September 23, 2014

PDP ticket: I’m confronting Jonathan not as a fool — Tafawa Balewa

PDP ticket: I’m confronting Jonathan  not as a fool — Tafawa Balewa

Dr. Abdul Jhalil Tafawa Balewa, son of Nigeria’s first and only prime minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, was, just a year ago, a rabid supporter of a second term for President Goodluck Jonathan. Abdul Jhalil, who holds a PhD in Nuclear Chemistry, was a foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the United States where he lived for about 46 years.

In a telephone interview, the former Jonathanian asserts his right to seek the presidential ticket of the PDP despite last week’s unanimous adoption of the president saying that the right of first refusal given the president is undemocratic and a betrayal of democratic norms. Excerpts:

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

WHAT is your position on the adoption of the president by your party?
Since when in a democracy does only one person contest? In Marxism and socialism under Russia and China, you had the politburo and all that, and that is what we are turning into and we cannot allow that.

Abdul-Jhalil Tafawa-Balewa

Abdul-Jhalil Tafawa-Balewa

So, are you now entering the presidential contest?
I want to. I am making consultations and I have to enter because at no time whatsoever has what is going on now made sense.

But you were at one time a strong supporter of President Jonathan
Yes, I supported him from the point of view that nobody that is under the sky of Nigeria should not have an opportunity not to rise to the highest office in the land.
But they have changed Nigeria into a fiefdom like we are back in the Stone Age and we cannot allow that and I supported him in the sense that anyone should be able to rise to the highest office.

But have you ever seen the hardship among the people as it is now. No money, no industry anywhere even though we hear that we have beaten South Africa in our GDP. South Africa is only 44 million people and we are nearly 200 million.

But those were the prevailing parameters when you were supporting the president just about six months or so ago
It wasn’t six months ago, it was almost a year ago. These indices have changed rapidly. It is now that the western world is coming in because of the insurgency that we are getting all these indices and it is a matter of the wool being taken over peoples eyes and people that are in government have covered the eyes of people.

Are you using the PDP for your aspiration?
Absolutely! I am a member of the PDP from the United States and have been since 1999.

But the national leadership of the PDP has endorsed the president. Can you buck the trend?
If you look at the Punch of yesterday, (Saturday Punch) the lame duck governors (outgoing governors) have been told that they would be supported with senatorial seats and the EFCC would be prevented from attacking them, that is bribery.

Look at the amount of money that was seized in South Africa, they said they were purchasing arms! I mean no country now would purchase arms with cash. I mean why would you take cash when cash transfer would only take seconds?

Do you have the backing of any recognised or formidable bloc in the PDP?
I cannot give names, but be assured that I am not a fool.