By Ajong Mbapndah L
It is time for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to return to power and restore hope to Nigerians, says Harold Molokwu, Chair of the USA Chapter of the party. Nigerians have come to the conclusion the change promised by the APC has was a mirage as President Buhari and his government have taken Nigeria at least three decades backwards, Molokwu laments. Speaking after a heavily attended meeting in Maryland to install the branch executive, Dr Molukwu cited the profound socio-economic problems plaguing the country as evidence of the ineptitude of the APC -Buhari led administration.
“For you to buy a bag of rice in Nigeria today you must be a millionaire, you must be a millionaire today to buy gas. Everything, just talk about anything, even going to school, people cannot afford to pay school fees anymore because of the policies of the present APC,” Molokwu charged.
The PDP is ready to return to power and salvage Nigeria from the current stagnation under President Buhari’s APC government. The party has learned its lessons the hard way and past mistakes will be avoided ,Molukwu said. With a vibrant, dynamic, and visionary Chairman in Uche Secundus, the PDP is on its way back to power , Molokwu said.
As part of its strategy to move in synergy with the party in Nigeria especially with primaries coming up, Dr Molokwu indicated that the USA Chapter of the PDP will hold a convention from April 27 to 29 in Houston, TX.
Dr. Harold Molokwu, good evening sir,
You are the chair person of the PDP chapter in the USA?
and you just got off and executive meeting?
How did the meeting go?
The meeting was very well attended and the purpose of the meeting was to inaugurate the newly elected executive of Maryland branch of our great party here in the U.S, and It was done very successfully under the leadership of the new chairman Hon. Uche Udema. It was a great meeting
The meeting is taking place at a time when Nigeria is getting ready for presidential elections next year. How important would this election be to the PDP and to Nigeria?
This election year is a good year for us, because seeing we’ve been out of power since 2015 we have actually been working underground trying to evaluate the mistakes our party made and why we lost the power. We found out that the new ruling party has taken us backward, almost thirty years backward. So, we have been working so hard and this meeting that we actually had was a way to lay our agenda towards our presidential primaries that is coming in months ahead, to be able to redirect and direct, or suggest to our presidential candidate how to be able to deliver democracy back to the poor masses of the Nigeria nation.
In what shape is the PDP?
PDP is in a very good shape, not what you read on the papers. PDP is a grassroots party all over Nigeria, every angle you go to in Nigeria you must see a PDP flag. So, this is a structured party, and not just what you read in papers by some politicians trying to sell themselves. It’s a well grounded party.
When the PDP lost the last elections, the party went through some challenging times. There were leadership fights, there were court cases. How is the party doing in Nigeria today? And is it safe to say that the leadership problems of the party have been resolved?
Hundred percent resolved, the crisis in PDP was meant to happen because we are a great party; we are like a big family, we are everywhere: Families go into different crises, but the management of the party is very strong and we just had a very successful convention that produced our well rounded chairman in Prince Uche Secondus who grew through the party ranks, and he understands the party constitution, he understands the reconciliation, and I am telling you as we are talking today, most of the reconciliation is hundred percent done, and the people that actually matter to the party are coming back in their numbers, and in months to come you will see a lot of people decamping from the ruling party (APC) back to our party; from the National Assembly, state governors, senators and all the stakeholders that left the party because of one way or the other — This chairman is doing a very good job with his leadership.
Talking about the party chairman Uche Secondus, does he actually have what it takes to return the party to its glorious days? Do you think he is in a position to lead the party to victory come next elections?
Hundred percent, among those that ran the election, he is the only candidate that can do that. Because, like I always tell people I’m a party man, I have been in the party since 1998. When we started it here in the U.S in 2000, I had been a member of the party. I grew through the party; from deputy secretary to deputy chairman to chairman of a state, to now the chairman of the chapter. Uche Secondus also went through the same process; he was once the chairman of a local government, chairman of PDP in Rivers state, the national chairman of the whole zone in the south-south, the deputy national chairman, and then chairman.
So, Uche understands the party mechanism, Uche is not someone that you just threw from the window, he understands the structure of the party. So, he is the right man, at the right time to lead the party to glory, he is doing that job. You may not be reading it in the papers because he is a man who doesn’t believe in propaganda politics, he does the real politics, he will, it’s not that he may, he will give us the presidential ticket and we are going to win it in 2019.
Now, with elections coming up in 2019, what is the profile of the candidate you and your comrades in the USA will love to see as the flag bearer of the PDP?
Those are things that we are working very hard on; we have a committee working on it presently. And we are going from branch to branch, like today in Maryland we discussed about it very intensively, we listened to different people and the report will be submitted to the committee.
We will be having a convention from April 27 to 29 in Houston, where those decisions will be arrived and the committee will give us those criteria, but as the chairman of the party I have some little idea of what people are saying, we need a person who will be the finest to Nigeria, a true Nigerian, an individual that believes that democracy in Nigeria has to be for everybody, be able to accept everybody irrespective of their tribe or religion, a person that will care about our school system; a person that will stop emigration of medical treatment abroad: that must stop, we need a candidate that can talk about it. Our party here in U.S and back home have one thing in common, the candidate must be somebody willing to follow what we call restructuring Nigeria agenda, that is one of the principle that everyone in PDP is moving around with, and a lot of Nigerians are buying into it. So, by the time we get to Houston, I will give you better information in detail.
Talking about Houston, we understand you are looking forward to having this big meeting in Houston with all the PDP members – a convention of sort. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Yes, the convention that is coming up in Houston is basically a gathering, which is a pre-election gathering. In that room we are going to take very decisive decisions on coming presidential primaries, governorship primaries and senatorial primaries to make sure the right people get the ticket and the right people are filed so we can take over the country and be able to continue from where PDP stopped, because a lot of people in Nigeria today are dying, crying for PDP.
For you to buy a bag of rice in Nigeria today you must be a millionaire, you must be a millionaire today to buy gas. Everything, just talk about anything, even going to school, people cannot afford to pay school fees anymore because of the policies of the present APC. So, for PDP Houston, it’s very important to us; and many committee that we have set up are working very hard and almost all our party leaders back home will be in that convention, because it’s somewhere we are calling do or die, we cannot leave the masses in continuous suffering..
and when is it coming up again?
It’s April 27 to 29, 2018.
Now, looking back at past election that the PDP lost: What are some of the lessons the party needs to draw and what needs to be done differently for the party to do better in the elections of next year?
We only lost one election, which is 2015, and we lost the election for a reason. The reason is that the party structure was not followed and that’s why the present chairman is ensuring that the party must be the structure that determines how the party runs and also the party structure under the leadership of Uche Secondus have instructed the zonal chairmen, the local chairmen to go to their various states and wards to ask the people, “what do you want from PDP?” What the people want is what we are going to give them, and give them better and more, so that’s what the party now is doing. The leadership has set up a lot reconciliation committee, a lot of committees to get people’s mindset where we are going and restructuring aspect of it. So, everybody is working so hard to make sure the party goes back to the people.
Last election, the party was for the elites in Abuja, they couldn’t deliver because it’s the people that vote all over Nigeria, so this present administration knows that and they are working with that.
Let’s talk about the state of Nigeria. How has the country fared under the leadership of President Buhari and the APC?
As of now we don’t actually have a country. Nigeria is divided into different zones, since APC came to power, they were not prepared, people call them APC (All Progressive Congress), but I call them “All People Crying Party, they are making every part or section of Nigeria cry. So, APC for What it stand should be called “All People Crying party”, so with this “All People Crying Party” you already know that the sections of Nigeria are crying, even Buhari’s wife is crying that the husband is not doing well. All Buhari’s ministers are not even happy, because all the members of his party are crying, because after he won the election with the propaganda they performed, he went and chose all his cousins, nephews, niece to be members of his cabinet. All the leaders of APC are all confused, so the country is in turmoil; Look at Boko haram, look at the killings all over Nigeria, there is nowhere in Nigeria everyday more than 60 people are been killed. Not killed with gun only, they use knife to cut them, Pregnant women will be cut open, the little child will be brought out and the his head cut off. So, are we better off than before they won the election?
No, Nigeria is going through hell with this present administration, so Buhari must go, he must go back to where he came from, and he must go because Nigeria is greater than one individual.
His supporters will say that he has fought hard to reduce the corruption, that was said to so rampant during the Jonathan administration, and he has improved security, and reduced the attacks from Boko haram and all of that. Are these not valued developments that he should take credit for?
Buhari has not created anything to fight corruption, Buhari is fighting corruption with instruments created by the PDP government; EFCC was created under PDP, and so the corruption has been in process. But Buhari being a a former General is fighting corruption, he is also using it to intimidate his opponents as a former military head of state. He is locking up all those that overthrew him 1983 from government, which is Buhari’s way of fighting corruption.
All the governors, all the former ministers that are in APC today that stole Nigeria’s money are all working for him under different Ministry portfolios. So, are they not corrupt? They are all corrupt ministers, but the issue is that he will not arrest them, anyone that challenges him he arrests them and say that he is fighting corruption. So, he is using corruption as a front to fight his political opponents. So, those that are saying Buhari is fighting corruption should ask Buhari how he trained his children abroad.
Is his salary enough to pay for his children that went to schools in abroad that he pays thirty thousand dollars for every term? Buhari should answer that question, where did he get the money that he bought a house in Abuja for almost 43 million dollars, where did he get the money from?
Now, he says he has few cows; can few cows bring us 43 million dollars? No.
So, Buhari is a congenital manipulator, and he is a religion fanatic that uses religion to divide the country, and his supporters you don’t blame them, that’s all they know. So, he uses religion to tell them that the other people are fighting me.
People will talk about security, since he came to power security has gone worse in Nigeria, we didn’t have killings before in the middle belt, there are a lot of killings everyday now in Benue state, on average three to four people are dying every day; In Taraba there was no such mass killings every day, Zamfara state, Katsina state, Sokoto state, all those states in the north, people are now been killed every day. So, are you going to tell me that the security is better than three to five years ago? No.
We talk about Boko haram, Buhari is the creator of Boko haram, because it’s Buhari’ statements he made in the previous years that created Boko haram to be able to take power from Jonathan who they see as an infidel.
Now they got the power, they were not prepared to do that; today Boko haram is actually expanding to Adamawa state. If you listened to news about few weeks ago, they kidnapped over hundred girls, so if Boko haram has been defeated, how can they still be kidnapping over one hundred school children? Now, they are not more kidnapping people in Borno state, they are killing them every day, and now in the neighbouring state when they kidnap people, they kill them. Is it better or are they getting worse? In my own judgement, they are expanding their territory to a different state; so they are getting more landmass, they are increasing in number. No living soul should give credit to Buhari on that, Buhari is creating more havoc to Nigeria because of his ‘anti-Nigeria sentiment’.
Mr Chairman, we are about to wrap to up this interview. But let’s get a word on the upcoming elections and the role of the independent electoral board, INEC. Do you have faith in their role as a neutral arbiter?
You can’t have faith in Mr. Yakubu who is the current chairman of INEC, because he is a relation of Buhari, he appointed him; the second in command is Buhari’s niece. So Buhari came to power and appointed his family members to those key positions that mean if he loses election tomorrow, he might not accept the result, they may favour it to him, so I do not have faith in them. But what I’m calling today is for the international community to know that this is what this man has, his plan is to rig this election. So, the international community have to really talk to him if they don’t want Nigeria to be a “burning state” in a situation that he loses the election and refuses to give up the power. They should start working on it now, because Buhari is a desperate politician who pretends he doesn’t want power, but won’t give up power even if he loses this election. PDP is ready to fight till the end.
Dr. Harold Molokwu, chairman of the PDP in USA, thank you very much for granting this interview.
Thank you the Journalist, you are the great man.