• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Volunteerism is at the core of Obi/Datti Campaign Council long list – Ndi Kato

Volunteerism is at the core of Obi/Datti Campaign Council long list – Ndi Kato

Ndi Kato, an indigene of Kaduna State, North West geo-political zone of Nigeria, is one of the newly appointed official spokespersons for the Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign. In this interview monitored on Arise Television, Kato spoke on the reason for the long list of members of the Labour Party’s Presidential Campaign Council; she emphasised that unlike what happens in other parties, that thousands of Nigerians wanted to be on the list for service and not for any material gain whatsoever. She said that volunteerism was at the core of it. The spokesperson also spoke on the disagreement in some aspects of the appointments, the manifesto of the candidate, among other issues. ZEBULON AGOMUO brings the excerpts:

The list of members of the Obi/Datti presidential campaign council has been generating controversy since it was released. Can we understand how the list was drawn up, in the first place?

So, at the end of the day what we are trying to do in Labour Party and with Peter Obi’s campaign council is at the core of the campaign in its volunteerism. We are trying to reflect the core of that volunteerism. So, many people around the nation are putting in their efforts.

You can see the campaign council list is very extensive, possible the biggest campaign council list. They come from all spheres of life. In other parties, if you go to their campaign council list, you will find out that it is the same people they are repeating, but this is an election in which our candidate is trying to do things in a different way.

The candidate is being carried by the people and this is what the campaign council list tries to reflect. We are carrying people from all over, young and old people are actually volunteering. This is what it is reflecting. At the core of it, we must remember that this is a campaign council list; it is not a list that reflects how you pay people or how you pay people back for the favour they have done for you; it is people who want to function, who want to do something; who want to make sure that this candidate wins.

At the core of it is that these particular people want a better life for Nigerians; a better Nigerian; not necessary that they want to get anything by being part of the list. No, I think that the noise; the conversation around it is focused or pointed in a certain way – because people are used to political cronyism; people are used to seeing such a list as benefitting those on it or whatever it is going to yield other than sacrificial service.

They see it as if you are part of the campaign council; if you played a role in the council, at the end of the election, if your candidate wins you are expecting something personal.

I will say again, at the core of this campaign council list is volunteerism. Volunteerism for what? To make sure that this candidate that Nigerians believe in gets into the seat of the presidency, and when that person gets there; what do they want for a better Nigeria?

Comrade Abayomi seems to disagree with the decisions that had been taken concerning the PCC list; what is the way forward because it seems there is a rift within the party?

The Chairman of the party, Comrade Abure has made this very clear. The party is going to swear in the campaign committee and that’s what matters. At the end of the day, people will have disagreements but I want to bring us back a bit to what I said before. At the end of the day, this is a new way of campaigning that Nigerians are not used to.

We still have politicians who are still signed to the old way of the campaign; who think ‘oh, because this is happening…’ Look Doyin Okupe who is the DG has been on this campaign from the beginning before people began believing in this campaign for the candidate. He has sacrificed so much for this campaign; but this is not even to reward him for the sacrifices, it is to say that this man is capable; he has put together a very good team, and he has done so much hard work; why then do we cut this hard-working half to say oh, you cannot continue simply because you do not come from a certain part of the country.

Campaigns are not to reward; campaigns are for people who can best function to get the job done. Perhaps, if we get to where we can say, oh we want to do federal character because the government must reflect this; and painfully so because of the composition of Nigeria, you can now say, oh we do not want Doyin Okupe to be this or that may be, we don’t want him in this high position or that position because this government position must go to this place or that place. But this is campaign. In campaign, we need to get Peter Obi where we need him to be to function and that is the seat of the president of Nigeria.

And what our campaign should do is to look at who is best for this job; who can have it done and that is the function; and that is the main goal of this presidential campaign council; to ensure that those can do the job are on the list; those who have been showing their efforts, capacity and capability can continue to do the job going forward.

If this list will continue to cause division, is it open to revision or is it cast in stone?

I would like to say that what we call a division is the publicity secretary disagreeing with the campaign council list and the composition of the campaign council. The chairman of the party has said otherwise.

Now, people can disagree. It is within the rights of people to disagree; to say, ‘look I have seen this and I do not like this aspect or that aspect’, and at the end of the day we find solution to that. But right now, this is not what we call a rift or tearing apart of anything.

There can be disagreement. It is a list of one thousand plus people. People are going to talk about their interest; people are going to talk about their opinions, but at the end of the day, the core of it is that we are doing volunteerism; people are volunteering their energy is to make sure that Peter Obi is elected and we must go in that line.

So, even if the party is going to reconcile itself, it is going to go in that line, saying that look, we are looking more at how can we get the job done, less of how can we reward people, or reflect where people come from or where they do not come from. We are trying to get the job done. The conversation about what you call a right is how do we get the job done? Talk about it and arrive at a solution, the solution really is we need to get the job done and this is the best time to get the job done.

Are you saying that the list is subject to revision or is it cast in stone; I know you want to get the job done.

Well, this is a democracy and Labour Party more than any other party is democratic. So, what I am going to say clearly is that, of course, conversations are going to hold going forward. But you know, you mentioned something very clearly: Doyin Okupe; I do not think we will replace Doyin Okupe, because of his strong capacity. We will continue to hold proper conversations and conversations we had held prior to today. We will still continue to have conversations so that everybody will be brought on board. And that is one thing to do and of course, we are not going to throw away the National Publicity Secretary of the party. We are going to have proper conversations.

Conversations are still going on and that is how political parties function. We do not expect that everybody in a political party or everybody who supports Peter Obi will look at the list and say, ‘Oh I like everything on the list, I like everything. No, people are going to disagree, but that disagreement is not necessarily a right. It is not. Disagreements are to be settled and that’s what political parties do.

You know you don’t expect to see people come out to say, oh I am going to cause the Labour Party to lose this election because of the disagreement. Conversations will be held.

Abayomi referred to the PDP and APC, saying that your council did not reflect spread; what is the party doing to make sure that it is truly a pan–Nigerian movement?

Of course, it is a pan-Nigerian movement. I am from Kaduna State, North West. If you look at the composition of the spokesperson we are from all over the country. People from all over the country formed this list, I remember vividly when we were forming this list, we had to go back and sit down and look at everybody who had put in their efforts to contribute to this campaign. Of course, you cannot take everybody, but that is why the list is so extensive. It covers so much. We have people who run their private businesses who have not had any business with politics before, but said; in this election, I am going to put myself forward. We have people who had been in the military but are now saying I will put myself forward. These are the people that are part of the list.

Of course, you cannot satisfy everybody. That is the reality with a list like this. When a list comes out, it cannot satisfy everyone. But I will say again, with respect to Labour Party, it is not a right. I have read a lot of comments on social media, not everybody is happy with the list. Some agreed with some aspects and disagreed with some. That is it. I will say again, it is a disagreement, it is not a rift.

We have heard some party members swearing that they are not going to campaign for their presidential candidates, swearing ‘you will lose this election, but that’s not where Labour is headed. Conversations will be held, and disagreements will be addressed. That which can be changed will be changed. But I do not see the possibility of changing any core persons from their positions, looking at capacity.

I would want to reiterate this point over and over again that we are looking at capacity, it doesn’t matter who announced the list, what we are looking at is the capacity, this is the person that has been delivering, this is the person that will deliver the most and that’s what we are going forward with. Why we are having these conversations at the end of the day because of how people look at campaign committees. Campaign council list, that oh, if I am here, it means that when we win, we are going to get something and that is what I am trying to point out today that the core of Obi campaign is volunteerism. It is not about oh when this person gets into the office I am going to get this or that. No, I have no interest.

People are gainfully employed but they are volunteering their time and energy to something that they believe in, and at the end of the day subjecting something that is quite and completely different from other political parties and how they function to the nuances and boxes in which these other political parties function. It is quite unfortunate. This is a very, very different situation. This is volunteerism at the core. People are not benefitting personally from what they are doing.

How much longer are we going to wait for your presidential candidate to release his manifesto?

With respect to that, one of the things that we want to talk about our candidate is that this man is a walking manifesto. You saw his appearance in Harvard, everywhere he goes to he talks about these things. Again, we are subjecting him to people who do things a different way. The elections and campaigns have come a long way, even credit our candidate for bringing issues to the campaign, everywhere people are talking about issues, we are doing less, less of pageantry and more of conversation.

This is because of the way Peter Obi started his campaign. I am super proud of that. Now, with respect to that, we are still working on it; it is going to come out. But when we are talking about these things with respect to the manifesto, we can’t be talking about manifestos as if Peter Obi has not come out clearly time and again to say the things that he is going to do when he gets into the office.

We can refer back to his appearance at Harvard; where he listed all that; he even brought it back to social media, and every day such conversations are happening. So, even if he does not have a document, we do not say we will not have a document, we will definitely have a document; it is in the works; day and night in the campaign office people are working on it.

If we don’t even have a document at this moment; you cannot look at Peter Obi and say you do not know what this man is about to do. He has led it bare over and over again what he is going to do when he gets to the office. He has talked about what he will do in the economy, security, etc. He has mentioned these things and I think that going forward, yes we need to have a little more patience; this is not the kind of candidate that comes out to tell you to shut up; I don’t care about your problems, your concerns! No.

It is not a competition about who brings out a manifesto first; it is about who has the best manifest; whose manifesto reflects the need of Nigerians? Which manifesto wants to solve the problem of Nigerians? It is about who has the best manifesto; whose manifesto reflects empathy and solves the people’s problem?

So, we are looking at the quality of the manifesto and not trying to be the first or second to come out with a manifesto. We want to have a complete and reflective manifesto that works for Nigerians.

Before the manifesto comes out the candidate has continued to harp on the issue-based campaign and has been saying what he will do in office and that’s what really matters.