Absence Of Internal Democracy Destroyed PDP – Gabam | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Absence Of Internal Democracy Destroyed PDP – Gabam

Posted: May 20, 2015 at 2:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Shehu Gabam was Chief of Staff under Governor Isa Yuguda’s administration and also Deputy Governorship candidate in Bauchi State under defunct All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2011. He later defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the 2011 election. In this interview with Journalists in Bauchi, including PATIENCE OGBODO-IWUAGWU, he speaks on the challenges facing the new leadership of APC, why PDP lost election at the National level and Bauchi State, among other issues. Excerpts… 

PDP lost the presidential election after ruling for 16 years; how do you feel?



First and foremost is the beauty of democracy. Democracy is about winning and losing, and I think as Nigerians, as PDP, we have taken it in good faith. The President has displayed a high degree of responsibility by conceding defeat and the world has acknowledged that, the world has given him that status. This is first in the history of Africa for an incumbent President to concede defeat before the announcement of the electoral body. I believe PDP has shown morality, humility, and the interest of the country first. Secondly, it’s normal because party makes mistakes, so as responsible members we have to go back and take stock of where we have gone wrong, even though we know most of the reasons why we became victims. If we want to reorganize, restructure, re-strengthen the party, it’s natural for us to accept that we have failed somewhere.


Why do you think was responsible for the woeful defeat of PDP?

So many reasons – the issue of woefully does not arise; it’s about politics, it’s about I have structure or a system that can allow me to land safely or I manage it in a way that I get cut off along the way. So our master plan wasn’t designed in a way that it cannot crash. It crashed because of human error, because of deficiency, because of lack of democratic skill. Those bestowed with the responsibility of managing the party were not democratic enough.


Who are those people?

Of course, those that are managing the PDP today, from the Chairman downward. They are more of business-oriented people than democratic, and when you have people that are business-oriented, that are interest-oriented, ruling a political party, they may not understand the dynamics that are involved. They may not see the critical role a voter might play on the day of election; they think it matters or it revolves around individuals who have money. It doesn’t go that way; it has to do with a man that is living in the village. You go and campaign, make promise to him, and you do not fulfil those promises and you are talking to him with arrogance, it doesn’t work that way.  The era of impunity has to go. People must accept that the country belongs to everybody. So, this is a lesson, not just for PDP but also for the entire political party. It’s not just for PDP, it’s a lesson for Nigerians and we must learn from it. The President-elect must also learn from it because he cannot afford to fail. He is the only man standing today that had accumulative experience of the past and the present; he has seen so many leadership within the military, within the civilian administration as well and today he is an elected-president and there is no reason for him to claim ignorance on any issue and there is no reason for him to bring incompetent people around him because incompetence created the problem that we have today and all he needs to do is to shop for credible, vibrant, active and proactive young people.


What do you think is the challenges before the present government?

So many challenges. The issue of swindling of economy, the issue of security, the issue of massive corruption within the civil service structure, 80 percent of corruption in Nigeria revolves within the civil service. If today you are appointing a minister, if the particular ministry knows the individual coming there, they will make some packages for him before he gets to the office and there is no special space or depot where money is being kept for individuals or politicians to go and pick the money; everybody that gets money goes through the process of either ministry, parastatals or agency and if you are fighting corruption it is a straight-jacketed issue. Go to the budget, every ministry, parastal, has a budget. Go and see the implementation of the budget, go and see the diversion of the budget, what happens? Who is responsible?


What measures do you think should be taken to tackle these challenges?

The measures are there. Nigeria is not lacking ideas of what to do, we are not lacking people with capacity to deal with issues but we are lacking courage. We are not lacking a road map to move this country forward but we are lacking people with will, with courage to deal with issues. All these issues of insurgency, ethnic clashes are occurring because there is no leader that has the will to deal with those that are responsible for creating those crises because they are powerful individuals. Any nation that allows an individual to be stronger than the institution, that nation will not survive in anywhere in the world.


You were former Chief of staff under Governor Yuguda’s administartion, and you later left, what went wrong?

It’s because Yuguda started a visionless and colorless administration and I am a career politician and at end of the day what happens after the election was a clear indication of how he mismanaged the democractic process and the politicians themselves. That’s clearly what happened, no more no less, because almost 90 percent of Nigerians came out and voted for him, why the crash? He doesn’t need anybody to answer for him, he will answer it himself. He knows the people he brought around him. When a man allows sycophancy to take over his sense of direction and sense of responsibility, the fundamental issue is that the large majority of the people will suffer for it, sycophancy kills the government, eye service kills the government.


Do you have any confidence in the in-coming administration in the state?

Well he has numerous challenges to deal with and these challenges are on ground, they are visible, they are touchable, ranging from how to start paying salaries, how to deal with the debt, which is over N200b, according  to rumors, that the state is indebted to over N200b and the issue of insecurity in the state.  He  must as a matter of urgency define if he has a policy that would engage the youth – they must be empowered, they must be engaged, irrespective of whether they have western education or not. There is something for everybody to do; you can train people in different skills, you can engage them, even if they don’t have western education; it’s not only certificate that can enable somebody to be engaged, people are created with their own talent – develop their talent, that is what it’s simply means.


PDP lost election, what is the way forward?

PDP is everywhere, we have structures all over, but in terms of elective position, it has reduced. Don’t forget that in the senate, it’s a difference of 26; so, nobody can say PDP is gone. In politics the minority can take over, it depends on how you navigate through, how you master your own system of dealing with issues and political issues. You cannot say PDP is nowhere. PDP has a large number in the National Assembly and they can always re-organize themselves and they have some governors, too. You remember when PDP was in government, at a point the opposition were almost at 5 percent but they re-organized and bounced back. That is democracy, nobody is angry with that, the country is evolving, democracy is getting strengthened, the fundamental pillar of democracy is being strengthened, which is okay. So, it’s the country first, not the individual.