A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Owolabi Salis, has described the coming together of opposition parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a welcome development that is good for the nation’s democracy.
He however said no amount of merger by the opposition can defeat the PDP.
“The merger of three or four parties is a good idea. It is good for our politics, it is going to make PDP sit up and also make it stronger as the challenges will be favourable.
“So I think I love what is going on, but I do not see the APC defeating the PDP the way I see the party and the way I see Nigeria,” he said while fielding questions from newsmen in Lagos.
“In Nigeria I don’t see any opposition party defeating PDP. If PDP has to be defeated, PDP will defeat PDP. This is because the real people, the quality people are all in PDP, so PDP has to defeat PDP,” he added.
He recalled that in Lagos State for example, the PDP had been defeating PDP since 2003.
He, however, assured his followers that he would remain a staunch member of the PDP.
“In 2003, you will recall that certain personalities left PDP to help the old AD to win the general elections then and they were given commissioners and some other positions.
“In 2007, the followers of the late Mr. Funsho Williams defected from the PDP to join the ACN and won the election and they were rewarded with the office of the Secretary to the State Government and about four or five commissioners. Then in 2011, the same thing re-occurred,” he said.
Salis, a lawyer, also attributed the defeat of the PDP in Lagos State over the years to what he called “a lot of bad management in the leadership of PDP”, saying the issue is being resolved by the current national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
He said he would remain in PDP because PDP is the real democratic party and the party has a great chance of winning the election in 2015 in Lagos State because of its membership strength.
Commenting on how to combat insecurity in the country, Salis called for political will from the powers that be and engaging people in the grass roots.
“In Nigeria, we talk but those who are expected to act fail to act as at when due,” he said, adding, “that is why this Boko Haram insurgency is not being addressed quickly and is now becoming a big problem and a monster to the country.”
He canvassed the adoption of what he called the traditional approach that involves the grassroots scanning by security agencies to fish out where bad people are perpetuating their nefarious acts.
He added: “You know there are 7,000 wards in the whole of the country and use the grassroots scanning by security agencies to identify the supposedly bad wards. The arrest of the leaders involved in perpetuating breach of peace in those wards would lead to the arrest of their members.’’
Salis, however, lauded the declaration of the state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states as part of efforts to curtail insurgency.
While bemoaning the rate of youth unemployment in the country, the politician said because he considered the matter as very serious, he has had to personally write the president on it and proposed a project he called grassroots’ governance.
“This grassroots’ governance is a way of tapping into the intelligence of the youths at the grassroots and the government would be assisting them to fund such.
“The government would put in place an accounting system that would ensure that the funds are disbursed at ward levels to the youths in groups and ensure that they are spent on what it is meant for,” he said.