Hon. Binta Mu’zua is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Board member, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). In this interview with MUYIWA OYINLOLA and MBACHU GODWIN NNANNA, she expresses optimism on the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. She also speaks on other national issues.
President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be unhealthy and has allegedly not achieved so much to deserve a second term. How do you react to this?
First, let me say that anybody who knows President Buhari right from inception till today, with the exception of the time he was sick, knows that God has helped him to come for a second term. He is strong, healthy and fit. You may also have observed that he stands for a long time at most of the functions. He makes his speech fluently. He is coordinated while answering questions. So, I believe anybody who can travel, speech, attend functions without making himself absent, is fit to stand for a second term.
The APC is prepared to campaign and President Muhammadu Buhari is prepared to campaign for the second term.
The APC came up with a 3-point agenda including the transformation of the economy, anti-corruption war and war against insecurity. The opinion out there is that your party only made impact in the war against insurgency.
He came with three points but the most prominent are the ones that really bordered by the administration, improving infrastructure, tackling insecurity and fighting corruption. I want to tell you that in the three aspects you mentioned, he has performed wonderful well.
For example, in the aspect of security, before now, you could not travel freely without being stopped on the way. Now you can travel to Kaduna from Abuja under two hours. But under the previous administration, before you get to Kaduna there will be a lot of check points.
The North East people are celebrating President Muhammadu Buhari simply because of peace in that area. A lot of people in the internally displaced people’s camps are begging to return to their homes, because there is stability there.
Regarding infrastructure, if you look at the roads, previous administration abandoned infrastructure. Look at what President Buhari has done in three years. Look at housing, the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has embarked on affordable houses in the country.
Cuts in – where are those houses?
I know a few people that have opportunity to get the contracts, in Kaduna and the South West.
In the area of anti-corruption war, he has blocked so many ways of stealing money through the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
But it was a proposal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and not that of the APC.
Yes, people ought to praise him for implementing it, it is a plus to him. He recovered a lot of properties and monies that were looted by the previous government. Even though people are saying that the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has not secured the conviction of anybody, I think where the EFCC has challenge is the judiciary system, you know the president made such statement, and we need improvement in that area in terms of recovering looted funds.
I want to tell you that the EFCC has done well in that area, the only thing is that the media is not promoting it.
The nomination of a female Muslim as deputy governorship candidate by your state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, who is also a Muslim is causing tension in Kaduna State. Don’t you think the Muslim/Muslim ticket will affect the chances of your party at the poll?
I want to tell you one thing, we should try not to be too sentimental especially when it comes to choosing a Muslim deputy governorship candidate in Kaduna State. I want to give you some examples.
In Taraba and Plateau states, it has been Christian/Christian ticket all along, are there no Muslims there? The Muslims have not complained or protested, but for the first time we are having Muslim/ Muslim ticket in Kaduna State and it has become an issue. Malam el-Rufai did not choose her because she is a Muslim but because she is competent. It was done on merit. He has cleared the rumour.
The governor shared views and sampled opinions. He did not choose her alone. They were given about 17 people from the Southern Kaduna and they reduced it to two women, three men. And they arrived at two women, one man. He was advised by the committee not to choose somebody older than him, that is what the committee helped him choose the deputy governorship candidate. But God made it possible for Hadiza, it was the collective decision of the party and not el-Rufai’s alone.
The committee helped Governor el-Rufia in making the choice. Moreover, she is their own daughter from Southern Kaduna, that is not an issue to bother about. Let them wait and see how she will perform, whether she will protect the interest of Southern Kaduna, I support what the governor has done. The North has never chosen a woman as deputy governor, he has opened the door for women in the North and other governors should emulate him. We are in support of the governor.
Your party is enmeshed in crisis as a result of the fallout from the just concluded primaries, with some aggrieved governors and legislators calling for the resignation of the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. What is your take on this?
You see, a party that has different children from different mothers; I will like to view that this is a family with many children and different mothers, what do you expect? What is happening in the APC is not a surprise, if it is a party that has been in existence for a long time that they will not have problem, but this party is still young.
I want to tell you that it is not peculiar to the APC alone, but the opposition wants to take advantage of it. We are going to put our heads together so that this problem will be solved, I am not happy with what is happening in the party. I believe that the leadership will resolve it, I believe we will all come together.
I don’t think it is the right time to ask our National Chairman to resign less than three months to the general elections. We have to bear with it and see how we can resolve it, we should lower our shoulder and temper and do things right.
How would you describe women participation in the just concluded party primaries?
I am not happy with the way women are being treated. We have not attained the position we want to be. We in the APC will not relent to see women occupy positions and give us enabling environment to attain positions. The president and his wife have shown interest that women are carried along. We had a conference before the election that where it was emphasized that women should be encouraged to participate in the primaries, but to our dismay, the governors did not honour it. I want to commend the South West governors, we wanted other governors to follow suit, but it was disappointing. What annoyed me was that initially women were given free forms, we said no, later they said we should pay 50% of the charges, but after paying their hard earned money, women were not even allowed to participate let alone picking tickets, but I know that president Buhari will do something in that direction. We are looking at appointments.
How can the killings in Kaduna be stopped?
These are all politics, all this ethnic, religious crisis in Kaduna state is just politics. There are politicians behind them and we are praying that God will expose them. If you noticed, there is a reduction in the security situation, a lot has reduced to minimal level, they want to show to the people that President Buhari cannot perform, they want to spoil his chance.
There are fears that former vice president and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, may defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general elections. Are you worried?
I tell you, we are going to win landslide. We are going to finish him. He is not a threat to us at all. Atiku has nothing to tell the electorates. If you look at the internet, he has been messed up, he has nothing to show to Nigerians.
The PDP has alleged that your party is working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the election. What is your take on this?
Look at Anambra election, if we are working with INEC, we wouldn’t have been defeated in Anambra. When they were giving the governor heat and withdrew his security details, Mr. President intervened. If the president contested three times and later won why should he do that?