The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, tells LEKE BAIYEWU in this interview why President Goodluck Jonathan lost at the presidential election and how the ruling party plans to win more states in the governorship election holding this week
What is the general mood in the Peoples Democratic Party about the last presidential election?
The party is elated with the enthusiasm with which Nigerians have embraced democracy. The success of democratic transition – from civilian to civilian — has been enhanced by the PDP. It is a success to us; the fact that we have been able to sustain our democracy in this country for more than 16 years, more than any other party has ever done in the history of this country, is a thing of joy to us.
With regards to this election, we are happy that the election has come and has been concluded. For us as a party, we have been engaged in meetings on what to do since Wednesday. There were two options: one is to highlight the irregularities recorded in the election, the other is to overlook the irregularities and focus on the coming elections. Our final decision will be communicated.
Is the All Progressives Congress’ victory at the poll about being better than the PDP?
The election (result) has been announced and our people have highlighted certain irregularities in different parts (of the country). The issue of who is better does not arise. We are happy with the support Nigerians have given to our party; we are happy with the outing of our party men across the country; the fact that we were able to campaign and people showed love and turned out, except for the irregularities like card reader (malfunction) and others that affected the enthusiasm of some people. We are happy with the whole process.
Is there anything the electorate will miss without the PDP and Jonathan’s presidency in the next four years?
The strength of our party lies in our pursuit of peace, unity and progress, especially the unity of this country. The fact that we have strengthened national interests; we have mobilised the entire body politics; is our strength. That is what the PDP stands for and that is what Nigerians will always realise about the party. That, we have built on the unity of our country.
What were the lapses identified in the PDP in the course of the electioneering campaign that the party will like to correct?
It is too early to give a self critique. It is too early. Of course, we know that nobody is perfect; no organisation is perfect. Yes, there were shortcomings but it is too early to highlight them.
Do you see the roles former President Olusegun Obasanjo played prior to the election, as some of the factors that worked against the PDP?
Obasanjo remains a national figure; a national hero. He remains somebody who has ruled our country for eight years and Chairman of our former Board of Trustees. We were sad to let him go. We regretted it; the party regretted his going. We did all we could to get him to stay but we could not control his actions. We still hope that someday we will be together again.
What is the expectation of the PDP in the forthcoming governorship and state House of Assembly elections?
We have very good candidates across the country. Most especially, we know that we will retain the strong base of the South-East and the South-South and we hope to recover some states in the Middle Best (North-Central) and the South-West. That is what we hope to do.
Have you considered the possibility of a bandwagon effect in the governorship poll, having lost the presidency to the opposition?
They are not yet in power. We are still in office and we are still in power.
You mean there will be no effect?
There is nothing like that in this governorship election. If there is bandwagon, it will follow the leader. It is about who is in power. There is nothing like that.
What efforts is the PDP making to break the strongholds of the APC in the governorship election?
We don’t know where there strongholds are but we hope that our governors, especially in Gombe, Katsina and Kaduna, will be able to retain their seats. We have a very good candidate in Adamawa that will win in the state. We also know that because of the performance of the governor of Katsina, he will win the state. I don’t know what you mean by APC strongholds, this is about candidates. Buhari is not running for governorship. We know what our people will do well. Right now, if you look at the history of our governorship candidates, we have very good candidates.
Has the PDP begun to reconcile aggrieved members after the loss of the presidential poll and ahead of the governorship election?
It is too early. We are focusing on the elections; that will wait until when we finish with the elections on Saturday.
Culled from the Punch Newspaper