1. Why are you contesting for the chairmanship of PDP?

In simple terms, I am running for the chairmanship of our distinguish party to unite the party and bring it back to reckoning.

Following the divisive, chilling and brutal defeat of the 2015 elections, I pondered severally about how I can assist in the rebuilding of the party and lifting it to lofty heights. And about the same time when I was having these thoughts, I was lobbied by several respected individuals to consider running the chairmanship, as a means of healing old wounds and bringing back the party’s lost glory. I have decided to take on the challenge so as to lead from the front and not from the side-lines.

I feel a deep sense of pride and honour for respected individuals to consider me suitable to vie for such a lofty position. And I wish to make clear that my ambition is not a personal one. If it were, I wouldn’t be looking to run to the chairmanship of the PDP, at the time when the party is in opposition (both at the state and national level). Being PDP chairman now, does not have the same appeal and attraction as it did when PDP was in power.

  1. Why do you think you are the right man for the job?

I am the right man for this job for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I have a deep understanding of the issues and challenges that plague our great party and I am confident that I have the solutions for them.

I am not vying for the position because of selfish reasons but running to foster genuine reconciliation and forgiveness between the various camps which emerged during the 2015 elections. People trust that I can achieve these goals because of my past antecedents and the fact that my intentions are pure.

One of my strong attributes is that I continually tell people the truth, regardless of now convenient or inconvenient.  To illustrate this point, I was one of the only people who came out clearly to tell our then leader Da. Jonah Jang the truth that, the position he was taking by jettisoning zoning would lead to defeat. And ultimately, that happened.

I told Jonah Jang the truth, at the risk of my political career and not caring what the consequence was to me as a person. Perhaps if I had not done so, I might have returned back to the House of Representatives and been content, but having the principles that I have, I could not see how I could remain quiet while such was being done.

Since telling the truth to our then leader, my position has been vindicated, because the committee setup by the national PDP secretariat, led by Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu to undertake forensic investigations as to why the party lost the elections on the Plateau, determined that because PDP failed to respect the zoning arrangement on the Plateau, people dumped the party for the APC.

  1. PDP was immensely battered in the last election, it now stands fragmented and divided. How will you as chairman reconcile and unite the party?

If elected chairman, I will come with my antecedents of integrity, credibility and forthrightness etc. I will not be coming with a hard handed approach, forcing everyone to fall in line like a regimental sergeant major, but I shall open arms and mind and work to foster genuine reconciliation and harmony.  So essentially, I shall dialogue, cajole and speak openly to all, so that people can return to the table for reconciliation and re-engagement. Justice and fair-play will be the watch word.

With respect to the factions within the party, this is a normal thing in every political party –cliques and factions are not necessarily a problem. Where it becomes an issue, is when the factions attempt to subvert or subjugate party structures because of individual interests.

Undoubted, after the bruising campaign of 2015, some people’s allegiance is with the leader of the past administration and some others with other party leaders, but the reality is that the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and the respective caucuses owe it to the party to be fair and equitable so as to carry everyone along and do away with these divisions.

  1. Many big weights have left the PDP and the exodus is still continuing –what do you think the chances of the party are in 2019?

PDP may not be in power in Plateau today, but it goes without saying, that PDP is the darling party of the average Plateau man.

Despite the problems which emanated from the jettisoning of the zoning arrangement, PDP still won all the House of Reps and senatorial seats, including the majority in the initial House of Assembly elections. So on that basis, it shows clearly where the heart of the typical Plateau man is.

If you look at the APC and analyse how they have conducted themselves since they came into power, it is clear that they have simply thrived on propaganda and blackmail alone. No tangible development strides are currently being witnessed compared to the past administration. As bitter as people are with how the past administration handled the zoning issue, there is no denying the extent of development the Jang administration brought to Plateau.

Now what we are witnessing with the current administration (both Federal and State) is sky-rocketing inflation, escalating food prices, failings in basic security, exodus of investors and the depletion of our foreign reserves –yet the government keeps speaking of change. What change if I might ask?

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Bitrus Kaze speaks to ViewPointNigeria about his ambition to be PDP Chairman

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