Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Abdullahi Jalo has stated that perception of the north in 2019 will determine the success of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the region at the next general elections.
Accordingly he said only persons perceived to be credible candidates could generate interest and acceptance for the party in the north.
Also, he said the strength of the PDP should not be measure by Gombe and Taraba states, which the party presently controls out of 19 states in the region, adding that the yearnings and aspirations of the north and northern interests will also play major role.
The former deputy spokesperson of the PDP noted that the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration from the point of view of the interest of the north is also part of the factors that will determine how the PDP will fare in the north.
“The in-road into the north by PDP depends on credibility, if they can bring somebody that is credible. Don’t look at it based on the number of states they are controlling in the north. Look at it from the perception of the northerners, whether Buhari has done much for the North.
“You look at it base on the yearnings and aspirations of the north and northern interests. You look at it from the point of view of, for instance, whether Buhari has fulfilled the requirements of the North. The dredging of the River Niger down to Taraba State, has he used his position to tap the solid minerals in Nassarawa State, ensure oil exploration of oil in the North. So the north has its own interest.
“We are talking of restructuring and the president is our son, there are some things he can do inward, which have not been done. So you don’t look at the few numbers of states being controlled by PDP in the north, but whether Buhari has done much for the North.”
However, he berated the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, for reportedly contravening the party rules over his recent declaration of interest to seek for the PDP presidential ticket, saying that the governor wants to take the party to the era of former national chairman, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff.
In the view of Jalo, Fayose’s past utterances will reportedly affect him particularly in the north, alleging that the North is ‘afraid’ of the Ekiti governor because of his criticism of past presidents who were of northern extraction.
“More so his previous utterances has affected his image, many northerners are afraid of him. He said he is tired of attending national burials. He said Murtala, (Mohammed), (Gen. Sani) Abacha and (Umar) Yar’Adua all died in office and that Buhari will equally die in office. Northerners are afraid of him because of his previous utterances.
“You don’t make that kind of confrontational and aggressive statement against a certain section of the country. Now, I cannot insult respected leaders like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and say I want to be president of Nigeria, because they have followers and they have done a lot for this country,” Jalo said.
He maintained that: “Fayose wants to draw us back to the period of Ali Modu Sheriff. He wants to bring back confusion, because he was part and parcel of that decision. You know the PDP caucus sat down with the Board of Trustee and it came to the Governors’ Forum and then the National Executive Council (NEC). All these processes took place and it was adopted, so for him now to say he wants to contest, it means he has an ulterior motive.
“He is not supposed to behave like that, considering the fact that Fayose is a responsible leader. And he knows what zoning means and what it is all about. More so he was part and parcel of that decision, so for him to have reneged that means he has something hidden.
“The issue is that he is doing it for recognition, so that he could be considered as vice presidential running mate, but you don’t seek for an office by violating the laid down procedure of your party.
“The party has spoken, even if it is not in conformity with your interest you have to agree because the party is greater than anybody. The party made him what he is today so he has to respect the party rules,” Jalo added.