APC ‘ll Attain Internal Democracy Under My Watch – Musa

APC ‘ll Attain Internal Democracy Under My Watch – Musa

Senator Sani Musa, APC Niger East, is the man to watch in the race for the party’s race to National Chairmanship. He recently spoke with journalists about his aspiration. MUYIWA OYINLOLA was there for AljazirahNigeria. Excerpts:
Don’t you think sacrificing your senatorial seat for the seat of the APC chairmanship would be a huge disservice to your constituents?

No, it is not a disservice to my constituents. I tell you, it is a sacrifice to make this country a great country. It is from the selection of leadership that you can make it, country, work. We have been living witnesses since the inception of the 4th Republic in 1999. Has every Nigerian been able to achieve his aspiration through the ballot box? So the sacrifice I am making is for me to go and contribute to change the narratives, the trajectory of what used to be. We have what we call the books of law. The books are there. The party manifesto, the guidelines. We create the guidelines and then we don’t want to abide by the guidelines. I want to see the implementation of what would guide us in what we want to do as we follow the constitution. I want to assure you that if we do that we would make our leaders accountable to the people. You elect us with your votes for the good of this country and that is why I believe that we should aspire to be chairman of this great party that would create the platform for the party to be an institution of its own, that will give Nigerians the best and qualitative leadership. Why not. It is even a larger sacrifice, a larger contribution to my constituents.  

What is the disposition of your State Governor towards your chairmanship aspiration?

My governor is the chairman of the North Central Governors’ Forum. He is also representing the zone in the CECPC. Don’t you think it will be a kind of conflict of interest for my Governor to come out loudly just as one of his colleagues has done? If I am in his position like the other colleagues I would do the same thing if somebody is there from my place.

As far as I am concerned I have communicated with him, I have seen my Governor, and we have sat three times on this issue. The issue of whether he endorses me or he doesn’t endorse me shouldn’t even arise. Would he prefer to have somebody from outside than his own? So, I will tell you, I have the support of my governor and at the right time he would make a statement. It would be improper for somebody who is a member of the CECPC to even before the pronouncement of the zoning and who happens to be part of those to decide to come out to make the statement.

These are some of the things this country needs to correct. I don’t think it is wise for us to always personalise matters of institutions like this in a political party. It is just like being a governor and then I want my son to be a Minister even before the President decides who will be a Minister. Won’t that be a conflict of interest? Would the aspiration of Nigerians be better achieved that way? No.

My Governor’s position for now is okay. This is the same thing he did when I was coming out for the Senate. So, when we get to that bridge we will cross it.  

With the imposition of direct primary on political parties by the National Assembly, ahead of the National Convention of the party, will you advise the party to adopt the use of direct primary?

Whatever the law says, vis what the party should abide by. We should be governed by the rules. And whatever the rules are, what we should do. But I need to clarify this notion; the National Assembly is not imposing on the political parties. I happen to be a member of the Harmonisation Committee and I knew what the interest of each member was. Yes! They say the majority can always have their way but the minority would always have their say.

You were almost a victim of the alleged imposition of candidates when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole held sway, how can we remedy the situation?

Every organisation has its rules and those rules are meant to be obeyed. Even in the civil service, there are rules on how you conduct yourself as a civil servant. So it is with the NGOs and the political parties. They are entities and not owned by one person. They are owned by all. So when you don’t follow the rules in accordance to how the books have made it, definitely there will be rancour. Before you even venture to be a member of the party, before you even venture to think of aspiring for any position in the party, you must have gone through the constitution or guidelines of the party. When there is no respect for law and order, there will be rancour. Somebody would feel aggrieved and will seek redress. I was a victim and as a Nigerian who felt aggrieved, I believed that there was a wrong done and we should be able to correct the wrong. If I happen to be a victim and I went all the way from the High Court to the Supreme Court to get a judgement, is it every Nigerian that can afford to go that way? So we must do the right thing. If we continue not to do the right thing, we will remain where we are. Once you attach personal interest you have a problem.
I am not telling you I am a saint, a perfectionist. No. What I am saying is if you believe consciously in what you want to do because somebody will look at it and scrutinise it, do it. Doesn’t care about what a few will say? If I become the chairman of this party, I will bring out a guideline. This is the way we want to go.

Even in the United States, it happens. For example, how did Barack Obama emerge as President? What are the roles of the Kennedys? But what do you do? You do it diplomatically in a decent way. What is a decent way? We are all in a hall; these are all contestants for a local government chairman or a House of Assembly. Thirty people have all come out. I am the leader of the party. Before I even sit, I must only sit with those that have followed the rules. You did not buy the nomination form and somebody bought a form for you and the day you are the candidate, how did it happen? You don’t have the form, somebody is holding the form for you somewhere and you are the candidate. How did you become the candidate? So you see there are things that if we are to do it consciously, honestly this country will change.

I am not going to tell you I don’t believe in godfatherism. But I don’t have a godfather. You believe in godfatherism and you think you can have your way and do what you want to do, so be it for you. But when the challenge comes, you face the consequences. If I don’t have one and I follow the rules, eventually I will triumph. And this is a simple example – my case. It was only when I got to the National Assembly I heard there was an arrangement that all sitting senators had been allowed to return. It is not a bad thing to do. But how do you do it? It happened in modern democracies. If any institutions need veterans to remain, it is the institution of the legislature. In the United States, if a sitting Senator makes his intention known in the party that I would go for the next elections, you hardly see anyone coming out because they go by the books. Now if you say this is what we wanted to do just like my scenario before I even purchase the form I will have a rethink if that is the position of the party. If the majority abides by it, so be it. I don’t believe in imposition and I will not use my office to impose anyone on Nigerians. I will give Nigerians the opportunity to make their choices.

What is your take on the use of consensus arrangement in the choice of party leaders?

I believe in consensus because there is consensus in our constitution. Anything enshrined in the books I am a believer of. If I have a contrary view I would wait for the opportunity to air my views when there would be an amendment to the Constitution. I will make my case and if it is taken by the majority so be it. Referring to what happened in the states during the ward, local government and state congresses, it depends on the state. For me, in my state, whatever happened, I was part of it. One thing in this country that has always been our problem, is I will say you are my candidate and I will give you all the support to be there and at the end of the day I will want to control you which was the reason I put you there. And the moment I cannot control you there would be controversy. It will not start from me; it will start from you because if I send something to you and you refuse to do it, I will say he has refused to do it. But if I allow anybody that merits it to come in, he would see my value. And if I seek any support from him, he would look at the merit of my request to see if it is okay with him. 

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