PDP Played Its Role To Keep Military Out Of Power – Agbo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP Played Its Role To Keep Military Out Of Power – Agbo

Posted: Jun 15, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Dr. Emmanuel Agbo, an engineer by profession, has been the Chairman of Benue State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for almost eight years. He is equally Chairman, Conference of PDP State Chairmen. In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH, Agbo insists that the last election, where Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan, was rigged by the Prof. Attahiru Jega – led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He also speaks on other issues. Excerpts…



Since the defeat of the PDP in the last election, we have seen a number of defections from the party to the now ruling party, the APC. Will it be okay by you to remain in the PDP?

You have known me for quite some time. If there’s anything I owe this great country, it is that I owe this country participation in the entire political process, predicated on ideology and principles. I didn’t come into PDP because it was going to win this country. I came into this PDP because it was a movement that had as its first agenda, a stable political process, and that can only be with the exit of the military. It was founded on a solid principle to keep the military performing their constitutional role and allowing governance for civil society. Today, I will only count the PDP lucky that with that ideology sold to the Nigerian nation it earned them victory and they have had to be at the helm of affairs of this country for 16 years. Then, suddenly, because PDP has lost government at the centre and in my state, I will abandon that firm belief of mine and the ideology upon which I joined and participated in the glorious exit of the military from the Nigerian political scene, to jump into another political party. Of course, I want to assure you that by the time the total population of the membership of the PDP in Nigeria becomes 1, that one person will be Dr. Agbo Emmanuel. And I will never leave the PDP for any reason, because there is no government that, if unchecked, will not amount to a totalitarian and authoritarian administration.


Don’t you think that those who are of the view that PDP lost the last presidential election as a result of the party’s woeful performance since it took over power in 1999, are right?

I do not agree that they are right. And I will tell you why I say I do not agree. I want us to take a holistic look at Nigeria prior to 1999. Now, when I say we take a holistic view, under the totality of this whole, we will segment different sectors. Take, for instance, if you take the education, if you take education and what was the standard of the Nigerian education as far back as 1999, prior to the exit of the military and what it was in 2015, sixteen years thereafter. Is it in the population of entrants into our unity secondary schools? Is it in their number? Is it in the performance of the students in terms of quality of education? Is it in the level of tertiary education in terms of university education? Because between 1999 and 2015 we saw population explosion in terms of Nigerian universities. We saw explosion in terms of admission into Nigerian universities in the last 16 years. Entrants into the Nigerian universities now is in millions as against the few hundreds of thousands that it was then. Nigerian universities both in the federal as accredited and accepted by the Nigerian Universities Commission licensed institutions that are allowed to issue degrees have almost tripled. And if you go to these institutions that are lesser than 16 years, you will now see the quality of development vis-a-vis even the quality of the learning. So, there is no basis for comparison of what the Nigerian educational system had become in 2015 with what it was in 1999. Now going to the aviation sector, for some of us, especially the elite class that are constantly flying from Nigeria outside, what was the state of the Nigerian airports or the aviation industry before 1999 and what we have as at the time of handing over on May 29. That you want to have a change or to effect a change in the leadership of this country shouldn’t allow us to go to the extent of hiding facts. We must work on verifiable facts and bring them to the fore. Believe you me, anybody who flew from any of the Nigerian terminals prior to 1999 and what our airports has become in the last three, four years, will clearly tell you that more has gone into the aviation industry in terms of safety, in terms of cleanness, in terms airport operations, just mention it. We may not have come or arrive at what the first nations have, in terms of airports, like the UK, US, Dubai. But clearly there is a great tremendous improvement when we begin to compare between what had 20 years ago with what we have today. Let us go to agriculture. Thank God on the basis of the grand performance of the last Minister of Agriculture, today he is the President of the African Agricultural Development Bank. It is on record that we have never had a Minister that transformed agriculture the way and manner this same administration that has been voted has. To the extent that this clear demarcation from the past where fertilizer racketing was the order of the day has earned the honourable minister a pride of place to be able to have been elevated this much. So, when you are saying agriculture has been all round transformed, education is transformed, the aviation industry is transformed, you don’t isolate just one segment of the society and you rubbish all.


Some members of the PDP have at one time or the other said the party will rule for over 60 years. But today 16 years after being in government that aspiration has been cut short and the party is finding itself in opposition. How easy do you think it is going to be for PDP to play an effective role of opposition?

I want to say that people have very largely underestimated the capacities that are inherent in the Peoples Democratic Party. I started by telling you that fundamental amongst the cardinal objectives of the founding fathers of this party (the PDP) was to take on the military headlong and put them outside power to observe and respect the constitution of this country to take on their constitutional role of securing the territorial integrity of this great nation of ours. There is no doubt the fact that the PDP successfully prosecuted that to a logical conclusion. For anybody to think that this set of people who was able to have done that now lacks the capacity to take on a civil government in the role of an opposition may just be underestimating the capacities that are very, very much inherent within the rank and file of the Peoples Democratic Party. Now I want to assure you that because we have been in government for too long, you are going to see a different form of opposition. Opposition that is going to be responsive; opposition whose criticisms are going to be constructive and providing alternatives; opposition that will respect holders of offices while disagreeing with their policies that are anti-people. It is not going to be a reckless opposition opening its mouth on every issue whether they border on ordinary bread or border on rice. It is going to be an opposition that is determined to ensure that governance as provided for Nigeria and Nigerians is in the overall interest of the Nigerian nation. We had in the past an opposition as orchestrated by the publicity secretary of the then opposition party that was anything but courteous; that was everything completely and totally reckless; completely and totally rascal. There is a difference between radicalism and rascality. And I want to assure you that opposition as will be provided by the PDP, will not toe the line of rascality. But Nigerians will see a formidable opposition; a formidable alternative to the present government.