Sen. Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf is representing Taraba central in the Nigerian senate and in this interview leadership RUTH CHOJI , the lawmaker explained reasons why the state chapter of the APC was in crisis recently.
Taraba state APC seems to have been divided since the primary elections, what actually played out?
Honestly I will not say it is divided into faction but it is divided into caucuses. What actually happened is that, after the outcome of 2015 elections, the APC became very strong and united. When the chairman of the APC in the state was appointed ambassador, we needed to have an acting chairman and immediately we picked one, some forces in the party started manipulating the party.
Would you say that the primaries was free and fair?
The primaries are normally difficult and challenging. On whether it’s free and fair, the result have been released. We had ten candidates and we tried to get them to agree on a consensus candidate but they all refused. So we decide to sign a memorandum of good behaviors which all of them sign. The chairman of the party, El-Sudi also assured them that, those assign to conduct the elections are credible Nigerians who will conduct a free and fair elections. I also advice the aspirants to accompany the material to the venue of the primaries but they refused. I wanted them to be sure that, it was going to be a free and fair primaries. I was ready to accept anyone of them that emerged. Unfortunately for them, the smartest emerged as the candidate. Of course they have been crying foul but we need to accept the outcome of the primaries.
Some of them have called for the cancellation of the primaries?
If the primaries is canceled, what do we do as a party? Nobody has the power to cancel the primaries at this point because it is over. I will advise that they all accept the result of the primaries and opt for reconciliation with the winner, that way the APC can win the gubernatorial elections and everybody will be carried along. They are now suggesting that we disqualify Sen. Joel and Danladi Sani now that it’s too late. My prayer is that, it doesn’t linger too long. Almost every state has this crises, so that of Taraba cannot be any different. It is better we remain in APC and win the elections so we will share the cake after we have won than to leave APC and move to smaller parties or they won participate in the elections. For me, let us be united and reconcile, put our terms and conditions in paper and sign an agreement with the winner and then support the candidate that emerged.
Coming back to the APC at the National, the chairman is facing lots of criticism from different quarters over the outcome of the primaries, should he resign as some are suggesting?
Nigerians are bad losers. We all know that it is only one person that can be governor or senator. I am concerned because people don’t understand what we are facing. If we insist that it must be me or you and not her, then it will affect every facet of our lives. The seed of the current crises APC is facing was planted by the former chairman, Oyegun because what he used to let everyone have his or her way in the party. There was no discipline and rules and regulations were being flouted by powerful people in the party and so the party was powerless.
But Adams came and is saying that the party is supreme and guidelines must be adhered to. The party is supreme and so people must obey rules and regulations. I think that is why people are against the chairman, Adams Oshiomole. Yes he has his own challenges but anytime you want to do a paradigm shift, you will face challenges. The governors who are in charge of the party in their states were not allowed to have their way this time around. Adams said the party is supreme and that nobody will be allowed to subvert the party unlike what used to happen in the past. So I don’t see anything wrong with the way Adams is handling the party. I was made to understand that, there is a Supreme Court judgment that says the party decides who their candidate will be. The governors must stop imposing their candidates on the people, even though they have the right to support their candidate but imposition of candidate is not healthy for our democracy. Most of the crises you see in the states is because the governors wanted to have their way.
There are fears that INEC Might be biased or work for the APC in the forth coming general elections, what is your take on this?
I have no reason to doubt INEC. They are following the laws that established the process of elections in this country and I don’t think they have abused the law. If there is any way they have abused the law, then somebody would have gone to court to challenge them. For me, I have nothing contrary to make me believe that they are partial. I think they are impartial and are independent. INEC will conduct a free and fair election next year.