From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande-Adeola is one of the stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that is happy over the Supreme Court’s ruling that ended the leadership crisis of the party. She speaks on what’s next for the opposition party and the speculated return of the former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Christopher Alao-Akala to the PDP.
What’s your reaction to the ruling of the Supreme Court on the leadership of your party?
Many Nigerians would agree that the judgment is not just a good one for PDP, but for the whole of Nigeria. It is bound to entrench democracy. It is a judgment that has brought joy to every democrat. If it had gone the other way, it would be difficult to imagine what would have happened to democracy in Nigeria. In democracy, the majority would always have their way and those that wanted a strong opposition are the majority. Indeed, I see it as a divine intervention.
It is time to patch up our differences, especially among us that are still in PDP and for those who have left. I will appeal to our members who left when things were uncertain, to come back, because PDP to me is the only democratic party. You may say I am speaking like a party member, but honestly this is the fact. Yes, mistakes were made, but nobody is above mistake. Really, it is time for us to move forward and the way forward is to fashion- out new means of doing things within the party. We need to present practicable solutions to the people. I believe we must come up with strategies on how to rejuvenate out party and turn a new leaf.
With the leadership problem over, is the PDP now ready play the role of opposition?
When you say ready, it is as if we were never ready. We have always been ready but we had some distractions. Since the distractions have been dealt with, we will defiantly do the needful.
Some have said the PDP could build on Supreme Court ruling towards recapturing power in 2019. Are you thinking in this direction?
PDP would definitely make significant impact come 2019. You saw the reaction of Nigerians all over the federation after the judgment. The reactions which came from different parts of the country go a long way to show that people didn’t really stop seeing PDP as that party they can rely on. In fact, once again, they see PDP as the party they can count on, forget all those issues in the media on corruption.
Are you saying the people are no longer angry with the PDP?
That (high level of corruption) was not why the party lost the presidential election. All this talk about corruption came up after the current administration, which is known for saying this person, or that person is corrupt, came on board. But you know these allegations are not substantiated. You need to go to court to find somebody guilty. You can’t just accuse someone on the pages of newspaper and expect that it is the end of that person, if you feel someone has done something wrong, go to court and when such person is convicted then, you are right but when he is freed, that then makes it a false accusation. So they are two different things, I agree that we made mistakes, I’ve said this before. But you cannot expect us to be perfect. The most important thing for any government is for it to address problems holistically and carry the people along. These two things aren’t easy, I am sure Nigerians know how much we tried to meet their expectations; some people are now praising us. Nigeria is not a small country, it is made up of different people and for us we were able to carry much more people along, life was not difficult, things were moving.
So you believe the APC-led government has made life more difficult for Nigerians?
Maybe you have to ask those who voted in this government, those who have been complaining that things are not going well. People have talked about the economic downturn; there have been a lot of complaints. But right now, am basking in the euphoria of our judgment not talking about this government, when people ask me to rate this government and I tell them, I did not vote for this government, so there is no way I can rate them.
But you are a Nigerian and should be concerned about how things are going? Yes, I am a Nigerian, but since I did not vote for a certain candidate or party, I must have reasons for not voting either, maybe it is because I felt my (PDP) government would have done better. So for those who felt the current administration were a better choice, they should tell us how well the government is performing. For us, we are looking at ways to stage a comeback in 2019.
There is speculation that former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Christopher Alao_Akala will be returning to the PDP to take another shot at Agodi House. Would his return be good for your party?
He is my brother, I don’t know the issues that made him leave PDP, but we are expecting him to come back. We are also expecting a lot of others to come back. The party is open to all, that want to come back because we need the numbers. But I am so concerned about us getting the process right. For instance, all women get in the party is the post of national women leader. For me, men can have the position of women leader, if they want. Right now, what we are asking for are key positions, where we can make positive impute and have our voice heard, because women have long been marginalised.
Do you support the call for restructuring?
Recently we had a national conference, one would expect that the report from it be looked into and implemented. If that’s not the case, then we should bring representatives together to discuss on issues that seem to be bothering the people, issues like how the nation’s resources and opportunities as well as positions are shared.
Dialoguing on national matters and issues worrying people of different backgrounds is important in a democracy. Even in developed countries, we still have people claiming to be marginalized in one way or the other and their governments try their best to reduce such complaints.
We can’t have a federal system and not have some of challenges we are seeing. We should be patriotic and look at national issues from the nationalistic perspective, that way we would not have issue of marginalisation.