Thursday, 15 December 2016

Internal Reconciliation’ll Re-unite PDP To Oust APC in 2019 –Nyitse

Dr. Gabriel Tivlumun Nyitse is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State. In this interview with SOLOMON AYADO, the former governorship aspirant in the last general election said the crisis bedeviling the opposition party is temporal and that only internal reconciliation will reunite the party to wrest power from the APC in 2019.

You retired as permanent secretary to run  for the governorship in Benue state which, unfortunately, you lost.

How is life after the political journey?

I retired in the civil service of Benue state in January 2014 to participate in the politics of the time and to contest for governorship of the state. I didn’t make it personally and my party, the PDP failed to make it at the general elections. The election was won by the APC. But that is it,  if don’t win now certainly you will win some other day. But after that, I tried to reorganize myself, stayed in Benue state for a while trying to see how I can do business to keep myself busy and cater for my family. I engaged in some bit of farming at a very large scale and having being a journalist, I am also trying to see how I can go into digital printing, using my  experience. Also, having being an academic, I am trying to see how I can impact knowledge into the younger ones and so, I found myself at the Bingham University, Abuja where am lecturing at the moment in the Mass Communication Department.

You contested to be governor, what would you have done differently from what the government of the day is doing in Benue state?

Before I came out as governor, it took me two years working with about twelve people, professors, academics and technocrats to draw a policy document that if given the opportunity to govern the state, I would have used to pilot affairs of the state  and enhance rapid development. I don’t want to disclose the details here, but I know that there are issues of agriculture and others. Benue is an agrarian state and for you to impact development, you must address the issue of agriculture and that will start from the areas of infrastructure, opening rural roads before you talk of providing inputs to farmers. If you don’t solve this problems and go to provide inputs to farmers, where do you think they should have the roads to transport these produce where they can dispose of them and earn an income to take care of their medical bills, children’s school fees, etc,  meaning you are putting the cart before the horse. And now, there is no much money coming from oil and so everybody is looking at areas of comparative advantage to generate their own income and Benue has a lot of advantage in farming. We are called Food Basket not because we produce more food than other states but because our soil is good for every crop: cereals, tubers, legumes and citrus, they all do well in Benue state. I have travelled to many places and I have not seen oranges or mangos as sweet as the ones we have in Benue. So all we need is to harness these things to create employment and enhance a stable economy that will impact very positively on the people. I was contesting to be governor as others and  I can tell you that I was mentally prepared  with a well thought out programme because thats the only way you can be on top of the situation. Without an elaborate and articulate plan things will not work out and it would be difficult to take state to the next level.

Some members of your party are being suspended and the wrangling in the PDP seems to be unending. Is this not heading to the total collapse of the opposition party?

Before now, the Makarfi and Sherrif issue was playing down to the state and everybody was trying to take a firm position where they can call the shots. As in every state, those who feel they were stronger were now flexing muscles to dominate the party and that is what resulted to the  suspension of some members in some of the states like Ogun, Kwara and others, and even in my home Benue state, there have been attempts by some minority elements to create a semblance of division where there is none. All the executives of the party from the wards to the state were properly constituted through genuine and laid down processes. And the current executive as constituted under the chairmanship of Hon. Sir John  Ngbede is doing everything to reposition the party for future challenges. So those elements who have lent themselves to be used by who ever to create confusion  don’t even have the  numbers  to cause confusion and more so that now, the confusion has been cleared by the pronouncement of the Supreme  Court.

With the outcome of the just concluded election in Ondo state, it seems the APC is ready to run a one party system in the country.

With the unending issues in your party, don’t you think this can be achievable hence your house is not in order?

What happened in Ondo state is like what happened in America. Jegede who was candidate of PDP was given what looked like  FBI treatment,  the one the FBI gave to Hillary  Clinton. This is somebody who was legally chosen as candidate of the party, certified by INEC and along the line, some people who emerged from a nondescript congress  outside of Ondo state who were not monitored by INEC or security agencies were suddenly recognized. Then a few days to the election, when  after everybody went his own path  you then come out to say that Jegede is the candidate and no longer Jimoh . Already the havox had been wrecked the party’s flagbearer. This  discouraged a lot of  party faithfuls  but if you look at the election result, he (Jegede) did quite well. So the whole thing was orchestrated by APC, INEC  with some mischievous and indecent members of the PDP to run the party down.And I think what happened in Ondo state is a sad commentary on the style of leadership of APC government, trying to stifle any shed of opposition in the country. But they (APC) have forgotten too soon that this style has never worked in the past  and will never work.  The country cannot accept one party system of government, Obasanjo attempted it and it did not work, his third term agenda collapsed in his face like a pack of cards.  Jonathan tried it and also failed,  it didn’t work and APC cannot do it. Did IBB not literally ran out of Aso Rock in 1993?    And  General Abacha came, he was the sole candidate for the presidencey of the five political parties in the transition programme  that was being orgainzed by his governmnet .  General Abdulsalami took over , organized a transition programme and handed over power to Obasanjo who was incarcerated by the Abacha junta . So you can see varied political scenarios in Nigeria. So it will be a  huge joke for the APC to be  thinking that it will hold Nigerians captive by weakening the PDP, then, they are joking. The PDP is still strong, it had  been in power for 16 years and it has the goodwill, it is just a matter of time, the APC will run away.

How do you think PDP can reunite?

So many nerves were wrecked in the build to the 2015 general elections  and there is need for internal reconciliation, there is need to bring all members together, those who were aggrieved, those who lost elections; let the leadership reconcile them and let everybody feel belong. Like in my state for instance, there is a lot of enthusiasm among PDP faithfuls in the state  but a lot still needs to be done to galvanize the people and integrate, unite and mobilize them to enable them understand what is going on. Some who have left the party  are gone  and they are the minority, but those who are still in the party, let there be unity.

For instance I go home always to attend party meetings and mobilize the people but besides that, a lot still needs to be done. All hands must be on deck. The PDP was under shock and before the shock could clear, the Sheriff issue came in but now, it is over and it is like a log  has been removed from our eyes.

But the APC is using backhand tactics to muscle PDP, the crisis is just a party thing and  it is being engineered by APC and they are  using some mischievous elements of our party to cause confusion. However, now that there is no more confusion. All we need is unity and togetherness which is the  only thing that can keep us together to confront this monstrosity called the APC, in future elections.

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