Former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana has lamented the worsening state of insecurity in the country, saying Nigerians do not deserve what they are going through.
Gana stated this in Abuja on Wednesday when he officially joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s national secretariat.
“Nigerians do not deserve what we are going through today. We must take decisive steps that will help rescue our nation,” he was quoted as saying via a statement issued by PDP’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.
“Nigeria is on the brink. The economy is stagnated. There is insecurity everywhere. Nigerians are beginning to doubt our nationhood. The political answer to the situation today is for PDP to take back power.”
The ex-Minister also commended the Prince Uche Secondus-led leadership of the party for its efforts in stabilising the party, adding that he was happy to be back to the fold.
On his part, the PDP Chairman Secondus reiterated the party’s commitment to rescuing the nation from what it described as misrule, adding that it was imperative to tap from the wealth of experience of leaders like Gana.
He also asked Gana to deploy his wealth of experience and intellect in the collective quest of well-meaning Nigerians to forge a direction for the nation.
“The main objective of the PDP is to rescue our nation from collapse. Our country is threatened and this is not a joke. We are confronted with guerrilla warfare and the very foundation of our country is being threatened,” he said.
“That is why the PDP is leading the charge in seeking a solution to the ugly situation our nation has been plunged into by the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
The Supreme Court has adjourned the appeal filed by a former Information Minister of Information, Jerry Gana, challenging the judgment of the appeal court which dismissed his appeal challenging the candidacy of Mr. Donald Duke as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP).
The Supreme Court panel presided over by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Tanko Mahmood, said the court can not go ahead to hear the suit and deliver judgment as requested by professor Gana because all parties have not been properly served as required by law.
The former Cross River Governor, therefore, appealed to aggrieved members of the party to sheathe their swords and work for their victory at the general elections.
“You cannot get a 100 per cent support. It’s left for me to show leadership, to bring them onboard and reach out to Professor Gana and appeal to him so that we can come together and see a larger picture which is our party and the nation.
“I am doing that. I did that on October 7 and I am doing it again. Leadership is conciliatory and working together, building bridges. He may be hurt, but it gets to a point where pursuing interests works contrary to the larger interests.
“And I think we have gotten to that point. We have 23 days to the elections. There is hardly enough time to sell our views to the nation,” he said.
In this interview with Ladi Akeredolu-Ale, a former Minister of Information and presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Professor Jerry Gana, speaks about the problem of governance and the way out, as well and the issues of security and restructuring among others.
The interview was conducted before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published the final list of candidates which excluded Professor Gana’s name.
What is wrong, what do you think are the missing ingredients from our governance process that keep leaving these gaps that so many people say we still need to fill, even in 2019?
Thank you very much, that’s a very important question. The major gap is quality of leadership. Seriously, the leadership selection process in Nigeria, even under democracy is very faulty. Under the military we know it was by coup, those who took the risks; it wasn’t the best of these but under democracy, you find that some very able people who have the quality of visionary leadership, the kind of leadership that will move the system towards development and transformation; simply because they may not have access to resources, they are handicapped.
Therefore, the parties have now emerged with certain, I term them ‘evil gatekeepers’, could tend to keep out those they cannot control. It’s a very dangerous thing for any democracy and that is what is happening in many of the big parties. I must confess, that is the reality. Therefore, we in the SDP we nearly succeeded and we hope we are going to succeed to really say ‘look, let the emergence in terms of leadership be a matter of democratic choice of the people, not purchased, not manipulated, not confused; because if you do that you will not allow the right people to emerge.
In a democracy, you need the democratic forces to genuinely and freely and credibly elect their leaders. That is one major fault. In a democracy, allow the people to choose.
Number two; there is a discrepancy between what the people want and what the leaders are prepared to do. In a good democracy, leaders should align with what is in the best interest of the people and that is why in the SDP when we come to that, we will like to really take the opportunity to let you know that the progress we designed were designed after a very serious research of what Nigerians want. Therefore, the policies and programmes are relevant to the needs and aspirations and yearnings of the people.
Thirdly; is the lack of capacity. You know there is a whole difference between a dream and reality. We in Nigeria, we like to dream dreams, beautiful dreams but there seems to be a lack of capacity to translate our dreams into reality. We may have a beautiful plan of how to develop the nation but it takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, leadership, mobilisation, and investments to translate the dreams into real action.
You would have therefore discovered that the number of parties are not able to do that and so, the people at the end of the day are disappointed. There are a lot of promises not translating to reality, then there is a collapse of expectation. Let me give an example, one of the ruling parties; Infrastructure is one of the most critical things Nigerians have been crying about, particularly power supply, also roads, railways and so on. Then there come an administration that grouped the infrastructure ministries of Works, of Power, of Housing; every infrastructure into just one ministry with one minister; however visionary that minister may be, it’s not possible.
That is one of the things we want to do. When it comes to infrastructure, our own plan is to decentralise the administration of the provision of roads, railways, power, and so on. Why centralise it? For example, our own infrastructure once we design, two things will happen with implementation. One we are going to change the budget cycle. The budget cycle in this administration does not allow people to implement. Before you know it, there are only two-three months so they are not able to implement.
For us, the capital budget will be like a capital development plan for four years. When we come in, we will have a four-year plan that will be approved as a budget right from the start. So, you will spend four years implementing and therefore, you have the time to really implement. It will be the current budget that will be ongoing – for salaries and other things; it will also allow us to produce value for money in terms of expenditure. And if you now take the strategy of the implementation to the zones, for example, why should somebody be sitting here monitoring roads being built in the South-south or in the North-east, or in the North-west, maybe visiting there once in a year? No.
You want progress? Decentralise the implementation – the roads, the railways, the infrastructure … so that you can now on a weekly basis know what is going on. Have a kind of a central monitoring body, just for an example, in Kaduna for the North-west, in Ibadan for the South-west, in Enugu for the South-east, maybe Port-Harcourt for the South-south, and Abuja for the North-central. Believe me if you do that and you give each of these centres a team and a minister of state as the chairman, every six months you will see transformation. Then you will implement; you will get things done.
We are facing security challenges virtually everywhere, in everything. It used to be fashionable to talk about the North-east and Boko Haram insurgency, but we have gone beyond that. There are herdsmen-farmers’ clashes in the North-central, there is banditry and so on in the North-west and down South, you have the perennial cases of armed robbery, kidnapping?
… Top on the agenda is security; people are worried about their security – security of life and property. Suddenly in Nigeria, life is not safe anymore and therefore, our number one programme is security re-engineering in which all the security infrastructure, we will like to re-organise them in such a way that they are effective.
You won’t be thinking of decentralising some of those?
I’m coming to that. So, that is very important. Secondly; we want to particularly reform the police that is very close to the issue of security because defence is national. You have a small national Army that is efficient, that can defend the nation against any attack … but security is local; you have to be present in almost every local government and there are 774 local governments. Therefore, how has the Police Force of Nigeria tried to secure 180 million people with less than 400 thousand police? It’s impossible.
Therefore, the first thing we want to do within the first six months is to enlarge Nigeria Police, even the Federal police before we go into restructuring, to about 900 thousand men and women. That will be an average of about 25,000 in each state. And not only that, they should have equipment and weapons. Some of them are running away from armed robbers because they are holding more modern weapons. Look at the Boko Haram, some of our soldiers are actually running away because they don’t have sufficient ammunition to stop them and that is the reality.
But the government says they are very well armed?
A retired general was telling me this yesterday, ‘please believe it that our men are not well equipped as they ought to be. We should equip them properly, give them the best.’ The Nigerian Army has a record of one of the best armies in the world, that’s why we got the peace-keeping role. We will return to that and even better because the Nigerian Army has very courageous men and women. This security thing has become a technology thing … so, we are very prepared to re-organise the architecture of security agencies and reform and enlarge the Nigeria Police.
Beyond that, in every Federal set up, the federating units are entitled to really secure their domain and that it why the governor of each state is the Chief Security Officer and for a Chief Security Officer not to have the power to enforce, power to secure, no it’s not right. It’s a very pitiable thing for a governor of a state to say ‘I’m even willing to resign because I can’t do anything. In a true federation, every federating unit is really self-contain in term of governance. It is the thing that are commonly done for all that now are at the centre – defence, foreign affair, and financial system. Issues of security, agricultural development, housing, education, health – these are the matters that each federating unit should really be well equipped to do because they know the needs of their people.
You are an advocate of restructuring?
Very seriously, because we shouldn’t play with it. It is not a political thing, it is a fundamental constitutional thing. Our founding fathers were correct when they said that in a society like ours that you have a multiplicity of religion, tribe, ethnicity, and so on; once you have that kind of composition, on a Federal set up is needed. Don’t deceive yourselves. And in a federal set-up, the main argument of a federal set up is that you allow the federating unit the power of self-governance.
Let them look after their basic things and then agree for certain things to be commonly done as a federation. Because of our experience of military rule, most of those functions got sucked in. so the centre is now enlarged and big and inefficient. We should devolve functions back to the federating units … the federating unit should be powerful and good and strong. It is not a threat to the Federation, no.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained why it removed the name of a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, from the final list of presidential candidates published on Thursday.
INEC National Commissioner, Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, said this on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
According to him, the electoral umpire took the decision in line with a court judgement which ordered it not to recognise Mr Duke as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the general elections.
“The name of Donald Duke was forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the SDP for the presidential election,” Mr Okoye said.
“Thereafter, the Independent National Electoral Commission received a court order to the effect that all the votes that were scored by Donald Duke during the SDP primaries were wasted votes, and that the candidate of the SDP in the presidential election should be Professor Jerry Gana.”
Professor Jerry Gana, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has said that his party will take Nigeria by storm come 2019.
While appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Prof Gana said 2019 will see the second coming of the SDP, explaining that the first advent of the party was in 1993 when Chief MKO Abiola won the presidential polls flawlessly.
He said, “I want to assure you that the SDP which have won an election in Nigeria before, will do it again”.
Further speaking on his party’s chances at the forthcoming polls, Prof Gana said the “Nigerian electorate has changed profoundly,” arguing that the people will not be voting political parties but individuals with “character and integrity”.
Prof Gana said the electorate will put each candidate to the ‘acid test’ and go beyond party lines to choose only leaders who are competent and can deliver of the promise of democracy.
He said the SDP “Knows the country, knows the people and knows what the electorate want,” and will “take the nation by storm”.
The former lawmaker said he really wants to make sure that the youth and women are given excellent opportunities.
Reacting to questions regarding the ongoing dispute between himself and Donald Duke as regards who will be flag-bearer for the SDP in 2019, Prof Gana said the party is operating solely on the rule of law.
“We are laying a foundation for democracy and the rule of law is part of democracy; Nobody should violate their own constitution to proceed and do things that are not right,” Prof Gana said.
He also noted that based on the zoning rule adopted by the SDP, Donald Duke is not eligible to be the party flag-bearer in the 2019 election.
Speaking about support from party loyalists, Prof Gana said, “Many of our people are supporting my candidature because there are some very serious matters that need to be resolved at this point of our nation building”.
A former Minister of Information and chieftain of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Professor Jerry Gana, has applauded the judgment of an Abuja High Court affirming him as the presidential candidate of the party.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Professor Gana said the verdict of the court is a victory for democracy and party politics as the culture of imposition of candidates by political parties is no longer fashionable.
The ex-minister further stated that he fully subscribes to the peace accord initiated by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee and is prepared for a peaceful general election.
The ruling came one day after Mr Duke visited the office of the peace committee to sign the peace accord ahead of the polls.
He signed the agreement two days after President Muhammadu Buhari and other presidential candidates signed the accord on Tuesday.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who missed the signing ceremony, had later visited the peace committee office on Wednesday to sign the agreement.
Professor Gana had gone to the court in November, seeking to be declared the winner of the primary, in line with the zoning formula of the party.
He approached the court after the SDP announced that Mr Duke won the primary it held in October.
According to the party, the former governor polled 812 votes to defeat the former minister who scored 611 votes.
But Gana asked the court to nullify the emergence of Duke on the grounds that the process that produced him violated the constitution of the party.
He claimed that the convention of the party which ushered in Duke as the presidential candidate of the party was illegal and flawed.
“In the party’s constitution as provided under section 15(3), it was stipulated that the party will respect the principle of rotation and zoning because it is important to building up of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the former minister had told the court.
He had also explained that the SDP constitution stated that if the chairman comes from the southern part of Nigeria, then the presidential candidate must come from the northern region.
A presidential aspirant of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Professor Jerry Gana, has asked the FCT High Court in the Maitama to disqualify Mr Donald Duke as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections.
Professor Gana, a former Minister of information, filed the suit at the FCT High Court in the Maitama area of Abuja, asking it to nullify the emergence of the former Cross River State governor as the SDP candidate on the grounds that the process that produced him violated the constitution of the party.
Mr Duke had polled 812 votes to defeat the former minister who scored 611 votes at the SDP National Convention held at Old Parade Ground in Abuja on October 7.
Professor Gana, however, claimed that the convention of the party which ushered in Duke as the presidential candidate of the party was illegal and flawed.
He said, “In the party’s constitution as provided under section 15(3), it was stipulated that the party will respect the principle of rotation and zoning because it is important to building up of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“The provision specifies that the position of national chairman of SDP cannot come from the same part of Nigeria,” the presidential aspirant added.
He also told the court that the party’s constitution provides that if the chairman comes from the southern part of Nigeria, then the presidential candidate must come from the northern region.
The case has been adjourned till November 13 due to the indisposition of the presiding judge, Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf.
The reconciliation committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it is making frantic efforts to reunite aggrieved members of the party.
The reunion is part of efforts to put things in place ahead of the proposed PDP national convention.
The Chairman of the reconciliation committee, Professor Jerry Gana, was briefing journalists after a meeting with the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of the party on Friday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He says the committee hopes to reconcile all warring factions before the party’s convention.
Professor Gana hinted that the committee had presented its recommendations to Senator Sheriff’s faction and expressed optimism that it would promote reconciliation if implemented.
At a separate meeting with party members from the northeast, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, asked members to be cautious of the decisions to be taken by various leaders of the party to avoid plunging it into another round of crisis.
The PDP Youth Leader in Kaduna State, Ahmed Maiyaki and federal lawmaker, Tony Nwulu, insisted that the youths be carried along in the process.
The party has been struggling with its leadership crisis since it lost the presidential elections in 2015.
In May, some members of the party at a convention in Port Harcourt removed Senator Sheriff as its Chairman and set up a caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
After, his removal, Senator Sheriff continued to carry himself as the leader of the party, insisting that a court order had nullified the convention that led to his removal.
The situation brought a divide in the party, that led to the setting up of the reconciliation committee by the PDP Board of Trustee saddled with the responsibility of reconciling the factions.
Senator Sheriff is expected to study the recommendations of the committee ahead of a bigger meeting with the contending factions before the proposed convention.
The leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has received a knock from one of its own, a former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana
Professor Gana, at a forum in Abuja says the party is being run in the unhealthiest manner which is detrimental to the sustenance of the party.
The former minister wants key leaders of the party to wade into the current crisis rocking the party or else a worse crisis may hit the PDP.
“The bedrock of our democracy in the PDP is ‘Power to the People’. Let the people choose their leaders in free, fair and credible elections. We hate any manipulation and rigging of elections in any form.
“If the PDP is to be revived and remobilised for electoral victory by the grace of God, we must return to this wonderful principle of ‘power to the people’.
“We received painful reports of the poor and shamelessly undemocratic practices during the recently concluded party congresses in several states.
“After the shocking results of the last general elections in 2015, we had hoped that our leaders would have learned serious lessons to make them resolve never again to impose candidates, never again to practice impunity, never again to rig party elections, never again to take the people for granted.
“Yet we find ourselves, in our very eyes, returning to even worse things within our party,” he said.
Another chieftain of the party, Mr Bwala Inuwa, however disagrees with the former minister, saying he has little to add to the repositioning of the party, going by his recent actions.
“They seem to forget that their generation is no longer relevant to contemporary politics and that is why you did not see any politician of note amongst the gathering.
“That is why you did not see anybody coming from his constituency having gone for the party congresses because they cannot go (as) they don’t have anybody at home.
“Gone are the days of gun flaring politics, these are the days of grassroots mobilisation for support for the PDP,” he said.