Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, a chairmanship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Plateau state chapter, in this interview with MUHAMMAD TANKO SHITTU, enumerates reasons the youth should be supported to occupy substantial positions in the party.
The APC is led by caretaker committee at all strata, are you satisfied with the arrangement?
In every thing that people do, there must be some challenges, and as human beings continue to exist, these challenges will certainly come up, and as they come up there are always other options to surmount them. And one of the ways to surmount the challenges of the APC leadership then was the coming up with the idea of dissolutions, and putting in place the caretaker committee, though it wasn’t part of the APC constitution, but since it was a majority decision of the working committee, it was adopted and it is for the good of all concerned members.
What prospects do you envisage would advance your party?
I have just said the caretaker committee is for the overall good of the party, I am sure members would agree with me that, the manner in which His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni, is leading the committee, is yielding lots of achievements. It is glaring that, besides leading reconciliation amongst aggrieved members, some bigwig politicians, including governors, senators, Reps and State House of Assembly members, across Nigeria have been joining the APC. We are waxing stronger and better days are there for the party, Nigeria’s democracy and the country at large. One other good thing about the Mala Buni’s leadership is the fact that the party is been reshaped and repositioned on daily basis. The caretaker had successful revalidated the party’s register and also registered new members. Soon we will have congresses to elect officials at ward, local government and state levels, after which by Allah’s will, national executives will also be on board.
Talking about the congresses, do you think APC will get it right having rescheduled it twice?
The earlier postponement was not deliberately done at will, rather it was to further get all members duly revalidate their registration and to also allow others get duly registered as members of the party. For instance a governor or a seating senator or rep or House of Assembly members that were not APC, that have joined the party, they deserve to have full stake in all that would be done, including the congresses that would put in new executive structures at all levels. To directly answer your question, I will say I am really confident that at least 85 to 90 percent of things are okay.
You were sometimes reported as urging Governor Simon Lalong to encourage youth occupation of executive positions of the party at all levels, what prompted the agitation?
As the youth that constitute the bulk percentage of eligible voters, in Nigeria, we are not only making peaceful and legitimate agitations, to be in leadership of whatever political party each and everyone of us belongs to, but we are targeting at getting substantial number of elective public offices, comes 2023. It is in line with this and going by the constitutional provision of Nigeria, which gives us the lawful backing of not too young to run, we are now saying let our leaders begin to showcase that some of us can actually begin with having good numbers holding executive positions, right from the party levels. This is like preparing us for further challenges of leadership. Another reason why I hold the view that Governor Simon Bako Lalong, should support us, is to also strengthen our confidence, which in turn will better the hope and chances of the party winning in an election time.
Are you promoting the politics of god-fatherism rather than the youth doing it themselves?
When we say a governor or someone else that is influential should support us, it doesn’t mean that we are subjecting our political quest to god-fatherism, but all that we are saying is let them influence or even lobby other party members to vote for us. The fact that we have rallied round and canvassed votes for Governor Lalong or President Muhammadu Buhari, does not mean that we are their political god-fathers, likewise if they encourage us to vie, canvassed for us, is like reciprocating back, but not god-fatherism. And we are not saying they should do something contrary to the norms and tenets of true democracy, but at the same time, we are asking for free, fair and credible congresses that will further deepen our internal democracy.
You are aspiring to lead the Plateau state APC, being a youth, do you think it’s time for it?
Age wise, I am qualified, education wise I am, politically, I am. And going by my political antecedents, I am also fully convinced that it is apt time, that youth should be given the chance to lead the party in Plateau state. I was a member of the former All People’s Party (APP), which later became All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), in which I served as ward youth leader, I was later elected the ward chairman. Having merged our party to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), I was elected as Jos North Local Government delegate of the party, I equally served as the APC major stakeholder of Jos North LGA. I served as member in the Vote Lalong Again (VOLA 2019), and I was the initiator and coordinator of the Lalong Gida-Gida, (House to House campaign in 2019), lately, I served as national member in the Progressives Youth Conference, amongst myriads of local and national political activities. Going by this, one could understand that I am really a grassroots politician, a mobiliser and true democrat, who understand both practical and theories of politics, through which I garnered vast experiences, and I am sure that I am fit to lead a state chapter of the party as its chairman. At this stage, I am also making a clarion call that youths in the APC, should come out to vie for leadership positions of the party at all levels, and I am optimistic that if the enabling democratic space would be allowed, most of us will win national positions. I am further reiterating my appeal to His Excellency Governor Simon Lalong, to lead us by good example of ensuring that the youths are given the democratic enabling space to participate, not only him but all stakeholders in the APC. I am sure that any concerned member of the party, is proud with the quality of leadership, Governor Mai Mala Buni, of Yobe state, is providing. In this quest of mine, Mai Mala, being a youth, is a clear reference point that we stand a better position to lead the affairs of our party. His caretaker committee has put back good political spirit and is reshaping the party, for better results.