Senator Jerry Gana, who served in the Second Republic Senate, was a professor of Geography, several times minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; a former presidential candidate, a part time preacher, was the founding secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He was one of the arrowheads who mobilised founding fathers of the PDP to stop the party from electing Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as substantive chairman of the country’s leading opposition party.
Following the success of his group of stakeholders in getting the younger elements who gathered in Port Harcourt to stop their pro-Sheriff plans, he spoke in a telephone interview on the way forward for the party. Excerpts:
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Are you comfortable with the outcome of the Port Harcourt convention of the party?
Definitely we want to appreciate the efforts on all sides, both those who gathered with us in Abuja and those who went to Port Harcourt. The key objectives have been achieved because we wanted a leadership that is credible, a leadership that will emerge through a constitutional process.
They realised that some of the congresses were not done properly, they also realised that the processes of zoning were not acceptable and that the process of putting the former chairman was not acceptable and so, a lot of very important decisions have been taken which are in the overall interest of the progress of both our party and believe me, even of the nation.
One, we want democracy to be genuine and real, we want it to be people-driven, not just a few people imposing who they want with impunity, we don’t want imposition, we just want genuine democracy. So, we see that the opportunity of reconciliation is just there.
The convention has been postponed, there will be a proper convention and in the interim we have both the Board of Trustees and the National Caretaker Committee and I believe that they will work together and we will also cooperate with them to redirect the party, sanitise the party and ensure that we have a strong united and vibrant party. That is what we want.
You mean you will cooperate with the Makarfi led Committee?
Makarfi was part of us. Where we were (at Abuja Convention ground), we were being consulted on a regular basis by some of the leaders who were in Port-Harcourt. To be fair to them, they were phoning us, through the chairman of the Governors Forum. We were in consultation.
The only area of worry was that when they finally put the caretaker committee in shape, we believe that some of the people who are very, very keen on this change should have been included.
Has Makarfi consulted you or do you have plans of meeting with him anytime soon?
We shall work together. It is too early. As I said we started together, he is one of us and I am sure he will do that.
Open and transparent way
But we want the BoT to be very central because it is a constitutional body which should be doing this, so the BoT should help the National Caretaker Committee for them to do their work well and in that setting, we are party people, we want the party to be strong again, so we want the process to be fair, to be just, to be people oriented, to do things in a very open and transparent way so that people feel empowered, people feel happy, the processes are clean and clear, no imposition, no impunity, no cheating, no wuruwuru.
So we will cooperate with them and I am sure they will reach out to us and we shall talk.
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