Umar Shuaibu, Chairman defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in Niger state is also a founding member of the All Progressives Change (APC) in the state. In this interview with ADELOJE OJO in Minna, the ex Niger state coordinator Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) says APC is having difficulties managing its successes.
In what measure is the Niger state APC crisis affecting the fortunes of the party?
I will like to categorically state that the victory of APC in Niger state was not due to any political sagacity of the former chairman. Rather than dipping the fortune of the party in the state his removal will enhance it. We know that some of the ardent supporters of the former chairman are only deceitfully wearing the garb of the APC, because, they openly betrayed the party and worked for the opposition during the 2019 election. They exhibited their worst and were squarely and severely defeated in all the local governments of the state. They went about deceiving people that they have political relevance, when in the actual fact, they are nothing, but paper weights. The accusation against the former leadership of the APC in Niger state and its subsequent change, will not have any effect in the fortune of the party in the state. The secret of our success in the previous elections are rooted in the fact that all the other stakeholders are holding their local grounds intact. And by the grace of the Almighty, it will be very difficult for the party to be toppled in Niger state. Our strengths are in our structures at the local government and ward levels, and all these are still intact state wide.
What is your take on the claims of lack of political patronage of members of the party by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello after the success in the 2019 election?
These type of complains are from the quarters of the aggrieved former chairman. The fact is that most of them are beneficiaries of certain government favours and appointments in the past. However, they made certain requests in which they couldn’t get now for certain reasons. Nobody will ever say that all the members of the cabinet today are not APC members. If people like us that led the party since when it was in opposition are not complaining, despite not being in government now, all those making such noise are mischief makers, who are empty vessels.
As a founding father of APC, what is the solution to move the party forward in Niger state.
The government in the state should continue focusing on popular programmes, because the strength and acceptability of the party is strongly connected with its performance in government. Secondly, just as our local governments and wards structure of the party are strong and intact now, we must continue keeping them as such.
EndSARS protests across the country turned violent and took the form of agitation against bad government. What is your thought on this?
We all know that in all countries worldwide, not only Nigeria, there must be an outfit in charge of preventing crimes, most especially high profile crime like armed robbery. But the operation must be according to the rule. From the beginning, it appears that the protest was well-intentioned, because there are many instances and evidences of violation of rules of operational procedures by the defunct SARS. As a responsible federal government, it promptly responded by agreeing with all the demands of the demonstrators. However, if SARS is scrapped, there must never be a vacuum, unless we want to drift to anarchy. What is expected of responsible citizens is for the leadership of the demonstrators to immediately call-off the protest. Unfortunately, rather than calling-off, they resorted to escalating it and issuing many other unreasonable demands, clearly portraying the hallmark of the opposition. The media houses championing the course of the protest could not retract their support to call the demonstrators to order, even when it turned to violence and madness. Rather, they further resorted to mischievously circulating outdated videos of previous events as part of EndSARS. It is an open secret that one of the chief executives of these private media was indicted in high level corruption charges, yet, they have the audacity of instigating the youth against the government. All these gave us ample reason to believe that right from the beginning, the ENDSARS slogan is only a smokescreen.
What is your impression on the presidential address to the nation on the youth protest against the backdrop of criticisms that it didn’t convey hope for the youth?
Nigeria is not a lawless country and no responsible government worldwide can accept the wanton destruction of goods and properties the way the demonstration later transformed. The Presidential address became imperative in order to enforce the return to order and sanity. Meanwhile, no matter how much the government of the day improves in the area of addressing the prevailing challenges of unemployment and provision of infrastructure in the country, the vocal few that are in opposition and which controls almost all the private media will not stop its criticism of calling for the head of the government, with the aim of grounding its activities. We can categorically state, that there has never been any government from the commencement of the 4th Republic that brought and implemented various social intervention programmes, with the financing of small scale businesses that addresses the needs of the youth like this government. All these are happening at a time we are generating very little revenue from the international markets, in comparison to the previous governments. To further compound the situation, we are now confronted with the Covid – 19 pandemic, which is a global phenomenon. In the light of all these programmes, if any reasonable citizen cannot commend the government of the day, definitely he cannot claim that it is not doing enough in comparison to what government did in the immediate past.
The caretaker committee of the ruling APC headed by Governor Bunu appeared to be lobbying for extension of time for its mandate, are you in support?
Yes, I am totally in support of the extension of time, if the committee actually needs it, so long as it further addresses the myriads of challenges that was confronting the party leadership. Because, what is worth doing is worth doing very well. So far it is doing very well by keeping the party together. It is difficult to assess the performance of the committee now, beyond the unity and confidence it is building on the party. To me that is great in comparison to what it met on the ground