Talking about leading the party, many know that you lead not just at the top but also present at the grassroots across Zamfara, but a statement came from the national chairman of the party’s caretaker committee saying that the current governor who just defected is now the leader of the party in Zamfara State. What do you have to say about that?
You see that one, I have nothing much to say. All I advise them to do, all that I ask of them is that in all that they want to do, they should go through the party constitution and act in accordance with it. Let them look at their constitution very well and take a lead from there.
I’m not contesting any leadership. It is the people who made me their leader and they will continue to call me their leader as long as I am alive. It is not about the APC; they call me leader.
When I was a governor, I never called myself a leader. Even as a sitting governor, there is someone I was addressing as ‘leader’ and he knows; I call him Jagora. Jagora is a leader, I do call him, whenever he is present, I call him leader. Whenever I make a public address, I address him as a leader. I never addressed myself as a leader; I was governor, that is what the constitution of Nigeria assigned to me and that was what God decided to make me. However, in terms of respect, at least, there is someone that you have to respect in the system. Throughout my entire eight years, I always had someone to address as leader. It was only after my eight years in office that they started calling me leader and then we continued like that.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter whether the governor is leader or whosoever is the leader; the important thing is to deliver. If you can deliver, you can take your leadership and go away with it.
As for the pronouncement of the chairman, I will not comment on it but I refer them to the constitution and let them do the needful, as far as the constitution is concerned. The Nigerian Constitution kept the Nigerian President where he is, it kept the party where it is, kept everybody where he is. So, let’s look at the constitution and it is clear about everyone’s roles. For me, I am not contesting the leadership with the governor or anybody; it is out of respect that I am being called a leader because I was there before him.
How do you assess the chances of the APC in 2023 against the background of what the party promised in 2015 but appears unable to deliver, including insecurity, anti-corruption fight and the economy?
Let us put a team in place first. If we put a team that can manage the APC effectively, that is how we are going to know the impact. Not only these ones, yes they were part of our campaign promises and we know there are some hitches in the economy and what have you. There are some issues there but it is not so bad to an extent that what we have been doing or achieving cannot be seen.
However, there are so many issues behind chances in APC 2023 or otherwise. A lot depends on how we do our calculations; a lot depends on where we zone our presidency to – all those kinds of things are facts we should consider.
The only thing I will say is that if you look at our merger, from the north and the zones we have taken to march together, the South West especially. If you look at it critically and look at what has transpired, from there we can take the level to say okay, this is what we should do as a party or this is what we should not do as a party and carefully look at some errors we made in the last six years and see how we can quickly push as a party and as a government to see how we can cover about 30, 40 percent of it and then convince people and ask them yes, we promised so many things that we could not fulfil because we found so many things that were not in place. On the issue of the economy, we expected to have the oil price at 100-120 dollars per barrel but it came down to USD 27 per barrel and now, it is not going beyond 70. There are so many things we are going to talk about, not only security, unemployment and so on and so forth. There are so many things we need to look at, areas where we are doing the best we could. There are many things to look at within the system, especially between now and next year.
What is your response to the clamour for power shift to the South?
Well, I have no personal position beyond the party’s official stand. If the top leadership of the APC made a promise that power should move to any place, we should respect it. We would have no reason not to oblige. But we should look at this and all others things critically so that APC can survive and succeed further.
Beyond being a member of the House of Representatives, state party chairman, governor, why do you feel so certain that your political experience really stands you out as a candidate for the National Chairmanship of the All