Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity
Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in this interview with
TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on latest developments in the polity,
especiallly on the delay in signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill
with less than two years to the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
We understand that the rumoured presidential bid of
Bukola Saraki, former Senate President is already causing ripples in
your party as some members are saying he is ineligible based on his
position as Chairman of Reconciliation and Strategy Committee. How true
It is too early for anyone to say whether someone
is eligible or not to contest as the party is yet to decide where it
will zone the presidential ticket to. In the first place, How do they
know if he (Saraki) is ineligible to contest or not? The party is yet to
decide where we will zone the presidency to. After that is done, that
is when we can say whether somebody is eligible or not.
what about his campaign posters that are seen in strategic places in
Abuja, including Wadata Plaza, your party’s secretariat?
the issue of the campaign posters, we don’t know those behind it,
though we have had cases in the past where posters were posted on behalf
of people and pasted without the knowledge of the person they claim is
contesting.I think the media aide of the former senate president has
denounced the posters as handiwork of mischief makers. But as far as we
are concerned in the party, our focus is on our off-season elections. We
are concerned with engendering unity and peace among our members and
leaders and we are also concerned about reconciliation. These are the
challenges before the party now and that is what we working on.
Muhammadu Buhari upon return from his medical vacation in the United
Kingdom (UK) said Nigeria should expect ‘continuity’ from him. How did
your party receive that statement?
The position of our
party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is very clear and it is well
articulated in the statement we issued after he said that. Our position
is that we rejected in clear terms President Muhammadu Buhari’s
declaration that Nigerians should expect continuity of his governance
system, because Nigerians cannot afford more of the president’s misrule.
Also, our party holds that whatever purpose his frame of mind on
continuity was made to serve, it must not detach from the finality of
his leaving office in on May 29, 2023. Moreover, Nigerians vehemently
reject any idea of ‘continuity’ that pertains to failed economy, hunger
and starvation, banditry, killings, terrorism, kidnapping, abuse of
human rights, treasury looting, mindless borrowing and other vices that
have characterized the APC administration under the watch of President
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in its reaction
to the medical trip said that President Buhari is now re-energised and
recommitted to executing the party’s lofty developmental objectives
after his medical trip abroad. What is your take on that?
we said in our statement, the comment by the APC had already confirmed
that our nation has indeed been on auto-pilot leading to shambolic state
of affairs in the nation, escalation of violence and insecurity,
wrecking of our national economy, policy inconsistency, entrenchment of
corruption and impunity, with no hope in sight.As much as we recognise
the humanity of all, our advice is that those at the helm of affairs
must be honest enough not to take up assignments that are beyond their
capacity. Now that Mr. President is re-energized, his handlers have no
further excuses on his failure to lead from the front as he promised, in
the fight against terrorists and insurgents, whose activities escalated
under his watch.
Our party therefore expects the re-energized
President Buhari as the Commander-In-Chief to immediately proceed to
Zamfara, Borno, Kaduna, Adamawa and other states where terrorists have
practically taken over communities on account of the failures of his
administration. Mr. President should also immediately address the nation
on how he intends to pay back the huge foreign loans his administration
had collected in the last six years, for which the future of our nation
has been mortgaged.
The ‘re-energised’ President is also
expected to forcefully commence the recovery of over N15 trillion
reportedly stolen by APC leaders from government agencies including the
NNPC, NEMA, EFCC, NDDC among others. Our party insist that Mr. President
must henceforth take responsibility and end his excuse of not always
being aware of issues in our country.
There has been a back
and forth between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state and the Minister
of Finance over the allegation by the Governor that the federal
government had to print N60 billion which was used to beef up the meagre
revenue available for distribution for the month of March. What is your
party’s reaction to this?
For failing the full disclosure
test, the PDP demands that the Minister of Finance should immediately be
relieved of her position, while the President accepts responsibility
for the indiscriminate printing of currency in our Naira. Our party
implores President Buhari to save our nation by allowing better hands to
manage and salvage our economy before it is too late
admission by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, that the apex bank had been
printing money at the bidding of government, had vindicated our earlier
stand that the Buhari-led APC administration was characterised by
concealments, deceit and falsehood.
We are also commending
Governor Obaseki for speaking out. As a financial expert, he is not
known for flippancy, and therefore must be commended for his act of
patriotism in exposing the dire economic situation our nation has been
plunged under the Buhari administration.
A situation where the
federal government cannot articulate and implement policies favourable
to wealth creation but resorting to borrowing and indiscriminate
printing of currency notes, only goes to further confirm that the Buhari
administration lacks the credibility and capacity to run a nation.
the admission by the CBN governor that ‘Nigeria is unfortunately in a
very bad situation’ further justifies our position that the Buhari-led
APC administration has wrecked the economy of our nation.
party is worried over the huge negative impact of indiscriminate
printing of currency which has led to the unprecedented rise in
inflation rate to 18.17% as disclosed by the Bureau of National
Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.
This situation has led to further
economic hardship with surging prices and fallen purchasing power
throwing millions of families in distress and unable to afford the basic
necessities of life.
On this note, our party is calling out
President Buhari to come clean on the amount that had been printed so
far by the CBN to finance the deficit caused by the financial
mismanagement of his government as well as what the funds had been used
President Buhari failed to assent to the Electoral Act
Bill in 2019. With less than two years to the 2023 presidential
election, do you think the Bill which is still with the National
Assembly will see the light of the day?
As a party, we
constituted a committee on Electoral Reforms chaired by Senator Ike
Ekweremadu, who incidentally had been the chairman of Electoral and
Constitution Review Committee of the Senate over a period of time, and
who is also a member of the committee of the national assembly for the
So, we are waiting for their report that will be
submitted to us by the Ekweremadu committee as a guidance to the steps
that the party will further take. Since the president will not be
contesting in 2023, it is the expectation of our party that he will sign
the Electoral Act amendment this time.