–EX-MINISTER, ABBA GANA
Former FCT Minister, Mr. Mohammed Abba Gana is a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this brief encounter with FRED ITUA, the Borno State-born politician bares his mind on Nigerian politics, the PDP convention, the build up to 2019 general elections especially the presidential race, among others.
Your take on the emergence of next PDP chairman?
Getting a good national chairman who has no baggage is very critical to the resurgence of the PDP. That person must be a true team leader who cannot be blackmailed. The PDP needs a consummate, yet discerning and diligent chairman because the APC is very vindictive and full of vendetta and vile propaganda. We need a dedicated chairman with good character attributes. That chairman, must be totally committed to our party and its binding philosophy. We must get it right by electing an unblemished field marshal. Above all, we need a competent national chairman who has solid capacity to mobilize and galvanize our party members and supporters across the country.
What about the 2019 elections and the kind of candidates parties should produce?
A central goal of the new leadership of the PDP will be to midwife the emergence of a strong presidential candidate who is generally acceptable throughout the country and has the capacity to confront and defeat the incumbent president at the poll. Anything short of that cannot suffice, because the incumbent can easily overwhelm somebody with limited political experience and exposure. We must emphasise and enforce justice, fairness, equity and balance in all our dealings. We must strengthen internal democracy in our fold, so that the recklessness and impunity of the recent years will not be repeated. We must provide level playing field for all and enhance transparency in our process.
Do you think the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has a chance in 2019?
In 2015, through rampant cases of imposition of candidates, a lot of people became angry and worked against the PDP. The campaigns leading to the 2019 elections should be issue based, devoid of pretences and falsehoods. Nigerians are definitely getting wiser and wiser, therefore lies, propaganda and empty rhetoric alone can no longer work magic for any political party or candidate this time. People have seen the reality on ground. They have seen both sides of the coin. As the saying goes, seeing is believing and feeling the situation is the ultimate decider. Nigerians are suffering. The verifiable achievements on ground, practical manifesto and programme are what the electorate will be looking for. The matter of unity, peace, understanding and wellbeing of Nigerians will also be in the front burner this time. This time around, the party must take cognisance of our national diversity and the sensibilities of the various parts of the country. As much as possible, no group or section should be left behind or excluded. There is the need to reappraise and adopt new strategies for defeating insurgency and curbing radicalisation in the North East.
Will economy and job creation play key roles in 2019?
Of course, economy should be the central issue in the campaigns and build up to the 2019 electoral contest. Workable strategies for combating unemployment through job creation including youth and women should receive priority attention. When our young ones are engaged profitably, violent crimes and extremism would be drastically reduced.
There is certainly no way we can continue like this with the level of insecurity rising in the land. Just consider the wave of banditry in Zamfara state, the spate of kidnappings in Kogi, Kaduna, Edo, Lagos and FCT as well as rising statistics of armed robbery attacks in virtually all parts of the country. Most of these vices and anti-social acts have their immediate and remote roots in poverty and unemployment as well as inability to partake in profitable engagements.