THE PEOPLE WILL DECIDE OUR FATE â€“ GBANA, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
How do you see the politicking and campaigns in the state?
Well, the 2011 election is around the corner. Pressure is mounting. Before now the tempo was slow, because we were also watching what was happening at the national level. But for the past two months, things are beginning to take shape, and the system is beginning to be very hot. In Taraba State, a committee has been set up.
The campaign organization of Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, the aspirant for PDP in Taraba State is already working. Of late, there has been some restructuring within the campaign organization. It has not been perfected for now; and the major stakeholders at the centre will begin to melt back to their local governments for the purpose of re-organizing the campaign organization at the local government areas and by extension at the wards.
So, we want to get it right this time around, restructure and re-strategise from the onset because once we take-off, we won't have time for all this restructuring again. So, what is going on for now is to perfect the system so that once the organization takes-off fully, we'll be gearing towards campaigns and strategies to win elections at the primary level and also to face other parties at the general elections.
PDP appears to be the most potent force in the state. With this configuration do you think there will be inclusiveness at the primaries?
(Cuts in) What do you mean by that?
I mean, internal democracy
Okay. Well, if internal democracy is anything to go by, I think at the national level, the National Chairman has reiterated over and over that this time around, PDP will come up with a strategy that will make it practically impossible for all aspirants to manouevre and cause any confusion in the system, when it comes to the primaries. And then, by extension, this would be the groundnorm at the state and local government levels.
I am sure that now that the helm is very firm and purposeful towards internal democracy, no state will be left out and there will be no option for any other state in the PDP fold to practice any other thing different from what the National Secretariat comes up with.
The guidelines will soon be out and when we go through the guidelines, I think we will be more assured on how the system will operate. But, I want to assure you that the governor of this state had long come up with this position before the National Secretariat took the decision. Let us allow the wishes of the people to prevail. Even if it means that the governor is no longer needed by the people, they should vote him out.
I think internal democracy is nothing more than this . Having inculcated this long before now in all of us that are major players in this system, we have also transmitted same to our people at the grassroots, and the message in beginning to sink in. What the National Secretariat is preaching now is a confirmation of what we had already imbibed from the beginning. So, we are focused and strengthened by the position of the National Secretariat.
There is a wide gulf between the incumbent governor and his predecessor. How do you think the dynamics will play out at the primaries?
It is all about the people. If there is a rift between the governor and his predecessor, when it comes to the primaries or the general election, the people will determine who has the majority at the end of the day. So, we are not threatened by whatever wrangling is going on. Whichever group you meet, they'll continue to tell you that they are firmly on ground.
We don't want to talk much. We'll know who is actually on ground and who has the people when the primaries come and also when the general elections come. But I want to assure you that we are focused, and we don't want to be bothered by the storm that people see around. Those of us that are on ground know the dynamics, which is with the people. It is not the system that used to be, the power that used to be, most of the things that happened previously.
PDP is transforming. It is already getting it right and we have to key- in. If you come with the old system now, it won't work. But if you are not within, you will think the old system will still work. So we are working for the 'D' day. We hope that God will take us to that day and then the difference will be very clear. But I want to assure you that this government and the stakeholders that are solidly behind it are optimistic and we are very sure we have the majority of our people and we carry them along in this system.
Beyond the people who hold the ace and good governance what is your wish for this state?
Generally the expectation of the people is very high. When you campaign, you make promises to your people that if you're in government, you'll do A,B and C. When you're in government you discover that the funds to do that may not be there, but with the little you have, you must also justify to the people and tell them that you came in and have been able to do Aand B and not the A,B and C you promised.
If you renew the mandate, I'll complete it and extend it to D and E. That will give them the confidence, that if in four years you were able to do this, then they're very sure you'll deliver the rest. So the expectations of the people have been very high. That is why the slogan of this administration from inception is 'People First.'
We have a lot of projects on ground to show that it has been the peoples' aspirations first before any other thing. So I wish my Tarabans well and I hope that the new transformation, which is the best for all of us will be enforced.
We have to change the old system. We have to move forward. That is the system that is thriving everywhere in the world and we have to entrench it in our democracy locally and even at the national level. I wish my people will adopt that and imbibe that new system and make sure that a lot wolves in sheep clothing are exposed. Some people probably have not visited Taraba for the past three years, but since it's time for campaigns and contests, they will come and dangle a lot of carrots around.
I want Tarabans to be very careful and well focused. It is like saying that the devil you know is better than the angel you don't even know. So , if you know the devil and how he operates, it will be safer and better for you. I wish my people will know this and fight for their rights by making sure that nobody comes around to dribble them. They should perform their civic responsibility during voters registration and make sure they register and when they cast their votes, the votes must count.
This is my wish.