As parties and their candidates take their campaign messages to all nooks and crannies of the country, soliciting votes, Honourable Jingi Rufai, state chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Adamawa State, in this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO said that his party’s gubernatorial candidate, Nuhu Ribadu, is likely to win. He dismissed the fears of possible violence during the exercise in the troubled North East zone of the country, among other issues. Excerpts:
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flagged off its campaign last week Thursday and since then has been moving from one state to the other soliciting electorates’ votes. What do you think is the most selling point of the party as election is drawing nearer?
Since the return of the country to civil rule in 1999, PDP has been ruling Nigeria; we have huge followership all over the country. I want to tell you that you will definitely hear some noise all over the place arising from the primaries, it is normal in politics.
In a situation where you have different kinds of followers with different kinds of ambitions, interests, orientations, expressions and reactions, people find it difficult to accept defeat.
But in every contest, there is always a winner and a loser. We have our own style of politics in Africa; you hardly see a politician that will willingly accept that he has lost an election; this is the cause of all the murmurings we have been hearing about.
But I want to tell you that PDP is on ground; we are going to win the presidential election. We have done it, not once, not twice and not thrice; we are going to do it again this time around. The PDP government has done a lot for the country. And this will not be the last time we are going to win. We are going to win because we have a large number of followers and we have all it takes to win.
As the new chairman of PDP in Adamawa, what steps are you taking to reconcile those who are aggrieved by the outcomes of the primaries in the state?
We have started doing that; there are those that are still in the party, there are those who have left. But anybody who has left the party, directly or indirectly, is telling you that he is not actually a PDP member.
Such a person must have come into the party through the back door and decided to leave because of his own selfish ambition. But anybody that is for the party is still in PDP; what we have started doing is to reconcile the members- individuals who have lost with those who emerged winners.
Government is a big valley where everybody can be accommodated. No individual can fight a government, the party is bigger than anybody, but we have started with the process of reconciliation; we are strong and by the grace of God, we’ll remain strong.
What are the chances of Nuhu Ribadu winning the gubernatorial election in Adamawa State?
Nuhu Ribadu’s chances are 99 percent. This is because he is one that you cannot compare with any other contender. He is somebody that his pedigree is robust. In Adamawa State now, we need somebody who will come on board and move the state forward.
We have been backward for many years, but I want to tell you that people like Ribadu are what Adamawa State is looking for and we are happy that we have found him and he is going to win come February 28.
I want to tell you that there is nobody that can compare to Nuhu Ribadu, not only in Adamawa but in the whole of northern states in terms of credibility, accountability and in terms of ability to provide quality leadership.
What would you like to be remembered for as the PDP chairman in Adamawa State by the time you leave office?
It is that all those who are currently contesting on the platform of PDP win election. That is one. Two, anybody that contests on PDP platform will be satisfied, whether that individual loses or wins; finally, I will be satisfied to see that the electorates give our candidates their mandates.
There is still the fear that there could be violence during the election; again, do you think that given the level of disturbances in the North East, of which Adamawa is part, there will be peaceful election in those troubled spots?
Election is going to hold peacefully, not only in my state, but I assure you, it is going to be so all over the country. That’s one. Two, the issue of violence which people are foreseeing, let me tell you, since 2011 this projection has been there, that there will be bloodshed and all that, but in 2011 except some pockets of disturbances, the elections were largely free and fair.
Those who won, won and those who lost, lost. Let me tell you again, people are over-flogging issues by insinuating a lot of things; but I want to tell you that come February, the election is going to be conducted all over the country under a peaceful atmosphere. By the way things are going; it will be very, very peaceful.
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