by Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Prof Ahmed Alkali has expressed optimism over the chances of the PDP winning more states in the 2015 General elections. Alkali said this during an interview with The Vanguard.
He said most of the states under the control of Opposition parties are either states formerly under the PDP which were lost during the 2011 elections or states where the Governors decamped to the opposition party. He said he expects and is hopeful that some of these states will be recovered in 2015.
“I am very much hopeful on that. Definitely we will go beyond where we are. Some of these states, if you take a good look at them, are basically PDP states in the first place. But some of them, if it was either because of these decamping that you have seen or maybe because of some other factors, we lost the states and then, along the line, things began to go one kind.
If you look at the number for example of senators from Anambra State, at least two of them are PDP members. If you take a look at the House of Representatives members, about ten out of them are from PDP. If you look at the House of Assembly, until recently, PDP was having over 80 or so members. Some decided to run away. So who says Anambra is not a PDP state but Anambra is controlled by APGA; we have so many states like that where PDP is very strong and only waiting for us to come and claim victory”.
The Political Science Professor also stated that the PDP must be vigilant and avoid complacency as 2015 approaches.
“The price of freedom is internal vigilance, we cannot afford to assume that because we are strong, we can become complacent, we cannot. We have every reason and every duty to ensure that we continue reaching out to our members everywhere they are, mobilizing them, ensuring that we also gain some marriages in our membership drive. In politics it is never over until it is over.
So I believe the leadership and membership of our party are conscious that when you have an opposition, they pose a threat to take over from you, you have to be very mindful of what you do and what you say. But Nigerians are much wiser; we can see beyond the smoke screen, we can see what is on the ground. Beyond the fact that the opposition can see something good in the PDP and even came to collect it, own it, we also have reason to say that the PDP has done much better if you compare the states where PDP is in charge with some of the states where the opposition parties are in charge. So virtually all the zones in the country, you will see that wherever you see an oasis of progress, you will see a PDP flag there.”
While answering questions about whether or not he was bothered that there is a stronger opposition, he said it is normal to be bothered and anticipatory as elections draw close and that even the opposition without saying it are admitting that there is something good in the PDP by absorbing former PDP members.
“Well, yes and no. Yes because whenever you are facing an election, you are bound to anticipate a lot of things. Remember, apart from the election of Mr President, you also have to contend with the issue of our National Assembly members; you also have to be worried about the governors; you also have to be worried about the House of Assembly members; and you have to go down to the level of the chairmen of local government and councillors.
Whenever you have general elections, everything is open, so it means that you have to be vigilant so that you don’t take things for granted. But what I can say now is that Nigerians are much wiser, now we are now seeing things much clearer in the sense that if you are in an opposition and you have been fighting PDP, but as you are fighting PDP, you are also desperate to take away some of its members into your fold, it means there is something good in the PDP” he said.