I’m better grounded in party intrigues, administration – Adeniran
Prof. Tunde Adeniran believes failed managers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)need not be considered for the position of national chairman of the party in the December 9 National Convention, and that as a political technocrat he has the knack and depth to turn the fortunes of the party around in 2019. In this interview with EMEKA NZE he highlights his vision for the party.
What do you consider as your selling points in the forthcoming contest for next chairman?
I was a founding member of the party. No other aspirant can make such claim. I also believe that by virtue of my background, not only as a professor of political science, but l have been involved in practical politics for some decades now.
I have been a participant observer, and I have known the internal workings, not just only of systems but also of party machinery.I know that what we have now is the need to mobilise Nigerians nationwide to support this great party.
Our party is the only one you can get in all the 8, 809 wards of this country, no other party can make that claim. I am familiar with local governments nationwide them because I have had the privilege and opportunity of interacting and mobilising people across the zones, and from state to state.
I know our weaknesses, I know our shortcomings, and when I put this against the background of the vision and mission of the party, I know where the rains started to beat us. I know the art of omissions and commissions, which derailed the party, and people will know that such a person who has this standing will put things right.
Of course, the party needs unity now and I’m one person that can bring that unity about and move it forward. I also have the blueprint for the consolidation and repositioning of the party to ensure that we win in the forthcoming elections. By the grace of God, when we takeover governance in most states of the federation and also the national level, there will be good governance.
Some say your age and lack of party administration are your hindrances?
I do not know what they mean. We have had some chairmen of the party in the past who used their experiences to work hard for the party. I’m not as old as, at least, two or three of them at the time they were chairmen of the party. At my age, I have the agility, capacity and I am mentally alert. In the next decade, by the grace of God, I will still be fit and strong to serve the nation and my party.
I look forward to a time we will have people who will be chairman of the party when they were in their 30s or 40s. But at the present moment, we need someone with the wealth of experience, who can really blend theories with practise, and more importantly, not incapacitated somehow. I believe that rather than being a negative element or factor, it is an advantage because I have seen it all.
I have seen various parties formed, I know why some parties have failed, I know why some attained some degree of success, and know what have to be done to have a near perfect, or at least, a model party, which I want to turn the PDP to so that it will be a model, not just to parties in Nigeria but the rest of Africa.
And the second issue as someone who never had party administration. By administration, I do not know what they need about that. By virtue of my training, I know what party administration is. The fact that someone carries the party title does not make him proficient or efficient or have developed some capacity in political party administration.
I have been involved in several committees of the party. I have been involved, going back to the second, third republic in terms of serving parties in different capacities. In the present administration, my service to the PDP has been in various committees. There is not a single year, since the formation of the party that I do not have to serve in one committee or the order. I have been involved on real political engineering within the party system and structure.
Yes, I may not have been National Secretary or Vice Chairman of the party before, but that does not take anything away from my knowledge of how a party should be run. And if some of those who run the party previously had done some of the things that ought to have been done, may be, there wouldn’t have been any need for some of us to want to go and re-do or reposition the party, and run the party the way parties should be run.
We owe it a duty to ensure internal democracy in the party. Some of those who were there could not put down their feet and do the needful to ensure that we have internal party democracy. That is why mpunity was tolerated, imposition was tolerated. That is not how to run a party. Party administration does not reside solely in those who merely carry some party titles.
Some fear you could be used to hijack the party because you appear to lack the capacity to stamp your feet on issues. How do you intend to resist such overbearing forces?
Well, I understand the various forces within the party – the contending forces. I know the various tendencies – some ideological, some not too ideological. I’m a very decisive and courageous person, who does not compromise, particularly on principle. Am also a democrat, and I owe no apology for being a democrat.
The party does not belong to a single person. There will be members of the committee – the National Working Committee, who will be elected along with me. I will work closely with them. There are organs of the party, I will also carry them along. They are members of the party who do not necessarily belong to these organs, I also have to serve them.
My determination is to be people oriented, without compromising principles. I am not going to pass the bulk. Whoever thinks, or plans to hijack the PDP under my leadership is just wasting his time because that will not happen. But I am not going to run an autocratic administration. We are going to follow the dictates of our party. The motto says: “Power to the People!” And that power will be exercised by us in the interest of the people, who will be involved in the decision making process.
We’re not going to abandon NEC; we’re not going to abandon the caucus, and all stakeholders will be considered when we’re taking vital decisions. Dictatorship is over. That does not mean there will be any group or any individual who will succeed to hijack the party administration, it will simply will not happen.
People are of the view that the PDP has not really been playing the role of an opposition party, as an alternative to the government in power?
I will not just make Nigerian people feel the impact of PDP as opposition party, as a party in government in waiting, because we know their pains. We know that the APC lied to get into power. They promised what they could not deliver, claiming what they cannot be capable of, and led the people to believe that they have the competence, the capacity to do certain things, which they have proven incapable of. Nigerians are no fools.
We will not allow Nigerians to be taken for a ride any more, but we will be constructive in our criticisms, base them on issues, not mere fallacies countering fallacies. We will base them on concrete issues that will be tackled in the national interest.