Senator Haruna Aziz Zego, who represented Southern Senatorial district of Kaduna State from 1999 to 2003 in the Senate, contested for the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the 2015 election but lost to Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. In this interview with AMOS TAUNA in Kaduna, Zego said it would take the PDP a long time to wrest power from the APC. Excerpts Senator Haruna Aziz Zego, who represented Southern Senatorial district of Kaduna State from 1999 to 2003 in the Senate, contested for the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for the 2015 election but lost to Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. In this interview with AMOS TAUNA in Kaduna, Zego said it would take the PDP a long time to wrest power from the APC. Excerpts 

 

Recently the country witnessed a change of leadership in the Presidential election, how do you see the emergence of the opposition party and what do you think went wrong with the ruling party that has been in power since 1999?

Well, l want you to understand one thing, democracy has been in Nigeria for the past 16 years and definitely, the more you romance with somebody for quite some times the less you have more interest in the person hence the need for a new person. I think that is what has happened to PDP today. The party did not take the necessary precautions to save guide its interest. I am a member of the PDP and l can boldly tell you that l am one of those who brought PDP to Kaduna State led by our leader then, Professor Ango Abdullahi. Probably because of what has been going on in the PDP, he decided to leave the PDP for another political party which happened to be APC that is going to rule the country for the next four year. What happened with PDP is because they are over drunk with power; they felt they could do whatever they like without making reference to the people that have the vote to ensure the existence of the party as a ruling one. Since they did not consider the views of the members any longer, the opposition party, APC, grabbed the opportunity and thereby led to the situation of what we are witnessing today in the country. They were not considering the opinion of people to choose who should be their leader at all levels of governance. They felt they can appoint anybody whether or not he or she was the popular choice of the people. So, this is why it has come to what it is today. But it is our hope and prayer that they have learnt from this grievous mistake to correct and rearrange what they can in order to bring sanity into the party.

Do you see APC bringing the needed change people are clamoring for in the country this time around?

Well, you see APC is trying to get a wider support in the country as PDP got from the beginning of the present political dispensation. PDP is well known all over the country and that was why they did not work very hard to win the hearts of the Nigerians and as a result, certain people just made up their minds to do what seem good to them without thinking of the general good of the people. The inability of the party to take the campaign seriously affected the performance of the party couple with internal crisis in the party pave the way for the opposition party, APC to have a field day in the 2015 general elections. You can now see the different between APC and PDP, APC worked very hard to bring people along with them hence the results of the elections favoured the party. APC, having seen how they have suffered to come to where they are today, will perform very well to maintain what they have and for the PDP to take the people away from the APC, it will take them quite some times in the politics of the country. If PDP work harder, they will be able to win the hearts of Nigerians again. APC will also like to maintain what they have so that nobody will take away what they have suffered to achieve in recent time. So, l foresee APC working even harder to maintain their popularity in the country so that they will continue to enjoy the support of Nigerians in years to come.

Why do you still remain in PDP after all that the party went through in terms of its policy of lack of internal democracy which affected the party?

I still remain in the PDP because of principle. I believe PDP is a good party if we have good leaders who will ensure equity, justice and fair play in the affairs of the party. Myself, Late Dauda Tsoho, Late Col. Yohana Madaki and Professor Ango Abdullahi brought PDP in Kaduna State. Professor Ango Abdullahi was our leader when we brought the party in the state but left the party for reasons best known to him. As for us, particularly myself, l look at it as if when your house is getting bad, you should try and repair it so that it could become habitable and that is why l still remain in PDP because the party has a wider range of coverage more than any other party. Although they were not handling the situation in a manner that would soften the grievances that are coming from members of the party and the general public, they don’t consider the feelings of the people but they do what they want. PDP can only be relevant in the political scene if the leadership do what is expected of it by carrying the people along in all its affairs and respect the views of its members in every decision. Most of those that have left the party to APC only did that to get appointments or to be recognized. For PDP to regain back its members that left the party and also its lost glory after the inauguration of APC depends on the way and manner the party conducts itself in the country as an opposition party.

You contested the governorship of Kaduna State on the platform of PDP and lost in the primaries to Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. Didn’t you strategized your plan very well or what actually happened?

It wasn’t a matter of strategy. I want you to understand one thing, l have been a political leader of Southern Kaduna since 1998 and if l didn’t know how to play the game as it is supposed to be, most of those who won their elective positions through the party wouldn’t have won. If l can help other people to win election, and coming to me, l don’t know how to use that experience to win election, then something is wrong with me. As far as l am concerned, it is not that l didn’t know how to strategize but only that some people felt somebody like me shouldn’t be anything, that was why they worked against me. It is left for them to do whatever they wanted to do. As far as l am concern, l had my support, l did what l can to ensure my victory by following the rules of the game. I didn’t go for the contest because l wanted to be governor for myself but l wanted to be governor for the entire people of the state in order to put certain things straight as it is in an ideal society. I wanted to ensure equity and fair play in the art of governance in the state so that all will be carried along as a constituency. The people who came out to look for governorship from Southern Kaduna, the only tentative person is Jimmy Doung but he was not strong enough to go ahead. The rest were being sent by people to go and defend them and later withdraw from the race. I was sincere in what l was pursuing for the people of the state and that was why l did not withdraw my intention until the primary took place. Since the people did not buy my idea, l allowed their conscience to judge them.

What is your contribution to the party in order to ensure its future victory?

l am a member of the PDP, l will keep on supporting the party but unless the party considers me worthy of its support. Since l lost the primary, there hasn’t been any contact and nobody has come to me seeking for my little contribution. Whatever comes, let it come but one thing l know is that l am still a strong member of the PDP.

What in your opinion do you think PDP should be do in order to reclaim its position as a ruling party in the country?

When the right thing is done and if the leadership of the party respect human dignity, when it does not look down on people but carry all members along. The party will definitely reclaim its lost glory hence the party is the first political party that set up political arrangement in the country as a result people will prefer being in PDP than any other political party. The singular act of President Jonathan in congratulating the winner of the Presidential election is a clear indication of the maturity of the President and the good will of the party for the country democratically.

What do you think should be done by the people of Southern Kaduna for their political liberation?

The people of Southern Kaduna have a lot of work to do. First, we must forget where we come from, that is, tribalism. If it is only your brother that will be there before you support him, you are absolutely wrong. We did it before and it didn’t work for us, but we ended up been defeated, and that is why we were disintegrated. I feel if our people will come together, embrace one another, work as a team and allow other people no matter how small they are, if they have the ability to lead the people, they can liberate us. If we continue the way we have been doing by saying that he or she must come from my place, brother or sister, he or she must be somebody that l know, we would not get anywhere and we would continue to remain the way we are.

What role would you play to bring your people from Southern Kaduna together to pursue a common goal?

I have told you that l have been a political leader of Southern Kaduna since 1998, most of the decisions concerning my people were taken in my house and having done that all these years thinking that our people have matured and l realized they have not matured. There is nothing much l can do at the moment. Recently the country witnessed a change of leadership in the Presidential election, how do you see the emergence of the opposition party and what do you think went wrong with the ruling party that has been in power since 1999? Well, l want you to understand one thing, democracy has been in Nigeria for the past 16 years and definitely, the more you romance with somebody for quite some times the less you have more interest in the person hence the need for a new person. I think that is what has happened to PDP today. The party did not take the necessary precautions to save guide its interest. I am a member of the PDP and l can boldly tell you that l am one of those who brought PDP to Kaduna State led by our leader then, Professor Ango Abdullahi. Probably because of what has been going on in the PDP, he decided to leave the PDP for another political party which happened to be APC that is going to rule the country for the next four year. What happened with PDP is because they are over drunk with power; they felt they could do whatever they like without making reference to the people that have the vote to ensure the existence of the party as a ruling one. Since they did not consider the views of the members any longer, the opposition party, APC, grabbed the opportunity and thereby led to the situation of what we are witnessing today in the country. They were not considering the opinion of people to choose who should be their leader at all levels of governance. They felt they can appoint anybody whether or not he or she was the popular choice of the people. So, this is why it has come to what it is today. But it is our hope and prayer that they have learnt from this grievous mistake to correct and rearrange what they can in order to bring sanity into the party. Do you see APC bringing the needed change people are clamoring for in the country this time around? Well, you see APC is trying to get a wider support in the country as PDP got from the beginning of the present political dispensation. PDP is well known all over the country and that was why they did not work very hard to win the hearts of the Nigerians and as a result, certain people just made up their minds to do what seem good to them without thinking of the general good of the people. The inability of the party to take the campaign seriously affected the performance of the party couple with internal crisis in the party pave the way for the opposition party, APC to have a field day in the 2015 general elections. You can now see the different between APC and PDP, APC worked very hard to bring people along with them hence the results of the elections favoured the party. APC, having seen how they have suffered to come to where they are today, will perform very well to maintain what they have and for the PDP to take the people away from the APC, it will take them quite some times in the politics of the country. If PDP work harder, they will be able to win the hearts of Nigerians again. APC will also like to maintain what they have so that nobody will take away what they have suffered to achieve in recent time. So, l foresee APC working even harder to maintain their popularity in the country so that they will continue to enjoy the support of Nigerians in years to come. Why do you still remain in PDP after all that the party went through in terms of its policy of lack of internal democracy which affected the party? I still remain in the PDP because of principle. I believe PDP is a good party if we have good leaders who will ensure equity, justice and fair play in the affairs of the party. Myself, Late Dauda Tsoho, Late Col. Yohana Madaki and Professor Ango Abdullahi brought PDP in Kaduna State. Professor Ango Abdullahi was our leader when we brought the party in the state but left the party for reasons best known to him. As for us, particularly myself, l look at it as if when your house is getting bad, you should try and repair it so that it could become habitable and that is why l still remain in PDP because the party has a wider range of coverage more than any other party. Although they were not handling the situation in a manner that would soften the grievances that are coming from members of the party and the general public, they don’t consider the feelings of the people but they do what they want. PDP can only be relevant in the political scene if the leadership do what is expected of it by carrying the people along in all its affairs and respect the views of its members in every decision. Most of those that have left the party to APC only did that to get appointments or to be recognized. For PDP to regain back its members that left the party and also its lost glory after the inauguration of APC depends on the way and manner the party conducts itself in the country as an opposition party. You contested the governorship of Kaduna State on the platform of PDP and lost in the primaries to Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. Didn’t you strategized your plan very well or what actually happened? It wasn’t a matter of strategy. I want you to understand one thing, l have been a political leader of Southern Kaduna since 1998 and if l didn’t know how to play the game as it is supposed to be, most of those who won their elective positions through the party wouldn’t have won. If l can help other people to win election, and coming to me, l don’t know how to use that experience to win election, then something is wrong with me. As far as l am concerned, it is not that l didn’t know how to strategize but only that some people felt somebody like me shouldn’t be anything, that was why they worked against me. It is left for them to do whatever they wanted to do. As far as l am concern, l had my support, l did what l can to ensure my victory by following the rules of the game. I didn’t go for the contest because l wanted to be governor for myself but l wanted to be governor for the entire people of the state in order to put certain things straight as it is in an ideal society. I wanted to ensure equity and fair play in the art of governance in the state so that all will be carried along as a constituency. The people who came out to look for governorship from Southern Kaduna, the only tentative person is Jimmy Doung but he was not strong enough to go ahead. The rest were being sent by people to go and defend them and later withdraw from the race. I was sincere in what l was pursuing for the people of the state and that was why l did not withdraw my intention until the primary took place. Since the people did not buy my idea, l allowed their conscience to judge them. What is your contribution to the party in order to ensure its future victory? l am a member of the PDP, l will keep on supporting the party but unless the party considers me worthy of its support. Since l lost the primary, there hasn’t been any contact and nobody has come to me seeking for my little contribution. Whatever comes, let it come but one thing l know is that l am still a strong member of the PDP. What in your opinion do you think PDP should be do in order to reclaim its position as a ruling party in the country? When the right thing is done and if the leadership of the party respect human dignity, when it does not look down on people but carry all members along. The party will definitely reclaim its lost glory hence the party is the first political party that set up political arrangement in the country as a result people will prefer being in PDP than any other political party. The singular act of President Jonathan in congratulating the winner of the Presidential election is a clear indication of the maturity of the President and the good will of the party for the country democratically. What do you think should be done by the people of Southern Kaduna for their political liberation? The people of Southern Kaduna have a lot of work to do. First, we must forget where we come from, that is, tribalism. If it is only your brother that will be there before you support him, you are absolutely wrong. We did it before and it didn’t work for us, but we ended up been defeated, and that is why we were disintegrated. I feel if our people will come together, embrace one another, work as a team and allow other people no matter how small they are, if they have the ability to lead the people, they can liberate us. If we continue the way we have been doing by saying that he or she must come from my place, brother or sister, he or she must be somebody that l know, we would not get anywhere and we would continue to remain the way we are. What role would you play to bring your people from Southern Kaduna together to pursue a common goal? I have told you that l have been a political leader of Southern Kaduna since 1998, most of the decisions concerning my people were taken in my house and having done that all these years thinking that our people have matured and l realized they have not matured. There is nothing much l can do at the moment.

 

 

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