Dr Umar Duhu is the pioneer national vice chairman, North East of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with journalists, he defends the indirect primaries adopted by his Adamawa State chapter amongst other issues. SUNDAY ISUWA was there for LEADERSHIP Weekend.
You were part of the people that went round Adamawa and constituted campaign structures for Buhari/Bindow. What is the yearning of the people towards the 2019 elections?
The people of Adamawa State and most particularly, the people of Adamawa North Senatorial District, shall remain eternally grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC government for bringing the region out of the insurgency quagmire of the years 2013 and 2014, under the PDP government, when the entire Adamawa North and some parts of Adamawa Central, were completely invaded by the Boko Haram insurgents, a situation which led to our people taking refuge as internally displaced persons (IDP) in other parts of the state and beyond. Today, the APC government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, has not only liberated all the captured territories, our citizens have returned to their localities and many have cultivated their farmlands for three years now.
It is instructive to relay to all, the message of the peoples of Adamawa North Senatorial District and indeed, most parts of Adamawa State. Adamawa North Senatorial District is a no go area for any other political party except, the APC. Any party, which wishes to take its campaign to Adamawa North Senatorial District, will be doing so at its own peril and will be responsible for all the damning consequences. I want to also advise the PDP, which carelessly ceded our territories to the Boko Haram, to tread with caution, as they will not only be disappointed at the polls in 2019, but, will be compelled to pay dearly for their inactions that caused the lives and properties of millions of Adamawa citizens and beyond. To cut the story short, Adamawa State is a no go area for the PDP and its affiliates. APC remains the party to beat in Adamawa and Nigeria, for a long time to come.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s in-law has purchased nomination form to contest the 2019 gubernatorial election in Adamawa State. What’s your view?
This is democracy in action. Modi, as he is popularly called, has the right to aspire to any position he so desires in the land. What is most paramount is the electorates who have the legitimacy to decide the fate of any candidate best qualified to fly the APC flag in 2019. Governor Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, the performing governor, has done significantly well towards improving critical infrastructures, which have serial multiplier effects on the entire economy of Adamawa State and the lives of the citizenry. These strides, aside other developmental efforts, will stand in for the victory of governor Bindow in Adamawa State at primary elections and the general elections. In this regard therefore, governor Bindow is not perturbed by either Modi or any other APC member’s willingness to contest the primary election along with him. It is on record that, the people of Adamawa Central have been agitating for power shift to their Senatorial District and the best option to achieve this desire is to heed my advise to, this time again, support governor Bindow for 2019. When governor Bindow completes his tenure in 2023, His Excellency and all the critical stakeholders in Adamawa North will support power shift to Adamawa Central. But anything short of this understanding, ‘In Sha Allah’ in 2023, another son of Adamawa North could still take over from governor Bindow for continuity and sustainable development to rebuild the insurgency ravaged part of Adamawa State.
The state APC has adopted indirect primaries. What is the faith of the governor now that Buhari’s in law has purchased his form and taken a picture with the president?
Yes, the Adamawa State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, during its extraordinary state meeting held in Yola on September 3, 2018, unanimously agreed to go for indirect primaries. This is not without considering all the prevalent circumstances in which the Adamawa people find themselves. In Adamawa North Senatorial District, there are still prevalent flash points for the insurgency. In that regard alone, no sensible leader will compromise the lives of his citizens over any political exigency.
Secondly, as we are discussing, there is no single member of the APC in Nigeria who has a valid APC membership card but, a membership slip. Preceding this period, several assumed members of the APC, have printed uncountable numbers of APC membership slips preparatory to causing mischief at any primary election that would be conducted through direct means. In that regard also, it has become absolutely impracticable to go for any direct primary under such circumstances. Opting for indirect where there are only recognised party members, is the best option. The Adamawa State APC Leadership, under Alh Ibrahim Bilal, has settled for it and all patriotic party members/leaders should agree and obey.
It seems there is serious division in Adamawa APC. What will this portend for the 2019 general elections now that the opposition parties are also strategising?
There’s absolutely no problem whatsoever in the Adamawa State chapter of my party. The party is intact and vibrant. Anyone dissatisfied with the setting and programmes of the party is doing so for selfish reasons. It is instructive to understand that, those who brought Alhaji Ibrahim Bilal to office as the APC chairman in Adamawa State are Babachir Lawal and others. But when they later discovered the potentials in governor Bindow with regards to his records of achievement in office in just 15 months then, their loyalty shifted to him and they were no longer doing the biddings of Babachir, who was instrumental to their being in office as exco members.
Governor Bindow, being a compassionate and humble leader, decided to move on with them as the present exco members of the APC in Adamawa State. I, therefore, strongly advise that the mischief-maker must stop playing ostrich and join hands with governor Bindow to develop Adamawa to an enviable height.
We have seen pictures of people campaigning with sticks and machetes. Don’t you think authorities should regulate political campaigns?
I strongly believe that the security agencies and INEC should invoke all the instrumentalities of the laws of the land to nip it in the bud and deal with such nonsense. When I watched the video that portrayed a prospective House of Representatives aspirant, brandishing dangerous objects and ventilating abusive and uncharitable language, all in the name of seeking support of the electorates, I knew our democracy was being handled in gangster style and that must be checked. The prospective aspirant should be disqualified from contesting any election in Nigeria to serve as a deterrent to others.