Alhaji Shehu Gabam is a national chieftain of the People Democratic Party, PDP, who also served as chief of staff in the Isa Yuguda administration in Bauchi State.
In this interview he speaks on the issues that led to the defeat of the party, the strangeness of Senator Modu Sheriff in the party among other things.
By Suzan Edeh
How is your party, PDP?
Well, a lot of people are quite disturbed and worried about the political development and political metamorphosis in PDP. People are eager to know what exactly is taking place and what is leading to this type of political uncertainty that we are witnessing especially in the last month or so.
Some few people want to strategically incorporate their interests into the party, apart from the interest of the party. We feel that the foundation, the vision of the founding fathers of the party have derailed we want it restored back.
We believe that the power of the people have to go back to the people and we believe that the NEC of the party in the last four months have come to a conclusion and made it public that the presidency of the PDP will be zoned to the North, and the Chairmanship of the of the PDP will be zoned to the South. These are the major differences between some of us and those that had the opportunity to get into positions of the party differ.
So what is being done to ensure that justice reigns in the party?
We have done everything humanely possible. If you are conversant with the history of PDP right from inception, those who formed the PDP are people who differ on principles, interests politically, but they decided to forfeit their political differences and come together and form a political structure that can take PDP to the destination they want.
That is why they decided to at the same time that after the formation of the party, the presidency of the party should be zoned outside of the north in the interest of Nigeria and the party and also for prosperity of the party so as to appease the southwest people that feel that the north that was behind the annulment of June 12th. There was a time the PDP had a faction; Sunday Awoniyi had a faction during Obasanjo’s time.
So crisis is not new to PDP, we had gone through series of crisis, still going through crisis. It is one of the biggest parties, so you don’t expect everything to flow. What we did is to develop a capacity to discipline, sanction our own. We have developed a capacity to say no, you cannot do it. Nobody has the monopoly of PDP, nobody.
Those who have the monopoly of the party are people who matter, people who have the interest of the party, those who have interest of everybody that is concerned. That is why the party is called power to the people. It is the people; it is the people that own the power.
The party was bastardised, was turned into money spinning centre and the career politicians not allowed to manage the political structure. There is no way you can bring a civil servant or ex-service man to run the political structure.
So how do you want the PDP to restructure?That is what I am telling you about four months ago, we organized a national conference for the first time in the history of PDP. Another crisis that has brewed deeply right now is because Ali Modu Sheriff was imposed on the party. Even the NEC majority of them walked out. I was part of those nominated from Bauchi State for the Chairmanship.
The caucus of the party gave a directive that the North East States must nominate one individual. Wilberforce Jota was nominated from Adamawa state, Saidu Kumo from Gombe, Senator Girgir from Yobe; I was nominated from Bauchi and Abba Gana from Borno. There was no way Ali sheriff was close to any nomination.
What is your reaction to your suspension by the headquarters?
That is the part of stupidity and rascality that PDP has been going through. How could somebody who doesn’t have the power to suspend anybody, whose tenure has expired as NWC, who have no legitimacy direct a state to expel somebody like me? When we formed the party where was he? When we were struggling to form the party in 1999 headed by late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi where was he? He was with late Abacha when we formed that party. Nobody can take that rascality, and nobody can be intimidated by anybody.