Rt. Hon. Emeka Atuma, a former member of the House of Representatives, lawyer and Estate Surveyor is the National Organizing Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). In this interview, he barred his mind on national issues and the future of the party.
Honourable, your party, SDP, just released the names of its national officers, what does it portends for Nigeria?
Yes, the SDP just released the names of its national officers of which I am the National Organising Secretary. Being the National Organising Secretary of SDP is quite exciting and very interesting. I believe what Nigeria deserves is social democracy, a social ideology where people will be carried along in the planning of governance and implementation of whatever thing that is being planned in the very key areas, like in terms of socialism- where housing, food, majority of minimum wage will not be a problem. Where there will be the establishment of middle class, where the nation will be planning because social democratic ideology is dependent on planning.
We have lost it because Nigeria doesn’t have planning any more that is why a lot of the leaders look at the money as to be excess and that gives them a lee-way of stealing because by the time you have an appropriate plan in terms of infrastructures, in terms of human capacity building, in terms of unemployment, in terms of social development, you will realize that what you call excess money that is available for very few people to cart away will be unavailable.
What has changed because the SDP is not a new political party, what has changed that creates this new excitement looking at SDP as the third option from PDP and APC?
The issue is that SDP has not actually been given the opportunity to express their ideology in the past. SDP was the platform upon which MKO Abiola won election in 1992 with the same ideology and that election as it were, they were never sworn in and the SDP went underground and a lot of other ideologies were just scattering. There was the formation of people trying to use a platform to win an election not really having an ideological democracy whereby there is something that is expected if a particular party comes to power. Like you rightly said, SDP has been there, it got registered with INEC in the last three, four years and within which period Nigerians do not have an influx, there is always a beginning of a thing, like I said, something would have to happen for people to go back to their consciousness and realised that what they deserved at a time has come.
What has happened now, that has taken us to this new consciousness that you speak about?
The PDP woefully failed the country, there was nothing like a democratic setting in the PDP, and there was this psyche of a military marshalled out mentality within the political party. There are very few people trying to control the things that are going on in the party and not allowing it to be the people’s party and that led to the congregation of other parties that came together on the platform of the APC and Nigerians seeking to see something different voted en-mass for this party that has also failed Nigeria woefully. They have not kept any part of their promises and at no time have we lost lives in Nigeria like this time, no dignity to humanity again and no value or respect for human life, animals are now better than human beings. The amount of insecurity, social injustice, bastardisation of our economy is so much in this setting that if we don’t take our destiny into our hands, we probably may not have a better Nigeria tomorrow. And people of likes minds, people with integrity, people that have seen the evolution of the Nigeria nation had to come together and embrace the SDP at this time in order to rescue Nigeria from drifting as a nation
When you talk about Nigerians coming out en-mass to embrace SDP, what we have seen happening in the last few days is that few frustrated PDP chieftains like Tunde Adediran and Jerry Gana coming over to SDP, that has been the major movement so far, so what do you expect in this next few months?
That is not the only movement, the issue is that Nigerians have actually been observing the trend in SDP in terms of the steering committee and there have been an influx of people and of groups, there are more than 30 groups that I am aware of are declaring and flooding into SDP. SDP is just on their managerial setting and we just introduced and showcased our national officers to Nigerians. In the next couple of days there are going to be a lot of events to show Nigerians where the SDP is actually headed to. On the 14th of April 2018, there is going to be non-elective conventions in Abuja that will also let Nigerians know the direction of SDP. When people say frustrated PDP members are coming into SDP I disagree with that because I was actually elected on the platform of the PDP in the past, some of us were seeking for ideological platforms but somewhere along the line a lot of things happened . As I said there is always a rebirth of consciousness and I believe people will give their interpretation but my interpretation is that at the fullness of time as quoted in the scripture, all things worketh for good to them that love God according to their purpose. I believe the time has come where the congregation of men with like- minds that will provide solutions to Nigeria’s problems and set Nigeria on the path of progress and the time is now.
Talking about Nigeria’s problems, how will you assess the last three years of the APC led Federal Government?
Nigerians came out en-mass in the last electoral season in 2015 to support the alternate platform which was the APC. Life is a movement and whatever thing that is constant to life will change because life keeps moving seamlessly like a web. They embraced the alternative and the alternative also failed them to the point that they are not able to recover. Nigerian masses today neither prefer PDP nor APC. They are looking for something new, that was what led to the men coming together which I was part of to forming a new political order and putting the political order in shape.
What is the level your preparedness to field candidates in the next election and not just fielding candidates but to win elections in the South, West, East and in the North? How prepared is the SDP to field candidates that will take over the system?
The SDP has been a party that Nigerians have been waiting for and ever since the pronouncement of the SDP and the adoption of SDP as the new political order and the infusing of our group with the SDP in the last one week, there has been a massive entrance of people into the party. If you look at a place like Delta in less than one week there has been an extended caucus meeting, it was not a jamboree, you look at places like Gombe, Ondo where Dr. Olusegun Mimiko the former Governor is also involved in the steering committee. All Nigerians that want change and things that will impact on their lives are waiting for the SDP to properly take-off and which of course actually started with the presentation of the interim national working committee members who are taking the flags to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT. We are very prepared, we have our plans, we have our modalities, and we have even the civil societies that have signed up for SDP to carry on with the party to taking on the Aso Rock. We are taking the presidential seat and we are taking majority of the gubernatorial seats. A lot of sitting governors have indicated interest to run under the banner of the SDP but the names is what I won’t disclose at the moment, but as things are unfolding you will begin to see all the things I am saying today. You will see them unfold one after the other.