Benedict Onyewuenyi is the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rebrand 8 group. In this interview with TOPE FAYEHUN, he speaks on the chances of Atiku/ Obi ticket in the forthcoming general elections.
What are the objectives of your group and how long has it been in existence?
PR8 has been in existence since 2014 and our sole aim is to ensure that PDP is a rebranded, remodeled and refocused. We formed the group to ensure that we bring all the former members of the party together and refocus the party to ensure that it keyed into its objectives when it was formed in 1999. We are like a figure that is trying to give the party a new name, new direction 5hat will bring a new politics to the country.
Presently, the group is in 36 states of the federation, but so far, we have inaugurated only 15 states.
Your party is the opposition and 2019 elections are by the corner. What role is your group going to play to ensure that PDP comes back to power in 2019?
Before the repositioning of our, party, we came out to educate our members on what internal democracy is all about. We have been able to broker peace after we left office in 2015. During the Markafi and Sherrif crisis, we mediated in so many affairs on the need to embrace peace and move the party forward. We have been able to talk to all the leaders, National Executives Committee, National Working Committee, the former leaders, BoT members and all the governors in the party. We have done very well in reconciling all aggrieved members of the party. That gesture has helped the party to get to where it is today.
As far as the issue of winning in 2019 general elections is a concern, we the first group to call on our members who left due to one thing or the other, back to the party and luckily for us, they are back. We are been on various platforms like radio television and print media to champion the progress of our party. It is by the grace of God and efforts being put in place that somebody like Atiku Abubakar and the likes have to rethink to come back to the party. We started a campaign for him even when he was not in our party. We he came in, we and other prominent members of the party, approached him and tell him that this is his time. We told him that he is the new face of the party and that Nigeria really needs him. Because already, Nigeria as a nation, is derailing the way some people are handling its affairs. In coming back to the party, we have been able to educate ourselves on what a better change is all about as a country.
In 2015, your party lost so many states to the APC. What efforts are you making to ensure that you redeem the state and given the fact that both Atiku and the current President come from the same zone, how easy do you think it will be easy Atiku to get to power in 2019?
Actually, PDP as a party has never had challenges until before 2015. And the challenges came because most of the leaders are not sensitive to what Nigerian really want at that particular time. The kind of politics in terms of internal democracy played then, was not acceptable to many leaders in the party, even up to those at the grassroots. Then, we called their attention to it when we saw the way they are governing the country. Then, God decided to take us out of office for that period so that we can learn and take a new step. And by the grace of God, our leader, and the then president, who’s today the most respected president all over the world, conceded defeat because he saw that some people are hell bet on causing a crisis in the country. He allowed Nigerians to fell the difference between the PDP government and what the other party is coming to give.
However, Nigerians today are not looking at party politics and which tribe you are coming from. In the religion aspect, we don’t care whether you are Muslims or Christian. What Nigerians want is development, because, with this current government, all the developmental projects of the country have been affected. Definitely, what played out in 2015 is going to play out in 2019. We are looking at the better change not kind of what we are experiencing today. As you can see, it is the time of Atiku Abubakar. During his time as the Vice President, we have the best democracy profile in this country. Nigerians saw the best politics and democracy has to offer them. Now, his coming is for all Nigerians because all that Nigerians need now is change. If you look at the infrastructure, health and so many things in the country, you will notice that something is wrong somewhere. We are lacking behind in those things that make a country to flourish. Nigeria, if properly managed should have to be a giant of Africa with all the resources God deposited in the country, but poor management has distorted our progress. Nothing bid working again in the country.
But PDP was in power for 16 years before it was voted out. Within four to three years, you want the party to come back. Why should Nigerians vote for PDP in 2019?
Let us draw our minds back. The people in PDP before are the people in APC now. All these people left PDP for APC thinking that there would be a redirection and a better government. But now, it was obvious to them that APC only robs Peter to pay Paul. Many of think that all these people should have stayed in the party and work hard to redirect and make things happen at the party. But they thought that the best was to leave the party then. Look at it now, this is the result of the step they took then. Even those who are still in the APC are not comfortable there again. Kudos to those who see light in PDP and said they can not continue to remain in darkness because of what the APC represents despite all their promise before taking over the government. Nigerians now know that PDP is a better party that understand how to manage the country effectively . They are aware now that the template for the growth of the country is with the PDP.
Look at the issue of population. This present government is doing nothing to make use of our population like that of China and other countries around the world that has the same population like Nigeria. Nothing has been done with the insecurity in the country. It is even worse now. Look at the issue of killing. Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash. Boko- Haram issue remain unsolvable. And they continue to lie to us that they in the country. Never has this country divided like this. Unemployment is killing us. Look at those who are graduating day in day out, and having nothing to do. They constitute a major threat to the country. The APC led federal government since they came has never shown us a template that they are ready to resolve all these problems confronting us as a nation, instead, they continue to play with the issue of security. Using EFCC to harass and arrest those they perceive as their political enemy. That our number one.
Look, the combination of Atiku and Obi will be the best thing to happen to this country. We all know them. We know that Atiku understands how to create a job. Likewise, we understand that Obi is an economic guru. They possess a gift of production and how to make things work. They know how to prefer solutions to all these challenges confronting the nation. They are people who know how to create jobs for our teeming youths. Both of them understand when we can make use of agriculture to create jobs, likewise mining and other areas they can delve to solve unemployment in the country. We believe that what Nigerians really need now is food on their table. After getting this, you can now say anything about development. There is hunger in the land as we speak now. Nigerians are tired of all these unfulfilled promises and they want action that will better their lives. That is why we urged Nigerians to support this two gentleman to take us to a greater height.
Now the Campaign just started what does your group have on the ground?
The State coordinators before now we’re prepared to get to the grassroots and also on sensitization on PVC’s. We have more Nigerians in PDP more than ever, I have visited all the States and done what the familiarization needs and because of my physical appearances many gave their heart to the Change in which Nigerians truly deserve for the PDP and the combination of Atiku/Obi Candidacy.
How will you describe the unveiling of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar blueprint?
Yes, a very lovely and Powerful one indeed, desirable to all Nigerians, is a prove to Nigerians that the Messiah who has been anointed ever b4 now His time has come. we have said b4 in earlier publications, that HE Atiku has got what it takes to get Nigeria working again with the capable hands of HE Peter Obi, all he has presented to Nigerians is enough to throw in the towel bcs the present Government is clueless and has got nothing to offer, so Nigerians who have known the Duo of the Candidates b4 now in their various capacities will be doubly sure to immediately vote for them BCS they are the best alternative to PMB. I will still add that, the PDPR8G has a planned and written document to present to them in later days of the opportunities in creating over 15m jobs across the country, bringing in Foreigners for investments to increase the Economy of the country when we have taken over the next year 2019.
How have you noticed the Nigerian Youths? are the ready to work their talk and proffer solutions to the Government and subsequently take over Government in time to come?
Truly, what I have observed about Youths of our country is that they are not ready to take the Bull by the Horns, how many of them can sleep outside their comfort home, under rain, heat, hunger, and pain and risk their lives just to achieve some purpose? Some of the Youths are corrupted by politicians for quick monies, many do illegal jobs to feed themselves after hard times in school. Many depend on their Parents even after schools and more become slaves by passing wrong information to fend for themselves, while others go into drugs without thinking aloud how to get things working again, rather than begging and dropping their personality to the gutters. My advice to many Nigerian Youths is that we should, first of all, know, love and be one another’s backbone.
We should rally round the Majority of young minds who are read and seen determined to make a difference by identifying with them and follow up lined up activities. Agreed there are very many industrious Youths, many who are not keen on what the Government will offer but have gone their ways to make ends meet. Many of them out of the country and many within are into different kinds of good jobs and businesses, therefore, our opportunity is here to massively vote a Candidate in Atiku Abubakar who has promised large percentage of the Youths in His Government, He Said all Youths in the Country will get a sense of belonging starting from the grassroots as his blueprint has provided. Let us massively vote for Atiku and Obi for 2019.
With the current way the previous Election went, how do you think of winning 2019?
I have said it before that, this time does not party Elections but Nigerians Vs APC and PMB when we get to the bridge we cross it, I would not deliver our strategy on the coffers of newspapers because we do not know the enemies of Nigerians what they are capable of. thank you.