Dr. Sani Adamu, one of the staunch allies of former Vice President and the Presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar spoke to newsmen on many issues pertaining to the last election and the 2023 polls. JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON was there for New Nigerian Newspapers and filed in the report. Excerpts:
How did you get into politics?
For me, I have been an observer of state and national affairs for a long time. However, venturing into active politics came about after the 2011 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries which Atiku lost.
I was disturbed because the ballot boxes were arranged according to states. Only a few delegates from Adamawa State voted for him. He got less than 20% of the votes cast despite his popularity. But Atiku has affected the lives of Adamawa people through his investments and non-profit initiatives.
He became very popular. So, the election did not reflect the minds of the electorate.I could not understand why the delegates from his home constituency betrayed him or to say betrayed their self . So, I sat down and pondered over the matter.
These delegates were less than .000001% of the Adamawa State population, We elected them and they were supposed to be our representatives. Unfortunately, when they returned from Abuja where the primaries was conducted nobody (in Adamawa) challenged them for their action.
I wrote an open letter to all major stakeholders in the affairs of Adamawa State, including political leaders, traditional rulers, elected and appointed officials, asking them why they let that happened in the first place.
He has followers all over the country. But I believe, we, in Adamawa, must blaze the trail for other states to follow. There was a time I had a visitor from Cameroon. When I took him round the town and he saw industries and world class investments,
He asked me who built them. I told him it was Atiku. He asked about the number of the tiers of government in Nigeria. I said three federal, state and local governments.
The man could not believe it. He then asked “what of Atiku?” because he thought Atiku was another tier of government. So, I explained to him that Atiku Abubakar was an individual who invested heavily to generate employment and spur economic growth.
So, I launched my movement against 2015 between the primaries and the 2011 general election, which I named as Desrvation.org. The rest is history today, and the struggle continues.
In government, Atiku Abubakar prevailed based on good principles, and out of office, he did not change. This character of Atiku Abubakar is what attracted me to fight on his behalf to rescue this Country.
How did you got connected to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar politically?
Connecting with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar came naturally to me. I have a soft spot for the Waziri for a long time. After studying his struggles and identifying a gap in his core support base and machinery, I decided to launch my movement to fill the identified gap.
Most of our interventions were practical and ICT based. We initiated a sustained social media campaign to project the accomplishment of the Waziri and show his readiness to lead this great Country.
The 2011 Presidential elections were to be Atiku Abubakar’s moment, but Country lost it. We lost it again and again 2015 and 2019. Nigeria has been suffering from poor leadership since then.
I believe we have all learnt our lessons, which will shape our thinking as we once again prepare for 2023 Presidential elections. The truth is, Nigeria still needs the leadership of Atiku Abubakar.
The looming threat and instability in the polity, leading to discontentment and unreasonable agitations, calls for the likes of Atiku Abubakar.
16 years of PDP administration in Nigeria, what is the comparative advantage over APC rule of seven years?
The answer to this question is simple, ask the common Man on the street if he is better off today with seven years of APC Government or the past 16 years of PDP?
The answer would be that of regrets and recriminations and lamentations of the collective mistake this nation made in electing the APC Government led by GMB.
This is crystal clear situation; Nigeria has never had it so bad. Let us start with three cardinal promises of the APC Government-Security, corruption, and the Economy. Under Buhari, Nigeria has become the Poverty Capital of the World. Look at the poverty data from the World Bank and even the NBS. Nigeria is also number 2 on the World Terrorist indicators. Looking at the Corruption index, Nigeria under President Buhari has dropped to the worst since 2015.
Nigeria has never witnessed this level of corruption from the cronies and family of the President. Nigeria slides back by two points annually on the corruption index from Transparency International. In 2020 Nigeria was 149 th out of 180 (Nigeria was 136 th out of 180 Countries in 2015),
Countries on corruption index, scoring 25 out of 100. The corrupt practices have eaten deep into the very fabric of social and economic system. Employment into the Federal Civil Service is now allocated to family and cronies, who in turn sell them to thehighest bidder.
This practice is going on under the watch of Mr. President. Check out the price of 50kg bag of Rice, N6,000 under PDP in 2015, and N35,000 under PMB in 2020. Or check out the exchange rate of Naira to the dollar, it was N180 to the Dollar, now it is almost N570 to the Dollar. Unemployment rate in 2015 was 12% compared to 33.28% in 2020.
Nigeria is also the 146th out of 190 Countries in the ease of doing business. Nigeria lags all its peers on access to electricity, and foreign direct investment (FDI) flow to Nigeria is skewed towards a narrow sector with relatively limited potential for creating jobs for our teeming youth. Even the Agric sector remains largely uncompetitive and underperforms in all the value chains.
You can see that we took one step forward under the PDP-led government and several stepsbackwards under the APC.
Despite misruled by APC administration, politicians are still decamping to APC. Why?
Regrettably yes, looking at the above picture of the devastation and suffering brought about by the APC Government, you would expect that the enlightened group in Nigeria will lead their people aright by turning their back on the APC government.
However, I would like to differentiate the selfishness, the use and dump attitude of scrupulous politicians and elites, and the genuine citizen who had not fared better with this government. I wish to assure you that when the time comes, you will find these politicians regretting their actions, because they will discover, when it is too late that, the self-interest attached to this movement would be their undoing. The masses will certainly not follow them. You will one day see them trying to stage a return to the PDP.
Democracy at 60 years now in Nigeria, can we say that we have made progress?
In terms of continuous democratic practices, we had some interruptions of Military, who came at various times when the Politicians fail to deliver service and play politics by the rules. However, since the return of the second republic, PDP has led for 16 years discussed earlier. The PDP has done a lot to strengthen internal democracy, based on i9deas for development and rule of law. However, the APC Government seemed to have reversed all the gains made in the democratic space. What we see now is a government led by Aristocrats, for the benefits of few individuals. We are witnessing a crass dictatorship, which has turned into a take-it -or-live-it government. We are all helpless, the National Assembly have woefully failed to serve their constitutional mandate of Checks and Balances. It has allowed itself to be a rubber-stamp Assembly or another arm of the Executive branch. So, the 60 years of democracy in Nigeria is mixed bag of curse brought about by the APC’s corrupt leadership and blessing of PDP’s 16 years, which has been eroded by the present inept government led by President Buhari.
Why are you not too active with Atiku like before are you planning to dump him and his party to APC ?
I can tell you categorically that for me, there is no rest until we deliver Atiku Abubakar to Aso Rock Villa as the President and C-in-C of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since 2011, all my activities 24/7/365 have revolved around the Atiku Agenda for Nigeria and Nigerians. This is the task I willingly and ably taken upon myself. Since then, I have not seen an alternative to Atiku Abubakar. I believe in his capacity to rescue Nigeria and Nigerians. The right platform to deliver Atiku Abubakar to Nigerians remain the PDP. I must admit that I have working groups across the 36 States and FCT. I have also received invitations from high calibre politicians and Political Parties, but my heart and soul remains with the Waziri of Adamawa. I have refused to have a closed door meeting with anyone with a different agenda. I have also interacted with Governors, Ministers and Ambassadors, for other reasons. My commitment to Atiku Abubakar remains unshaken, solid and for a better Nigeria. InshaAllahu, Atiku’s time to be the President of Nigeria has come.
What positive impact can Alhaji Atiku Abubakar make in Nigeria if he is fortunate to rule this country ?
As far as Atiku Abubakar is concerned, Nigeria has on three occasions missed his leadership. I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that Nigeria would have better of with AtikuAbubakar, than with President Buhari. Most voters now question themselves, saying how come did we elect this Man? Remember, all the things Atiku Abubakar predicted during the 2015 and 2019 election has come to pass.Atiku’s impact would have been things to be proud of as Nigerians anywhere in the world. The future looks bleak, we seem hopeless, the strong are cynical, taking advantage of the weak and the present leadership is rudderless. This situation calls for the leadership of Atiku Abubakar. His sincerity can never be repressed.
Don’t you think Alh. Atiku Abubakar has come up age to rule this country, why won’t he remain an elder statesman?
Atiku Abubakar is a successful businessman in or out of office. He is an employer of labor in many industries he has founded. His daily interactions with leaders and business around the world keeps informed of development issues around the world. In fact, Atiku Abubakar has become better with his age (check his twitter handle). He is the type you could count on any day with current development and leadership. His reach around the world will be plus for him. His management acumen and the successful enterprises that he has been leading sharpens his skills. I can tell you that as at today in Nigeria, no one is better prepared than Atiku Abubakar to lead Nigeria to the Promised Land. He is extremely healthy, and even looks younger than his age.
His stamina and resilience are much more than that of young men. Therefore, this is a case where his age is an added advantage. He has promised to serve one tern and ensure the youth are well prepared to take over the leadership of this Country. This is because he has seen, in practical terms, the capacity of young people employed by him directly or indirectly. Atiku Abubakar will ensure the generational shift in the leadership of this Country. If anyone would do it, it is Atiku Abubakar.
He is prepared to succeed through the practice of good conduct, which our youth need to carryon the task of Nation building.
Coupled with the security challenges in the country, do you think there can be election in 2023 ?
While the security situation is precarious, I am sure that no one in the Government of APC would attempt to use the security crisis they created, to delay or tamper with the timetable for all elections going forward to 2023. We are operating a constitution, and we shall remain vigilant to ensure that the timetable is followed to its logical conclusion. We know that the APC led Administration will attempt some funny moves once the reality of defeat stares them in the eyes. I assure that we shall not allow any funny moves by the government. I am sure the elections will hold as planned, and transition to another elected government will happen, Insha-Allah.
During PDP administration, security challenges were minimal compared to this APC administration ?
I can tell you that the security challenges faced by the APC-led Administration was its owncreation. The CPC and later the APC encouraged all forms of terror against peace-loving citizens. You recall that one of the instruments used by Buhari in all his previous campaigns was the recruitment of militants masquerading as supporters.
President Buhari used violence as another instrument, anytime he loses an election. In addition, the militants created by PMB could not be accommodated nor catered for in his government. It was a disaster waiting to happen, as he used the Almajiris and the masses of the North to use violence as another means of getting what the voters refused to grant him. If you analyze the issue of Fulani Herdsmen very well, you could trace it to PMB’s acts of commission or omission.
I can tell you also that PMB will resolve the security challenges. It would remain a task for the next government. As far as PDP is concerned, the security challenges faced by former President Goodluck Jonathan was the creation of PMB and his co-travelers, which they used as political instrument to grab power.
Recently, Local Government Areas allocation was sent directly to their accounts – don’t you think it is an improvement in our democracy?
It’s an improvement that is too-little-too-late. Why did the APC Government wait until after six years to fight the monumental corruption in the local government system? Why did PMB make the unconstitutional move to unilaterally send the LGA funds directly to them? Why wasn’t this impasse resolved in a constitutional manner? Executive action cannot sustain the local government system. What happened to the constitutional amendments in the National Assembly and State Hose of Assemblies? For this step to be sustainable, it must follow the constitutional requirement and finally accented -to by the Mr. President.
We shall see continue see this Aristocratic style from time to time, until a true democrat in the person of Atiku Abubakar is finally elected as President of Nigeria.
Lastly, if PDP goes with your advocacy of consensus to give atiku the ticket as their flag bearer who do you suggest to be his running mate ?
My candid advise to all PDP stakeholders is to learn from experience and ensure less expensive and acrimonious conventions and nominations.
This is common sense. Atiku Abubakar need not waste resources in intraparty processes. He has nothing more to say about himself that PDP and the majority of Nigerians do not know. It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is the best for Nigeria at this time.
So why not the PDP gather comfortably and nominate Atiku through Consensus? The real fight is the general elections, why not strategies for the National campaigns and win the election through unity and understanding? I can tell you that Nationally, Atiku is the Man Nigerians will not repeat the mistake of 2015-2019 PMB has been a complete failure. Do you think any sensible Nigerian will trust him enough to vote for any APC candidate? Of course not. Then why shouldn’t PDP pick it’s fights smartly instead wasting time and effort within the Party?
Consensus is the way to go. The same applies to the Vice President nominee. The principles of Consensus can be applied to all major political and government positions.
We must as well recognise PDP Faithfull’s, who held the party and ensured its survival when others looked away. Strong party Faithfull should be given due recognition and reward their loyalty. Politics is a game numbers and strength of party members. Strength in terms of resource mobilization, fearlessness, and support to other party members. I can tell you that Atiku Abubakar himself know those who stood by the PDP when it mattered most. It shall be his duty to lead the process of Consensus through give and take.
We are confident that Atiku has something for all members. Hard work will surely be rewarded. The nomination of the Vice Presidential Candidate would be based on several permutations, most which are numerous to mention here. Thank-you