By Dirisu Yakubu
Jackson Ojo, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, says the crisis now threatening the very survival of the party is one that could have been averted if President Muhammadu Buhari had intervened. According to him, Muhammadu Sanusi, the recently dethroned 14th Emir of Kano may end up running for the Presidency of the country in 2023 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Why is it difficult for the APC to resolve the differences between Governor Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole?
I want to put all the blame on the corridors of the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. As a governor, he killed godfatherism in Edo State and retired the likes of Chief Tony Anenih, Tom Ikimi, Samuel Ogbemudia among others. He silenced all these people for eight years. For that feat, he was applauded because godfatherism is one of the problems militating against the growth of decent politics in this country.
To the amazement of everybody, Oshiomhole wants godfatherism resurrected, the same thing he killed for eight years as governor. We knew he did his best to make Godwin the governor, but he is simply asking the governor to take what he (Oshiomhole) could not take while he was governor. The governor may have his faults but he in company of the Oba of Lagos went to Oshiomhole’s corridor at Iyamho and they were disgraced. What else do you expect the governor to do? Oshiomhole believed so much in himself and thought he could silence the governor. But that is impossible because when you attempt to silence a governor, you are indirectly trying to silence the people that voted for him.
President Buhari is one man many believe can put an end to this crisis. Why has he not called them to order?
It is very late in the day. The intervention of Mr. President is late now. When it was a mere misunderstanding, it could have been managed. Today, the feud has factionalized the party. I agree that both Obaseki and Oshiomhole initially denied the existence of an issue between them but I said it then loud and clear that they were both deceiving themselves.
That was the point the President ought to have stepped in. For not stepping in, I can say that President Buhari is not a good party administrator. With due respect to his person, the President seems not interested about what becomes of the APC after his second term in office, after all, he has gotten his second term. In the last National Executive Committee, NEC meeting, he said he wouldn’t want the party to pack up after he must have left. That means, he is aware of the fate that awaits the party. Who is the national leader of the APC? He ought to be the man or woman who holds the highest elective office on the platform of the party and that is President Buhari. For me, referring to Bola Tinubu as national leader of the party is a mockery of the man from Lagos. He (Tinubu) is not the national leader but Buhari who is the national leader does not care what is happening in the party today. Before the election, they set up a committee that was headed by Tinubu but at the end of the day, he failed. We lost some states as a result of the failure of the reconciliation committee to deliver on its mandate. We lost Benue, Zamfara and Imo (until the court reversed it) states. Now, they are asking Baba Bisi Akande to do the same job. It is a pity.
What do you make of the Sanusi conundrum? It appears his dethronement is not as bad as initially thought. What exactly can you say given the role some of your governors played to make life easier for him when he was deposed?
I don’t want the speculations about a new role for him in 2023. The Emir of Kano’s dethronement was illegal because he committed no criminal offence against his people. Criticizing Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is never an offence to warrant the removal of the Emir. When did Ganduje become the law? President Buhari has been criticized by many people but he didn’t deport anyone to Libya because of that. He has no right to do so because ours is a constitutional democracy where the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed. Some people even declared Buhari dead when he was on medical vacation abroad. Did he kill those people? So, what is the matter with Ganduje? If Sanusi exhibited acts of insubordination to the government of Kano State; it was the House of Assembly members who are the representatives of the people that ought to have swing into action, not Ganduje.
Now to the politics of it, the dethronement of Sanusi has further polarized the APC. The governor of Lagos state received him and that is an APC governor, same as Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State. Do not forget Governor Nasir El-Rufai is one of the most powerful governors in the country today. He visited him in Awe. Are you sure these three governors will have anything to do with Ganduje again? Sanusi is a popular, global figure and he has been speaking on issues that matter. His removal from the throne has further enhanced his popularity. A lot of people think he was removed for speaking truth to power. He did this too a few years ago and President Goodluck Jonathan removed him as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He has told the ruling party some home truths and they came after him. I think the PDP has gotten a Presidential candidate. I have earlier told you that some people are waiting for the house of APC to collapse.
Governor El-Rufai recently called for solidarity behind the South’s quest for the Presidency in 2023. Do you think he would ever throw his support behind Sanusi were he to emerge candidate of the PDP?
Where is El-Rufai’s political home? El-Rufai was one of the founding members of the PDP and he served the PDP government as DG, Bureau of Public Enterprises and later Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. So, who is more PDP than El-Rufai? When he spoke about a Southern President, he didn’t say all political parties should zone the Presidency to the South. No, he talked about APC only. El-Rufai said something a few days ago: He said he has been a friend with Sanusi for a very long time; and that they have shared good and bad times together. He also added that he and Sanusi are inseparable. That is a powerful statement. That means if Sanusi is running for the Presidency of the country on the platform of the PDP; they are still inseparable. El-Rufai is one of the closest friends to President Buhari.
What do you make of the bill pegging the minimum qualification for the aspiration into the office of the President at the Higher National Diploma, HND level? Some people think it is a veiled shot aimed at former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar?
I don’t see it from the prism of shutting the door against Atiku. This is the first time I am applauding our lawmakers for considering education as a yardstick for determining who gets elected into an office. It is a meaningful bill which is targeted at eliminating mediocrity in governance. The bill, if anything, is to retire those who have no business in the corridors of power. It is not enough to be wealthy; you need to have good educational qualification. It is equally important that when elected, you will have a clear vision on what you want to do.