APC National Chairmanship: I’m The Candidate To Beat – Senator Musa

APC National Chairmanship: I’m The Candidate To Beat – Senator Musa

Barely a month to the national convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, frontline National Chairmanship aspirant and serving senator, Mohammed Sani Musa, Niger East, in this interview told MUYIWA OYINLOLA about his aspiration, his perception of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and why he believes the party would be voted back to power come 2023.

After a series of postponement and indecision, the party has finally slated February 26, for its national convention. Do you have confidence that this convention will hold this time around as slated?  

You said after a long bla bla of the convention doubt. I have never doubted because I believe that whatever you want to do, you have to be articulate, you have to scheme, you have to strategise. This is a political party. I don’t see any reason why people assume APC is dilly-darling over its convention; no, it’s not true, its part of the strategy of the APC and the strategy of every political party is to win elections, and that is what the APC is working on. I have no doubt at all. Exigency of time in political calculations calls you to be very strategic and that is what the APC is doing. So, I believe that the convention is coming; I have no doubt about it.  

The convention can come in February but if the scenario is still not very okay, we have to strategise, we have to do all the homework before the convention. But let me remind you about something, the APC is amending its constitution; there are days that are areas to be looked into. The national committee executive will have to meet but people from outside that don’t know how they work things but would be shouting that the APC does not want to hold convention, and may still hold on with serious stake. 

 I’m aspiring for the national chairmanship position. If there is any person that will be over zealous about convention, I should be part of it because that will reduce the numbers of travel, that will reduce the number of consultations but as far as I’m concerned, I have no doubt whatever the Caretaker committee comes out with. As an abiding member of the APC, I will work with it and I will support it fully.

Which form of primary would you prefer? Direct, indirect, consensus?  

I’m a man that is guided by the fundamental principle of rule of law. I so much believe in it. If we have the constitution, what the constitution has spelt out is what I will work with. If we have the guideline that has stipulated what will be done, that is what I will be guided with. If the Caretaker Committee that is given the responsibility to conduct this, the NEC has given them the power to do it. Whatever the outcome of the guidelines that will be presented, every member of the APC is expected to abide by it, and so be it. 

A presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu paid you a visit over the weekend; can we call this an endorsement of your aspiration? 

It is normal. I visited Asiwaju in London two or three times and when I came back from a trip he decided to visit me. And this is the beginning of the year and we are all in this politics, he has already shown interest in the presidency; I have shown interest in the party chairmanship. What is wrong with people collaborating in the same mind and the same party? 

All of us that are contesting this position, I have counted eleven of us. I don’t know if more are coming out; we are all one. We are supposed to be together because we are under the same umbrella, the same party, we are bonded as a broom. So, I don’t see any spectacular issue that should come out of the visit by Asiwaju. 

Eleven of you that are in this race are all from the North. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Governor Dave Umahi who have indicated interest in the presidency are from the South. Can we now say that the party has zoned the national chairmanship position to the North and Presidency to the South? 

 You don’t pre-determine, in politics. You don’t work with what they say, all the time. I will wait until the party comes up with guidelines. The party has not officially declared that this is what it’s going to do. 

So, that does not foreclose anybody from the south to aspire for the national chairmanship as long as the party is yet to unfold its zoning arrangement, if there is any. So, that question I think we should wait until when you cross that bridge. 

By saying that all of you in the race are brothers could it mean that you are ready for a consensus that in case they ask you to step down, you’re ready to jettison your agenda or aspiration? 

If that will be in the best interest of the party, I will do that.

Many of you in this race are from the North Central, you, Almakura, Akume, Saliu Mustapha and a number of others. Don’t you think that if any of you emerges it may prevent your zone from having the president come from there? 

I will repeat what I said, whatever the party decision is, I’m an abiding citizen and member of the APC.I will abide by it. So, what it means is that if for any reason I’m asked to jettison my ambition for the good interest of the party, I will do it. If it is going to be for the betterment of Nigerians and for the interest of the party, I don’t think it is too costly for anybody to do.

Why do you want to become the party chairman? 

I want to be the APC Chairman. I have said it in so many fora that I want to be the APC Chairman so that this country will have a qualitative leadership as much as we are practicing political democracy which is based on the fact that political parties, going by our constitution; political parties are to present candidates for political offices and since the political party has become the platform that will be able to give the quality of the kind of leadership that will go into government, I think it will determine the government that we need to work with. First, we have to work on the political party to get the right people to aspire and to be elected; that will be able to go and work just as Mr President is doing based on the manifesto, based on the guidelines and the constitution of the party and the constitution of Nigeria. 

We need qualitative leadership. Today, going by the national leadership we have under President Muhammadu Buhari, you cannot fault integrity because it is there. 

So, this is the kind of leadership we need. We need to put people that would not just go there for their interest but for the interest of the country, for the interest of their constituents. These are the reasons I felt I should come in. The whole world is going digital. Should we still think that a political party is enough to give you food on the table? No, we have to do some kind of enlightenment within the political parties, we have to also transform the political parties to be fast growing not just to seek for political office but also a platform that will give you a new kind of orientation to believe that governance is a serious business. It’s not about talking, it’s not about making noise on television, it’s not about telling people lies. It’s about what you will do. We have to change. We are following this democracy from advanced democracy, like the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. They have their own challenges too but you cannot compare today, the PDP, as an opposition. You can’t compare that with Labour as an opposition in the United Kingdom; you can’t compare them as opposition Republicans in the United States. So also the APC we have today as a party, as a structure is going in line with democracy we are talking about. 

So, we need to bring in a party structure that will be able to carry out orientation of the whole structure from the ward level to the national. In this country, we don’t do anything like party conferences; we don’t do anything like political party dialogue, like retreats from the ward level up. In any civilised society if you have a right from the bottom, the top will be very good. 

Can you please convince me why anyone should support the APC in the 2023 presidential election?  

This question is very good. The APC is in its 7th year, we had a party that lasted 16 years when the economy was very buoyant and the barrel of crude oil was going for 130 dollars per barrel. When this government came on board, how much was the barrel of crude oil which is our source of income, in the country about 27 dollars. In fact, it came down to a very low of about 22 dollars per barrel. And you are comparing a government that had a straight 16 years. One third of that period crude oil did not go down to less than 130 dollars or less than 100 dollars. What can you say about that?

We couldn’t keep anything, we couldn’t save anything, and we couldn’t even rehabilitate our infrastructure. So, we can all see what the APC is doing today.

So, what I’m saying is we have a basis to tell people to come into the party because this is the party that is constructing your roads, fixing the railways. This is the party that is building a bridge that has been there for so many decades, the only thing we hear is that “it is in the plan” and it is in the budget and they are doing this and that. Obasanjo came and left, Jonathan came and left, Niger Bridge was never executed, it wasn’t complied. 

Go and see Niger Bridge today, it’s almost close to about 70% completion. Before, can you go to a motor park or Bannex plaza? You are scared of bomb. Today, is it the same story? Are you not safe now? And this insecurity issue is everywhere, it is global and you can see what the military are doing. Today, you can see the successes they are getting today from Zamfara State.  Over the weekend, I don’t know if you are following up, you would have seen what they have done in the North East. Today, the epicenter of insecurity is in the North West and you can see what they are doing. So, there is no better bright day in our political sphere than the APC.

I think the difference between the APC and the PDP is just about names. It’s the same people that are moving from one party to the other. In 2015 when your party came on board, we had a number of people who came from other parties, we had Saraki who came from the NewPDP, Dino followed and they became APC leaders. Today, they are back in the PDP, you have somebody in the APGA who also wants to become the national chairman of the APC. How do you react to this? 

Give me the name of a solid politician today that has moved out of the APC to the PDP. You would recall that people, governors, members of the national assembly, state executives, state assemblies left the PDP and joined the APC. I’m talking about when the PDP was in government, governors left that party but today we are approaching elections, governors are leaving the same PDP and coming to the APC. Let’s talk about the institution and forget about the names you mentioned. Are you talking about a political party where one single individual with wide wings grows and he said this is where I want my convention. This is the person that will be this or that. We are watching, you will see what will happen to the opposition.

If by God grace you emerge as Chairman; do you have the confidence that you will pilot the party to win in the general elections and what will you do especially to bring the South East, where you have one or two governors, on board? 

When we get there, we will cross it. I don’t want to disclose to you what I intend to do but my best comes out in me when I’m challenged.

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