interviewBy Ibrahim Abdul'aziz
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur spoke with journalists in Yola yesterday on his leadership's objective at PDP and dodged questions about his son's involvement in fuel subsidy scandal. Excerpts:
PDP and its promises to the people
Now, if you entered a covenant with the people and they accepted your party, they expect you to perform after they have elected you into office. If you have the party supremacy, the party should be able to ensure that all elected people are accountable to the electorate.
The government works on the basis of its own policy. In the party, the covenant with the people is very important. Let the people decide since we say it is democracy we want. When the people decide, you act. The party leadership should ensure that that trust that existed before should be maintained.
I offered myself as chairman of the party because I found out that the house we built seems to be reducing, hence the need for the transformations I came with a focus and my programme as national chairman of the party. I gave them first of all triple R, which represent Reconcilaitions, Reformation and Rebuilding the PDP based on equity and justice. I also gave them triple E, meaning Energy security, Environmental sustainability and Education.
I'm not on the seat to enrich myself, but to bring about changes and transformation, being a founding member of the PDP. For me, it is to payback. I want to be remembered as someone that brought changes and ideas to the PDP. I don't lie, and at this departure lounge, I think I must do the right thing, if I want to be honoured and remembered.
Having examined the state of the party, I came out with a triple 'R' agenda for the party to ensure the entrenchment of internal democracy, party discipline and justice. Members' contributions in this respect will go a long way in achieving our set objectives.
The idea is to be democratic and to deepen democracy. That is the aggregate of the wishes of the majority who founded the party, and I'm one of them. It was our belief that it is only through the platform of a political party that a United States of Africa can evolve. The party was designed not only to have a national appeal even to go beyond our shore.
Let me tell you, when we were forming this party, we interacted with the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. They are the richest party in Africa. Their members contribute to the funding of the party. By the grace of God this is the path we want to thread. Party is like a club. When you are a member of a club you pay its dues. We shall strive to show people how to be productive. If you are a member of a party, that party should be able to teach you how to fish and not to give you fish. We have to win the hearts of the Nigerian people. If we fail to win their hearts, they will never vote for us. People say PDP will rule forever, it is a lie. We can only rule forever if the party continue to do the right thing that it was known for.
His son's travail
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, deplored attempts by critics to crucify him for his son's role in the oil subsidy theft, saying that as an adult, his son is old enough to answer for his actions, and wonder why journalists are more sensational or are personalizing issues and he asks, " which story never sold, people are only looking for bad side of a person. If it's positive story you don't care, but if it's negative it can be flashed out, Bamanga's son in trouble, or Bamanga's son blabla with screaming headlines because you want to sell your papers, and it has become a story."
He noted with concern that since the reported arraignment of his son, the trial seems to have not only shifted from the courts to the media, but also shifted from the son to the father.
On controversial PDP Primaries
Let me tell you, like a judge we will hit the nail straight. If you do the right thing, nothing will happen, because I'm not a chairman who will see wrong doings and closed his eyes. No, I am not that kind of person.