How do you see the preparation for the APC Convention head of the 2023 elections?
In my own opinion, I wouldn’t want us to rush. We need to consider the situation of the party in the country first. There are overwhelming crises in the party in so many states.
There is the need for us to finish with the problems in the states first before any National Convention can take place. If everything is cleared out, then the Convention can comfortably take place, and all the members of the party will accept the outcome.
But for those who claim to be leaders of the party that are planning the National Convention of the leading party in February, I really don’t see any good in it. Will they be able to resolve the current crises by then? Are they assuming that the current crises will not affect the National Convention? All these are left to be seen. One thing stands clear for all the politicians.
If the crises are not resolved before the National Convention, it is definitely going to affect and manifest there and disrupt it. This is very important to note. In my own opinion, there is a need for the National Convention to be suspended pending when the crises in the states are duly resolved.
This is necessary because if members of the party are in disarray then there is a problem because the party does not belong to an individual; the party is for the people and is meant for the people. Therefore, for as long as the crises at the states are not resolved and you decide to go for the National Convention, there is a big problem in the making. I know this problem will certainly occur.
But the right thing to do is to use our right senses of reasoning. Every individual in the party is important to the party and should not be given the chance to dump it. But with this kind of situation, one cannot tell how many people will leave the party. I cannot tell what those calling for the Convention are planning to achieve.
How are you sure there is a crisis in the party?
In the first instance, it is clear that there is a crisis in the party because the masses have been angered as well as those promoting the party. You can see that these crises are a big prob to us. Look at the bloodshed taking place in the North as a result of insecurity.
Despite the fact that the Federal Government is doing its best, its best is not enough. Had it been enough, we would have been getting to the roots of the insecurity. When you talk of the North-East, you will see that we are in a serious problem, they need to give the security operatives more time to calm the situation and give a new hope to the people in the party. But in the current situation, the All Progressive Congress (APC) is in serious trouble.
The problem here is that the masses are displeased; they are angered. There is insecurity and poverty everywhere; the people are worried and disturbed. But it is my opinion that if the National Convention is moved further a bit and the security operatives use the period to ensure that the people are calmed down, things will be better.
Presently, there are a lot of people that have migrated from their places of abode, in fact, some have even migrated to Niger Republic. For this reason, the people are not happy with the party; they are annoyed with the leaders of the party. They feel they have wasted their time all along from 2002 to 2015 when the party came into power all as a result of their physical and financial efforts.
These people contributed funds through buying cards to fund the party but they have succeeded only to be failed.
They did this to find peace. However, in the meantime, we can say in the North-East things have changed comparatively. There is relative peace there when compared to the past. We thank God for this improvement. But the current problem in places like Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna states is very scary.
Though I don’t know what the leaders of the party have planned, the truth is that it is better for them to heed to the advice we are offering. I need to reiterate that those that supported his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari are displeased. They have been supporting him since 2002 with their lives and wealth. That was how they went round the country but have not benefited anything from the government today. Because none of those appointed Ministers can come out and boldly say that he has supported the people in any way.
Who do you blame in this regard?
I personally blame his Excellency the President because he is aware of the hardships people have gone through for him. We are not saying that the public wealth should be given to them, but they can be compensated with contracts in the Ministries.
Why then would the members of the party not be given contracts to compensate for what they did? I also will blame the close relatives of President Muhammadu Buhari for all the problems the party is facing today. I am talking about his close relations this time around, not the ministers.
They didn’t contribute anything to the struggle but when he assumed office they came around. They too are guilty of not helping the President out in this situation. They are not considerate of the milestones and hardships faced by his supporters. Only a few of them were there for him during the hard times but most of them are all opportunists.
They were never there for him. We were there for him and they know that. But they are not considerate; they turned to the government for the benefit of the Daura people and themselves alone.
All these are part of the problems of the APC, a lot of people have been displeased. It is very important for people to be calm. It is now over six years since the party came to power, nothing has been done to those members of the party that supported it. Yes it is true that APC has assisted the youths by providing them with finances and jobs but, what help has been given to those who actually suffered for the Party, what arrangement is there for them?
Nothing! Such people are many and his relatives are aware of them but have done nothing to support or assist them. All these kinds of talks have just started surfacing in the party. There are talks like these going round within the party. Very soon we are going to start speaking against the way they dominated the government and turned it into their personal property. There are a lot of things that we are going to voice out. Because what has not been done to you in the past six years will certainly not be done in the remaining 17 months. Maybe some things might be rectified but some can never be. This is why we insist there are problems.
Can these problems still be addressed before he leaves office?
It is never too late to put things in order if they want to, but for now this issue of insecurity has battered the integrity of the party seriously. More so, the refusal to assist members of the party by the ministers is another problem the party is facing. Imagine, these people have been supporting President Muhammadu Buhari since 2002 and he doesn’t give anybody any money for that because he doesn’t have it. He was supported based on ideology.
Whatever the members had they invested in him and today he is victorious. APC is my party. I will not act against it but if you come to ask me to join in promoting the party the way I did in the past, I will have to think twice. If all the anomalies are not rectified I will not be able to show the type of support and commitment I gave the party in the past. This is not done anywhere in the world, for party members and supporters to be neglected, even in America, England, France, party members and supporters are empowered and assisted with contracts.
But the same cannot be said of the APC today. What is your view about the Electoral (Amendment) Bill? The truth about this issue of new electoral law is that, any patriotic Nigerian that is seeking true change in the democratic dispensation in the country would support elimination of use of delegates in election. Let the people participate in the elections and not for some individuals to be selected and imposed on the public. The people should be allowed to choose whoever they want by themselves. This is better and more democratic; this is what will make everyone see democracy in practice.
Whosoever is voted for will be the choice of the people and there will never be any cause for complaint. Actually I was very surprised because. I never expected that the President would not sign the bill into law, though I was not in the country when the bill was taken to him for assent. Actually, it was even his party that introduced the open ballot system, the CPC. We started it. But I don’t know what actually happened. Maybe he has some advisers that have plans of contesting in future politics, who have done nothing to their people and fear that they will lose in an open ballot election.
They must have been the ones that advised the President not to sign the bill into law in order not to defeat their personal whims and ambitions. They want to become Governors, Senators and others but have done nothing for their people to queue up behind them and vote for them. They must have been the ones that wrongly advised him not to sign it into law. But don’t you think his advisers should have advised him properly The President lacks good advisers as well as polished politicians around him to properly guide him.
But there are those who are good at making political maneuvers in their personal interests around the President. Such people cannot go to their wards to seek open ballot votes because they have done nothing to the people and the people don’t know them. This is because all they make is for themselves and their close families and their wives relations. These might be the type of people that stopped the President from signing the bill into law. If they don’t do that they will definitely lose. This is because none of them has the guts to go to his local government or ward to seek votes because they have left
their people behind, have moved to Abuja with their wives and children and have left the poor people without education, without portable water, overwhelmed with problems of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.
They are busy doing what they like and nothing is done to them. They kidnap women, children and even rustle their cattle and sheep. It has even gotten to the level that they cannot even harvest their farms without paying illegal taxes to bandits and terrorists. With all these on ground, what will we then use to convince the people to vote for APC again if it is not rectified? This is the bitter truth.
But there is this argument that assent was declined for security issues associated with direct primaries?
It is not true that there is not enough security to secure the open ballot system as they claimed. If they can put in place over 30,000 security personnel for the recent Anambra elections there is no reason whatsoever not to be able to secure the election which will take place within just a day. We have enough personnel that can secure the elections in the country.
They are only hiding behind this claim to achieve their aims. I even heard him claiming that the open ballot is more expensive than that of the delegates; that more funds would have to be spent. It is not true. What the people want is a viable election that will bring the government closer to them. So what if money is spent to achieve that? Isn’t more money spent on less important things by the government? If you see what those around the government are worth financially, you will be shocked.
They are deceptive, they have studied and understood the body language of the President and so they continue to falsely show that they own nothing whereas the people already know that they have more than they are legally supposed to be having. But they continue to pretend that they have nothing because they know the body language of his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is the problem of the ruling APC, a problem of greed. Whatever policy they come up with is never for the interest of the people but in their selfish interests. That is why they want the voting to be by delegates because they have enough money to buy the delegates, no matter how much it will cost. Therefore, the people are sidelined and have nothing to contribute. He will select his choice of candidate from the Local Government Chairman, to Member State House of Assembly, to Member House of Representatives to Senator, to Governor. This is the bitter truth.
Let us go into Kano politics. There is a seeming confusion in the politics being played in the state. How do you see this?
I have advised the governor one on one and warned him against the dangers of making some selected persons excessively powerful against the majority. I have told him this one on one up to three times that there is a problem. I told him that he is the political father and leader in the state. If he allows this crisis to break, he will not be able to resolve it. I warned him but he didn’t listen and look at the outcome today. If he had listened, all these crises would not have emerged.
How can there be peace when you anoint your candidate of choice and your wife also anoints her candidate of choice when in politics people have choices that are not necessarily yours? Everyone has his own choice and desire. Some are in politics for their personal interests, some for the masses and some for the love of their state. Therefore, the only way out for APC in Kano is the G7.
These include Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, Senator Barau Jibrin that we hope to be the next governor, the likes of Jobe, Sha’ban Ibrahim Sharada, Auduwa Gabasawa and Dederi. These are the G7. If he had introduced his candidate early enough, he would have been accepted by all but it is too late to impose a candidate on the party. How can he impose someone on the party? More so, this person he is imposing is not a politician. He was someone else’s boy when we were at ANPP. He used to hold his files for him. We know all that and he knows that we know that he is not a politician.
But here he is being imposed on the people as their party chairman. More so, it is not possible for you to turn the party into your personal property or royalty. The party is for the people, so you cannot come and portray yourself as the king, it has nothing to do with royalty. You can’t force people to accept your wish, they are not your slaves, you can only do that to your slaves and not to your party members.
All these crises were caused by Abdullahi Abbas. He is taking pride in the support he has from the Governor and the Governor’s wife. Everyone is aware that he himself has said that the party belongs to three people, that the party belongs to the governor, his wife and himself. Have you ever heard of a political party belonging to three people? If that is the case, why are they looking for people’s support?
Why don’t they just do their party alone without the people? This is the problem the APC is facing in Kano. I call on the National wing of the party, because I am hearing some rumours that they are planning to create an out-of-court settlement of the recent case.
The National wing of the APC should know that there is no settlement whatsoever between us and the Governor’s camp in Kano, if they want the people to support them and they want the APC to win elections in Kano again. They should know that losing Kano State is as good as losing all the six states in the North -West because the steering that moves the politics of those states is in Kano. We are therefore issuing this warning to them; we will not accept any out of court settlement with the Governor Ganduje’s camp.
We are nobody’s slaves, we are free citizens. They should remember that we are products of NEPU, this is the House of Aminu Kano and this is the house of PRP. We will not accept any form of compulsion or imposition by anybody at all. We belong to APC and have rights in the party. The APC was formed from my CPC certificate.
What can chieftains of the party do in this regard?
I wish to call on the leaders of the party; I wish to call on his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, he had said earlier that he will not be involved in the crises of the party in Kano State. So we are calling on him to assist. We are also calling on Maimala Buni to understand that the politics of Kano is best known by the people of Kano. We have politics that is different from the way it is done elsewhere. He should also know that nobody can suppress or oppress us in APC.
We have inherited politics from our past and we are not afraid of anybody in politics. The only thing that will resolve the problem and bring about peace in Kano is for the APC to be left with the G7.
The approach of Kwankwaso by Ganduje is in my opinion with the intention of displeasing the national wing of the APC. He is threatening them to know that he can leave the party for Musa Kwankwaso if they refuse his bid as the governor. But the fact remains, even if Ganduje dumps APC nothing will happen; he will only remove the thorn in our flesh and nothing more, because already there are people that will leave the APC because of him.
So he is only threatening the national APC to scare them that he can reconcile with Kwankwaso against the interest of the party in the state. There is also the possibility that since Kwankwaso was his political mentor and he has failed him; he wants to use this as an opportunity to reconcile with him and move ahead.