By: Mark Pipah
Alabo Paworiso Samuel Horsfal, chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former member of the House of Representatives, one-time Commissioner for Environment, Ecology in Rivers State and former member, Board of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) said Nigeria cannot progress without a virile opposition.
The erstwhile governorship aspirant in Rivers State, also enjoined all PDP faithful to support Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff to organise a convention for a unified PDP.
What is your take on the crisis rocking the PDP?
There is no crisis in the party. Rather, what you have is another window of fresh opportunity to re-strategise. We must recognise and grab it with both hands. We may have been doing it the wrong way. Now is an opportunity for a re-focusing and begin to think differently and do things effectively. No infantile political posturing.
As a major stakeholder in the PDP, and a peace loving statesman, I sue for peace. Togetherness will enhance our chances of taking over power at the centre in 2019. It should not be a do or die thing, we must respect the rule of law. The court says Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is chairman of the PDP, so, we must flow with this Judicial cum political strength and move on.
The seat of power of the PDP is Wadata House in Abuja, and there, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff holds sway as chairman.
Are you for Sheriff or Markarfi?
I believe in the rule of law. The court has made pronouncement, we should respect the decision of the court. The caucus loyal to Senator Ahmed Markafi, a gentleman of repute should not fore-close making truce with the Sen. Ali Modu-Sheriff camp which recently got legal validity. This is the way to go: one indivisible house. All PDP faithful should rally around Sheriff, until another judgment from a court of superior jurisdiction gives contrary judgment.
It is alleged that Sheriff is a mole sponsored by the APC to destabilise the PDP. Do you agree?
I dont perceive so, from his body language. He is an open minded , selfless and modest person. He may still be interested in increasing the loop to accommodate solid opinions and materials to enhance our chances in 2019 and beyond. He has initiated a new spirit and fresh commitment for the growth of the PDP. Moreover, he has started thinking of convention. Whosoever that is opposed to a convention is fanning the embers of political failure, or has an alternative. For us stakeholders, there is just one PDP. Both ends of the sword must be welded, I still maintain.
With this internal wobbling, how do you become a vibrant opposition?
We must come together as one. We need to return to the centre. The essence of opposition is to keep the government in place on its toes, to enhance good governance and effective service delivery for the benefit of all. Where the opposition is weak due to internal wrangling, the government at the top will transform to autocracy and slide further downwards into poor performance, because nobody is asking questions. Is that what we want in the PDP and in Nigeria? No! It is in the interest of democracy that we have a virile opposition, where checks and balances must be seen to be active and democracy sustained. In this case, the Judiciary is key! We must respect the Courts to sustain our democracy. Let us borrow a leaf from the American President, Donald Trumps’ Immigration Policy which the US Supreme Court turned down.
You are calling for truce, whereas most members of your party are heading to the Supreme Court for another round of war…
(cuts in ) Going to Court is not war but civility. But bad blood will creep in and the PDP becomes the loser. Sheriff has a lot of supporters, Makarfi also. Both ends must come together to salvage the soul of our great party. We must think positive and dwell on the things that brought us together. We must avoid things and comments that separate us and draw lessons therefrom. After all, even in our matrimonial homes, we sometimes, disagree in principle and address the challenges to agree again, for the home to become homely.
There is no need to haul attacks on anybody. This is time for truce. We need a unified party. Going to the Supreme Court will still take our time. Is it what we need at this point? We must close ranks, otherwise we may be confronted with a herculean challenge to surmount, and perhaps impossible to arise from the ashes that may ensue early enough from the self-inflicted political injury to face the electorate.
Is Sheriff the solution to PDP future and success?
We must look at the macrocosm and go beyond Sheriff and Markafi. Our responsibility is to deliver democracy dividends to Nigerians. We must show great compassion to Nigerians. The people are suffering, yet there is a government at the centre.
The PDP must look inwards, come together and extricate the suffering masses from the pangs of poverty, hopelessness, resignation and misery.
All the 170 million Nigerians living in this space called a country are staying on their own Islands. While we praise and savour the progress of other climes not as endowed as Nigeria, the political elite here is busy doing infighting, looting and primitively accumulating the commonwealth of the people. So, no more time left to think of those
What is the way forward?
I am convinced that everyone of us will toe the life-line of peace for the advancement of the party. All the organs of the PDP should perform their specific functions in line with the dictates of our chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff to achieve what the PDP must achieve in 2019. I also wish to congratulate, Hon. Bernard Miko, our son, who is the National Publicity Secretary of the Party for this appointment. It is an eloquent testimony of hardwork, loyalty and dexterity.