Chief Ndubisi Nwobu is the Anambra State chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with CHUKWUJEKWU ILOZUE, he predicted that his party will not only win in Anambra State, but also the 2019 presidential election. Excerpt:
You have always maintained that PDP will not only win the next election in Anambra but win massively. What are prevailing factors that make you think this is possible?
You will agree with me that Anambra has always been a PDP State. Unfortunately, internal wrangling kind of made it impossible for PDP to put its acts together since 2004. Now part of the problems that are bedeviling PDP is a scenario whereby internal democracy are thrown overboard. People would purchase forms and go for primaries and at the end of the day nothing happens. The next thing they hear is that primaries have been held. Such scenarios have always prevented the party the chances to win election. As a student of politics, professionally a political scientist and being one who practically plays politics I know from day one and when I won the congress and became the Chairman of the party I assured every member that I will bring back internal democracy; that those who won in their constituencies will definitely be the ones I will present to run elections for the party. And if you go round Anambra State, members of the party can attest that I kept my words.
We did primaries for the National Assembly in a manner that showed high sense of transparency, same for the House of Assembly. That is why to a large extent there are no internal implosions and the wrangling we had was greatly minimized. I won’t say we got it all right. Possibly, there could be 10 percent implosions and if you look into it you will find that even when you do your best, politicians will not want to accept defeat when they know that you have done the best.
What I tried to do in such cases is to empanel reconciliation committee, reach out to them whatever may be their annoyance, let them sheath their sword and let us come together and go into the election, united.
So what I have been able to do is to first of all show Anambrarians that this party is one. There are no places that primaries were held in different places at the same time. It was one place, one venue, one day and everybody that was contesting was present in those areas. The primaries were held transparently and the result we already know.
Apart from that, that is ensuring internal democracy, what happened in the national plank, the kind of convention that the PDP organized in Port Harcourt has been nationally and internationally acclaimed to be the best. That again has helped to heighten people’s interest in PDP. People are saying these people are keeping to their words: they promised to change and they have done that.
Further to that you will agree with me that once there is internal democracy, whoever emerges becomes the popular choice of their people and by extension the choice of the citizenry and when that person emerges you find out that there will be greater enthusiasm to support him in the general election. So, I am convinced that our party members feel greatly enthusiastic to support our candidates in the election. That is again one of the reasons why I said we will win massively in the general elections.
Again, the candidates that have emerged are very popular candidates both nationally and at state level.
Atiku Abubakar has been adjudged as very detribalized. That is the candidate we want. He is an entrepreneur par excellence and he is an employer of labour; he understands what is means for a staff to be out of job and you can see while the debate on minimum wage was still raging he had ordered that all staff, more than 100,000 in his employment, be placed on N33,000 per month. And then few days after the convention, he now made his first choice in his leadership. This shows clearly that such a person will be the best in governance.
Why do I say so? Choosing Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State who has been adjudged in terms of governance indices, he performed excellently well: changed the trend in education positively, provided new infrastructural development, uplifted human capital and did manage the economy of this State substantially well to the extent that he saved for the rainy day, for generations yet unborn. Picking such a candidate has again propelled PDP’s momentum and acceptability to the citizenry. Again, that ticket has shown that the Igbo man is not lost in project Nigeria. The PDP ticket has shown that there could be equity in project Nigeria. With that in mind I can say without fear of contradiction that PDP will win and win convincingly.
With all you have narrated, how attractive are they to the people? Are they attracting to your party more followers?
Sure. That is why I said that to the populace PDP has become a party that is looked upon to deliver, a party to be trusted. With the changes we have brought people are happy with the PDP. Kudos go to the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secoudus. To me it is not a surprise that he could deliver because he has got a great deal of experience in political party management. So with his team of management, with our governors, because governors of Delta State Emmanuel Okowa and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State conducted the convention physically. So with that crop of leadership and PDP having got it right attracted greater number of followers to the party.
The other day I came back with 50,000 membership cards and they have sold out and I have requested for another 50,000. The way people request for membership card we are no longer canvassing for membership, people are on their own calling to inquire how to get membership cards of the party. That shows you have far we have gone.
In Anambra State specifically, how many big wigs has the party attracted or expected to join the party?
Sure there have been some big fish that joined us recently. You know Chief Godwin Ezeemo who was governorship candidate of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Senator Nnamdi Eriobuna who was formerly in APC, Chief Tony Madueke who was former Commissioner in Anambra State, quite a great deal of people who were not in PDP. You will agree with me that with the kind of primary election other parties conducted, they have alienated themselves from the people. Some people are now moving back to PDP indicating that it is a party to beat.
Let me be personal: what did you bring into PDP to stabilise it the way it is now?
Clearly, first and foremost is to uphold trust. Secondly, to remove the tendency to extort people; thirdly to be someone that harnesses the tendencies I find in people because in every political party you are bound to find people with different tendencies: ability to understand their tendencies and harness those tendencies for the good of the party is what marks a leader. So, I assured them, one: as a chairman I am not going to extort anyone; I will not ask for their money. Rather than ask for their money I will support them financially if they are running for an election. And my executive bought into that mind set and refrained from extorting those running for an election. I can say this on good authority. When someone realizes that I have not collected money from him but rather ask him to go and work for his election it builds confidence. And when people realized that you are ready to do the right thing, you find out that internal crisis will be greatly reduced. So what I did was to build confidence and show it by actions.