Senator Kabir Marafa has been at daggers drawn with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) since the run up to the 2019 general election. A squabble that saw the party lose everything to the opposition PDP in Zamfara state. In this interview with JOHNCHUKS ONUANYIM, the former Zamfara Central senator does not believe that anything has changed in the way the party is being run even with the change in leadership of the party. Excerpts…
You recently won a case in Zamfara, how do you feel about it?
Well, like l have always said, these things are like a sweet and bitter taste when members of a family fight, I don’t think it is something that anybody will want to blow a trumpet to say that it is good. It is a bad thing altogether and it is a failure of leadership on the part of APC that caused all these problems and unfortunately it keeps lingering and lingering and nobody seems to care. So to me it’s not something that one should be boastful about and say that I have defeated so, so, and so because the fact of the matter is that we are a family and the fact that we have lost everything speaks volumes to our teeming followers at the state level. The only thing is that one doesn’t have any regret looking at the fact that you are fighting for your own right and you are not disgraced. So, to me I’m a bit big thankful to God Almighty for vindicating me but on the whole one will not be too happy to see your own house always in total disarray.
Well the picture you painted happened in the last tenure of APC leadership. How would you like to rate the new party leadership?
Well I don’t know. I expected much from the Mai Mala Buni’s Interim Committee, but unfortunately I want to tell you that l am totally disappointed in the way and manner they have started their work because to me it’s like an extension of what we knew and what we saw in the previous National Working Committee (NWC). Look at the situation now where the committee is looking at members of APC that left when there is crisis in the house, one would have thought that the very first things they would look at immediately after inauguration are cases like Rivers, Zamfara, Imo, Oyo, Bauchi and Ogun. What are the remote and the immediate causes of APC failure in those states? But it’s like in APC nobody cares about anything, nobody cares about what members are feeling. Merit is not rewarded, nobody cares. So, instead of them to look at us, it is like we are nobody and we are nothing and they don’t care. What bothers them is big, big names and thank God the big names gave them a blow in the nose because who will want to come to your house when he looks at the way you are treating your own children. Nobody will want to come back. If they want other people or people that left the party to come back, then they should start putting their house in order. Put your house in order and show your children that you really care. Tell them that, look what really happened in the past is in the past and now you are here to remedy them or to look at the immediate and remote causes and do something. But nobody cares about you and look at all the ‘wahala’ everybody did and everything. They have not shown any care. And now they came in and they are talking about Aminu Tambuwal coming back, Bukola Saraki coming back and Atiku Abubakar coming back. Why should Saraki, Atiku or Tambuwal come back to APC when I am looking at my neighbours like in the case of Tambuwal. I am looking at Zamfara and l have seen what happened and you have not done anything or mentioned it from the date you were inaugurated till now.Nobody cares, nobody has sent us any letter nobody has talked about it and nobody has told us anything. It is quite an unfortunate situation.
Some party members have started the move to extend the tenure of the Caretaker Committee. Would you buy the idea?
If they like they can extend their tenure till eternity or terminate them tomorrow. As far as I am concerned, I have very little respect for some of the members that are there. For me I don’t care. From the way they started and if this is the way they are going to do, l don’t see anything reasonable coming out of it. Nothing. They are just towing the same agenda of the former NWC. The Caretaker Chairman now was the former National Secretary. So, maybe he was part and parcel of the problem that happened that time because that is what is beginning to show now. If he was not part of it and he was against it, for somebody that knows the problems inside-out, he is supposed to hit the ground running. The very day they were inaugurated, letters were supposed to be sent out to all the states that have crisis. Let us look at our members there, what happened, call them and sit down with them individually, or maybe you will sit down with them collectively and then you will hear from them and you look at how you can solve these problems. But you are not interested in that and the next thing is that you are asking Atiku to come back to APC, you are calling Rabiu Kwankwaso to come back to APC, meaning that the Marafas, the Abes, and some others don’t matter to you because they are nobody. So, you are looking at people that are either rich or holding political positions and that is not so. We are part and parcel of APC, we built APC, APC didn’t make us, we made APC because when APC came it met us. APC met me as senators and it met most of these people as either governors or members of House of Representative. So, we joined and made APC. APC didn’t make us. What APC made is that it made us to lose and lose completely. That is what APC did to us and nobody seems to care to say that look these people were not treated fairly.
Given what you have said, what’s your take on the alleged indifference of the President to the crises tearing the party?
Well, you cannot accuse the President completely of indifference. For instance, who brought about the change we are talking about today? The leadership of the party, were they supposed to allow the crisis to degenerate to this level. The leadership of the party comprises men and women that can even rule this country. So do you have to wait for the President to tell you this or that given all the weight of the nation on his head trying to steer the nation’s ship to the promise land? You have to wait until when the President summons all of you and wield the big stick and say we have dissolved the leadership of party… Maybe the President bears the same grudge as I have, looking at it that he was disappointed because he thought that bringing all these people on board he could sleep with his eyes closed. I thought that the party will be governed the way it is supposed to be but unfortunately it is not so. There was a lot of rancour. How many national chairmen did we have at a time? It has never happened in the history of political parties in Nigeria. At the point when the President called them, there were about three or four acting national chairmen. The late Abiola Ajimobi, the one from Zamfara, and then Oshiomhole was heading another. Everybody was laying claim to the leadership of the party. It has never happened before in the history of Nigeria. People cannot manage success, then what else can they manage in their life?
Governorship elections are coming up in two states and your party, APC, is involved in those elections. How do you see the campaigns and the chances of your party?
Well, l don’t know. I have begun to mind my own business as far as APC is concerned because to me APC does not care about anybody. So, the elections in Edo and Ondo, l wish them well because l am still an APC member. But to be very, very honest with you, if this attitude continues, l don’t think anybody will kill himself for APC. Like l told you the crisis in Edo, the new leadership of the party should have put something seriously on ground to look at the problems; what brought about all these p roblems b e t w e e n Adams Osh i omhol e and Godwin Obaseki; what can we do about it? How can we r e – duce t h e g a p not just widening the gulf and everybody bringing out his dagger and sword to say this is what we are going to do or that is what we are going to do? Looking at even Ondo, there is also problem there. The deputy governor defected to another party. How can a ruling party allow such things to happen? I am asking. So there are problems all over the place and one thought that with the present leadership things would begin to get a better shape, then the next thing we heard is that we are calling on Atiku and others to come back to APC. Are they crazy people? How have you managed your own house? What have you done about it? Like the saying goes, charity begins at home. There is problem, your children are fighting and you don’t care and you are calling other people to come to the house. What bothers you is that you are looking at big names and the smaller ones can go to hell or wherever. They have forgotten that it is those small, small ones that contributed to the success of the party even to their own successes. The Caretaker Committee members, they know us and they know who we are. Some of them rode on our back to get to the level where they are today.
What about the APC governors? Have they done enough to assist the party to grow?
Before talking about the President or the APC governors, what has the party leadership done? That is my concern and that is what l am telling you. When you look at the governors you see partial groups and it was as a result of failure in leadership of the party. What happened even in 2019, you will see this group they are against the chairman, the other group are for the chairman, next group they are for the Secretary, legal adviser and so on may be because there is no cohesive leadership. There is no trust among party members. Everybody is pursuing his or her own agenda.
This group is angling for the chairmanship of the party, another group is angling for zoning the presidency to them and another group is looking at the presidency coming to the governors. That is what you see in APC today. This quarrel was there in 2019.
As a party member, would support the rezoning of the national offices of APC now as some persons are canvassing?
What do you mean by that? It is too early. You can’t do that now. Naturally, you have to wait for the zoning of political offices before zoning the party offices. So, you cannot do it the other way round. For instance now the Presidency resides in the North and it’s going to remain in the North for another two years. Now how can you re-zone by just anticipating that the presidency is going to the South. Even the south, the question would be where in the South. Again, you cannot just say you zone the chairmanship of the party to the North, then you have the Presidency and the chairman of the party in the North for another two years before elections or you take the secretary to another place, you cannot do that. It will create serious imbalance.
So, first thing, first and unless if we are saying that may be elections into various party offices would not happen until another two years when it is just one year to the expiration of this mandate of four years then you now sit down and say okay we are zoning the Presidency to so, so place, Vice President to so, so place then things would begin to take shape and you now talk about how to zone the party structure by readjusting it to reflect the political leadership of the country.