Former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa was until recently, the National Chairman of the PRP before emerging as its Board of Trustees chairman. He is the currently the chairman of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP). In this interview with LEADERSHIP, he bares his mind on array of national issues ahead of 2019.
You just stepped down as the national chairman of the oldest party in Nigeria, PRP, and there is a new leadership. What is your expectation from the new leadership?
I expect the new chairman, Alhaji Falalu Bello, to do better than I may have done because the conditions now are more favorable to him than they were to me during my time.
The PDP held sway for 16 years and the APC for almost four years now, what is your assessment of both parties?
Both were and are a disappointment to Nigeria, they have not performed satisfactorily and are even endangering Nigeria because with this woeful failure of theirs, if it continues, we will be in a worst situation, the system may even collapse, both APC and the PDP are doing worst than they did before and are endangering the country even more. For example, these quarrelsomeness among themselves is mindless, unpatriotic and the quarrel has affected the National Assembly and the National Assembly has never been in good terms with the presidency since its beginning in 2015, the situation is even worst now with each of them on the throat of one another fighting. There has been humiliation of the National Assembly by the presidency and there has been threats of the impeachment of the president by the National Assembly, can things get worst than these in terms of governance? If it does, then there would be a collapse.
Given the chance to ask Nigerians to choose between the PDP and the APC as we approach 2019, what will be your verdict?
I will out rightly ask and plead that both be rejected. They should not be voted again. That power should be given to PRP because we have performed better in our position and we can even do better, we are older, more experienced and more relevant after all how old are both PDP and APC? We have been in existence since 1978.
What is your take on the siege on the National Assembly?
It was mindless and it was organized by the opposition and the government, we do not know why they would do that, is it the sanction of either the PDP or APC because they tend to be now birds of the same feather with the same root, so anyone of them could have done it, what happened was unpatriotic and even unconstitutional.
Do you support the sack of Daura, the DSS boss following the siege?
I don’t know the details about that. It is very possible that Daura was being made a scapegoat. Whatever he did, he may have done it on authority. It is just like the case of Dasuki, Jonathan definitely authorized Dasuki to disburse money otherwise, he would not have done it, but to save themselves, they have made Dasuki the victim, the same thing with Daura. They may have authorized Daura to do so and now they want to save their neck by putting him in trouble. And you know the nature of security, no matter how a security man suffers injustice, he will not easily reveal what has happened because if he does, the consequences to the country is disastrous. So he has to be mindful, and in some cases if they reveal it, it will be at the cost of their lives.
As we approach the 2019 general elections, what do you have to say on defections across political parties?
Let me tell you, that is our basic problem. The system controlling all the development in this country is based on self-interest first before public interest. This is directly responsible for the negative state of the country as characterized by insecurity, unpatriotic political competition, high level of corruption, stealing and criminal waste of resources among others and unless this developmental system is changed and the leadership produced by the system, believe me you can only have worse. Now these cross carpeting and betrayals in politics in Nigeria are just for the sake of the capacity where you can enrich yourself, people live one party which they have built and suffered for to another because they feel they can get more enrichment in the one they defected to, all those who are cross carpeting from one party to another only talk about marginalisation and opportunity, none of them talks about the state of the politics in Nigeria or the state of the economy or the common people, they have been marginalised in power sharing.
The Senate President defected to PDP and there is this call that he either resigns or be impeached. What do you have to say on that?
You the media will have to do it and I don’t know how, but you ought to tell Nigerians not to be stupid by calling the senate president to resign because what he had done was just exercising his constitutional rights by deciding which party he wants to go to. Secondly by the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, do you realize that the senators who appointed the Senate President are the only one who can remove him by two – third majority? Then why is anybody trying to deceive us by saying you can remove the Senate President for any reason, the only ones who can do that are 75 percent of the senators who appointed him and are authorized by the constitution to do so.
But the National Chairman of the APC said whether the Senate president likes it or not, he must be removed…
The National Chairman of the APC is my friend and there is a time I ought to tell him the truth rather than take him to the public, there was a time where both the National Chairman of the APC and PDP were my close friends and I may not like what they do and in this case I do not like it but I don’t want to take it public.
What is your take on some just concluded elections especially the Ekiti Election were cases of vote buying was allegedly rampant?
Nigerians are so impoverished that they can take money for anybody. The politics in Nigeria is decided by financial factors. People fight to get what they want with their financial power. One of the legendry political leaders in Nigeria said every Nigeria has a price, and you have a problem with him only when the price is not correct and he went further to say also that if you eat alone, you suffer and die alone. Nigeria is ravaged with poverty and that is why financial inducement cannot be completely wiped away. Only a truthful and God fearing leader can help the situation.
The Presidential fee for the APC is N55 million, Governors N22 million, and so on, the PDP also have her fees fromN22 millipn downwards, do you really think this is what Nigerians deserve?
In PRP today, we announced very minimal fees today for intent and nomination. The maximum is N5 million for the presidential ticket and free for women and the disabled. But will Nigerians take this as a relevant alternative? They are talking about these presidential aspirants who did not get the money from their earnings or legitimate money but from stolen government funds.
So many people have called on the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re election, what is your take on that?
That is up to him and as for us the voters, it is his constitutional right to seek re-election, let us give anybody the benefit of doubt but the electorates will decide the fate of any contestant in the coming elections.
APC agreed during its NEC meeting that only presidential primaries will be direct, but the governors can decide to use indirect means to conduct their primaries. Do you think it is right for a political party to adopt two mode of primary?
The politics today is also becoming expensive. So politics parties can priotitise and look at how to minimise costs. Even the PRP just held the national delegates conference authorized by the national executive of the PRP to decide everything concerning nomination for candidates’ election. But issues of funding are there with us because it is becoming too much. For example, we held national delegates conference instead of national convention that our constitution said we should have. But we are lucky the Constitution of PRP said, if you cannot hold a national convention which they did not specify for whatever reason then, we can have national delegate conference which we just had because if we had held national convention that would have been six thousand delegates. Tell me, how can a party like ours afford to fund such a congregation? Instead, we took advantage of the constitution of the PRP and the law that says we can have a national delegate conference of two hundred people that we can afford.
What is your call to both the politicians and the electorates as 2019 election approaches?
First of all, the electorates should make sure that there is a free, fair and transparent process leading to a legitimate election. Let them make that sacrifice to do that. Secondly, there is a plan by those who want to continue to rule, dominate, oppress and exploit us to limit the number of people voting, let us deny that. For example, the right to register under the continuous registration plan has been undermined because if one wants to register or make some changes in their voters card, you don’t do it at your your polling unit or ward but your local government. How many ordinary people can go to the headquarters and collect their permanent voters card by spending days chasing it? This is a deliberate plan to limit people from exercising their right to vote. We have minority government in existence today. The APC government and the president is a minority, the people eligible to vote for him 2015 according to the INEC register were more than 70 million, how many actually voted for him and others during the election? 19 million voted for him instead of 70 million, and you still claim you have a proper legitimacy? INEC must be seen to be sincere and ensure that eligible voters are not deliberately disenfranchised as it is being witnessed today. Nigerians must demand for free, fair, credible and transparent polls come 2019 that will produce a credible leader.