On extension of Tenure :Says Caretaker Committee needs time to achieve true reconciliation…
Says President Muhammadu Buhari’s has done well…
APC will restructure Nigeria…
In this interview, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC bares his mind on a number of issues confronting the party and the country.
In a voice laden with passion he speaks on a number of topics ranging from the tenure of the party’s caretaker committee, the challenges before it as well as the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari, restructuring , security and a number of sundry issues.
ttp.ng- There are insinuations that the Caretaker Committee led by its Chairman, Governor Mai Buni might be considering getting an extension of its six months tenure, how true are these insinuations
YN- You see, a time frame was given and we as the caretaker committee are working towards such a timeframe. Now you know that the party just finished prosecuting two elections, namely in Edo and Ondo. When you deduct from these elections the months that we have to carry out our mandate of thorough reconciliation, you will notice that we have just two months, November and December and then still go on to hold the mini convention in December. Now are these months enough to round up the reconciliations all over the Federation , within the zones, the states as well as the grassroots within the party?
Note that we did not achieve the complete reconciliation that we sought for in Edo, this perhaps must have been the reason for our failure in that election. Second, when you look at the crisis in Edo State and the date that the election took place, you could see that because of the timing we could not attempt total reconciliation, compare this with how we were able to achieve true reconciliation in Ondo APC, where we sat with all the stakeholders, those who contested with Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu
and fell out with him before , during and after the primaries, the caretaker committee was able to totally reconcile all aggrieved members before that election which held on October 10th thus the success in that election.
So if we are to adequately prepare for 2023, we must ensure that we unite the party in order to make it formidable enough to participate in the 2023 polls and not go into such an election with crisis. We are taking it one step at a time with the aim that the reconciliation process yields results.
ttp.ng- Don’t you think that such a move will create room for such a crisis in the party per se, this is because there were people who did not feel too comfortable with the dissolution of the NWC and may further feel that such an extension is meant to hurt their interests.
YN- You see let us look at this here, we are human beings and we are wired differently and thus crisis will always emanate because of our differences. Now, even if there is peace, there is still a situation that some people will just want to foster trouble and create crisis themselves. However, if we can achieve 90 percent of unity amongst party members before the 2023, then we would be okay, look at Ondo, let’s see it as part of the bigger picture, the results that Akeredolu used to win were as a result of the total reconciliation that we were able to achieve before that election, this is the same thing we intend to achieve before the 2023 elections, matter of fact before Anambra and Ekiti elections. Even at that let us look at it in another way, let’s assume we conduct congresses today and a convention, do you think that there would not be crisis, people would still bring about a crisis, so we want to get things right in order to ensure that we attain cohesion amongst party members.
ttp.ng – Why was the party not able to achieve total reconciliation in Edo State.
YN- Good I will tell you. Close to Edo election , we already had a crisis which you remember consumed the chairman of the party. These people took their grievances to the election owing much to their selfishness within the party itself in Edo State. Now, owing to the short time that the party had before going into the election, it was very difficult to reconcile all parties, even the governors were polarized and thus reconciliation was difficult.
ttp.ng-Many have actually spelt doom for the party in the coming days; it lost the elections in Edo State and prior to that election had lost states like Bauchi, Adamawa, Zamfara, Benue, Oyo and Bayelsa. Do you see the APC bouncing back to winning ways anytime soon and in 2023
YN- Just like I said we all know the problems that we had in all the states you just mentioned. First of all, let me correct you, we lost Bayelsa to the courts. Look at a state like Adamawa, we lost because of infighting between party members. Same goes for Bauchi and Zamfara. This is why the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Governor Mai Mala Buni is passionate about achieving genuine reconciliation, not a reconciliation of one person but a firm reconciliation that will resonate even to the grassroots where all interests will be carried along.
ttp.ng- Is this possible
YN- Why not, we are talking about attaining a win-win situation in this scenario. Let me give you an example. Look at what happened in Imo State, a situation where a particular person wanted to be a Senator and have his son in law as governor and still nominate all the members of the House of Representatives and State House of Assembly was the reason for part of the problems that we had. Whereas the party had other leaders and stakeholders in the party, such a situation you will agree was bound to create a crisis and these are the things, the culture that we inherited and we as the caretaker committee want to ensure that we chart a new culture where we give and take. Nobody will be allowed to have it all, there must be that spirit of democratic consensus amongst our members.
ttp.ng- There seems to be a schism in the party, groups and allegiances between groups have pitted party members against each other? Now this was one aspect that the caretaker committee was supposed to solve or address, now as a member of this committee what steps have been taken to ensure true reconciliation between these groups
YN- I must tell you that the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni is working at top notch speed in trying to meet all known party groups in order to be able to accommodate all interests. The magic is that we have a chairman that has a listening ear and I believe that we will get there. As I speak to you now he is meeting with all the party chairmen from the states. This is to ensure that that cohesion that we need as a party is attained. Now that is not all, he intends to meet with all groups and listen to their complaints while trying to harmonize these interests.
ttp.ng- Can you enumerate the steps taken so far to achieve this true reconciliation
YN- Well a lot has been done even though we as a party for strategic reasons are trying to downplay it. Now recall that a number of Senators and Representatives left with former Senate President Bukola Saraki and the former Speaker Yakubu Dogara, a number of these people are back. I am sure you are aware that Yakubu Dogara is back. These are some of the effects of the stewardship of the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
ttp.ng- There have been confusing calls to zone the presidential ticket of the party to the South and some have stated that there is no such thing as zoning in the constitution of the All Progressives Congress as a party, how do you see the party wading through such polarizing views as 2023 draws nigh.
YN- You see we have six zones that make up the country, now when the time comes, we will bring together stakeholders within the party to sit down and agree on where the presidency should be zoned to. This is why we are emphasizing on the issue of reconciliation and unity because if we fail to achieve this then the issue of zoning could be another avenue for a crisis. But if we have that unity then we can sit down and agree as party men and women that this is where the presidency should be zoned to, when this is done then we can move with the candidate that will emerge, whether he is from the North or the South. It is not for one man or one region to say.
ttp.ng-Many have stated that the party has failed in fulfilling its promises to the Nigerian people? What’s your take on this
YN: I disagree, not because of my position as Publicity Secretary but because I am a Nigerian. You see the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was from my state, Bayelsa State and I ask let him point to one major turnkey infrastructure that was attracted to the region or let me narrow it to Bayelsa. Even the road to his home wasn’t tarred but it is this APC led government that is putting up infrastructure all over the country and even in the former president’s home town.
Let’s look at it, there was the problem of fuel scarcity repeatedly, but today we do not experience such as we can drive in whether in normal periods or during festivities and buy the product. Look at the railways, is it Lagos Ibadan, Abuja – Kaduna, Itakpe – Warri, these are realities. Look at our response to the Corona Virus pandemic, we have the lowest death rates in Nigeria compared to a number of other nations, some are even more developed than us.
We must understand that the foundations have been wrong and people elected this administration twice to correct such wrongs. What about roads , look at the Second Niger Bridge, it was in paper for years but today it is nearing completion. The Onitsha Seaport was lying comatose while the PDP paid lip service to such economic potentials but today we are seeing containers move from Onne to Onitsha, so how can people say that the APC has failed?
ttp.ng- Restructuring of the Nigerian Nation seems to be getting more and more supporters all over the Federation. Recently Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed ChristianChurch of God has joined the fray, this has gotten us to ask What happened to the El Rufai Committee on Restructuring
YN: Let me ask this question, did the clamor for restructuring begin today? Even at that, this government has put in place a structure that will enhance or ensure such restructuring, but these processes take time. The opposition party was in power for 16 years and the clamors for restructuring were loud and clear, nothing came out of such calls, confab after confab yielded little, matter of fact nothing came out of such calls.
You see when you have a pot and ingredients inside the pot and yet you could not prepare the meal but now you want to force an administration that has spent less than six years to do all that you failed to do in 16 years , I mean that’s not fair. The APC led government much believes in restructuring but we must do so in a manner that will satisfy the interests of all Nigerians, we cannot grant to this country a restructuring that will not meet the needs of the nation, thus we must take things gradually in order to give to the nation a proper form of restructuring.
ttp.ng- Perhaps the need to restructure now has become much more glaring than what it was a couple of years. Must this administration because the past administrations could not achieve such then relax and deny us the much needed restructuring
YN:I am only just trying to draw an analysis that if an administration with its own level of experiences then could not bequeath in 16 years the much needed restructuring with all the options that did lie before it, we are also trying to deploy our own options to ensure that we achieve such within eight years or before sixteen years.
ttp.ng- Are you saying that we may have to wait for eight years before restructuring?
YN: I have not said so, I am only saying that we may need to be patient in order to get the best of our restructuring demands.
ttp.ng- What happened to the report of the El Rufai Committee
YN:There are still working on it…
ttp.ng- Two, three years…
YN: Sixteen years…
ttp.ng- But we believe that two theee years is enough to meet the restructuring demands of Nigerians.
YN: You see this administration does not believe in paper work, we want to do something substantive, we want to effect real change and not something that is not likely to survive the test of time and the scrutinies of the future. Restructuring is not just paper work, we must give serious thought to implementation and the workability of certain propositions, without this all we would be doing would be a child’s play.
ttp.ng – But a lot of Nigerians were optimistic about the Committee turning out for the hearing and submitted a number of memorandum at the various sittings, are you saying that the wisdom of these Nigerians amounts to nothing
YN: When the Goodluck administration organized its confab and spent billions of Naira bringing Nigerians all over the country to come to Abuja for the confab. Do you know what such an amount of money would have done for Nigerians and even at that the resolutions of such a confab ended up just on paper, so you see the Buhari administration is careful and does not seek to waste funds or time on a process that may not yield us the maximum results as a nation. We surely want to restructure but we must do so in a manner that will yield results for the good of this country and her citizens.
ttp.ng- So why is the government yet to begin such a process
YN: But you all know what the world is presently facing at this point in time, the government is dealing with the Coronavirus and a number of other challenges but restructure we surely will.
ttp.ng- Recently, the presidency has come under fire for failing to rein in insecurity in several parts of the country, this is despite its earlier successes in pushing Boko Haram and ensuring that the enemy’s actions have been restricted to hit and run tactics? There have been calls on President Buhari to fire his service chiefs as well as to engage the likes of Chad in the battle against Boko Haram. Are these calls
YN : At this point, I think the president knows better. The president is the leader of the party and this people work directly under his supervision. He knows what he is doing and he has a plan…
ttp.ng- Cuts in, But you are the mouthpiece, the image maker of his party.
YN: Yes, the President is the leader of the party and government business and these people work under him and he knows what they are doing and he has his agenda…
ttp.ng – But we have issues of Boko Haram, Banditry and kidnapping in Borno, Kastina,Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Kano
YN: Let me come in here, I think it is wrong based on the facts available to Nigerians to say that this administration is not doing well in terms of security…
ttp.ng – It is not my opinion, it is the opinion of the people
YN: But you are speaking for these people. Even in security this administration has done immensely well. What are the parameters used? There was a time this country had some parts of it controlled by terrorists, today that is not the situation. Not too long ago bombs went off in this country like firecrackers but today that is not the situation, so I do not agree that the president has failed in security, no I beg to disagree.
ttp.ng- Many party faithfuls did not seem to agree with the party’s rush to congratulate Governor Godwin Obaseki who defeated the APC’s candidate in the last elections held in Edo State, there are also insinuations that such a move was taken to spite a particular party leader in Edo State?
YN: You see we are Democrats and in democracy you win some and you lose some. Again, you must understand that we as the ruling party should not be behaving like the opposition. We congratulated the PDP because it was necessary that we did such, an election was held and a winner emerged, we did what was right.
ttp.ng – But The candidate of the party in that election was yet to accept the outcome of the results at that time and it looked too quick that you had just finished the election which was believed to have been marred by several infractions of the electoral law. So why did the party rush to congratulate the PDP’s candidate.
YN: Like I said, you win some, you lose some, we lost that election and took it in good faith. We learnt from that election’s mistakes and put our house in order and went into the Ondo elections were we won resoundingly.
ttp.ng- The candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu is still in court with a number of pre election cases now will the party support him.
YN-:Yes of course, the party will support him because he is our candidate, that is the beauty of running for an election on our platform, whatever support he needs we will definitely give him. Is he not a member of the party? So why we will not support him in his court cases against the sitting governor?
ttp.ng- On this note, we say thank you, it was nice speaking to you.
YN: Thank you too