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Jonathan manipulated PDP to get ticket — Waku

Senator Joseph Kennedy Waku is a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who represented Benue North/West senatorial district between 1999 and 2003 in the Senate. In this thought-provoking interview with Saturday Sun, Waku takes a look at the just-concluded primary elections of the PDP and concluded that President Goodluck Jonathan stole victory at the party’s presidential primary election.

Hear him: “What is rigging? Rigging is stealing. It is a polite way of addressing political arrangement as rigging. Rigging is stealing. So, Jonathan Goodluck has stolen the mandate he knew for sure he wouldn’t have won.”

Waku commended former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for his stance over the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries, saying: “I encouraged Atiku not to even congratulate Jonathan because you can’t encourage stifling corruption. Somebody who is absolutely corrupt, then you go to congratulate him for being corrupt? We encouraged Atiku not to. Indeed, we warned him not to congratulate Jonathan because he did not win the primaries. It was full of corruption. How can a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria induce people? This is the worst presidential nomination that took place in my entire lifetime. This is the worst. Did you see any jubilation in Jonathan’s camp? There was none. They knew what they did. It is a shame, it is a murder of democracy and it is embarrassing. PDP is a corrupt organisation that can never be better until we work hard to rectify it.”

On the expected winner of the forthcoming presidential election, Waku said: “I don’t know who will win. I know that Jonathan will not win, but I don’t know who will win.”
He spoke on this and other sundry issues.

How has life been outside the Senate?
I don’t know what you mean by life after the Senate. I was in the Senate for just four years and I am over 60 out of which I spent only four years there. I am 64. So, I was in the Senate only for four years. What are you asking me? I spent just brief years in the Senate, but if you ask me how did you enjoy that short time while you were in the Senate, I think that is a better question that one ought to answer; otherwise, that means you spent more time than what you have been in life. No, I didn’t spend more time in the Senate than what I have been.

In terms of life out of Senate, it doesn’t really make any difference to me. I remain myself, while I was in the Senate and my community. I still interact with my community and out of the Senate, I will still be with my community and that is why no man born of a woman can beat me in my constituency. I make bold to say that and I challenge anybody who can come to counter that.

How would you rate the Senate during your time and now?
I might be biased. If I want to talk about the current Senate, they would say because I am are not there, so I am being jealous. But I bet you, when we were elected into the Senate, it was a time public opinion was the determining factor of who wins elections. Public opinion was leading the polls than. It was not like the ‘carry go,’ as you journalists would say, that we had in 2003 and 2007. There were no elections in 2003 and 2007 and people were brought in to do Obasanjo’s bidding of third term, in which he knew that if people like me and many others, who stood firm for democracy were there, we would not let it happen. Obasanjo made sure he scuttled our ambitions, the people’s ambition and not my ambition.

For the Senate of today, you heard what the governor of the Central Bank said. That is what it is. During our time, we were earning N69, 000 per month and the entire constituency money for one year was N1, 500, 000 and this included our staff all over. It is needless to mention what they earn now. The governor of the Central Bank has said it all. And you, as a journalist, have also done your investigation. So, it is not to over-flog the dead horse. Let’s move forward.

The PDP just concluded its primary elections and President Goodluck Jonathan emerged as the party’s presidential candidate. How do you see his emergence?
I encouraged Atiku not to even congratulate Jonathan because you can’t encourage stifling corruption. Somebody who got something through corrupt means, then you go to congratulate him for being corrupt? We encouraged Atiku not to. Indeed, we warned him not to congratulate Jonathan because he did not win the primaries. It was full of corruption. How can a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria induce people? This is the worst presidential nomination that took place in my entire lifetime. This is the worst. Did you see any jubilation in Jonathan’s camp? There was none. They knew what they did. It is a shame; it is a murder of democracy and it is embarrassing. PDP is a corrupt organisation that can never be better until we work hard to rectify it.

Let me tell you what happened. Number one, the rigging was done before they came to the field. The governors sat in the government houses and wrote the names of delegates. I was supposed to be a delegate and from the national secretariat guidelines, the delegates were supposed to be elected on January 11. In some states, by January 3, they had concluded the list of delegates. The primary that was meant to return states houses of assembly was an avenue for them to write the names of delegates. It is criminal; it is a shame to address yourself boldly publicly that you are a member of the PDP. I feel ashame.
I, Senator Joseph Kennedy Waku and the late Dr. (Alhaji) Abubakar Mohammadu Rimi, registered PDP. Go to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and verify. We registered PDP. We registered it. what we have today is not the concept. We were PDP by conviction and not by convenience. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, most people you find in PDP are in PDP by convenience and not by conviction. So, it is what they can get. It is a shame. It is embarrassing.

In that case, what would you advise Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to do?
We will go to court. He is going to court to challenge that. And look at this: they tele-guided the delegates. Governors were there, tele-guiding their delegates from the states. You watched it and government officials stood behind them to ensure that they wrote Jonathan Goodluck. Is that democracy? The problem of PDP is that PDP is scared of internal democracy because they are not ripe to rule the people. They are not prepared. If it is one man, one vote, PDP will lose the Federal Government. It is heading toward a total disintegration because it is no longer Peoples Democratic Party. It is Peoples Deceitful whatever. I feel ashamed that I am a member of the party. I am a senior member of the party; nobody can deny me that, but we have to work hard to redeem ourselves before the eyes of the nation; otherwise, we will be looked upon as criminals.

What is rigging? Rigging is stealing. It is a polite way of addressing political arrangement as rigging. Rigging is stealing. So, Jonathan Goodluck has stolen the mandate he knew for sure he wouldn’t have won.

As a founding father of the PDP, what do you see as the major problem facing your party since inception?
We did election and it ended in 1999. That was democracy. When Obasanjo came to power, he had his plan of perpetuating himself in office. That was the beginning of the total disintegration and lack of internal democracy. That was when internal democracy in the PDP was killed. Obasanjo would pick a prisoner, charged of murder case, a prisoner and brought him and made him a senator. Obasanjo would sit down in Abuja and decree that some men must be there because he knows he wants to put thugs together to come and fight for him in the National Assembly to actualise his third term agenda, but unknown to him, Nigerians outside were more committed than those in the chambers. That was why it failed. So, the problem in the PDP was caused by Obasanjo.

You go to each state, the founding fathers of the party are not there. Those who have legitimacy in democracy, who are not afraid of ‘one man, one vote,’ are not there. PDP is scared of ‘one man, one vote.’ That is why even internal democracy cannot take place. If PDP wants to come back and resuscitate the party that the founding fathers founded, let’s allow internal democracy.

Is that the only way out of the problem?
That is the only way out of the problem. If you want to be a councillor in a local government council and somebody who is the governor does not like you, you cannot be a councillor. If the governor does not like you, there’s nothing the people can do. Short-changing people’s will is dangerous. It will lead us to anarchy.

What is your take on the opposition parties?
It is as if the current opposition is more serious than when the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) sold itself out. That is why if you watched the ANPP convention, they made sure they called it new ANPP, to discard the rubbish that happened in the past. And if you look at the way the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is moving, the opposition is serious now.

Are you thinking of defecting to the opposition?
I don’t defect. If I want, I will resign. For now, I am in PDP. I have friends in CAN; nobody will stop me from campaigning for them. I will campaign for them.

Even as a PDP member?
Of course. That is why there are several elections, individual elections. If they don’t want, they should expel me. I don’t give a damn, but my conscience and my principle must remain so that I can sleep happily.

But how will you feel if they expel you from the party you founded?
I will not feel bad because if you build a house and snakes come to kill you, you can as well run out of the house in order to save your life first. If erosion is coming to destroy your house, what do you do? You wait there because you built the house, so that you can be consumed with your house?

You were a senator between 1999 and 2003, in which you were known to be one of the greatest anti-Obasanjo legislators. Why were you so much against the man?
Obasanjo could not implement the constitutional provisions of a budgetary allocation and approval. It is not personal. I didn’t know Obasanjo from Adam. Why should I hate him? He is older than I and my culture demand that I should respect my elders. The same culture also permits me to tell the elder the truth. If he doesn’t like that, he can go and hang himself. But you have to tell him the truth. That was exactly what I did with Obasanjo. I don’t hate him. I have nothing to inherit from Obasanjo. So, I wasn’t doing anything to inherit any of his chickens from his farm. It was a political principle. Do you hear me talk about him now? He is no longer at the helm of affairs, trying to scuttle democracy, trying to perpetuate his successive breaches of the constitutional provision and I have children that I want to leave a legacy for, so that tomorrow, they won’t say I was there, what did I say. Look at you, younger ones, are now referring to that today? If I had kept quiet, you wouldn’t have brought the matter up today. So, that was why I had to stand up, and besides, I didn’t go to the Senate to look for money. I went there to represent my people and I believe I represented them credibly well. That was why when I couldn’t come back, you, the media, asked me how I feel not coming back and I said, not me, ask my people how they feel. They lost a voice, a voice that was very loud, a voice that was positive, a voice that was straight and Nigerians by implication, lost a voice.

And Nigerians still need this voice. What next?
Well, let’s wait until things take shape. I will go back to the Senate one day. I will go back to the Senate.

How soon?
Some other time. Not this time. Certainly, not this time.

Why not now?
No, no, no. This time, I have a candidate already and I cannot compete with him. He is my younger brother; he is my good friend and I cannot compete with him. We are in the same constituency.

Who could that be?
George Akume. And I cannot. I cannot run against him.

But it was publicized that he lost out in the primary election..
He did not. He resigned because he had a meeting with the governor and he told the governor, come with the list and let’s cross-check and put the records straight. And the governor left. They were planning to ditch him and he is a clever politician. He decided to resign. He resigned before the primaries. So, how can you say he lost out?

Are you saying the media were misinformed?
You are always misinformed if you want to be (laughs).

Let me take you back. Why did you decide to pitch your tent with Atiku and not Jonathan?
Jonathan is incompetent. Jonathan is unintelligent. Jonathan is just a lucky man, Jonathan is not a politician. Jonathan is not articulate. Jonathan is not honest and I don’t want to work with a leader like that.

During your tenure at the Senate, we used to have executive-legislative face-off. Now that we have your kinsman there, Senator David Mark, nothing seems to be going on. Will you say the leadership is not doing enough?
I am not in the position to judge. You are the journalists; you are the judge and that is why you are judging me now, saying during our time. You judge his time too.

Since you have been in the Senate, you should be able to appraise the current Senate..
Actually, the Senate of today is a rubber-stamp. Absolute rubber-stamp.

Why is it so?
It is because they were not democratically elected. They were brought in to do biddings. Eighty per cent, particularly in the PDP, did not win elections. David (Mark) lost election. He is a prisoner of conscience. David won election in 1999. He never won election in 2003; he never won election in 2007 but you will ask me why he is there. He is there by the grace. God says he should be there to punish… I will give you a leader that will punish you. That is why David Mark is there.
You will say he won a case in Jos. You all knew what happened in Jos.

You said that Jonathan is incompetent. What do you mean?
Absolutely.

But you party just given him the ticket for another four years…
Jonathan cannot be anybody’s president. He is not going to win.

If he won’t, who would?
The opposition will put its house in order. I don’t know who will win. I know that Jonathan will not win, but I don’t know who will win.

If he doesn’t win, what would become of PDP?
PDP is already disintegrated. Do you see the founding fathers of the PDP in the PDP? It is an evidence of disintegration.

There were two primaries in Anambra PDP, where you headed the congress panel. What happened?
Were you able to meet any person that claimed that he was the chairman of the electoral panel in the Anambra primaries? Have you ever heard anybody who claimed he was one? Then what is the parallel result there? This is my letter of appointment; go through it. (At this point, he brought out his letter of appointment mandating him to preside over the PDP primaries in Anambra State for this reporter to read). I want to thank you most sincerely for raising this issue. I am a founding father of the PDP. When we founded the PDP, it was a gathering of responsible Nigerians, men and women of high integrity. There were no greedy and con men. PDP is full of con men now and they can do anything to satisfy themselves.

Why is the PDP like that?
It is no longer a political party based on principles, in which it was founded.

Is that why people liken your party to a secret cult?
Let me talk about Anambra. I am glad that I am coming to Anambra. I will tell you about the PDP more than what people are saying. I gave you this letter to read and until you find a contrary letter cancelling this appointment, I remained the authentic chairman of that panel. And there is none. I went to Anambra; the people of Anambra felt disgruntled. There are a few disgruntled moneybags, who felt that in Anambra, it has to be them. They came to meet me at the airport, with a price. I met strange fellows at the airport, strange faces, who wanted to corner me, according to them, with incentive of money so that I can render to them, the materials and they will go and write the results in their bedrooms and bring it for me to sign. I looked at them and laughed.

In the first place, that was not the condition of service, not the guidelines. I told them I was going down to Anambra. I told them to meet me in Anambra. I told them that we were at Enugu airport and that it was a panel. I am just the chairman of the panel of five. Let’s meet the entire panel and then, you discuss this proposal before them. And they were scared! They ran away.

When I got to Awka, some young, brilliant, former legislators, whom I consider my junior colleagues, came to my hotel room with a beautiful proposal, enticing me. They said we would give you money, do this for us and we will do what you want us to do. I never knew that my telephone number was just so popular. I started receiving phone calls and some dropped big names in government, in the Villa. I was told to do something and the Villa will support me. I said no. I told them I was not there by the Villa’s instruction. I was there by the national secretariat. So, I was going to do something that the national secretariat would support, and not the villa.

And if you insist on talking about the Villa, I will call them. I am not scared of Villa. At the appropriate time, when I am invited by the national secretariat, I will reveal whose name they were dropping in the Villa. And they gave me an idea: just allow us to cause confusion so that our group will be recognised. I said, what then would you do with my name? I have been in this game for the past 45 years and this is my last leg of it. So, I should come to Anambra and destroy a name I built gradually for the past 45 years because of peanut?

One of them was very bold to say, ‘look Sir, we will offer you some money’ and I said, I remember you were a member of the House of Representatives; you are my junior colleague. How would you offer me money? It wouldn’t work that way. If others do, I have a principle. I won’t do that. Go to the field; we are going to address the stakeholders. We would go to the stakeholders’ meeting and we shall ask them the modalities of conduct. They challenged the venue, that they don’t know the venue. If you are running for an election, a panel is there and you don’t know the venue; we didn’t choose the venue. It is the party’s headquarter in the senatorial district that chose the venue and some of them had no single poster. They went there with the notion that they had the backing of the presidency and wanted to use me to actualise their criminalities. And I said I won’t do that; that I don’t need their money. I said, I live in Abuja with you. You have never placed a phone call to me. Why now? I said I won’t do that.

They said they were going to teach me a lesson and I said well, teach me a lesson? Two things will happen: you can either kidnap me or kill me, but I warned them that if I was kidnapped in Anambra, I am the only Tiv you are kidnapping, but all Igbo living in Benue will be kidnapped. So, you can pay a price. And I said try it if you want to kill me for thousands of Igbo living in Tiv land. And some of them laughed and said it won’t get to that stage. I said, I wouldn’t mind dying but so many lives will go. Which one do you prefer? So, we laughed over it. None of them knew where I stayed until I finished my primaries. It was conducted peacefully.

With such behaviour, what do this portend for the country?
The nation is in trouble and that is why you need a credible leader, not a leader that will be tossed left, right and centre without knowing his left from right. You need a consistent leader, a focused leader, and a leader with determination. You don’t need a colourless leader, like Jonathan and Namadi. Look at when they stood at the podium, you will think that both of them were spectators.

You just said that only one panel was in Anambra. Supposed the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, goes ahead to cancel the result. How will you feel?
I expect him to investigate. He will investigate and ask the secretariat questions.

How do you see the ongoing voters registration exercise?
It has started failing already because in Benue, all the machines are not working.

Where will you apportion the blame? INEC or the Federal Government?
INEC and the Federal Government. Both are culprits.

Then how do you see Jega?
Very solid man.

And why are we having all these failures here and there?
Jega met those arrangements and there is no time. The time is too limited. All we need to do is to set up an interim government.

You mean we should ask Jonathan to quit?
Of course, there should interim government. If the Nigerian people want, they can make him the head of the interim government. I don’t care. But let there be proper election. In that case, he will not run.

It seems some people are bent on having him in the presidency..
Because they know he is a dull person and they will have their way. Those behind him know that Jonathan Goodluck is not competent to be president of even a local council.

What is the way out?
There won’t be a change until Nigerians work together for a revolution, electoral revolution and political revolution to push the PDP out of power.

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