PDP 'LL EMERGE STRONGER BEFORE 2015 - BALA KAOJE
By Abdulwahab Abdulah
A two time member of the House of Representatives, Mr Bala Kaoje, was also a former Minister of Sports. A staunch member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kaoje in this interview expressed his mind on how he wants the party to become a stronger political machine, for the 2015 polls. He said with the on-going reconciliations in the party at both state and national levels, he was of the view that the party will emerge stronger than ever. He also spoke on some national issues. Excerpts:
THERE is an impression that your party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is not living up to expectation in providing visionary leadership to Nigeria. What is your view about this?
It is not an easy task for a ruling party to govern. Those managing the party at the moment to me, have done their best. All the same, I can say that the bane of the ruling party today is the fall in standard of leadership. It is the reason PDP is no longer as vibrant as before. It is the reason, people keep on referring to the past leadership of the party as more committed and focused.
I want to blame this problem on the nature of the constitution that the party has for now.
What I mean is that the constitution of our party does not place authority in the hands of the officials. It places it in the hands of the president. That means before the party can do anything, it must first concede to the opinion or directive of the President.
That was not the case in the past. I could recall that during the Second Republic, the ruling party then; the National Party of Nigeria, NPN enjoyed supremacy. That was when the late Chief Adisa Akinloye was the national chairman. Akinloye was very strong and had authority.
He could ask President Shehu Shagari to do something and he would obey as President. NPN was more organised because the party was supreme. I think we could use the opportunity of the National Convention of PDP which is on the way to correct this anomaly.
In essence are you calling for the reform of the party and also the amendment of its constitution?
It would not be a bad idea if the constitution of the party is amended. The party must be supreme. Membership contributions are key in adding strength to the party. There are many challenges the party will face in the future, because the way and manner PDP is being managed has been making the opposition to gather strength. If the situation continues like this, the PDP will face a stiff challenge in 2015.
Do you have interest in contesting for any elective position by 2015?
Well, what I am thinking at the moment is that I should join the league of people who have the desire to help re-build PDP. The national convention of the party is way. I will not mind to contest any of the elective positions because I have the experience, the zeal and the exposure to function effectively in any capacity if I am to be a national official of our party. Although I have been making consultations and I have been getting a lot of encouragement from relevant quarters to go ahead and contest one of the positions.
What office are you likely to contest?
You know that PDP is about zoning, though there is no doubt that I will be contesting.
We are waiting for the party to give a comprehensive guideline on zoning, and then I can decide to contest the one given to my zone; North-West.
Recently, the removal of subsidy on fuel almost rendered the economy of the nation comatose. As a member of the ruling party, were you satisfied with the role played by PDP in the process?
As I said earlier, PDP being the ruling party has the biggest role to play in shaping governance and that is the reason I concluded that the party needs to wield the correct power to be able to play that role.
First, the ruling party should have conducted its own research on the fuel subsidy issue to obtain necessary information that the government can use to address the problem in the oil industry.
PDP is expected to be on top of the situation offering logistics support to the government. PDP should have been the first to rationalise steps to be taken by the government in any direction having done its home work well.
PDP any day should be pro-active and not reactive as we saw during the fuel subsidy removal crises. A ruling party should be able to call a spade a spade and serve as a balancing force between the electorate and the government in a manner that will make the government have a good face in the public.