Hajia Inna Ciroma is a deputy national chairmanship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The former PDP National Woman Leader, Minister of Women Affairs and wife of former Finance Minister, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, speaks on her vision and mission for the party. ONYEKACHI EZE reports
Why are you running for the office of Deputy National Chairman (North) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and what do you think you can bring on board?
First and foremost, I know the dreams of the founding fathers of the party. The G-34 that championed the party’s formation came up with a robust policy, the idea of having a nationally acceptable party, a grassroots party and that was why the name of the party was Peoples Democratic Party and it had an umbrella as its logo. The umbrella means that it can cover everybody. So, I know the ideals, I know the reasons why this party was formed. Now, we are having some challenges, I feel that I have what it takes to help reposition our party.
After 16 years in office, the PDP lost power and it is now struggling to get it back. How do you think the party can regain power?
First and foremost, everybody knows that PDP is the party to beat. PDP was the party that was formed by Nigerians and it has no coalition, it is standing on its feet, it is a party that is everywhere in Nigeria. That is why we were able to be in power for 16 years. And I can tell you very proudly that PDP has done so much for this country. Those who will tell you that PDP has done nothing are just playing politics.
We know what PDP did in 16 years, we know where we are coming from, we know where we were in 2015. Therefore, after testing the difference of PDP not being in power, Nigerians are now saying ‘we have made a mistake.’ Propaganda was used, a lot of others things were used to push PDP out of power. They capitalized on so many things, insecurity, corruption, all sort of things. Have these things changed?
I can tell you that Nigerians have seen the difference. In fact, I think it was good for PDP to have lost that election because now we are feeling the pinch and Nigerians are now asking for PDP to come back. So, I can assure you that by 2019, God willing, the party will come back.
Do you think as a woman you have the capacity to withstand the rigours of the office of the Deputy National Chairman and the toughness to withstand intimidation from men?
Do I look like who would be intimidated by anybody? I don’t think so. As for the rigorous of the job, I can tell you that I have learnt this job since I was young. When I married my husband, they had just formed the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). They called it National Movement then before it became NPN. So, I can tell you that I grew up in the political system. I knew when my husband went out for meetings. I used to tell people that a politician can only succeed if his wife supports him, and I can tell you that I will succeed because my husband is supporting me.
I have been the National Woman Leader of this party. Apart from that, I am a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT0. Therefore, I can tell you that I have paid my dues. I can tell you that I am ready to take up this challenge and members of the party will not regret giving me their votes to be in that particular position. In fact, I feel that I will assist in so many ways in improving this party since I know its history, I know the challenges it has gone through and I know what we are going through right now and I know the problems nationally, what Nigerians are going through. I assure you that I will do my job as it should be done.
What kind of PDP do you want to see and what should be done to ensure that it is able to return to power?
The PDP is a family. That is why when crisis erupts in the party, people will be jittery and run to here and there wondering what should be done about it. But we usually come together in a room, lock ourselves and settle our differences. What I want to appeal for is that the PDP must be united. We must be united because Nigerians are asking us to unite, so that we will be able to take back power. Therefore, what PDP needs to do right now is to ensure that there is no acrimony, there is no disruption. Power as we all know, whether you are a Muslim or a Christian, comes from God. God gives power to whoever he wishes and He takes it away from whoever He wishes. It is not a do-or-die affair.
How confident are you of a positive outcome of the convention?
Once we are able to come out of this convention feeling that everybody’s interest has been taken care of, I can assure you PDP will emerge stronger. Nigeria’s interest is first, then the party’s interest because we must protect our country. How do we protect our country? We must ensure that our democracy survives. How can democracy survive? We must have competing interests – the political parties. And in these political parties, we must have one, two or three persons that are capable of providing alternative to government because the opposition party, it is regarded as government in waiting.
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