© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ex-senate chief whip: PDP in power in 2019? Better not to have a government at all
Rowland Owie, a former Chief Whip of the Senate and member of the House of Representatives between 1979 and 1983, says it is better for Nigeria not to have a government in 2019 than for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to return to power.
Owie, who served as a senator under the platform of the PDP but now belongs to the Action Democratic Party (ADP), says the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has performed woefully and has slim chances of winning the 2019 general election.
Citing the revelation by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that N150 billion was shared by the Goodluck Jonathan administration few weeks to the 2015 general election, Owie said the country cannot go back to the dark days.
“The problem we have today was caused by the PDP. It is a pity I was in that party. We were the founding members of the PDP. The leadership of that party brought impunity into the party,” Owie said in an interview with Vanguard.
“By the time the PDP took over power, Nigeria Airways was alive, Aladja was working, Ajaokuta was working, Basita sugar company was working, NITEL was working. As a matter of fact, when we were in the Senate, NITEL had over N2.4 billion in its account; they were not borrowing to pay salaries.
“But the PDP government came and sold these businesses and as at today not one single staff of these former companies had got his or her pensions and gratuities. It is a shame. It is better not to have any government in place in Nigeria than for PDP to return.
“I was just reading in the papers how PDP shared N150 billion two weeks to the 2015 general election; let me tell you, after Shehu Shagari, then Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, and bit of President Jonathan before he was hijacked by palace jesters, there was no other civilian President in this country.”
Owie described the eight-year tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a waste, characterized by massive and mindless looting.
He further claimed that Obasanjo’s one-year budgetary allocation was greater than all of Ibrahim Babangida’s eight years allocation as a military head of state.
“The eight years of Obasanjo were a waste and PDP should take responsibility for it because they fielded him,” he said.
“Few weeks ago, former Chairman of the PDP, Col. Ahmadu Ali, during the launching of his book, declared that he was a major proponent of third term. Ordinarily, he should have been stoned for saying that.
“I was even more disappointed when Prof. Jubrin Aminu, former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, said he respected Col. Ahmadu Ali, a man who supported third term for Obasanjo.
“Do you know that one year’s allocation during Obasanjo’s tenure was just about 10 per cent higher than the allocation IBB got in eight years. And yet IBB’s performance for that period surpassed Obasanjo’s performance in eight years.
“So when you say the PDP is regrouping, it is laughable because they can never regroup. This is a party where governors decide what happens while the ideals of the party built by the founding fathers of the party has been destroyed.”
On APC’s chances of winning the 2019 general election, Owie said: “Ordinarily, Buhari should not think of a second term but we pray that APC should field him so that it will make it a lot easier for ADP to win the election.
“As at today there is no APC in this country anymore (but) with ADP, by the grace of God, in government in 2019, the past shall be corrected and the future shall be secured.”