‘This is the best time to reposition PDP’

Theodore-Ahamefule-OrjiFormer governor of Abia State, Senator Theodore Ahamefule Orji, representing Abia Central Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) speaks on the party’s congresses, its forthcoming national convention and the ambition of the interim national Chairman, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff. He also expressed worry about the menace of the Fulani herdsmen among other topical issues. Samson Ezea reports.

Outcome of the PDP’s congresses
I participated in the congresses at the ward, local government and state levels. My impression about it is that the concept about rebuilding the PDP is working.

In the first place the congresses were peaceful there was no rancour. I believe that should be the spirit propelling the party, especially in this steady process of rebuilding and repositioning it.

We have learnt from our previous mistakes. You cannot bring somebody fresh and insist he or she must be the candidate. No. You don’t do it nowadays because this is democracy. Even if you have a candidate in mind, the person must be someone that is generally acceptable; a candidate that will perform and the people will vote for. That is what democracy is all about. It is not about impunity or imposition. I think we are learning now and we are learning very fast.

Crisis threatening the national convention
Such minor disagreements are expected in a party that has a lot of people with diverse interests. We have an Acting National Chairman in the person of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff.

If he participates in the contest for the party’s chairmanship position and emerges victorious, and his victory is ratified in accordance with the party’s constitution, he automatically becomes the national chairman. When such happens, I will implore all members of the party to support him to move the party forward. If he doesn’t win, he knows the right thing to do, which is to hand over to the winner.

So far, we have seen in him that he has the passion to rebuild the party. Let us give him the chance to try his best especially now that he has agreed to be with the PDP. He has come with all his mind and heart, so we should accept him and give him all the support to rebuild the party. This is the time to rebuild and not to destroy it. All I’m saying is that we should allow Sheriff to rebuild this party.

If there is anywhere that he is not doing well, he should be cautioned and if he continues, the laws are there to remove him. But as at now, let us squarely focus on rebuilding the party and not creating different factions in the party that will divide us the more. All the factions should come together to build a united PDP. For now, common sense and collective sacrifices are prevailing and the aggrieved party members are already mending fences ahead of the national convention. The party will surely overcome its challenges before 2019.

For now, common sense and collective sacrifices are prevailing and the aggrieved party members are already mending fences ahead of the national convention. The party will surely overcome its challenges before 2019

Sheriff’s contributions to the emerging PDP
Sheriff has immense experience in party politics. He was once a governor for two terms and senator. He has been a member of different political parties. This thing they are saying that he has been to many parties, is an advantage to us in the PDP, because he has garnered experiences in All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and other parties. At least he understands, as of now, the problems in those parties.

We shouldn’t, seriously doubt the sincerity of such a man who has finally made up his mind to come to the PDP. Apart from having the mental capacity to lead the party, he has the resources also to assist the PDP now that we are no longer in control of the central government where people can help you out voluntarily because of the fact the party is in power.

Grazing land for Fulani herdsmen
MY position on this is guided by the position of my people. I’m a Nigerian but I come from the Southeast. And if you go around the Southeast, you will know that there is no person who supports this issue of allowing cattle to come and graze freely because they destroy their farms.

We are basically farmers and we guard our farms jealously because land is very precious to us. We don’t have that expanse of land, so whichever that is yours, you guard it jealously.

It is therefore very painful when you see cattle coming to graze freely on your scarce farmland. And these cattle rearers come with impunity, carrying guns, threatening to kill you if you disturb them. That shouldn’t be tolerated in this country.

Grazing bill before the Senate
There is no bill like that in the Senate. The senators were highly embarrassed when our numbers appeared in an online media outfit. So they picked our numbers from there and started bombarding us with insults. While some people threatened us that we are not doing anything about the bill that they will wait for us till we finish our tenure in the Senate others threatened to recall us. There were all sorts of insults and we started looking for the bill, but there was no bill like that in the Senate.

The rumour was so much that the Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Eyinnaya Abaribe had to raise the issue in one of our plenary sessions, which helped to douse the situation. And to those who were phoning me I told them plainly, without insulting any person that there was nothing like that.

But some people used that opportunity to castigate us on the social media. A girl called me one day and, while I was explaining to her, she charged at me. I didn’t know her. The next thing she did was to write my name that I was supporting the grazing bill, a bill that was non-existent in the Senate. That is the blackmail. Politicians are used to blackmail but eventually, the truth will surface.

What we expect is that the budget should be religiously implemented, and it’s the executive arm that will implement it not the National Assembly. What we will do is to intensify our own oversight functions to ensure that the executive implements the budget religiously to the utmost benefit of Nigerians, especially the poor people

Expectations from the 2016 Budget
What we expect is that the budget should be religiously implemented, and it’s the executive arm that will implement it not the National Assembly. What we will do is to intensify our own oversight functions to ensure that the executive implements the budget religiously to the utmost benefit of Nigerians, especially the poor people.

Food Security Bill
Of course the importance of agriculture has made people to shift attention to that and you have to make laws that will at least make food production to be of priority. So the Food Security Bill that I sponsored will ensure that food reaches every person. It will remove hunger. There are people who are hungry in this country. There are people who cannot afford two good meals in a day, the poor in the village. The bill is aimed at making sure that they get what they can eat, including those who are disabled, including women who are mothers who are breastfeeding their babies. So it’s a bill that is very dear to me and I’m happy that it was received very well in the Senate and once it’s passed into law and implemented you will see the result. It will be for the benefit of every person both the rich and the poor.

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