Written by Halima Musa, Kano Friday, 29 July 2011 05:00
Barrister Ibrahim Shehu Birma is among those aspiring for the post of PDP National Chairman from Borno State. Born 51 years ago, Birma was called to the bar in 1985. He has been in partisan politics since the UNCP days and is today a major stakeholder in PDP in Borno State. In this interview, he states reasons he wants to lead the PDP. Excerpts:
You declared your interest to lead the PDP as national chairman. Why do you think you are suitable for the job?
First, there is no doubt that the party has zoned the position of national chairman to the North East and it is a good decision. Secondly, this is democracy where people are free to declare their interests for such a position in the party. But I will say that my immediate constituency, that is Borno axis, deserves this position. Then coming to myself, I will say I am very qualified because of my contribution in the party since inception, and particularly in the last election, with regards to the presidential primaries and later the general elections in which the PDP performed like never before in the state. I took part in the management of our congresses at the local government level where we resolved so many problems to bring peace to the party. So I think I’m in a better position, by virtue of age, experience and acceptance among PDP supporters at local level to continue to provide leadership in the party.
Some people say you have never held any position in the party to have the experience that will make you capable of chairing the party at national level; what is your reaction to this?
Nothing starts from the top. Definitely it has to start from somewhere. But that does not mean that I don’t have experience in other spheres of human endeavour. I have been a practicing lawyer for over a decade. I have also been into business and I have at the moment a very large number of staff in my employ. To have successfully achieved that, you should know that it has afforded me lots of experience in life. So to harness resources for the betterment of our party will not be a difficult task.
If at the end you are elected as the national chairman of the PDP, what will you do to move the party forward?
First, we will look at the issue of internal democracy. You can see from recent activities, particularly the last two elections, 2007 and 2011, there have been negative fallouts from primaries of our great party. I said earlier that I have experience in resolving such fallouts from primary elections or congresses of our party in Borno State, especially at the local government election. I feel the same thing can be replicated at whatever level. PDP’s main problems have resulted from the fallout from primary elections. They usually bring divisions within the party and sometimes cost us the general election. By the grace of God, if elected, I will also ensure that meaningful reconciliation takes place in the party at all levels so that we can move PDP forward. Our regime will be transparent, open and democratic.
What are your final words?
As it is now, I have declared for the national chairmanship of PDP. I’m from Borno and the chairmanship has been zoned to the North East where my state falls. In Borno State even though we are currently not under a PDP government, we won two Senate seats, two House of Representatives and seven House of Assembly seats. That is remarkable. From nowhere in the recent past, we have come to this stage.
Now if Borno State eventually clinches the national chairmanship position, it will enhance the fortunes of our party in not only Borno State but neighbouring Yobe State. We will take PDP to the next level by God’s grace. We will take a holistic view of all the problems within and then we will be proactive; we won’t allow problems to crop up before we start to look for solutions. We will also consult frequently with the founding fathers on what is best for the party.