“Most of the founders have left PDP because our expectations are not being met. The party is now like a clique of wicked people who don’t reward loyalty.”
Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, one of the founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and a major financier of the party, Chief Emma Ejiofor has defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Ejiofor who announced his defection in Asaba, Delta State, speaks on his defection, alleging that the PDP has been hijacked and was drifting away from the dreams of the founding fathers.
Why are you leaving the house you claimed to have assisted in building?
I am one of the conveners and founders of the People Democratic Party (PDP), and over the past 20 years or thereabouts I have been associated with the party. I am taking what people may term a very difficult decision of dropping my membership of PDP and taking a progressive step of associating with the All Progressives Congress (APC). I saw PDP from birth till this moment, and when we formed PDP,
it was with great minds of progressive ideas but what we are seeing now is different from what we had in mind at formation. Most of the founders have left PDP because our expectations are not being met. The party is now like a clique of wicked people who don’t reward loyalty. And when we formed PDP what we did was to make the party stronger than any individual but what you are seeing today is an individual pocketing the party to an extent that it is becoming a regional party, such that very soon they will change name to South-South Democratic Party. And if you have a progressive mind, you have to move with progressive ideas because over the years, few people ate our future, few people took what belongs to Nigerians and in supporting what the present leadership of the country is doing, I decided with my people to move into APC so that we can make Nigeria great and the labour of heroes past will not be in vain.
As a founding member of the PDP, at what point did the party start drifting away from the vision of the founders?
Like I told you we formed the party. When you hear people say that PDP will rule for 60 years, it was as a result of our ground work. We wanted to make it a people’s government where the will of the people will prevail but from one generation of the government to the next, the thing is going down. You may not know the point but instead of going up, we are back sliding. If you see what is happening now, common sense tells you that this is the time to wake up and face the situation, a situation where homes are now banks for some people that will tell you that all is not well. So at the point of realisation you have to take a step. And I have taken mine.
Apart from the likes of Tinubu and Buhari, every person in APC today were former members of PDP and you are now joining them. What has the APC done differently that is endearing you to it?
You remember what I said, I said PDP do not reward loyalty, the reward system is very bad. A situation where if you are appointed or given a position today, you become a leader, so whatever others have contributed is not recognised. Do you expect people like us to start jostling to get a position as low as a councillor because we want to be recognised? Or I want to be chairman of local government? One thing is that politics is a game of pride, and if your pride is being touched you must protect it. You do not expect somebody like me to be retired politically at my age and experience. One of our problems in this country is lack of sustainable leadership, it has affected our economy. If you bring up this one, tomorrow another leader comes up, there is no recognition. I am not going to APC because of the people there; I am going there because it has a progressive system.
Why did it take you so long to take a decision?
If you look at the beginning of my statement, I told you it was a painful decision, it is painful that a house I built or assisted in building, I have to leave it. Every government you would wait to try if it will be okay. Let me put on record that when Solomon Lar was made national chairman of the party in 1998, the first N10 million he started with was provided between Rochas Okorocha and I. Where is Rochas today? I can no longer remain here because the Bible says that ‘must we continue in sin because grace abide.’READ
It is painful that I am leaving a house that I assisted in building that even the ‘boys’ who are billionaires now never contributed to the party, and somebody will come and pride with our common wealth. So it took me this long because of my contribution which has not be recognised, rather we are going down. So I was trying to protect the system to see whether it will be okay but we can’t remain like that forever.
We want to know if your decision to join APC is a popular decision. Delta appears a PDP state. What do you think?
When you call it PDP state, people made it so. Politics is movement of the people for the people. It was people that made it a PDP just like Nigeria was. You don’t need to be a council chairman, governor or senator before you have followers. One thing that goes with every good politician is that you must have strong character, you must have credibility and you ice it with goodwill. So whether it is a PDP state or not, whether you are renting crowd and all those things, that is not the issue at stake now, let us get to the bridge before we cross it. When we do the election, we will know who actually owns the state. There are even some people in government that are pained but because they are putting food on their tables they have to remain until the time comes. From 1998 till now,
I have been involved in everything in PDP, so for the ‘boys’ to say it is a PDP state and we cannot do anything, let us watch.
What do you think are the benefits for moving to APC?
What is on my mind now is to rescue Delta, I don’t want to talk about people but I am being open for the people of my state to benefit from the commonwealth. For that to happen, a system has to come down for a new system to emerge. We were the ones that funded the party, people like Prof. Oyovbaire were never recognised until now because it was clique called GDM. If you watch closely, except you belong to that clique, you will not be anything in this state. So for us to move forward, a system has to come down for another system to emerge. I was not a member of the GDM, I was of the UNCP stock, and it was a larger stock. I was a governorship aspirant of UNCP. You listen to Uduaghan when he spoke, he said they have Ibori dynasty and they have PDP dynasty. I belonged to the PDP dynasty. At the point of coming together we knew what happened and they knew what happened as well. When you see what is on board, if you watch from the beginning, it is either you are in that line before you are accepted to be a member of the system. I have been receiving messages appealing to me not to leave the party but I am an effective member of APC now, I have registered and I have done everything.
You are moving from PDP to APC and we all know that APC in Delta State is factionalised. Are you not jumping into troubled waters?
There is no faction in Delta APC, I have studied everything, and it is a system all of us formed. All these factions are created by the same people who say they are in government, and they do it with our money, our common wealth. You move in this way and say you fight, go to the other side and say you fight. Now that we have come in, we know the game, let’s play it together. But I have to tell you that APC in Delta State is not factionalised. It is not, most of them blowing this trumpet of factions are from a house. But as we are coming in now, we are going to rejig the system, and within a short time, you will not see the factions again.
You said you want to be effective in APC and next year is an election year. How can you be effective, are you expecting an appointment or you are going to contest for a position?
When I started PDP, I did not start with expecting an appointment. So coming to APC I want the people
to benefit. If you have the goodwill of the people and they want you to do certain things, you need to stand up and embrace them else you lose them. I don’t want to lose the people I have associated with over the years. The issue of appointment is not a consideration; I say that a system has to come down for another one to emerge so that the dividends of democracy will get to all the people, and not a few people taking our common wealth.