come from the south west, the south west must do a SWOT analysis and reduce the risk of losing to one person.
“The right tone for our party is to lay a strong base for returning to power in 2019 is to have chairman from south west. That is my well considered opinion. That is not saying no other person can aspirant can contest.
But the success we expect is a choice of well thought out chairman and executives at the national convention.
“I stand before to request that we make OGD the national chairman. We must join the effort that is require to get the south west to put their thinking cap to get the delegates to support them at the national convention.
So that south west will take its rightful place in PDP and Nigeria in 2019.”
Speaking also, former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, said while he has respect for all the aspirants, Daniel’s record stood him out. “He is loyal party man. He is clear and focused.”
On his part, former minister of state for works, Alhaji Shehu Saleh, urged support for the former governor, saying he is one person that can move mountains and make things happen in the party.
“He is the right person, the most qualified in terms of experience in party management and governance.”
Former national chairman of National Democratic Party (NDP) Habu Fari who gave a welcome address, said
the essence of the gathering was “not just about election but Change of generation.”
This is the change that will change the change. We will continue to work hard so that we will win.
He added that the emergence of the former governor will “bring sanity and return the party to how it started.”