Halilu Galadima is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Gombe State and a member of the party’s Elders Council in the state. In this interview with some select editors, he deplored the suffering of Nigerians, describing the current government as “non-sensitive.” He also spoke on the 2023 general election, the chances of his party; why the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should not be voted, and other important issues in the polity. ZEBULON AGOMUO brings the excerpts:
The PDP governorship primary in Gombe State has since come and gone. How would you describe the exercise and the outcome?
Well, of course, when it comes to primary election like this, it is an Electoral College thing representing different constituencies that you have in that state or zone depending on the office that is at stake. And the representatives of the people have decided on whom to elect as their governorship candidate and quite satisfied with that because they, the representatives, did what they are supposed to do. I accepted it as a loyal party man.
But there was the allegation that the primary was highly monetised?
I don’t know, that one; I cannot tell you because I was not there as I was not a delegate of the governorship primary. Honestly, I was not there to know what happened.
What is your reaction towards your party’s victory in the Osun State governorship election?
That is correct; the people of Osun State have spoken by voting in the right direction. They have already passed a verdict and it really means that democracy is at work and people were allowed to express their feelings freely in a democratic manner devoid of crises and rancor, under a very free, fair and secured atmosphere. And maybe, they must have made a reference to PDP governors’ performance throughout the country for their preference for the governor-elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke. And also, they must have as well referred back to PDP presidents in the past years from 1999 to 2015 and compared to what is happening now in the country and having found out that APC has nothing to offer to this country, they decided to vote out the party. And now people have decided to go back to PDP because the PDP is a better party that can offer good governance from the presidency at the federal level to states, National Assembly and etc. With that in mind come 2023, the former vice president of Nigeria, God willing, will be elected the next president of Nigeria.
What is your general feeling as 2023 general election draws nearer particularly as it concerns the security situation in the country?
Well, the recently concluded Osun governorship election is a pointer to what will happen next year because where a sitting governor and ruling party have been unseated by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a very important to state to the APC and a close neighbour to Lagos State where APC picked their presidential candidate; it is a pointer to any reasonable person that the PDP is going towards the right direction.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the date for Presidential, Senate and House of Representatives election the same day; what is your reaction towards that as many Nigerians are not happy with that arrangement by INEC?
Honestly, it is not really the right thing and decision to make by INEC because when you have three different elections the same day and time it brings a lot of confusion. You see, what they are doing is that you will have three different ballot papers at the same time and you have three different choices to make from different parties and if our people are not properly educated, they may probably not choose their right choice. I am suggesting that let there be different days for each election for proper conduct and allow people to make their choice, especially for those in the rural areas. I advise INEC to separate the dates of different offices so that people will make their choice very well because the way it is now it can create confusion.
Many Nigerians are reacting against the Muslim/ Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). What may be your reaction to this?
You know we have got or practise a federal character thing or sort of governance in this country which is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And now, when you say federal character you are looking at different aspects of the country which maybe geographical, which is zonal and then we have North central, South east, and so on. And you base your consideration on this parameter and also you remember that we have different tribes in the country. A tribe can form a zone and if a certain place is predominantly a certain tribe they have to be considered, likewise even if you are considering the old people what about the youths who have been complaining that they have been sidelined for a long time. And when it comes to the social strata like religion, we have two major religions in Nigeria and they form a zone. The Muslims form a zone; so every zone should be given consideration and have a sense of belonging. You know, in the past we had a president and his vice from different religions and nobody complained and it is now that people are complaining; why, because it is wrong to neglect a certain zone because as far as I am concerned they are very, very important.
What are the chances of your party winning the presidential election in 2023?
Oh my God, our chances are very, very bright because the PDP is the only party in this country that is doing the right thing.
Yes; of course. When it comes to governance our governors are doing very well and when it comes to consideration, we have been considered very well because we have taken our presidential candidate from the north and his running mate from the south; that has taken care of the geographical zones and the application of the federal character principle.
And also if you compare the past performance of PDP administrations with what is happening now, we have done better than the APC which Nigerians can attest to. During the PDP presidency, did you see what you are seeing happening now in Nigeria? No.
But see what is happening now. When the PDP was there, we had only one security problem in the North East but this government promised Nigerians that within three months of their administration this Boko Haram thing will be a thing of the past.
Look at the prices of commodities; look at the prices of petrol, gas and food items going higher and higher everyday and look at the security problem spreading everywhere. Nigerians never thought of this unsafe situation of our lives in this country. Can you imagine bandits operating inside Federal Capital Territory freely? Let us accept this; it is too bad under this government. During PDP government we didn’t have this type of problem and can you imagine universities in the country have been on strike for over five months and we say we have a government, where is the government?
Non-sensitive government; they are not sensitive to the needs of the people. Which type of society are we now in this country? Primitive and uneducated society. They are not interested that our children are not learning and imagine our children’s hopes are shattered because an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Also, remember the #EndSARS episode that it was a demonstration against the whole government and we are asking the same government if they cannot provide security for us let them allow the states to have their own state police outfits. Our situation here in Nigeria is very unfortunate.