Politics Today: PDP Prepared To Wrestle Power From APC In Niger – Beji

Politics Today: PDP Prepared To Wrestle Power From APC In Niger – Beji
Politics Today

Barrister Tanko Beji is the Niger state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with Chinwendu Nnadozie, he described the three years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as more of a burden than benefits to Nigerlites and expressed the preparedness of his party to jettison its internal zoning arrangement if it is the ultimate sacrifice needed to reclaim power from the APC in 2019. Excerpts:

The 2019 general elections is less than a year now, how prepared is the PDP for the electoral battle ahead?

The PDP is perfectly working very well and hard to reclaim power from the APC) because they have failed. Nigerlites have realised that there is no better alternative to the PDP.

So far how many aspirants have indicated interest for the Governorship seat and, are you still going to respect the zoning arrangement that has been the practice by the PDP in Niger state?

Let me start with the zoning issue, we still respect the zoning arrangement of the PDP in Niger state. We are also not unmindful of the fact that zoning in Niger state is an internal thing and not a constitutional thing and that is why we are not very strict about that. What I am trying to say is that, if we agree we can decide to jettison the concept and adopt popular opinion on that. What I mean is that, we zoned the governorship seat to Niger North (Zone C) if for instance an aspirant from another zone feels he or she can break even by refusing to agree with that or has what it takes to break the circle and decides to challenge the rotational thing to make desired in-road we can say ok, lets’ give it a trial by giving level playing ground for whoever wanted to contest from another zone to test their popularity, we can even decide to exempt zone ‘B’ where the immediate past Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu came from and narrow the contest down to between zone A and C, doing that is not impossible

How many aspirants have indicated interest to contest for Niger state Governorship seat and are from which of the three zones?

So far we have four or five. Majority of them are from zone C, I think only one of them came from outside zone C

You were denied the right to organise rallies by the police recently and by what we gathered, the police stopped you from holding meetings or rallies citing security concerns, what exactly happened?
Yes, in the PDP in the past two months we have been engaged in grassroots mobilisation holding rallies in Paiko and Agaie to test our strength and to re-awaken the people’s consciousness to what is happening now in Niger state in particular and the entire country in general compared to past years. We had sought for police protection but surprisingly they denied us and they were citing security implications but we told them that the PDP is law abiding and has never been linked to any politically motivated break down of law and order. We know it is all politics and we are not deterred by that, we keep being focused in what we are doing and moving on

We learnt that you are planning more rallies, what is going to happen now that the police refused to grant you permission or approve your application for protection?

The APC has been carrying on with their programmes and so we assumed that the ban on all forms of political rally has been lifted. We had asked the police to provide us security and not permission but they even denied us that, they told us that security situation it is not conducive for the rally but we are aware the party have been holding their congresses and so we believe the ban have been lifted and very soon we will continue with our programme in Kontagora very soon. What happened or what is happening now is an indictment on the police, the APC has had Ward and Local Government congresses in 274 Wards and 25 Councils, what they (police) prevented us from doing, they approved for the APC.

This n-PDP thing and what we heard about their plot to come back and all the stuffs, is the PDP in Niger state also having such breakaways or people that needed to be reconciled or reintegrated back into the party?

We are one in Niger state, we don’t have a divided house or any discordant voices as you have just some groups stormed Government House, Minna few day. But we are aware of a committee set up by the PDP at the national level under the chairmanship of the former Cross-River state Governor, Liyel Imoke and the immediate past Governor of Niger state, Dr. Babangida Aliyu as member to re-integrate aggrieved and former members of the party and I believe the committee will take care of any of such things you are asking about in the state if there any but like I had said, the PDP is strongly one in Niger state

Some groups few days ago stormed government House demanding amongst other things that Governor Bello address issues relating to the last purported Ward and Local Government Council congresses of the APC due to complete absence of internal democracy. What does this invasion portend for democracy?

What happened few days ago is really very unfortunate and it is an indication that democracy has been under threats since the inception of this APC administration. It also exposes the fact that there is total absence of internal democracy, we conducted our congresses but they are afraid to conduct their own because they have never been organised because they don’t believe in internal democracy

A former commissioner allegedly mobilised thugs to attack protesters who are rightly and peacefully protesting against non-conduct election into offices but instead the Governor allegedly compelled the delegates to opt for affirmation?

What happened in Government House, counter attack by touts loyal to the former commissioner Abdulmalik Cheche only heightened the fears of Nigerlites that the APC is not organised and it also shows that the party is desperate to remain in power

The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) recently called for an independent audit into the purchase of the 130 tractors and their implements by the state government at the cost N12 million, a difference of N4.9 million each from the figure quoted by the Governor, what do you think about that?
Well, that is the APC style.

How will you assess Governor Bello led APC administration in the past three years and one year into the end of the administration?

The APC have performed woefully in the past three years, they have under-performed, nothing to show for it. They have nothing to show for the huge sums of money that are accruing to the state on monthly basis from the federation accounts

Comments

Most Read