2023: Read House of Representative Member Representing Kwewum, Donga,/Takum/Ussa/Yangtu Federal Constituency, Taraba State, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu’s Opinion About PDP, Other National Issues
BY: Janet Samuel
As the 2023 General Elections draw near with Political parties, Aspirants and Support Groups already putting plans in place ahead of the election, the House of Representative Member Representing Kwewum, Donga,/Takum/Ussa/Yangtu Federal Constituency, Taraba State, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu has aired his view about the People’s Democratic Party PDP and other fundamental issues inn the Country.
Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu, in an Exclusive Interview with Newsmen in Abuja, took time to touch light on critical issues that one should ponder upon.
CRISIS IN THE PDP
In my opinion, I don’t think there is any crisis in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. What we have is that some members such as the Governor of Rivers State and some people in the national Assembly, in fact I think a greater majority of members of the party think that the national chairman has done enough.
Even though his tenure will not elapse till November, we think that it is expedient for him to leave the scene for some other people to try, so that we can have time to reorganise the party, do genuine reconciliation of party members, because as you know the party has some challenges in some states, where there are cases in court, where you have some state congresses that have not been concluded.
We think it is better to have somebody that is not part of the crisis to manage the process of reconciliation and the process of reorganising the party to be able to fight effectively during the 2023 General elections.
In the case of PDP, in 2015, the House of Reps. PDP caucus championed the call for the Adamu Muazu, the former chairman, who led us to a disastrous loss of the 2015 elections to leave, and he actually did leave. So, Prince Uche Secondus was given the chance to continue. He has continued up till now, but it is clearly observable that there are frictions and some challenges that it would be better for new leadership to resolve.
Not that there are other crisis, PDP has no factions. There isn’t any crisis. It’s just that in preparation for the 2023 elections, there is a growing majority opinion that the leadership of the party should step aside so that the party can prepare for the elections.
CLAMOUR TO ZONE PRESIDENCY TO SOUTH
I believe that as Nigeria works today, any section that calls for power shift is justified. The majority of the opinion from 2015 up to date, is that Jonathan should not have contested, that it was the turn of the North.
Former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and several former Governors, even of PDP have made those claims. If you did say, six years ago, that it was the turn of the North, why are you now saying that it should be about the quality of leadership and not power going to a different constituent part?
Why do we have the federal character written in the constitution in the first place? Anywhere in the world, there are principles of affirmative action and federal character to ensure that every part of the Country or society are included in governmental affairs. We are implementing it in JAMB, we are implementing it in every level of admission, we are implementing it even in serious matters like sports.
Why are some people now saying certain sections should be excluded from politics or from political positions? It is not fair. So, I think that the Southern Governors have a right that they should be included. There is no part of the Country that you won’t have competent people.
I don’t think there is any part of the Country that is not affected by insecurity. The Country is pretty unsafe with the kidnappings, banditry and Fulani militia. Nigeria is becoming a failed State. Presently, Nigeria fulfills all the requirements of fragile state, and we are moving from fragility into failure.
The definition of a failed state, is simply a state that, one, among others, a large section of the people in the country do not have loyalty to the state. We have the IPOB, the BOKO Haram and some Yoruba groups.
The second part of fragility of a failed state that intellectuals talked about is, that some of those territories are not in the hands of government. It is very evident that large parts of Niger State, parts of Borno, Yobe and several parts of the country are not in the hands of security forces.
You also have another evidence of large amount of weapons being in the hands of non-stakeholders, that is, being in the hands of citizens, rather than in the hands of people who are authorized to hold them. Evidence abounds to show that the arms, according to some governors, that are in the hands of bandits and Fulani herdsmen, are more than the arms that are in the hands of security agencies.
I am sure you would recall that a former Governor of Borno state said Boko Haram had more arms and more modern arms than the Nigerian Army. So, we are running into serious problems. And all these problems boil down to failure of governance, that the people who should be holding this country together for us have failed. That is the challenge that we have.
So, security challenge is not just in any particular state, not just in Taraba state, it is in virtually all the states. Even states like Nasarawa there were times that farmers could not go to farm. And even around Abuja we are hearing that persons of strange element are locking around.
It is a problem that, in my opinion, will not be solved urgently. There is no way you can resolve this problem within a short time. So, we need to have long time strategy that is not just kinetic (force), but that also involves the use of soft powers, which the government is seriously lacking.
THE TIV-JUKUN CRISIS
It boils down to the issue of governance and the refusal of people to include every person in what they want to do. If you have a system that predisposes itself to exclusion, you will have people fighting to be included. And that is happening in all parts of the country.
DECAMPING OF PDP MEMBERS TO APC
People like Yakubu Dogara, the former speaker (of the House of Representatives), ought not to decamp, but they have to decamp because of the system where the party chairman handed over the party to governors instead of allowing a system where leadership of the party is from the ward and local government. Unfortunately, many of the governors he handed over the party to in the states have decamped, creating more issues in the party.
I am of the strong view that, for PDP to be competitive in the next election, there has to be a change now, not later, in the leadership of the party. Some people are saying let us wait till November. No. Uche Secondus should sacrifice and leave. He doesn’t need to be forced out. People should beg him to leave the party so that the party can reorganise.
If Secondus does not leave the party by the end of September, PDP will not win, and will not do well in the 2023 elections. Secondus needs to leave latest by September to allow reconciliation within this year, so that by early next year the party can start the process of rebuilding.
So, for those who don’t know, if Secondus does not leave by September, PDP will not win 2023 elections.