APC Governors Are Sponsoring Daily Protests Against Oshiomhole - Nabena



Yekini Nabena is the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). In this exclusive interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on the endorsement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the fallout of APC primaries and other issues of national interests. Excerpts:
There were conflicting reports over the weekend that your party has appointed a substantive National Publicity Secretary, yet there is no official statement from the party confirming that development. What is the true situation of things now?

Our party has a constitution. For you to bring in anybody into the NWC, you must follow the party’s constitution. For you to bring anybody into the Working Committee, there must be a mini-convention where the person will be elected. The position of the National Publicity Secretary is zoned to the North-Central, if there is vacancy as we have now, in that zone there must be an election; either by consensus or they go for proper election or by affirmation. I don’t have a problem because I am just serving as the publicity secretary in acting capacity. Once a substantive publicity secretary is elected or affirmed, I revert back to my position as Deputy National Publicity Secretary. For the man making noise in Kwara, first of all they don’t even have a state executive council. They don’t have an exco from the ward level to the state. So, how are they going to vote in the first place? So, instead of this man going around making noise, he should go back to the party’s constitution and see the processes that should be followed before his emergence. I believe the party should just do the right thing so as to avoid court cases, litigations and so on.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo last week endorsed the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 presidential race. Do you see that as a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari’s chances?

To me, it is not a threat because going down memory lane; it is the same Obasanjo that said if he ever forgives Atiku, that God will be angry with him. For him to have said that and now turnaround to say he has forgiven him, definitely, God will deal with him. I have been following Obasanjo and to me, he is not a person that is qualified to say anything about Nigeria because he is one of the people that destroyed this country and brought us to the situation we are today. For those who know Obasanjo, anytime he fights, it is about his selfish interests. This is a man who was opportune to rule Nigeria as a military Head of State and eight years as civilian president but for selfish interests, he wanted to change our constitution so he can get third term. What good does that kind of man has to offer this country? He likes everything to be according to his dictates. This is a man who dumped the PDP and said he is quitting partisan politics. Later, he formed a party called ADC. When the party didn’t fly and he realises that he is becoming politically irrelevant, he runs back to the PDP. My advice to Obasanjo is that if he wants to be an elder statesman let him be and based on his experience; let him look at the positive sides and advice the people of Nigeria.

Some people claimed everyone Obasanjo has supported in the race for presidency ended up winning, do you see this happening in 2019 with his support for Atiku ?

He has never supported anybody to win. What he does is that he always look at when the people are already winning. He will now jump into it and say the person won because of him. No! He has never supported people to win. If that is the case, why couldn’t he support himself to win Third term in office? His tactics has always been when he realizes that things are going in one particular direction, he quickly jumps into it and issues a statement then people will now think that he is the one responsible for the victory. Obasanjo is a man without principles. This is a man who tore his PDP membership card and said all sorts of negative things about his party. An old man like that is now swallowing his vomit. We respect him as an elderstatesman but let him also respect himself.

Are you surprised with the level of acceptance PDP is receiving from Nigerians despite the fact that they were voted out less than four years ago?

I am worried and this is because a lot of people in the PDP because of the corrupt aspect of it are afraid of President Buhari coming back to office for second term. They know that if he returns, many of them will go to jail. So, what we have now is that all the corrupt politicians and Generals are now ganging up so that President Buhari will not return and they will have access to spending all the monies they have corruptly enriched themselves with because they are afraid of jail. What is happening now is clearly a case of corruption fighting back. Who are the owners of oil blocks in the country today? Are they not PDP members? They know that by the time their licences expire, this government will not renew it unless they are ready to follow due process. That is why these people are fighting in every way possible to make sure that APC don’t come back to government but they are not God. God has a purpose for bringing Buhari at this point in time and we must allow the will of God to prevail.

Given a free, fair and credible election, do you see Atiku winning the 2019 presidential election?

As far as I am concerned, I don’t think Atiku can defeat President Buhari in a free, fair and credible contest. Talking of records, I don’t see what Atiku has to offer Nigerians. He was in the saddle for eight years as Vice- President. During Obasanjo’s first term as president, Atiku was the one running the country. They all sat down and sold Nigeria’s assets to their cronies. They set up the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and sold all government’s institutions to themselves. Is this the kind of man Nigerians want to bring into government? Look at Atiku today clamouring for restructuring. He was in the system for eight years but you did not restructure, so what do you want to tell Nigerians now? Look at the amount of monies he spent to secure the PDP ticket. The presidency of Nigeria is not for sale. People thought Atiku has money. No, he doesn’t have the kind of money Nigerians thought he has and I challenge Nigerians to investigate this. Most of these monies he is spending are loans from banks which he will recoup and pay back if he gets into office before he now thinks of the masses. Nigerians must be careful so as not to return looters into power.

Your party has been enmeshed in one controversy or another following the outcome of your primaries in some states. Daily, there are reports of people coming to the National Secretariat to protest and even the First Lady, Aisha Buhari also voiced out her opinion against the primaries accusing the national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of impunity. How will you react to this?

It is very simple. When you conduct primaries between A and B. If you give it to A, B will complain. If you give to B, A will also complain. That is exactly what is going on within the APC and it is everywhere including the advanced countries. The only thing is that in the advanced countries, instead of launching protests or resort to abuse, they go to court. The problem in APC is also because the party chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has insisted that he will not tolerate any form of impunity from any party members again, irrespective of their positions. He doesn’t want to rely on state governors for funds to run the party and that is why we got money from the sale of forms during the primaries. The era where governors will gather and impose their will on the party is gone. This time, Oshiomhole has entrenched party supremacy and that is why the governors are complaining. An outgoing governor wants to bring a successor and at the same time wants to be a senator but people said they don’t want to vote for his candidate. It becomes a problem. Some of them are even threatening the party chairman. These governors shouldn’t think they have the rights to appoint successors as if they are appointing personal aides. Let the people decide who will lead them in their states. Look at what the Niger state governor is doing; sending people to Abuja to come and protest. Is that how a governor should behave? This is the first time things are done the right way they should be done, not the way the governors wanted it. The governors are the ones sponsoring all these protests because the party is not doing their bidding.

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