By PETER AGBA KALU
Nwazuruahu Henry Shield, the newly-appointed Director of Strategy for the Peoples Democratic Party spoke to Daily Sun recently. He spoke about how to restructure PDP, the Dasukigate and the war against corruption. Here are excerpts from the interview
What is the nature of your office? What are you supposed to do?
Basically to create short, medium and long term strategies of getting the PDP back into reckoning and reconnecting the party with the people. It also involves means of rejuvenating the ideals of the founding fathers of the PDP, making it become once again the party of Nigerians.
Ok, it looks like PDP has realized the wisdom of handing the party to the youths or sort of rebuilding the party?
That has always been the challenge, not only for political parties but with all other organizations especially in a situation where you’ve had ministers in Nigeria, ministers of youths who were above 60. You realize that we are in a nation that is yet to appreciate the potentials of youths.
So we have a national challenge of truly appreciating the potentials of youths. So yes, the PDP in its wisdom, decided to bring the youths on board at this critical moment. This is because the energy drive that is needed to rebuild the party, the drive, the zeal that is needed to rebuild the party comes from the youths.
Fresh ideas are needed and young blood are needed.
Now when you talk about your vision your work being about re-energizing PDP, I think this is about a bad period, or rather you have a big load to carry. How do you go about it?
The PDP as a very big political party that needs to tell itself the truth. This is the time to heal; this is not the time to heap blames. This is not the time to point accusing fingers. The PDP needs to look itself in the face and tell itself the gospel truth. We have offended ourselves. We need to heal our aggrieved members, the hurting souls in our party. We need to make amends.
It is a time for soul-searching. Believe me sincerely, all that is needed for PDP to come back is honesty, starting from the top to the bottom. It is not a huge task at all. What is important is the sincerity of mind, the sincerity of purpose. Give us one year and you will see a new PDP.
There is this belief that the present administration wants to destroy PDP being the main opposition party. And the scandals coming out every day, how are you people going to cope?
First of all let me correct the impression about scandals. This is a deliberate attempt by the present government of General Muhammadu Buhari to stifle opposition in Nigeria. And when you say revelations that are coming out, the President is not fighting PDP. The President is fighting democracy. The President is not dehumanizing the PDP, he is dehumanizing the tenets of democracy. The president is sort of running Nigeria aground – within eight months. The President is not the chairman of EFCC neither is he the chairman of ICPC. So what has he been doing for the past eight months? Let the EFCC and ICPC that were created by law and by the PDP, let all the probing and the anti-corruption war be fought by the institutions created for that purpose. Mr. President should face the issue of governance. This is a drama taken too far – those scandals.
On the issue of Dasuki, the issue of Olisa Metuh and the issue of all the people who have been mentioned are only the version of the President. No one is yet to hear from Dasuki. For instance, an alleged suspect gives his statement within the confines of the EFCC holding facility, 10 minutes later the said confession becomes headline news on Sahara reporters and the rest. That is not fighting corruption, that is a mockery of the fight against corruption. So what the President is doing is making a mockery of Nigerians. He is making a mockery of the people. Nobody up till today, no single PDP person or supporter has come out to speak or say do not probe.
The party has lent its full weight on a genuine war against corruption not the mockery the APC is using to make the world laugh at us.
Do you think President Jonathan is the target?
Well, President Jonathan was a duly elected President. He was not smuggled in to become the President. Nigerians voted for him. This was a President who had a war on his hand. Let me put this on record, my office the department of strategy has credible intelligence that President Buhari’s plan, all this brouhaha about about fighting corruption is so that he can establish his own political party.
Having fallen out with the powers that be at the APC he knows that if he pulls out today, his new party will be too weak to confront both the APC and the PDP so that when he pulls out of the APC he would have no one to challenge him .
Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria and no single man’s ambition would put the lives of 160 million people in jeopardy. So President Jonathan was the President between 2010 and 2015. If they have any issues with him they should direct it to the appropriate quarters.
President Jonathan came to lead an unprepared people. He came and demystified the notion behind the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Things we never believed were possible happened in his tenure. He practically ran Nigeria like a God-sent; he practically led his country away from the bad image successive governments had given us.
President Jonathan established institutions away from himself. That is the man that had global applause; a man that cannot be dehumanized or embarrassed. President Jonathan built for us a legacy we see in Nelson Mandela. It was only under his government that anybody can access information. It was only under a Jonathan that for five good years there was no political detainee. That is how democracies are built.
Government is not run by one man’s desire to be faithful. President Jonathan respected every arm of government. He was the one who for the first time since 1999 gave Nigeria, in fact gave Africa fair and credible elections. That’s the basic of democracy anywhere in the world. It is the duty of the people to choose who leads them. Once that is compromised you are no more practicing democracy.
Here in this country was a President who publicly pledged that elections are not a do-or-die affair. And then you have a President who came and said my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Such a man should be appreciated. If President Jonathan had behaved like some people there would be no peace in Nigeria today. I monitored elections in the FCT and I can tell you of an instance where if President Jonathan had behaved like a Nigerian politician, the predictions by the experts in the US about Nigeria breaking up in 2015, with all sense of sincerity, it would have come to pass.
Jonathan served and saved Nigeria