In this interview with Senior Deputy Editor, Jacob Segun Olatunji, the Peoples Democratic Party and deputy national youth leader, Honourable Alonge Niyi Dennis, bares his mind on various issues, including the crisis rocking party.
What is your take on the crises rocking the PDP?
It’s very unfortunate that PDP as a party found itself at this level. I tell you any member of our party that says he is not worried is only deceiving himself. I’m worried because as a party today, it is expected of us to provide a viable opposition to the ruling party. But it is unfortunate we have found ourselves at this level. Let me just say the G84, I mean all of us, the Deputies that make G84, are all worried and even in the embattled National Working Committee, nobody is happy.
What effort is being made by the G84 for the peaceful resolution of the crisis?
The issue on ground goes beyond the G84. They, as a body, may not have a specific role except for them to mediate if the leadership of the party carries them along. Let’s just put the G84 aside and discuss the role of the deputy national officers. The eight deputy national officers were elected at the Special National Commission on August 2013 and they have gone to court to seek legal interpretation concerning their tenure. The judgment some weeks ago by Justice Mohammed of the FCT, Abuja did rule that the tenure of the 18 national officers would not expire between now and 2017. The judgment led to the deputy national officers of the party publishing a statement to warn members from contesting election to any of these positions. This is where we are.
Up till date, nobody in the party has consulted us. Although we’ve been meeting here and there, as a body nobody has consulted us and we are still waiting. We believe that the party should be allowed to move forward. But, there is a need for every member of the party to be carried along.
You said you and others are ready for a peaceful resolution of the crisis, what form of sacrifice are you ready to make?
It is in our interest that PDP should move forward. As party members, it is our interest that all the crises in the party be resolved but, our position is that we should seat at a round-table to discuss these issues holistically so that everybody will be happy at the end of the day.
We’re ready to make sacrifice but the sacrifice will be meaningless where we’re not carried along. That’s our position. The deputies should be carried along in the resolution of the crises. As at today, it is just the governors forum, the national caucus, BoT and the Makarfi led caretaker committee are meeting here and there but, nobody has consulted the complainants. We have court judgment that still recognises us as national officers of the party. So if you ask me today, I’ll tell you that I am still the deputy National Youth Leader of the party. That’s the position of the law.
A member of the National Working Committee has already declared his support for caretaker committee put in place in Port Harcourt, what’s your position on this?
It’s not just one of the members. I’ll say the former deputy national chairman of the party led by Prince Uche Secondus lured six NWC members to declare support in the committee. I don’t see anything wrong in what they’ve done because they must know why they took such decision. But let me say that information at our disposal actually showed that they were influenced by the governors’ forum to take such position. And as usual, the same people do take drastic decision anytime something exchanged hand. So, we’re not surprise for the position Secondus and Co have taken now.
But the decision taken by them will not solve the crisis on ground because this is not the best approach for them — to dump the national chairman, national secretary and co; supporters of the Alhaji Modu Sherif-led NWC. We’re part and parcel of the NWC and deputies because our elections were conducted same day and the same court ruling binding the party from conducting the election to their offices really is binding the other 18 officers. So, in my view, it is expected that before they took that decision, they should have sat with all the national and deputy national officers to discuss the matter. For them to have been influenced by the governors’ forum, it a brings lot of embarrassment to the party and it will not quicken the resolution of this crisis.