President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in for a second term in office on May 29, 2019. In an interview with Chamba Simeh, one of the principal voluntary support groups, Grassroots Mobilisation for the All Progressives Congress (APC), which canvassed for the president’s re-election, spoke of its expectations for the people of the country with this victory through its national woman leader Hajiya Hauwa Bagu Dbell.
Are you vindicated in your stance that Buhari must be re-elected as President of Nigeria?
Yes, I am vindicated because for a very long time we held a very strong position that our president has performed beyond all reasonable doubt. This president is different from any other before him because of his integrity plus that even his greatest critics can never deny. Secondly, the poor and voiceless citizens of our country demonstrated that they now have the capacity to recognise a good leader. We congratulate all Nigerians for this victory which is symbolic and significant in many respects. Democratically, it shows our people have come of age and this victory symbolises a pragmatic departure from the past and a systematic approach electorally for us Nigerians.
What are the main traits of the president that makes his personality likeable to all?
The life of a man defines his ambitions, which define his personality. Our president did not become a captivating personality simply because he is created by the media hype usually associated with some prominent failing personality. This president is a creation of the lessons he learnt from his father. The life of President Buhari is a true reflection of the ambitions and the fulfilment of the dreams of all Nigerians, take it from me. Nigeria’s dream of being part of Africa’s and the world’s solutions and the developmental possibilities obtainable from it is secured through the leadership potential in Buhari. There is a saying that a pessimist is a well informed optimist. I can tell you that this group which I lead has never been pessimistic about the president we have. Today, our president’s re-election victory is a sign of God’s fulfilment of the prayers and yearnings of all good Nigerians.
As the women leader of the Grassroots Mobilisation for APC, are you satisfied with the performances of the party in the just concluded elections?
The APC which we belong as a group is a democratic party created for the main purpose of helping Africa’s most populous country achieve its democratic aspirations. This party is democratic also by its leaders’ vivid belief in the fact that this country shall only achieve its potential if its democracy is allowed to flourish unhindered. The party has tried through the president to evolve a leadership recruitment system that is amenable to our country’s growth. The APC performed tremendously well in the last general elections. The party retained the presidency with over four million votes ahead of its major challenger, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. We also retained the majority in the both chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate. We also had majority of the governorship seats in the states, though we regrettably lost some important state through wrangling in some states’ wings of the party. Overall, the party was once again seen through free and fair elections by Nigerians as the party that has the credentials to take it to the promised land.
Your advocacy for the president and the APC as a party normally takes a lot of financing, especially when you look at the cost of transport, the media, etc .What is your main source of funding?
We are a group of people who believe that we have a president who at this time is the best person to deliver the type of change needed to spur our national growth and development. Secondly, we believed that the APC as a party that will bring the needed political change to our nascent and growing democracy. Our president needs a platform with a good manifesto that tallies with the political philosophy of the president and that political platform is the APC.As you can see in the last elections, the people of this country re-emphasised their trust in the party. Having said that and as good party loyalists whose only interest is the growth of the party, we came together to voluntarily form this group known as Grassroots Mobilisation for APC of whom I am the national women leader. We get our funding through members and even non-members’ contributions and donations to the cause.
Let’s look at the president and his next level agenda. Do you still believe that Buhari can take us to the next level in four years?
I can tell you without mincing words that in the last four years I am convinced that President Buhari has delivered change to Nigeria. Look at the tangible and intangible aspects of the economy, the political aspect, the social, infrastructure, and most importantly the anti-corruption crusade, you will be convinced that through this president, change has come to Nigeria. For those who are politically permanent wailers, wake up from your slumber as the elections are over and winners have emerged. This president and his administration are ready to take us to the next level.
Why did your group choose the APC as the platform to achieve your political destiny?
A very important question there, my dear! We saw the party as one that believes in collectivity in pursuit of common progress and the shared vision of the development of our people. The personal integrity of President Buhari has also given the party the political capital lacking in other major parties in our country today. Above all, it is not a party that encourages vested interests against the people. In the party also, we believe in the principle that every life has equal value. That is why the APC is life to us.
Talking about the first lady, what type of first lady has Aisha Buhari been?
In America, former President Bill Clinton always described his presidency as a twofer, which means two for the price of one. Though some Republicans criticised this assertion, but it is trite that first ladies all over the world normally as wives and close confidant of their husbands serve as advisers and representatives of their husbands. The wife of our president has been one of the best first ladies this country has ever been blessed with. She has been known to steadfastly stand by the president and this has propelled him to work harder for the country. Indeed, Hajiya Aisha Buhari has been a mother to all.
Have you been in touch with the party and the president for a handshake or reward for your efforts in making them victorious?
President Buhari is a very appreciative man and the party hierarchy knows our impact in bringing victory to the party. But no, we are talking of change and moving the country to the next level. Our effort is the little contribution we have made to make sure our nation is governed by the right man and the right party. Our main problem in this country has always been that of leadership. The Grassroots Mobilisation for APC is proud that our president is re-elected for a second term to continue the good work he has been doing. After laying the foundation for the growth and development of the country and fighting the symmetric and asymmetric warfare of our people, Buhari is now poised to move the nation to the next level. As for your question, we did not embark on this project to seek personal glory or rewards as this is a project borne out of patriotism and deepening democracy in our country. We thank God that in the party also, the system of leadership recruitment has changed for the better. We are proud of our contributions to the victory of the party and no financial reward can pay for our efforts. Our president will surely deliver and time shall vindicate us. We have since through the media congratulated the party and President Buhari for their victories, which have been acknowledged.
What is next for the Grassroots Mobilisation for APC after the elections?
We have savoured the victory and we are now making efforts in seeing that peace is maintained in our country. We know that there can be no development without peace. Peace, the so called positive peace, implies the creation of a society based on social justice through equal opportunities, a fair distribution of power and resources, equal protection and impartial enforcement of law and above all, mutual cultural understandings and respect among all segments of society. Thus, far from the pessimistic views of classical realists who have all the way assume that the conflict in any society is an intrinsic part of the human nature, peace is an architecture requiring firm specific foundation such as a wide spread education for its attainment. Therefore, the promotion of intercultural dialogue shall be our main objectives going forward. We shall strive to quickly use our mobilising apparatus for the peace and development of the country.
What are the problems of our politics in Nigeria?
The main problem of our politics is politicians and their love for self. Today also, the major problem with our politics as it is generally accepted is the foundation of our politics itself. Our political foundation is defective as it is based on politics without principles, direction and morality. But I am happy that in the APC we have a president that believes and understands the defectiveness of the foundation of our politics and democracy must be made right for the people to get the ultimate benefits of democracy.