Arc. Ibrahim Bunu was a Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and is a frontline aspirant for the office of the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In this interview with auwal s. mu'azu, he expresses his determination to recreate the PDP which he argues is still the party to beat in Nigeria despite its short comings.
May we know why you decided to join the race for the national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
I belong to the group of few Nigerians who command respect across the country. I can accommodate all shades of opinion, not minding the creed, class or race.
I m poised to take PDP to the next level if given the opportunity; I stand out as one of the most loyal party men as I never for once contemplated jumping the gun or doing anything that is not in the interest of the party.
My singular and untiring effort at sustaining and advancing PDP in Borno State is legendary and my contribution to the party nationally can speak volumes about my commitment to the party.
I believe members of PDP can count on me to unite the party; you can also bet on my ability to recover lost ground and conquer even more; I have all it takes to deepen internal democracy in the party; I m poised to provide accountability and prudent management of the party’s resources.
What specific areas would you focus your attention if elected as the next chairman of the party
If elected the national Chairman of the party, I will complete the building of the party’s secretariat within the shortest possible time in order to provide the much needed infrastructure for well-coordinated administrative machinery of the party. As a committed party loyalist, I m determined to drive the party towards fulfilling the transformation agenda of Mr. President.
My vision for the party is to add value to what it stands for; to improve on its internal democratic tradition; to improve and enhance cohesion within and among the various components of the party develop and instill a sense of common purpose within the various leadership structures at the Federal, state and local government levels, and bring general harmony within the party and to expand the party’s tentacles into areas it has not captured yet.
I want to harness all the party’s potentials and resources in order to assistthe Federal Government achieve its transformation agenda.
I will also pursue an Agenda ‘carry all along’. I will carry along the leadership of the country, the governors, National Assembly members, State Houses of Assembly members, state chairmen and its leadership, local government chairmen and its leadership and entire leadership of the ward. In short, I will recreate the FDP so that it becomes a party in which every level of membership counts and is counted.
I will remain faithful to the party and to our promises; and I promise to remain accessible to all our members.
Give me the umbrella; I am determined to put it up and accommodate and protect all Nigerians from the heat, the rain and all the vicissitudes of everyday life. This is my invitation to all our members, particularly delegates to the forthcoming convention of our great party, the PDP
As one of the leading contenders for the office of the PDP national Chairman, how would you assess the party's ongoing congresses?
Now that the party has passed through all the stages, from its formative era to the era of consolidation, what remains at this critical stage is total commitment towards restoration. The right time to do this is through the ongoing congresses and national convention, which will ensure the emergence of a brand new National Working Committee and in particular, a new National Chairman to undertake the herculean task of rebuilding the party and piloting its political fortunes prior to 2015 and beyond. And this can only be done by a credible candidate who can pilot the affairs of the party’s future of democratic maturity by building and tending the structures needed for total rebirth.
Undoubtedly, today that credible alternative is none other than me. I firmly believe that PDP, despite the challenges facing the nation under its leadership, is still the only party that can find the needed solution, if it gets a focused, purposeful and visionary leadership, which I m capable of providing, far ahead of all the others.
Usually in a political contest aspirants enjoy the support of individuals and groups, Are you enjoying the support of any group?
Yes, the members of PDP Transformation movement, after wide consultation and diligent scrutiny, unanimously endorsed me as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party come March 2012, National Convention. This is in line with our commitment to get a credible, visionary and incorruptible party leadership.
You are seen as an elite rather than a grassroot politician, who understands the intrigues of party administration, don’t you think this will count against your aspiration of becoming the national chairman of PDP.
When the current democratic dispensation commenced in 1998, I joined the influential G34 that eventually midwife the birth of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. I was the one who took the new party to Borno State; and thereafter I devoted my time to laying the party’s foundation in the state, and growing it into a formidable political structure.
In addition, I hold memberships of several other social, political and community service organizations. I have been a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP since its inception in 1998. As you can see I am a true party man.
Your party is accused of indiscipline, how you can change this perception if elected as Chairman.
It is my opinion that PDP at this crucial moment requires the instilment of party discipline, party supremacy, party loyalty, respect for the rule of law, and the return to the fundamental ideals of the founding fathers. I, therefore, enjoin all PDP members to join me in enthroning integrity, honesty, transparency, openness and credibility. This I intend to address if I am elected.
PDP is seen as crisis ridden party, do you subscribe to this argument?
The PDP has faced many evolutionary challenges and has often led to poor policy choices. Mistakes of either commission or omission by the leadership and the anti-democratic tendencies of some members became instrumental to the abuse of party process, thus, compromising the original principles of democratic practice as enunciated by the founding fathers.
This erosion of democratic values coupled with several policy somersaults continued to undermine the original vision and manifesto of the party. Consequently, the party lost control of some states particularly in the southwest, and in addition, it also lost to other opposition parties in many successive elections.
The inescapable conclusion is that growing resentment in the PDP has provided fertile grounds for opposition parties in some states to fish successfully, and there was exodus of members, whose political feelings and pride were hurt, into other parties.