The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Adamawa State, Tahir Shehu, tells Newsmen that the All Progressives Congress is in a crisis that will send it to the grave.
Do you think that the postponement of the elections by the Independent
National Electoral Commission gives the All Progressives Congress an advantage?
The APC is in more crises than what the Peoples Democratic Party experienced in 2015 and that is what will send the APC to its grave. The party has imposed more candidates than what the PDP did in 2015. The APC is in disarray and this is even more in Adamawa State. As far as I am concerned, we will reclaim our mandate. There is no iota of challenge in this contest. The PDP will deliver Adamawa for Atiku.
I feel sad and wept for Nigeria when the postponement was announced by INEC. In the past three or four years, INEC had been promising Nigerians that it was well prepared for the general elections.
What the APC did has only shown that it is incapable of governing the country. It is only capable in bringing hunger and poverty. When the PDP was in government, price of food was not high. Why is the APC so lousy about its poor performance? A government that claims to be fighting corruption is engulfed in the corruption net. So, nothing has given the APC an advantage over the PDP.
But the APC is also blaming INEC for the postponement. Don’t you think that it should be absolved of any blame in the postponement?
Let me tell you what the APC is doing, what it said was a camouflage. INEC is under a serious threat from the government of the APC. What the APC wanted was to stagger the polls and conduct elections in states where they feel that they have control and declare other areas not conducive for elections.
They will then deplore their resources and security personnel to repeat what they did in Ekiti and Osun states so that people would be intimidated and a result would be announced in the APC favour. That was the plan. But unfortunately for the APC government, it only has Plan A and no Plan B.
The Federal Government pressured INEC to stagger the elections so that it could manipulate the result. Fortunately for the citizens of the country, the APC plan did not work and there is no Plan B for the party.
I call on Nigerians not to express apathy. They should come out in large numbers as they had planned to do last Saturday and vote out this government. We should not be discouraged because nothing good comes easily. It took South Africa quite a long time and energy to be emancipated from the apartheid regime. Ours is simple; just make the sacrifice and go out to vote.
Despite the level of poverty forced on Nigerians by the APC government, many people travelled with their hard-earned money to places where they registered, but they were discouraged by INEC and the APC government. I implore them not to be dissuaded. At the end of the day, Nigerians will be victorious.
With the human and financial resources deplored by your party for the presidential election amounting to a loss because of the postponement, don’t you think that your strength has been weakened?
The loss is not only on our part; it is also on the part of all Nigerians who sacrificed their time and resources to vote last Saturday. This should not discourage them.
The PDP is not in government like the APC that is spending government money to prosecute elections. We are, for now, in the opposition but the support we enjoy from people goes beyond the issue of money to spend for election.
We do not have money, but we have the people behind us. Our campaign now is issue-based. We did not attack anyone. We have been able to tell the people what we can do based on present reality. That is what people want to hear.
You would see the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, dancing at a campaign with a broom in their hands. That is not how to campaign. Tell people what you have done and what you want to achieve again. They do not have anything to offer; that is why they have been dancing and entertaining the people like clowns.
Our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, is an architect of restructuring. The world is dynamic and things are changing. The law that created the police is 76-year-old. Can we continue in stagnation? It is only restructuring that can amend this law and move Nigeria forward. We use laws established during the colonial era which are obsolete. It is only restructuring that can bring them in line with what is obtainable with the global system.
President Muhammadu Buhari says anyone who snatches ballot boxes will be doing so at the risk of his life. What is your position on this?
Ballot box snatching is a crime but my fear is that Buhari and his party will use that proclamation to suppress the opposition and rig the elections. Our people should watch out. I am a law-abiding citizens but the law does not permit killing without the law taking its course. There must be enough proof before a penalty is ruled in accordance with the law.
In Adamawa State, the PDP is under pressure because this is the state of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku. Unfortunately, the APC government controls the state. How are you dealing with this?
Unfortunately for the APC, Adamawa is the home base of the PDP. The internal crisis of the PDP in 2015 after Nuhu Ribadu was imposed as the state governorship candidate brought the APC to the state through a protest vote. Our party had produced more than five governors in the state. We had Boni Haruna who served for eight years, Muritala Nyako, Umar Fintiri, James Barka, Bala James Nglari under whom I served as Commissioner for Justice in the state. The present governor was a senator on the PDP platform.
That shows that the PDP controls the state. The APC came because in less than two weeks to the election in 2015, other PDP aspirants went to contest using other parties as platforms. Ribadu was badly defeated finishing in a distance third.
Do you think it will be easy to take back the state bearing in mind the power of incumbency which the APC has?
Before you can enjoy the power of incumbency, you must show your report card to the people. The present governor (Bindo Umaru Jibrilla) did nothing except plunging the state into huge debts. We are among the states the most debt I Nigeria. He has refused to pay workers salaries so his power of incumbency cannot work. You must be popular before you can manipulate your way with the power you have.