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INTERVIEW: Why PDP Must Be Reformed – PDPNYF Chairman‎


In this interview, Usman Okai Austin, the national coordinator of the PDP National Youth Frontier (PDP NYF) speaks with Naij.com's Michael Abimboye, on various issues within the party, the anti-corruption war of the APC led FG and the exclusion of youths from the present government.

Usman Okai Austin, the national coordinator of the PDP National Youth Frontier

Naij.com: Your group has called for the immediate resignation of your party's Spokesman over allegations that he received 400m ‎from ex-Nsa, why the call? 

Our call is rather a patriotic one hinged on the ideals of the founders of the PDP. As at yesterday, a ranking member of the party who's also a member of the NYC Alhaji Jalo issued a statement in tandem with our view. Before him Dr. Cairo Ojougboh representing a coalition of former vice-chairmen of our party made a similar call.

It's normal for persons who are benefiting from status quo to liken our calls to anti-party activities  but facts are sacred and in this instance, ours is clearly a call for the preservation of the PDP. We have the highest regards for Chief Metuh and will not elect to ridicule him.

Naij.com: Your group and party says it support the ongoing anti-corruption but also cry out when members are invited or arrested, why this?

The anti-corruption and graft war which we support alongside the enlarged caucus of our great party as disclosed by our acting National chairman, Dr. Uche Secondus must be all encompassing for it to achieve its expected outcome. Until that is done, it could remain largely selective.

It's not sufficient to quiz just Isah Jafar in a setting that has Chibuike Rotimi, Tunde Fashola, Kayode Fayemi. Ridding Nigeria of corruption must not be heard as done, it must be seen as done and across board also.

Naij.com: There have been calls for reforms within the PDP, as a group within the party, what kind of reforms do your group want to see in the PDP? 

The kind of reforms we advocate is unambiguous. First, a convention is due to be held in March. That outing is unique. A SWOT of our party in relationship with the coming convention will show that several outcomes are dependent on it. Already, the Ike Ekweremadu committee report have dealt extensively with essential reforms that must happen within the PDP to enable it emerge better and stronger but we must add that an urgent restructuring is needed in the youth caucus.

Not one that will create a parallel PDP within but one that will ease up the process of youth participation by encouraging the existence of more serious groups with defined areas of proficiency.

Naij.com: What is the ideology of PDPNYF?

PDPNYF is a youth group within the PDP, what is the ideology of this group, the group's goal and Motive. The PDPNYF goals are: Having a safe space for youth in PDP, Promoting open youth-to-youth communication, Multicultural bridge building, Enhancing leadership development among young people through youth involvements in policies formulation, implementation and monitoring PDPNYF ideology Ensure transparency in party activities, and sanitize the political system by being in the system

Naij.com: Your party just won at the Bayelsa election, what does this mean for your party?

The victory we won in Bayelsa State came at a huge cost. For the first time we were confronted with rivals that were ready and indeed spilled blood because they planned to win at all cost. For the first time, we saw a rival that brought to the polls the much talked about federal might in its entirety.

We saw humans maiming humans and razing houses. We saw a serving minister in the "change cabinet" command a battalion of thugs to spill the blood of his own people. We are however consoled that the world now has better understanding of the APC as a group. For we in the PDP, we will remain committed to the welfare of the Ijaw people.Gov. Dickson has raised the bar of leadership in the South South region, we are therefore firmly of the view that he understands the reciprocal obligation of the support he received and will respond appropriately.

Naij.com: President Buhari merged the ministry of youth with sport, what do you make of this?

President Muhammadu Buhari is not an ideal and acceptable alternative to Nigerians. He presides over a government where anything goes. We are therefore not surprised that the information ministry will in 2016 receive more funds than the steel, agriculture and science & technology ministries lumped into one.

The configuration of the APC excludes the participation of young people in their processes so it's convenient to conclude that the president is simply being real. The chairman of his transition committee revealed a lot about his readiness to meaningfully engage young Nigerians.

Naij.com: So far, no youth has been given any role by the current administration; do you think the youth have a role to play in this administration? 

No! The APC as a body parades the oldest category of Nigerians as members. The youth among them have been confined within the rank of media cashtivist who glorify the folly of their ageing mentors on social media in exchange of meals served in banquets organized with tax payers money.

Beyond this, nothing else have been seen as pointer of the readiness of the President and his party to operate a government where persons younger than them will feature.

Naij.com: What is your group's take on the economic policies of the administration? 

We must understand that Gen. Buhari had never been a personality fascinated by figures or numbers. He had always relied on others. It's therefore not surprising that the Nigerian economy under him has and is still wobbling. The indices are clearly manifesting – massive job cuts; major shipping lines are reducing their business interests in Nigeria.

International airlines will commence a boycott of our routes shortly. Workers have stopped receiving salaries on due date et all. These are indicators that in fact; there may not have been an economic policy or a failure to pursue any existing one. The experience was the same when he held sway as head of a junta.



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