Acting Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed says the party lost the 2015 presidential election because it took things for granted.
“We took it for granted that the people of the country had accepted PDP as attested to in a number of states that accepted PDP, not only as ruling party at the federal level, but also as state governments. We took it for granted that our legislators will come back, but, unfortunately, the leadership of the party did not handle the primaries well. We took it for granted that whether we removed and replaced or not, whoever got the PDP ticket will win the elections and it turned out that it was not so. Nigerians have become more enlightened, they are voting more on the quality of the candidate than on blind loyalty to the party and we did not handle the primaries very well and that is a mistake that we have learnt from our actions and we will correct it come 2019.
“We took for granted that the elections will be fought on issues and ideology and not on religion and tribal bases. That did not happen especially in the North where preachers in the mosques were demonising PDP, condemning PDP to hell and threatening our voters that voting for any PDP candidate was like buying your ticket to hell. All these things happened, but we didn’t envisage that politics will come down to that level; so we took it for granted that it will be based on policies and ideologies.
Mohammed, however, said that the party has learnt its lessons.
“We have learnt from this experience and, as you can see, PDP is full of people with ideas, great intelligence and we will sit back and re- adjust and we will bounce back in 2019. Looking at the APC line up, all of them with a few exception were trained by PDP in politics, so where they learnt, the residue is still there and we will stir it up and come back with a bang,” he promised.
The Kebbi State-born politician said the PDP was ready to offer a credible opposition to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The role of the opposition is to offer an alternative to policy and to try to bring the government back on track when it tries to derail. So essentially, the role of opposition is to advice the government and offer alternative where government feels to be clueless on any issue. We already have people of experience, people of high level of integrity and knowledge and we have done governance for 16 years. We are very well placed to play the opposition role of telling the government this is not how to do it and this is what you should be doing; if they listen, of course they will succeed, but if they don’t listen, then the people of Nigeria will see what is happening and when it is time for the next election, they will decide,” he said.
He advised the ruling party to keep its election promises. The only advice I can give is that they should keep their promises to the people. The people expect power to operate normally, they expect security to be restored and enhanced, they expect all aspects of Nigerian life to operate smoothly whether it is education, health, transportation,” he said.