Chief Olayinka Amos, is one of the leaders of PDP in Lagos State. He speaks on the ongoing crisis in the party following its failure to hold its national convention, and other issues. BOLA BADMUS brings excerpts:
The PDP could not hold its national convention last Wednesday. What is your comment on this development?
I am not really surprised about the thing not holding. I knew that it would not hold because there was no way you would expect injustice to thrive in democracy. In the situation we find ourselves, is it right now? Ali Modu Sheriff was on his own, you went and brought him in as PDP national chairman in an acting capacity. Now that you have brought him in, if you want to remove him, there is a process the thing would go through before you can do it. The PDP constitution is there. Follow what the constitution says, not that you will tell him that “you are no more our chairman.” This is not a military era. The military ruled the country for a long time and, therefore, the whole system has been militarised. It is about time we tried to see the way democracy works. We should operate the way democracy allows. This is not a jungle.
Sheriff was given a three-month mandate to serve and thereafter conduct a national convention and he agreed to that decision. People are asking why it is difficult for him to honour the agreement.
It is difficult for him because before you can vacate a position, it is there in the PDP constitution how he will vacate. You just don’t come overnight and say “leave the place.”
In your view, is Sheriff trying to succeed himself in office by converting himself from acting capacity to the substantive chairman of the PDP?
You know, the national chairmanship of PDP is not useful to Sheriff. It is just that he is a member of the party and they brought him in, in an acting capacity. That is why he is there and he didn’t go there on his own. Once the process is put in place and the constitution is followed, he will leave the place. He would vacate immediately.
When you look at the fortunes of PDP as an opposition party right now following what happened at Port-Harcourt, what do you think is really amiss in the party?
There is nothing amiss in the party. We are operating a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules, but the minority must have their say. What is going on in Nigeria now is democracy under pressure because it is new to us; we are in the learning process.
Do you think the party would be able to recover and win the 2019 poll?
Why not? You know APC has not stayed in power for long. Nigerians are already tired of them, they are tired. If they say we should do election now, PDP will beat APC.
In spite of the crisis?
Forget about the crisis. Nigerians are disenchanted with APC, so how can you vote for a party you are disenchanted with? No. PDP will win, even though PDP is in crisis. Once there is election, they would unite.
What is the way out of the crisis?
Look, we are the same family, we have been in a situation worse than this before, we got over it. We are still going to get over this one, believe you me, Insha Allah.
Can we have your assessment of APC and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, and what advice do you have for them on how to do things better?
APC has good people to manage the country. There is somebody like Babatunde Fashola. I believe so much in him, he is an achiever. If given time, he would achieve. But you know what is wrong with APC government is that President Muhammadu Buhari has a special background and he is in charge.