By Dapo Akinrefon
Mr Kola Ologbodiyan is the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. In this interview, the PDP spokesperson dismisses the insinuation that some governors elected on the party’s party platform, especially from the South-East, are secretly working for President Muhammadu Buhari to win the 2019 election.
Just as you are worried about the country, other people are also worried. But we wonder, what is actually the difference between the PDP and the APC? Those that left APC, they went to the PDP.
The difference between the PDP and APC is very manifest. The PDP believes in democracy and the tenets of it. We stand by the rule of law, social justice and respect for constitutionalism. We also believe in creating an enabling environment that will allow private enterprises to thrive.
As such, we encourage private investors to create jobs so that life can be better for the people. But I must confess to you that the APC, unfortunately, is just an amalgam of people contended with power, they have no ideology and have nothing to offer Nigerians.
They are a group of people looking for power and they chased out the PDP government through propaganda, through lies and through deception. They do not have any plan whatsoever in any form to govern in a particular direction.
That is why if you look at the APC, we have challenged them to name one idea that they conceived, planned and implemented. There is none. Where is the ‘Change begins with you’ they promised? They do not have ideas for governance and without ideas, you cannot rule, you cannot govern.
In terms of ideology, they disrespect the courts. They woke up one night and went round the residences of judges. You know the number of times that Colonel Sambo Dasuki has been granted bail, they did not release him. They have no respect for court orders, they have no respect for constitutionalism. So when you talk of ideology, I believe that the PDP has ideology and because it is a democratic party, it follows the tenets of democracy but I don’t know the ideology of the APC.
One of the issues on the front burner is the economy. How will your party fix the economy?
The PDP believes that the only way to revive the economy is to allow the economy to be private sector – driven and the job of government is to create an enabling environment that will allow businesses to thrive. We have experimented government running businesses and we have experimented a situation where private investors are given an enabling environment to thrive and we have seen where it has taken us. NITEL was running the telecommunications sector but the GSM was allowed to run it and we saw where it has taken us.
There are feelers that all is not well with the PDP especially in the South-South and South-East. Is there a problem in the party and what effort is being taken to address this? There is also insinuation that some governors in the South-East are secretly planning to work for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. How do you react?
I find it strange that any member of the PDP will pledge a particular percentage of votes for President Buhari. If that is true, it confirms our fear that there are plans to rig the 2019 elections by writing figures. You cannot determine a percentage of votes that will go in any direction in a free, fair and credible election. You do not know the mindset of every voter.
I do not think that it is attainable to pledge a certain percentage of votes; all I know is that the governors on the platform of the PDP are supporting our candidate. That is a fact. Why should our governors vote for President Buhari? What will be the reason? Is it that the people who are members of our party are non-Nigerians?
Why do you think that any member of our party will work for the President? You see, it is a game of the ruling party, they know that they have been abandoned by Nigerians. They know that the lies and contraptions they used in 2015 are no longer working for them because Nigerians have seen through them.
So, they are looking for help because they know that they are a drowning party. They will say anything just to create disaffection and seek to cause crisis within our party and with our candidate.
We can see clearly that Nigerians are rallying round our candidate.
Your party’s National Chairman has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is being used to witch-hunt governors elected on the party’s platform. Is it not possible that some of the governors are succumbing to the blackmail?
Our governors, in the last three and a half years, have suffered untold embarrassment from this administration. They have been harassed, they have been intimidated but I want you to know that they cannot be intimidated to abandon their party. The PDP governors are determined and they will continue to support their party.
How do you respond to INEC’s decision to conduct elections in IDP camps? What is your take on INEC’s preparations for the election?
We have made our position on the IDPs very clear. We are opposed to any situation that will grant INEC the power to create new polling units under the guise of creating them for IDPs.
Nigeria, as a country, has been delineated to 120,000 polling units and, as such, any area in this country has its own polling unit. So, what we are saying is this, if there are IDPs in Ikeja, for instance, what they need to do is to allow the IDPs to transfer to the area they are currently staying. They do not need to create additional 30,000 polling units, doing that will amount to rigging.
We have also said that we are aware that the contraption that took place in Osun State during the governorship election was done in INEC’s Situation Room where it was clear that, in the transmitted results, PDP had won but they decided to manipulate the process.
What we are saying is that since President Buhari has refused to sign the amended Electoral Act, where transmission of results was included, INEC should allow observers to monitor the results in the Situation Room and we have not said anything bad.
So, speaking generally, what we have said is that we will not allow rigging in the 2019 general elections. We will burst the rigging plan of the APC and it is manifestly evident that Buhari cannot win the 2019 election because Nigerians have resolved, wholesomely, that they will not vote for him and that they will not vote for the APC.
So, on account of that, we will check the INEC and ensure that they guarantee an election that will be free, fair, credible, transparent and that will be accepted by the majority of Nigerians.
But INEC came out to say that it will not grant the request to have access to its Situation Room.
INEC can say it but we will not accept. If majority of the parties come together and insist that it is the condition to guarantee free and fair elections, I believe that INEC will succumb. We are going to work on that.