Professor Tunde Adeniran is a former Minister of Education and one time Ambassador of Nigeria to the Federal Republic of Germany. A professor of Political Science, Adeniran attended the prestigious University of Ibadan and the University of Columbia, United States of America. A founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the academic cum politician contested the national chairmanship position of the party in the December 9, 2017 elective convention where he emerged the runner-up to the eventual winner, Prince Uche Secondus. In this exclusive interview with Vanguard, Adeniran spoke about the intrigues that characterised the delegate election, the stewardship of President Muhammadu Buhari and the state of the nation among others. Excerpts!
By Dirisu Yakubu
Where do you stand in PDP after the issues that marked the convention and the efforts of the Governor Seriake Dickson Reconciliation Committee?
Yes, I am aware that Governor Dickson and his team are going round and making efforts to reconcile aggrieved participants. I have tremendous respect for Governor Dickson. He is a committed Nigerian patriot and an honest politician. His team made their mission known to me when they came, and I bared my mind to them. He means well, and I wish him and his Committee well.
I need to stress here that I left the convention ground even before the completion of the exercise because, as things were, it was apparently going to achieve the end that was already pre-determined by the administrators of the convention process. I was utterly dismayed by what went on, disappointed in particular by what some party leaders did and greatly troubled in my spirit about our democracy and the future of Nigeria.
It is now common knowledge that the whole process had been compromised and was strategically programmed to achieve a pre-determined outcome. I thought we had put such open fraud behind us, that what transpired at the Eagle Square that day could never happen again, going by the negative experiences the party had suffered, especially the immediate past near-death leadership crisis which the party luckily got over.
We went into the convention with high hopes. All PDP faithful and Nigerians all over were optimistic that the event was a momentous opportunity for the PDP to rebound and that the convention would mark a watershed in the annals of its history. I also thought that PDP had learnt the necessary lessons and had purged itself of some bad ways, and was set for a new era of doing things the right way. I thought that the party had outgrown the ignoble label of impunity, winning at all cost and subversion of the people’s will. But it turned out that my hope and expectations were misplaced. It was indeed an unfortunate experience and outcome for lovers of genuine democracy.
The disappointment was not really about me not emerging chairman, it was more about the party losing that golden opportunity of getting things done in a wholesome manner. It was about the need to promote internal party democracy, consolidate and deepen our democracy. It was about what legacy we could bequeath to posterity. It was about this generation being good exemplars for the next generation. It was about the need to secure the future of Nigeria.
My position on the election, as was made known through a press statement at the convention ground on that day, was that the process was grossly flawed, a travesty of democracy and the outcome shameful. As things stand today, and going by the mindset of some unrepentant power mongers, my position on the outcome remains the same as it was on December 9, 2017.