Hon Kudla Satumari is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Borno State coordinator of Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s national chairmanship campaign organisation for the party’s recently held national convention. In this interview with SUNDAY ISUWA, Satumari said his party will bounce back in the next general elections
Your party, the PDP, has been able to conduct its convention and a new leadership that will run the party for the next four years has emerged. What is your comment on the whole process?
Well, we are grateful to God that the convention has come and it was conducted peacefully. Whether you like it or not, when you are conducting an election to an office that only one person can occupy, there is tendency that those who are not successful will have some reservation. And we also heard what transpired. But that is politics that has played itself out. But we thank God that the country as a whole will begin to benefit from strong and viral opposition that will hold the government accountable to deliver on their promises. And the ruling party will now know that there is a strong opposition standing by to take over power. In all, politics and democracy will be the greatest beneficiary of the outcome of the successful convention that we had in the PDP.
We learnt that the APC is trying to cash in on over what transpired during the convention and take over the aggrieved members in the Southwest?
It will interest you to know that I was the state coordinator for Otunba Gbenga Daniel campaign organization. He was the strongest contender from the South West for the office of the PDP national chairman. A lot of us supported a candidate to emerge chairman from the South West. However, politics played itself out in a way that produced the new leadership of the party. If you look at the political balancing, yes, office of the national chairman going to the Southwest will provide some form of balance in the political sharing but you know, politics has different phases, the positions are not yet over.
You can compensate the South West with position like the Vice Presidential slot, SGF, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate President and all those other positions. So, we should not see it as the South West has been denied the position of the national chairman and all is over. No, there are still other positions that are even more advantageous than the office of the national chairman. So, this will not make the South West not to support the PDP.
If you look at the South West, they are people who very enlightened and very educated, they will always find a way of fine-tuning what happened to the advantage of the party. We had hoped for a different calculation but if you look at the arrangement, people from the South East, South West and the South South, had the largest number of delegates because most of them are PDP-controlled states.
But if you look at the North, most of the states are controlled by the APC. It is one of the reasons why it was difficult for the North to outrightly swing victory to the South West because majority of the states in the South South and South East are PDP-controlled states.
For instance, Akwa Ibom for example had over 140 delegates whereas some states in the north had just about 40 or thereabout. So, if you look at it, most of these states had governors, Senators, House of Reps members, state house of assembly members, local government chairmen, and party chairmen in local government and so on.
If you put these together, you will see that they have more delegates and had the upper hand in the number of delegates and coupled with the fact that also, strong politicking went into the game, you will also realized that governors who are also the strongest bloc in the party played a vital role. They had a say in the final outcome of the convention.
What I expect now is for all of us to close ranks and reach out to one another.Reconciliation is the word here. If we are able to come together and resolved our differences, then we will be able to match head on and give a strong opposition. The way I see things going, many people are going to join the PDP and the central government should have cost for concern because 2019 election by the grace of God, will be ours for the taking.
You said the central government should have cause for concern in 2019.
Presently, PDP only has one Senator in the entire North West and two governors in the North East. The president got most of his votes from the North. How will you be able to take over the North and win the Presidential election?
Well, in the North, we have Gombe and Taraba that are PDP controlled states and we don’t need to work hard because the APC is already doing the work for us with their abysmal performance in all the promises they made to Nigerians in 2015.
Three things happened that I will. like to attribute to the success of the APC and the perception of the party to the people before. The contest, if not for the one that Yar’Adu won, the contest has always been North Vs South. So, people especially from the North, see the election as a contest between a Northerner and a Southerner. The present president has been contesting against Southerners with the exception of Yar’Adua who won in 2007. So, majority of the Northerners have been voting with the perception that they are their own.
Secondly, people tested PDP and some of the propaganda that was used against the PDP were so much that the lies began to sound like the truth. People at that time had not tested APC government. They bought the lies and now that they have tested the APC-led government, they now have rational minds to decide.
Thirdly, every sentiment was used to make sure that the election was in favour of one group or the other to the extent that even religious sentiment was used in the North. Some people in the North viewed the election as a contest between a Christian and a Muslim. All these played out and contributed to the success of the APC. So, most people from the North voted the present president because he is a Northerner.
The alliance they had with people like Tinubu also played out to their advantage. But today, PDP has zoned the presidential ticket to the North.The advantage that was there before is no longer there now and if you weigh the performance of the PDP as against the APC you will know that APC is on its way out of power. A lot of people are now saying that after all, PDP was doing better. The promises made by the APC have not been fulfilled. The advantage they had that time in the name of doing better than the PDP has faded.
Secondly, people that saw the contest between the North and the South won’t view it that way again because the PDP zoned its presidential candidate to the North.
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