Don't rejoice yet, Makarfi warns APC

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi has described the factional Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ali Modu-Sheriff as a mole who has always played the role of a spoiler in the politics of Nigeria. Makarfi who was a colleague of Sheriff as member of the Nigerian Governors Forum took his rival to the cleaners insisting that some governors and ministers are funding Sheriff to destroy the PDP. According to Makarfi, Sheriff who was then a governor  on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP allegedly helped the then ruling PDP government to run down his party, adding that Sheriff had more access to Aso Rock than the PDP governors at that time.

In this exclusive interview with Sunday Sun in Abuja, Makarfi spoke about the problems of the PDP, why they lost the 2015 elections, how all the PDP governors were conscripted into the presidential race of 2007. He also took on the APC government for failing to tell Nigerians how much of the $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase was actually diverted, among other national issues of interest.

Let me first of all congratulate you on your victory at the Court of Appeal, which indirectly seems to have confirmed you as the leader of the PDP. However, after that judgement, we are still hearing songs of war from your faction and that of Alhaji Ali Modu-Sheriff. The two of you are still laying claims to the leadership of the party and it would seem there is no end to the crisis.

Let me make a little clarification. The Court of Appeal judgement was not specifically on the issue of leadership. By implication, you can say yes because it recognized our gubernatorial candidate for the last Ondo State election as the authentic candidate of the party to stand for election.  There are pending appeals that, specifically, have to do with the issue. At the Port Harcourt Division, there is an appeal Modu Sheriff made against the Justice Liman judgement, which affirmed the validity of the convention and the caretaker committee. He has appealed that before the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division. The court has heard that and judgement has been reserved. We are only waiting for a date for judgement. Equally, tomorrow, Thursday, the 1st of December, the Abuja Division, that is the panel, will hear three consolidated appeals based on Justice Okon Abang’s judgement recognising Sheriff as the authentic chairman of the party. Those appeals would be heard tomorrow and it is a one-day hearing since the panel must wind up its activities on or before the 15th of December. I am sure after tomorrow, they are likely to give a date for the judgement. So, in reality, it is next week that specific pronouncement on leadership would come from the two divisions of the Court of Appeal. Why people of the party were jubilant is because the court recognized the candidate produced by us. It is, by implication, so to say, recognizing our leadership. But I don’t want us to abuse the judicial process. We should allow the judicial process to take its course and make specific pronouncements in the next few days. But we are confident because we are on the side of the truth not falsehood.  Maybe that is why the other side has continued to agitate. But no matter what happens at the Court of Appeal in the next few weeks, what Sheriff has failed to realize is that the FCT Courts had declared the amendment of the constitution on the basis of which he was appointed null and void.

That is Justice Valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court and Justice Nwamaka Ogbonnaya of the FCT High Court, Kubwa

Yes. They have specifically said he was thereby removed as the chairman of the party. He was never chairman and should stop parading himself as such. Modu-Sheriff has not appealed these judgements. So if a court has removed you and you haven’t appealed, the judgement stands. So what is he chasing?

If that is the case, why suspend some other members of his faction, leaving Sheriff who is the principal actor in this case?

We have not taken any particular measure. You see, state chapters did it without consultations with us. We at the national level believe that we need a clear and definite statement from the Court of Appeal on leadership before you can contemplate anything. That removes the ding-dong issue, you do me and I do you kind of thing. If the states had consulted us, we would have asked them to be patient. We have told the states to allow the courts to make specific statements before doing anything. And this would be in a few weeks from now. And then whatever the relevant organs of the party feels should be done can be done in a more organized and sensitive manner. But no suspension was done with reference to us. I have been calling state chapters to be patient and not to be exuberant. Let NEC meet and take decisions that need to be taken.

How do you convince Nigerians, particularly those sympathetic to PDP that your party is ready for the settlement of the crisis when you are busy suspending members to the extent that in Ogun State, for instance, you have the Buruji Kashamu faction and another?

When we left power, we exited in a haphazard manner, which also affected the PDP. It is just like the crisis you have in the Middle East when US’ exiting in a hurry created confusion. And it always happens that way. And we are paying the price of not well-organized exiting. Ahmad Muazu was forced to resign without following due process. A vacuum was left, all kinds of agitations and that led us to where we are. Having said that, our problems started early and we are lucky it started early. These problems are limited to few places, not all over the country.  If you want to know, the genesis of this crisis is actually from a particular part of this country, even though the elders there are trying to do something…

I was actually going to ask you what the founding fathers and elders of the party are doing because they appear unconcerned and seem to be using what many watchers of the PDP say is this approach of sidon look?

They have been doing their very best particularly in the geo-political zone where this problem came from. But whatever you do, once you create some legal problems there must be settlement because if not for today, for tomorrow. If you do not settle them, anybody can come and make nonsense of whatever you have done. Even the party in power and government can use whatever legal problems raised against you and use INEC to quash whatever that you have done. The implication for PDP is that right now the party in power and the PDP may keep quiet, but by the time it comes to 2019, if somebody as chairman whose appointment was declared null and void should conduct any process to produce any candidate, the person will just go to court and, pronto, use that previous judgement not appealed to say the person had no authority to carry out those functions. Therefore, whatever candidate produced was null and void. And that was why in Port Harcourt in August this year, having considered this scenario, it was considered wise to give a maximum of one year to sort out these problems so that all loopholes would have been plugged, because if you do not plug all these loopholes and go into election, we’ll find ourselves messed up. And it’s just three months between now and that time. We are already between the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court which means in less than five, six months, we can come to a terminal end of these legal issues. And that would be about seven months ahead of the one year the organs of the party thought it would take to resolve the issues. We are lucky in a way that our problems started early. How are you sure some parties’ problem would not start when ours is ending. It is how we kickstart in the next one or two months that is important, not what we have gone through. What we have gone through is an unpleasant experience, but we are happy it happened when it happened so that we can put it behind us and move forward. I can assure you we are doing what we are doing with their blessings and I can assure you the elders and founders are not kept in the dark.

And that leads me to the question as to those fueling the crisis. Do you still maintain that the Presidency is behind the crisis in your party by sponsoring Sheriff to destroy the party? And how much of the destruction has

Sheriff made?

Well, you have to look at the political history of Sheriff. In name he has always been in opposition, but indeed at the centre. He worked for us, the PDP when he was in ANPP. So, he is somebody we know too well. Even though he was in ANPP he was working for us PDP in central government.

Is that so?

Everybody knows that. As a matter of fact, he had more access to the Presidency than some of us the PDP governors at that time. So, a leopard does not change its spots.

When you know he is like that, why did you bring him into your party? How did he eventually make it as chairman?

We didn’t bring him. The governors made mistakes and they have accepted they made mistakes. But we do not want to continue to lament on the mistakes of that time. But again a deal was made. The deal was for him to serve for only three months. He agreed at NEC. He even granted interview where he said he would serve for only three months and organize a convention. But being who he is, three months have now become 2018, which immediately proved what people said of him. The problem with Sheriff is that he reneges on promises, shifting the goal post. Whatever you agree with him now, once he gets whatever he wants, he would shift. He is a difficult person. It was supposed to be a convention to endorse him as chairman; but that was not sufficient for him. He thought he could go to court to get a court assurance to say his tenure is not for three months, but 2018. So those who took him in trust, how do you think… I understand whether he looked for it or he didn’t, he took these actions. Those who brought him did not take these actions.

I think I should ask you this question at this point. Lately, your faction and that of Sheriff met and it seemed the crisis was going to be over. Then suddenly the crisis continued. What happened?

The foundation for peace making, which we arrived at before that peace meeting was that Sheriff would join the caretaker committee. It was the modality that we set up an equal number of members to discuss the modality. He agreed. But when we departed, he changed it and said he would become the substantive chairman. Then he changed it and said let Sheriff and Makarfi go and the problem is over. I said okay. But I said the problem as I saw it at that time was not Sheriff and Makarfi. What of the seven other parties that are co-plaintiffs? I asked him, are they part of this? He said he would talk to them. Do you guarantee they will do? He said no he would talk to them. So of what use will it be if you allow one man to continue with the mess. Why am I leaving the gap? So, I suggested that if it gives everybody comfort to have a new structure, you and I should work together with everybody to sort out all the legal issues. Let’s work together for one month to sort out all the legal issues then we can lead the party to the convention. He disagreed. The main issues are the legal ones. If the legal issues are not sorted out, we will have problems. And if you will not agree to work with me for the next one month to sort out all the legal issues to plug all the legal loopholes and to even set up new structures if need be, where is the sincerity. That was really what happened. I didn’t say I had to lead this party to convention.

In other words, by what you have said, Sheriff has been a mole all along. Would that be right?

If you go by the video clip that Jimoh Ibrahim broadcast in respect of Ondo election where he said the main purpose of them getting the ticket and going to court was not to win but to stop PDP from winning. And Jimoh Ibrahim is Sheriff’s candidate. He couldn’t have done that without the consent of the master.

What kind of man do you think Jimoh Ibrahim is?

I don’t know. I have never known him. I have not associated with him. The only moment he came close to me was at the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal. Otherwise, I have never associated with him.

How much of Sheriff do you also know? You were both members of the Nigerian Governors Forum at a time.

He was also not a person close to me. I am careful the kind of friends I keep. He was not close to me. As governors, we had respect for each other. As an individual, I still have respect for him. Although I disagree with him politically, I really have no relationship with him.

Within some circles, he has been alleged as saying he is a hard man. Do you see him as such? Are you harder than him?

Some objects may be soft but are harder than a rock. And there are many Nigerians that appear soft but are harder than Zuma Rock. You can blast Zuma Rock, but this other one, even if you blast, it may be like Amoeba, changing shape. Whatever you do gets minimum impact on them. People don’t talk about themselves that way. It is for people to say who you are and what you are. We all have our capabilities and capacities. It is not all about whether one is hard or soft. It is being truthful. One should be truthful, believable and have conscience.

From your interaction with him, do you see this streak of hardness in him?

I have never ever viewed him from such prism. I have always interacted with him as a former colleague, talking honestly to one another. I have not heard him say he is a hard person. But no matter how hard you are, nobody is God. We are all human beings.

How much of the destructions have Sheriff made really?

We have seen it in Edo and Ondo states. Edo and Ondo are two different scenarios. I can see clear manipulations in Edo State. Up till now, I am yet to get the details of Ondo election. But I have not heard from any of the key stakeholders in Ondo complaining of clear manipulations other than anti-party activities. Sheriff’s people made sure they engaged us in court and made sure that they worked in tandem with APC government. And indeed a video clip that we have watched showed where Jimoh Ibrahim said clearly that the game plan was that they engage us in court so as not to give our candidate time to campaign.

Really?

Yea. The video was widely circulated. That was the clear intention. The intention was not for him to run but to hold us down and make sure we lost the election. So, if somebody made such a move, the issue of why Sheriff and his people are in the PDP should not be in doubt. But I do not think everybody with Sheriff shares this idea.

How many of your members are really with Sheriff?

I really do not know. Some are with him for different reasons. There are those who believe honestly that what he is doing is right. But I am sure Ondo and the video clip would have made it clear to them that they are being taken for granted. I cannot now give a clear figure, but I can say that about a minimum of 99 percent of the party members are on one side and only one percent, if up to, are with Sheriff on this matter. Now talking about whether the Presidency is backing Sheriff or not, I think the Presidency itself is not one on this particular issue because the Presidency is so large that you find series of influence. I equally believe that there are also those in the Presidency that would not tolerate this kind of things.

Which section of the Presidency would now be backing Sheriff to destroy the PDP?

I will not…it is obvious; I wouldn’t want to call names, but there are strong suspicions. However, we have seen evidences of it. We have some governors involved and we have seen some traces of ministers. But to say that the whole Presidency sat down to plot the downfall of the party will be taking it too far. But definitely, there are very powerful people in the Presidency that want us down.

As it is, those who will want to take you up will say you have no evidence on this issue and…

(Cuts in) Well, evidence will be something I can show to you and every other Nigerian.

Yes. It is either they have been moving money to Sheriff to fund the idea or…

(Cuts in) But we have monitored meetings they have had with him, but we do not know what they discussed because we’re not part of them. What we are sure of is that they have been holding meetings with these governors and ministers. We are 100 percent sure. And we know the executive offices Sheriff has been going in and coming out. He does this in the day time and not night. Before we were stopped in Port Harcourt from holding our convention at the stadium…we don’t hold conventions in stadium but at the party office, we got information in Abuja that the process of our being stopped was going on because they saw him in some offices and this matter was being discussed. There are no secrets; people see.

It is clear that all the interlocutory matters are yet to be thrown out…

(Cuts in) They have.

Have they all been thrown out?

Yes, they have. Only substantive matters are left.

Even then, the battle for the soul of the party still continues. Why don’t you find a way out of this problem by giving the mandate to Sheriff, a sort of sacrifice for the remaining months, if only to save the PDP from extinction?

You want me to give Sheriff the mandate to do what?

To be chairman if that would bring peace to the party

That will actually be a way of finishing PDP once and for all. His sole purpose is to bring this party to its knees, to use it for personal project.

What is the project?

Well, he said he is not interested, but we have heard it, strongly, even before we went for the Port Harcourt convention in May that he would be the presidential candidate of the party in 2019. All these are matters that raise concerns in the minds of party men and women.  Now, 27 states have completed congresses. 26 states, minus Borno State are not with Sheriff. At the National Assembly level, you can say 90 to 95 percent of them are not with Sheriff. BOT, you can say 90 to 95 percent of them are not with Sheriff. The former governors forum, you can say virtually all of them are not with Sheriff. Now, let me refer you to Justices Ashi and Ogbonnaya’s judgements that Sheriff was never PDP chairman and that he should stop parading himself as such. If that is the case, do you hand over to a man that a court has said is not chairman? All these other courts he is challenging about tenure, you can only have a tenure if your tenure was valid. If your tenure has been declared null and void, what tenure are you talking about?

What then is still keeping Sheriff there as chairman if you have these judgements and he has not appealed?

It is because we are orderly and law abiding people. We want clear, incontestable pronouncements from the Court of Appeal before we take other steps. Maybe, if it were Sheriff, he would not have followed this mature and organized manner. We do not want to throw the party and the country into confusion. We want to rest whatever actions we want to take based on the clear pronouncement of the Court of Appeal.

The former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said the PDP is dead. Is what is happening now the funeral ceremony of the PDP? Or are you forming another party?

Look, if this is the funeral ceremony of the PDP, then it must be the most loved, the most cherished because the activities going on are so numerous and so much. Open any newspaper, there is no day you don’t find PDP in front, back or centre pages. How do you talk about the dead this way? You talk about the dead, you talk about the living. Here is a party that people can see the light at the end of the tunnel and are putting their hopes on and you are talking about death. If it were dead, nobody will talk about it and struggle for it. It is because it is the only viable alternative. I have made this declaration long time ago that I believe before the end of December, we will get out of this problem. And that is where it is getting us to.

Obasanjo is a prominent Nigerian, former head of state, former president who was in PDP, one-time national leader of the party. If he says the PDP is dead, should that conclusion be open to any contest?

President Obasanjo was my boss. He is still my boss. I will always respect him. Honestly speaking, he was hurt at a particular time and I believe he was not treated well.

You believe he was not treated well?

Of course, he wasn’t.

How?

Let’s not get into that. But I for one can say categorically that at a particular time, he was not treated well and as a human being he could feel hurt and take the decision that he took.

I am sure Nigerians would want to know how PDP didn’t treat their former president well because to leave this issue hanging would be injurious to the PDP

The people know and the party men know. But let’s leave that issue and call a spade by its name. At a particular time, he was not treated well by the party; not just him. There were a number of key party men and women that at a particular time were not treated well. Having said that we look forward to what will become of the PDP and those who have left the PDP. I believe there will be room for them to come back. We have inaugurated an over 200-member committee to look at all options to reorganize, rejuvenate and restructure the party with a view to, not only absorbing those that had left, but also bringing in new followership, those who might not be in the PDP before. So I am actually looking forward to having them. We will not wait until we are out of these legal issues before we begin to take these measures. We have to move well ahead and ahead of coming out of these legal issues.

Are you forming a new party? There was a time your party toyed with the idea of forming a new party.

Well, I do not know what time you are referring to. I was not part of any group that discussed the idea of a new party. What I know is that there are different groups in the PDP having different meetings and we felt that rather than allow splinter groups to be having meetings on their own, it was wise and still wiser, that we create one structure, one umbrella where people can express their views and views could be discussed and make recommendations on the way forward. Of course, some other parties have been contacting us. We said let the committee talk with them and let’s see what can be worked out. I can’t say what the recommendations of the committee would be. We didn’t give them a set of resolutions to come back with. We just said they should talk among themselves, consult widely and come up with a position on how to reposition the PDP in such a way that it can be able to perform extremely well in 2019 by capturing a lot more states, National Assembly members, state Assembly members and, indeed, the central government. The committee is still working and I will not want to pre-judge what the outcome will be.

The basis of the corruption charges against most of your members is the $2.1 billion distributed by the former national security adviser, Ibrahim Dasuki. The question people are asking is: couldn’t PDP have run the party without touching government funds? Do you think government is unduly hard on your members?

Kenny, $2.1 billion in naira will give you how much?

We will need to multiply this amount with the current exchange rate

That is about N800 billion. Is that not it?

It is about that amount.

Now, sum up all the charges against politicians; they may not be up to N20 billion allegedly diverted for political purpose. If in naira, you are talking of N800 billion and you are alleging they diverted N20 billion for political purposes… I am not saying any diversion, even one kobo that it was right. It isn’t right. But I want us to be honest to ourselves and talk of what was diverted and what was not diverted. When people mention $2.1 billion, it sounds as if the whole money was diverted. No. Sum up all the charges on diversion, you will come to under N20 billion out of approximately N800 billion which means N780 billion was actually used for the purposes intended or the military and the civil servants who were charged with the procurement of arms might have touched all these monies. Let’s not miss this point. Look at the charges against the military personnel, they almost totaled all the charges against politicians, one or two Generals. Of course, you must give credit to the government that for the first time the military is being called to account. But let’s face it, two Generals; it may total the amount that was alleged to have been diverted for the 2015 general election. I am not saying it was right. But the question is: who did the wrong? Since 2003, I was a governor. I know that the centre has always been funding elections. From 2003, nobody has been explaining to those of us receiving the money where the money was coming from.

Are you saying that should be the norm?

Let me finish, Kenny. From 2003 general election, the system has been the centre funding elections.

Funding election of the party at the centre alone?

Of course, the centre is interested in winning. If the centre was donating to other parties, I wouldn’t know. I am telling you since 2003 elections, the centre has been funding elections. The centre has been giving money to gubernatorial and National Assembly candidates since 2003. So, it is not something that started in 2015. But whether that time it was public money or not, we are not in a position to know. If in 2015 it was public money, because it was the norm to receive public money, those who received the money could not have known where that money came from. But surely those who disbursed the money must have known. Surely, the person who authorized the money must have known. So, let’s call a spade by its name. It’s a matter that we didn’t start in 2015. It has become the norm. No questions have been asked. A recipient could not have known the source. But if it was public money, the approving authority cannot defend that. This matter is before the court of law. Having said that, you are talking of five percent of the total of $2.1 billion. Get me clearly, I am saying even if it is one kobo of public funds, it is wrong to use it to fund elections, no matter who may be funding those elections. But let us be honest and know what quantum of the $2.1 billion we are talking about rather than talking of the total sum when the actual diversion might have been two to three percent of that sum.

Perhaps government’s anger is that monies meant for the purchase of arms for the prosecution of the war against the insurgents were diverted.

Even so, government should be honest enough to say how much of that money was really diverted. Exactly how much of that money was diverted so that Nigerians can get it right.

In other words, government has been unduly hard on your members. Would that be right?

There is an unfair dissemination of information. It should say exactly how much of such money was diverted and how much was used for the purposes it was meant. And whatever action it deems necessary to take on clear diversion, it is for it to come to that decision. But even that decision, it should be able to establish those who are the innocent couriers and the culprits. It is a system that has been there since 2003.

As someone who attempted to contest the presidential elections in 2007, do you think you would have been better than President Muhammadu Buhari? Or would you have been better qualified?

When you say attempted, many of us in 2007 were conscripted.

Were you conscripted?

So to say because we, the governors, were asked to go out and campaign and that it would be anyone of us.

Was that what happened?

That was what happened. Of course, there might have been one or two that were on their own nursed the idea of becoming president. For me, I didn’t nurse the idea of becoming president. Basically, I was conscripted. I was even asking why I was moving around. I don’t chase power because I believe that you get to a level you say that you must become something.

Who conscripted you?

That is a story for another day. But a number of us were actually asked to go out there. So we actually went out there, but not with the issue that it must be do or die, I must be this or that. Even when the vice-president was to be appointed by President Goodluck, people thought that I went out of my way to look for it. No, I did not. Sometime I heard that he had an understanding with the National Assembly that he would pick his running mate from there; that they should help in the process of bringing out a name. It was only when the process went far that I was informed. That was when I said if it was the decision of the National Assembly and the Senate, so be it. People draw conclusion based on what they see at the tail end, not looking at what actually transpired. As to myself better than anybody, I don’t talk of who is better than what. I talk of people equally capable. Of course, I have age on my side; so also are people who can say they have age on their side that can do better than myself. We all have our positive and negative sides. I believe that what we need to do in Nigeria is to create a level playing field where the best can have the chance to showcase themselves and have the chance to be nominated by their parties and have the chance to be voted for by Nigerians. That is the collective responsibility that all the parties and their leaderships owe to Nigerians.

When you were conscripted, what happened at the end of the day that you didn’t clinch the ticket?

It reached a stage where the governors were summoned to the Villa and there and then were asked to pick one person. Ask my colleagues. They said shadow election should take place among the governors. I can still remember the votes scored by some of us. I got 13 votes. The next governor to me got six votes. The next governor got five and I can recall Governor Umaru Yar’Adua got two. But somewhere down the line and for other considerations it was said that Governor Umaru is the candidate. I said so be it. I will campaign for him to be president because what I wanted then was an orderly transition from Obasanjo to the next president. I never ever said it had to be me. Some of our colleagues said we should kick against it. I said no, power comes from God. And did I say I want to be president and must be president? Speak to my colleagues they will attest to this fact. So for anybody now to deduce that I am doing A, B, C, D because I want to become the president is ignorant of the past. So there is nothing about personal ambition in what I am doing now. It is service to my party and I believe it is also service to this country because I believe we need a vibrant opposition for democracy to grow and for good governance to have a place in the history of this country.

Can I have your assessment of the Buhari government?

Well, you know where we are in terms of the economy. I agree it would be unfair if we attribute all the factors to the current government because some things even predate 1999. We have been reckless as a nation. We have been a spendthrift country for a very long time. President Obasanjo did very well to stem these issues. Of course he too had his errors. President Yar’Adua tried his best. Even President Jonathan did his best because the situation was not what it is now. We have had mistakes from the military era and there comes a time when we will pay a price for our collective mistakes. But then PDP lost the election because APC promised that it would be better. It is because APC said that the country was heading this direction and they will be able to stop it and solve it. And this is where we are. Look, there comes a time in the history of a nation, irrespective of the party in power, what you need is all hands on deck. I believe the problems we are facing in this country are beyond one political party to deal with because we are sharply divided politically, religiously, ethnically. You need to be a leader for all. If I were the president, right from the time he was elected, he would have tried to form a Government of National Unity to stem the economic slide and other forms of societal slides that we have. Now, it is a bit more difficult because when the other side has taken a lot of bashing and you know time is going, there may be reluctance in joining. From the beginning, people would have welcomed it a lot, especially since it was a peaceful transition. So, you move at the right time. But all the same, the government should look for people whether they are in APC or not or not in any of the political parties who can help get us out of the woods. We have now reached a time when people are being kidnapped in broad daylight. Of course, you must give credit, even though we still have a bit of the insurgency, Boko Haram have been largely brought under control. You don’t solve it overnight. So as much as you can give some credit, there are still some other lapses.

But also is Buhari alone to blame? No, the governors are also to blame because Buhari will not go to the states to govern the states for them. If the governors did not pay salaries, it is not Buhari. If the governor will not stay in his state to govern and chose to gallivant all over the world and has changed his base to Abuja, it is not Buhari. Leadership is collective and since the majority is APC, I will say APC should sit down and govern well. In 2019, we would know where we are going to be. You see people are looking at Edo and Ondo states elections and drawing conclusions. They are making a mistake. Even PDP when we were there, we were winning.  But what happened when 2015 came. During general elections everybody was on his own.

What would you say to those who believe that on the scale of probability, it is fair enough to give Buhari a pass mark in view of the challenges he met on ground that were created by the PDP.

Who made the statement?

Ayo Opadokun said it and there are others who have also said so.

In some respect, you can give a pass mark and in some respect you cannot give a pass mark.You cannot generalize. I have mentioned clearly some areas you can give him pass mark and I have also mentioned some areas you cannot actually do so. But be that as it may I am looking at APC in its entirety, not just singling out Buhari because APC is not just Buhari. So you cannot say APC as a whole has succeeded when you look at the states.

Have they not succeeded?

When you combine them, you cannot say so.

How?

Go to the states and sample opinions and you will come to the same conclusion that I have come to.

Your party, the PDP has been tagged the most vociferous critic of Buhari handling of the economy while it is the party which administration ran the economy aground and that right now the country is paying for the poor economic policies that turned out to benefit multinational agencies. What’s your reaction to that?

These are empty assertions. Take the North, for example. Among the governors, only two are from the PDP. Take the National Assembly, how many of them are not APC members. Look at the ministers. So you see let us stop deceiving Nigerians. If this government is going to say that we did all the things they are alleging we have done, then we did it together with them. You cannot be one of us, but for the last one or two years that we exited and say that you are a saint.

If you take a census of those who decamped to APC from PDP, they are not much

They are not. Those who are now in power and who left PDP for the APC are in the majority.  Go and take a census. They are in the majority. Of course, the President is Buhari, but look at the governors; look at the National Assembly. They are in the majority. So this is a case of the kettle calling pot black. This is really deceptive. We made our mistakes, but was that not the reason why Nigerians voted for change? If not for what Nigerians thought was our ills, they couldn’t have voted for a new party and another government. So, having been voted, there is now this challenge of solving the problem. You cannot continue recalling our ills; that’s why you were voted. So face it and let’s see results.

I think this a simplistic approach to the issue at…

(Cuts in) No, but which other way do you want me to look at it. I am saying it in the language that ordinary Nigerians will understand.

One of your leaders once said your party, the PDP will rule Nigeria for 50 years. But only 16 years…

(Cuts in) That’s purely a political talk. When political talks are made, let’s read them for what they are. You will remain in power only if you do what the people expect of you; then they will keep you in power. That’s the reality.

So how come PDP was defeated in the 2015 elections? What happened?

That’s the reality. We made grievous mistakes. We were not communicating with Nigerians; so good or bad, they changed us. Nobody can say I will be in power for so and so time. It is what you do that will keep you in power, whoever you are, PDP or APC.

Can you assess the role of the judiciary during political crisis. Justice Okon Abang came down hard on your faction when he delivered judgement in favour of Ali Modu-Sheriff. But the Court of Appeal also criticised the judgement of Abang when it delivered judgement in the case of Jegede and Jimoh Ibrahim. All the other courts ruled in favour of your faction. Would you say that the Judiciary has carried on the way they should in the light of what has happened to your party?

To us we have always believed in the judiciary that at the end of the day justice will be done. We can see it from the way and manner the Appellate courts have been dealing with matters by giving everybody right to fair hearing and passing judgements on the basis of facts. Our complaint was with one judge who denied us right to fair hearing. Look, we have no choice but to safeguard the integrity of the judiciary. If we destroy it, democracy is gone and this country is gone. There may be misdeeds here and there, but we believe that the judiciary is in a position to cleanse itself. I call on the judiciary not to harbor people with shady characters. But be that as it may, I think we owe it as a duty to protect the integrity and sanctity of the judiciary.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.