Nigeria directionless, has no pilot at the moment — Tambuwal

Posted by News Express | 15 April 2022 | 456 times

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Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview with journalists, he speaks on why achieving consensus remains the best option for his party ahead of the 2023 presidential. Excerpts:  

 There is this notion that Nigeria as of today is on auto-pilot; there is insecurity and your party the PDP is aiming to capture power back. What are the chances?

I hear so many people making this mistake that Nigeria is on auto-pilot. If an aircraft is on auto-pilot, you are sure of safety, you are sure of direction, you are sure of possible landing. All those are part of the navigational control. That is not the situation with Nigeria right now.  Nigeria is heading for what we can say is directionless. There is no pilot; there is no auto-pilot and everyone is on their own. Even the government itself is being run as if there is no one in control. So, where is the auto-pilot? That is the situation with Nigeria as it is at the moment.

This is the reason we have been talking to ourselves in the party and reaching out to well- meaning Nigerians and patriots for us to really come together and rescue this country and rebuild it. Because we are in such a state, which one can say that we are in distress. And we need every help from within and from our friends.

You have mentioned the issue of insecurity; no state is spared in Nigeria. No state in Nigeria can you say is clearly safe and secured. So, when you are in such a situation, you can’t be talking about investment, you can’t be talking about development. You can’t be talking about anything.  You have to re-establish peace and begin the process of rebuilding the country.

You were in APC before moving over to the PDP and you won the governorship with about 342 votes.  You were a presidential aspirant in 2019 and your friend, Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike did not hide his support for you; today, he is an aspirant and you are an aspirant what is the way for PDP in the circumstance?

Let me elucidate about my being in PDP and going back to the PDP. I have run elections consecutively five times from 2003 to 2019. Of those elections, three were on the platform of the PDP,  two were on other platforms,  ANPP and APC. If you have to check my political DNA, you will realise that it is more of PDP. But circumstances made me for example in 2003 while serving as the legal adviser of the party to leave the PDP for ANPP because I was denied the ticket in my party. I knew that I was popular and I could win the election for my party as a young man and practicing lawyer in Sokoto. And I was offered a ticket by ANPP under Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, then governor of Sokoto State. I accepted it to test my popularity. So I can say that I was pushed out.  I appealed and petitioned that the person being supported by the powers that be at that time was not qualified to be the candidate.  And as legal adviser,  I followed the petition myself up to the NWC under Audu Ogbeh, but I was flatly denied what was supposed to be my own right. It was on that basis that I left.

In 2014, it was clear to everyone my situation in PDP with Former President Goodluck Jonathan and the powers that be in PDP, so I had to also seek another alternative platform to once again test my popularity and to the glory of God; I won the election on the platform of the APC.

In 2018, August in particular, I came back to the PDP. We had one of the most contested gubernatorial elections in Nigeria in Sokoto. It was out of conviction that I left APC. I could have won that election from my bedroom with Buhari as the candidate of the APC from the North West and with his cult-like following. But I said no because I disagreed with the way our country was being run by the President and his team. So, it was out of conviction I left the APC, a comfort zone to the PDP and to go against the tide as it were.  I did that and to the glory of God won the election, yes with a narrow margin but I won the election. Before that election, Atiku Abubakar and Buhari ran election, the presidential election and the difference between Atiku and Buhari was about 130,000 votes; two weeks, we covered all of that margin and won the first ballot which was declared inconclusive. Second ballot we won by that margin, what else can we say apart from thanking God. Because clearly, the people of Sokoto were out for me and God was on our side. So, that margin of 342 votes is not small votes, in my eyes it is worth millions of votes.

Yes, in 2018/ 2019, my good friend, the governor of Rivers State, Wike supported me openly and worked for my candidature.  Now he is also interested in vying for the Presidency of Nigeria; that doesn’t make us enemies. We are still friends, we are still brothers, I was with him in Port Harcourt when he buried his Uncle.  I don’t preach the politics of bitterness. My philosophy has always been that of politics without bitterness. That is why you can see that I moved out of PDP and came back to PDP. If I have had issues with those that I left in PDP, they wouldn’t have welcomed me back. I cherish the situation whereby whoever has aspiration should be allowed to express his aspiration. After all, it is God that gives power.  And my prayer is that God should give us the best. If it is Wike that wins the primaries of the PDP, I will work and ensure that by the grace of God, PDP wins the election.

How feasible is the consensus arrangement?

Our recent experience in PDP has shown that it is achievable.  We have tried several times at the micro level of state constituencies, House of Assembly, Chairmanship, Councillorship, House of Representatives and Senatorial, even gubernatorial in some states; it has been tried. And recently, we tried it at the NWC election; that is how we produced Dr Iyorchia Ayu. So, we felt that it is still worth trying. At least it would lower tension among party supporters. If party supporters see aspirants working together and bonding, it would bring peace and stability to the party. I believe there is a chance for us to pull it through.

Recently, former governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose said consensus does not mean anything to him and that Northerners missed their opportunity in 2019. According to him, the last presidential primaries of the PDP was contested only by Northern aspirants and so the primaries for the 2023 should be a Southern affair. What is your view?

He is my Egbon and a very good friend.  I don’t intend to join issues with him. But just to say all the presidential primaries of the PDP from 1999 to 2018, from different zones contested despite the fact that most times, the ticket was zoned to the North or South. For example in 1999, Abubakar Rimi indicated to run against Olusegun Obasanjo and Alex Ekwueme, and Abubakar Rimi was from the North.  In 2007, Rochas Okoroacha ran against Umaru Musa Yar Adua.

In 2011, Atiku Abubakar ran against President Goodluck Jonathan.  So, it has not always been that people were not allowed to exercise their fundamental human rights.

In 2018, none of our brothers and friends from the South came out to say he wanted to run and was denied that right. That is all that I have to say. We need to put this thing in the proper perspective. In 2018, none of our Southern brothers came out to exercise his fundamental human rights guaranteed by the constitution which is the grund norm of a country and higher than any other constitution, and was denied that opportunity.

For him, he believes the South should be accorded the same respect. It is politics, Let us dialogue. Let us engage and talk to ourselves.

So, in nutshell, you don’t believe in the gentleman agreement on rotation of the Presidency between the North and the South.

We are not talking about gentleman agreement but the constitution which is stronger than gentleman agreement.

Does PDP have what it takes to rescue Nigeria?

Absolutely we do.  We have the people with experience, capacity and the managerial skills to govern Nigeria. It is all about human management and we have a number of leaders in PDP that possess those qualities.  I believe that we can do it. Together we would rebuild Nigeria. (Daily Independent)


Source: News Express

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