Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Deputy Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship campaign of Kaduna State, Danjuma Sarki has said that the party will reclaim its mandate at the tribunal.
How much support did your party enjoy during the last governorship election?
Obviously, the support for our party and its candidates in the last election was indeed massive, both during the governorship and the presidential elections. There is no doubt that we recorded the highest votes in both elections but we were rigged out by the All Progressives Congress (APC), using government power in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies. They subverted the mandate of the people that was freely given to us. If you are a keen follower of events in Kaduna State you know that Buhari and El-Rufai never won those elections, but figures were concocted by the government and handed over to INEC who handed over to the so called lecturers who announced the false figures in favour of the APC. They used the military and Police most especially, to beat up, molest, harass and intimidate voters, our party agents and supporters.
Your party lost to the ruling APC at the governorship election on allegations that some PDP members sold out and betrayed the party. How true is this?
First and foremost, our party did not lose the governorship or the presidential election; rather we were rigged out by the APC, INEC and the security agencies. Therefore, the allegations that some PDP members sold out and betrayed the party does not even arise. It is falsehood and outright lies. The PDP members that were planning to sell out and betray the party were discovered early enough, so they had to defect because they realised they couldn’t succeed with their hatchet job. The allegation that is going on now was hatched by the ruling APC government. It is nothing but a plan to cause disaffection amongst our party members. They are currently making frantic effort to induce some of our members with money and promise of appointment if they can help them to cause rancour within the PDP because they are jittery and are aware of the level of manipulation they carried out during the election. However, their plan has failed woefully because our party and candidate are resolute in the pursuit of our mandate at the tribunal.
Soon after the election, your candidate, Isah Ashiru went to the election tribunal to challenge the winner, Nasir El-Rufai of APC. How bright is Ashiru’s chance at the tribunal?
I want to state unequivocally that our chance at the tribunal is very bright, it is evidence -based and factual. However, I would not want to discuss it further because it is before the jury and would be prejudicial.
Some political observers are saying that Ashiru should forget the case, and begin to plan ahead for 2023 governorship race. Do you support this idea?
I don’t support it in anyway. Likewise our candidate and party would never subscribe to that. Isa Ashiru is a compassionate leader who loves his people. He has been part of the developmental and giant strides of the PDP government since 1999. He was the chairman of the Appropriation committee of the Kaduna State House of Assembly throughout the days of the former governor, Ahmed Makarfi as governor. The administration brought about unprecedented development in our state. His developmental prowess and political sagacity is remarkable. Why do you expect someone with a free given mandate by the electorate to relinquish it for whatever reason? This position is that of the APC and their cohorts who are daydreaming. We are ready to pursue and reclaim our mandate. We will pursue the case up to the Supreme Court. No amount of shenanigans can dissuade us. The people are absolutely tired of the APC and want the change to be changed.
Has the PDP gone back to the drawing board after the election? If yes, what lesson did you learn, and if no what is the current strength of the party in the state?
PDP is a visionary party and it is waxing stronger with focus on the future for the betterment of the people. Certainly we have gone back to the drawing board despite being hopeful of retrieving our stolen mandate. We have learnt a lot of lessons, most especially on how to defend our mandate, need to unite our people and continue to provide the required dividends of democracy to the people. We are more committed to meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people. There is no doubt that the strength of our party is growing day by day. With the victories we have recorded in so many states so far, it’s a pointer to the fact that the people are very confident of the PDP. If not for the rigging machinery of the APC and the compromised INEC and the security agencies we would have today been ahead of the ruling party in the number of states we control and the Federal Government would have been in our kitty. Currently, even those that voted for the APC are regretting their mistakes and have realised that the PDP remains the better alternative. Our party, no doubt is the only national party in the country that is concerned about the welfare of the downtrodden. I want to assure you that by 2023 the APC will be a dead party. We are also very hopeful that Atiku Abubakar would retrieve his stolen mandate in the court. When that happens, Nigeria shall restore its lost glory. Therefore, I wish to call on the people of Kaduna State and Nigerians in general, not to despair but remain resolute as we make concerted effort to reclaim the mandate they gave us.