Senator Suleiman Nazif, former governorship candidate in Bauchi State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), told KARLS TSOKAR in Abuja that the security challenges in the Northeast could be curtailed if there is “sincerity of purpose” from the country’s leadership.
IT seems the All Progressive Congress (APC) is becoming a formidable opposition to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Why is this so?
TODAY in Nigeria, we are faced with a very serious challenge and our leaders have to adopt extraordinary solutions to save what so many of us have worked hard over so many years trying to achieve, so as to make Nigeria a better place.
I must give credit to them for bringing us together to agree. Without them, we would not have achieved this tremendous success that we have brought to Nigerians.
We believe, very strongly too, that this is the only way out of the mess the PDP has put this country in, which is to unite.
Our doors are open to all Nigerians who desire to come into this party in search of the opportunity to institute this change we so badly need in Nigeria, so that we can all make it possible.
What is there for those joining the party, especially those who have made a name in the political arena?
As far as I am concerned, the APC is the party offering millions of Nigerians the opportunity to bring about change, not necessarily those who have made ‘name.’ Even those who have no ‘name’ are welcome to come make their own ‘name.’
For those who are formidable enough to come join the party, it is a welcome idea. The same applies to those who are known or unknown.
But then, it is not about making name; rather, it is all about doing the right thing. We have been going in cycles for so long that it has become apparent to everyone that there is need and desire for change, and that this change must be effected, so that Nigeria can be a better place.
For those still undecided, seeing those personalities leave the party will also encourage them to do the same. They are only bidding their time. We will welcome them.
For those who took the bold step, we welcome them wholesomely and thank them for the sacrifices they have made and the places they have earned in history. They must know, though, that it is an opportunity to show Nigerians the stuff they are made of.
How does leaving a party on whose platform one was elected to join another party affect his/her seat in the legislature?
This is not the first time members of a party have cross-carpeted to another party. Besides, we have not seen, in the past, where anyone’s seat was declared vacant for cross-carpeting. In any case, the Senate President has made an open declaration concerning that.
Nigerians desire change and it is only through radical means that this change can come about.
I assure you that by the time some lawmakers in the House of Representatives move over to the APC, the PDP will become a minority party. Slow and steady wins the race.
As a matter of strategy, political wars are won even before they are fought. Every Nigerian alive today knows that the PDP is crumbling, that it has come to its last bus-stop and is diminishing, sinking and already on its knees.
This is the real reason why they have resorted to all sorts of strategy to stop people from cross-carpeting. The APC has beaten them in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). We have beaten them through public opinion and in the National Assembly and we will beat them on the ‘D-Day.’ We have seen so many move to different parties, so what is so new about this one?
That is not all. Today, all those who are principal office holders of the PDP have lost grasp in their states. They have resorted to begging people to either stay or go back to the PDP. Very soon, they will be crying.
The PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, is from Adamawa State and the state is owned by the APC.
The Deputy National Chairman, Uche Secondus is from Rivers. The Secretary to the Board of Trustees (BoT), Waheed Jubril is from Nasarawa. The National Secretary, Wale Oladipo is from Osun. The Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metu, is from Anambra. The Women Leader, Kema Chikwe, is from Imo.
The President’s Political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak is from Adamawa. His Chief of Staff, Mike Oghiadome is from Edo, and many others are from states where the APC hold sway.
It is easy to see why they are desperate. Mark my words: By the time 2015 rolls over, there will be no one left in the PDP. So, it is an opportunity for us to come and advocate for a radical change; a radical solution to these extraordinary problems that we have been facing.
You can now see why the PDP is so agitated about this cross-carpeting. Some members of the National Assembly do not care if they take their seats from them; they will still cross-carpet and if elections are re-conducted, they will win.
The comfort is that it won’t get to that level, because no one will remove them from their seats.
You people talk of one man, one vote, but how can you ensure this if you do not go down to the grassroots? Besides, the Southwest, don’t you think you need acceptability in some other regions before 2015?
Our party is fully prepared and we are gearing up towards the 2015 elections. There is a lot of sensitisation going on within the party and Nigerians, as well as our party leaders, are fully involved.
The locals and our officials in the states are also aware of happenings within their communities. They are advocating, campaigning and soliciting for one man, one vote and sensitising Nigerians for the same.
The awareness campaign is at an advanced stage and we are targeting the key states of Lagos, Kano, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Bauchi, etc.
Seeing as they are pre-dominantly APC-controlled, I can say that the handwriting is clear on the wall.
How do you think power could change hands in Bauchi, your home state?
Bauchi is in the hands of the opposition. In 2011, the present administration intimidated the people by imposing curfews just to win. Everyone knows what happened in Bauchi.
The difference is that we are poised to ensure that that does not re-occur in 2015.
All the political parties formed over time claim to be the champions of Nigerian politics, including the precursors to APC. What makes the APC different, is it ideology, philosophy or the ‘grudge politics’ factor, considering that it is being swelled by aggrieved elements from other parties?
The APC, I must say, is an ideological party and members are bound by the desire and the need to make Nigeria a better place.
Those who came to form the APC sacrificed to do so. That is why it is such an effective merger, something Nigerians once thought impossible.
Though many difficulties and challenges came to play, we were able to overcome as a result of our belief, the deeply rooted desire to make Nigeria a better place and the effective governance we desire for the country and bringing into play a situation Nigerians can be proud to call the country their own.
This ideology propelled us to form the APC, not our own agenda. That is why all of us are making the sacrifice and no sacrifice is too great to make Nigeria a better place.
The fact that some party stalwarts left their former parties to swell the ranks of the APC has prompted analysts to foresee an ego-inclined politics. What is APC doing to ensure that it does not become another PDP?
First, our party has been founded on sincerity, rule of law, equal opportunities for all and internal democracy, which is one factor that will be emphasised by the party, so that the people can be allowed to choose who they deem fit to lead them.
At this point, the sacrifice we are making is to ensure that the PDP becomes a minority party in Nigeria. That is what this radical solution is all about. They will be made to learn more about internal democracy and other factors that make an ideal party, and they can only do that when they become a minority party.
To buttress that point, I want to assure you that we, as the APC, are out to make a difference, because we know the consequences.
We are not out to celebrate, but to work for the Nigerian people and ensure that Nigerians feel the impact of good governance and leadership.
The insecurity in your zone, Northeast, especially Maiduguri, is quite unsettling. What is your take on this and how does your party hope to tackle this, if it ever comes to power?
The unrest we have been experiencing in the Northeast for some time has been challenging, but it is not an issue for those of us in that part of the country alone; it is a Nigerian issue and it should be addressed as such. Insecurity in a country should not be politicised.
Without mincing words, everything boils down to the leadership and being able to find a way or give excuses. When it is good, we will celebrate it and also say so when it is bad, as well.
All Nigerian leaders must understand that this is a very challenging issue and what seems impossible can be made possible, so that Nigeria can remain united and strong.
I believe with the kind of leaders we have in the APC, who are selfless, determined, dedicated and responsible, we can bring the change to its resting point and look deeper into the insecurity in the Northeast zone.
Sincerity of purpose is very fundamental.
Are you saying the present leadership of the country is insincere?
The leadership we have in Nigeria has not lived up to expectation. If you want to achieve something, you will find a way and if you don’t, you give excuses.
Like I said, this leadership should understand that the time has come for them to know that it is time for them take a bow now that the ovation is loudest. They should go and rest and let the APC take it from here by instituting the lasting solution that will make Nigeria great.
They (the PDP) are worn out. Go and ask the principal officers of the party why they cannot pull their weight in their states, which have been taken over by the opposition.
Of course, they have no answer. They are a reflection of the fact that time is up for the PDP.
Category: Bauchi State News