Peter Obi may win 2023 presidential election — Hon. Gaiya, PDP chieftain and ex-Reps member

Posted by News Express | 4 September 2022 | 1,925 times

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•Labour Party 2023 Presidential Candidate Peter Obi

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. . . Says Nigeria’ll break up if APC wins with Muslim-Muslim ticket

Former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Godfrey Gaiya, has warned that Nigeria is facing existential threat should the All Progressives Congress (APC) retains power with the choice of a Muslim-Muslim joint presidential ticket in the 2023 presidential election.

In this interview culled from Sunday Sun in Abuja, Gaiya spoke on a wide range of political issues and legislative matters, especially what history will document for President Muhammadu Buhari when he serves out his last tenure next year.

Why did you chicken out of contesting any elective position in this dispensation?

It was for two very important reasons. In my state, we respect zoning so much, particularly in the PDP. We believe that apart from your passion, ambition or interest, you must pay due respect to the general arrangement that will ensure that everybody is carried along. Unfortunately, my Local Government Area had produced a Senator in the past and there are eight LGAs in my Senatorial zone and by our arrangement, each should be given a chance to vie. Being a principal stakeholder and believer in it as the best way of bringing everybody together, I decided that it will not be too much sacrifice to let go for the other LGA that never had the opportunity. I would have been happier if the entire arrangement is such that whoever that wishes can take a shot, but in my place, that is a hard sell. As someone who was a beneficiary of that arrangement in the past, I felt I should not be the one to rock the boat, particularly when PDP is the opposition in Kaduna State and at the centre. So, whatever we can do to avoid rocking the boat, we have to avoid it by making sacrifices to enable us to bounce back in 2023. If God keeps us alive, 2027 is just five years away because it would have gone round the various zones in my constituency, and I can vie.

How convinced are you that the PDP will bounce back, especially in Kaduna?

Absolutely! If there is anything I am sure of even though I am not too much of an optimist, it is that PDP will bounce back because the APC government in my state, Kaduna, has failed. There are no two ways about it and there are no better words to say it than the fact that Governor el-Rufai and his government have failed. The people of Kaduna State have never had it this bad as we are having under el-Rufai. He has reduced governance to family affairs. The entire Southern Kaduna zone has been shut off since he took over more than seven years ago. We are really in a logjam and the only way for us to bounce back in Kaduna, which used to pride itself as the most liberal state in Nigeria, is to remove this kind of insensitive government that is nepotic, selfish, and religiously inclined. We want to bounce back and restore Kaduna the way Nigeria used to know the state. The governor has not done anything to enhance our image in any way. There is marginalization everywhere that you cannot imagine that in his own Zaria LGA, we have Zenab, the Minister of Finance, their cousin is the SSG, the Chief of Staff, himself and so many others from the same LGA. Before now, every LGA used to produce at least a Commissioner, in those days we used to have about 25 commissioners in the state. So, whether you hate or like me, my LGA will produce at least one. By the federal character law, there should be equitable distribution to the number of LGAs. Regardless of what you think about me, my senatorial zone will produce eight commissioners, but there is none in this dispensation. He picked those from Zaria and from his friends. Without sounding tribal because I attended Unity Schools, for the first time, there is concentration of positions at one section of the state. If charity begins at home, we thought that before he goes out to do certain things for Nigerians, he should at least ensure that the citizens that voted for him, should take a little slice of what is coming on the table. Kaduna State has never had it this bad in terms of something coming to the table including common contract, where he decides who gets what and where 90 per cent of them go to his cronies, family, and friends. Virtually, everything in the state has been taken over. Demolition is everyday, and when an asset is demolished, he will tell you that it is a PPP arrangement. But in reality, the public is him, the private is his friend, and the partnership is between him and his friends. They have taken over the land belonging to the common good of the Kaduna citizens. Everybody is frustrated, the Hausa/Fulani that he intends to lead their battle, the Southern Kaduna minority, the Muslims themselves, and particularly the Christians are all tired.

So, if we allow another eight years of the APC government in Kaduna, all of us will either relocate or the state becomes deserted. Nobody can afford to put up with another eight years of intense hardship we have all gone throw under the present government in Kaduna. We are surviving by his grace, which has its own limit too and must expire by May 29, 2023.

Why is insecurity escalating in Kaduna beyond the APC government? And what is the way forward?

The APC government, let’s say el-Rufai himself, is the architect of the security issues in Kaduna. It is in the public domain that he said at one point he was paying the killers of Southern Kaduna people to stop. It means that he knows those perpetrating what is going on since he has an interface and uses our money to pay them not to kill us. It means that he is the culprit in this matter. So, the government itself is insensitive. Southern Kaduna is seen as a threat to be conquered and decimated in number so that when it comes to election, our population does not matter again. It is a deliberate attempt to chase us out from our own indigenous land so that the intruders can take over, vote accordingly to the dictates of the APC. So, purely, it is the government that is doing this, and the government is superior. They have all the firepower, and they have all the machinery. When I was in the House of Representatives, we had an interface with the security chiefs. I told them, during a closed-door session, that we know where our attackers are coming from. We know how they come down from the mountain. We know where they are up to the mountain. I challenged the Air Force then to go up to the mountain and flush out those people like we use insecticide to deal with a mosquito. So, if our people know where they are and are willing to oblige the security with the information, why will they not go there?

As I talk to you, that mountain has never been visited by any security formation. What do we do as ordinary citizens armed with only a cutlass? How can we defend ourselves? When there is an attack on our communities, we will see all the full complement of security going from house to house in search and if they see the table knife used in cutting onions, they will accuse you of being armed with dangerous weapons. We are vulnerable, we are defenceless and the government is taking side. It is not as if we cannot do anything because an average Southern Kaduna man is strong willed; we formed the bulk of the military that fought the Civil War because no Hausa/Fulani man fought that war, but we have been reduced to just women. We go under our bed if we hear gunshots since we don’t have anything to defend ourselves. We have a full complement of the retired Generals you can talk of in the Middle Belt from Southern Kaduna, but today, they are as naked as anybody can be because the apparatus of government is skewed towards ensuring that we are ineffective. We are not armed and even naked before the market square and picked like common birds on the street. It is not as if we don’t have the will to fight back, but the government has made it impossible. You can’t believe that it took us a while for the barracks in Kacha to be restored. Outside that barracks and down South to Jama and to Java, there is no military presence. And once they attack, we will be left at the mercy of when they will deploy troops from Jos, which normally takes days for them to come. So, it is not as if we are not concerned, but as politicians, our hands are tied. You cannot go to any Military Commander even when you hear them doing certain things. He will tell you that he is waiting for orders from above and he has not been sent to listen to you. My job is to go where I am going and before you get to the people at the top to give orders for any remedy, colossal damage would have been done.

Can PDP wrest power from APC at the national level, and what are the odds against the opposition party?

That will be a tall order, but it is possible. Why I said it is possible is because Nigerians at all levels are frustrated. The Kaduna example is just a microcosm of what is going on nationally. Nigeria desires that this government should go. They wish that they wake up from this dream and see somebody else not Buhari and APC. That is the desire. But having said that, the PDP as a major opposition must do certain things to get their acts together to be able to push all these people because whether we like it or not, APC has the incumbency factor, all the resources because they have stolen all the money, they are not ready to develop the country with the stolen money, but to use it to fight and retain power. That is why nothing is working in Nigeria. Everybody who has opportunity to be in power steals money for the main purpose of consolidating power. That is why we have a new lexicon called vote buying. In some places, PVC is as expensive as N5,000 and above. Where will you get that kind of money multiplied by the number of voters, if you don’t put your hands in the public tills? There is no business venture that will yield you such money to buy votes. So, the business is to use government money to buy votes. But Nigerians pushed to the wall are bouncing back strongly. However, I still repeat that the PDP must wake up, tidy up the internal squabbles and misunderstandings, and forge a common front to tackle the APC maladministration.

Are you concerned about the magnitude of crises rocking the PDP?

Yes, we cannot shy away from the truth that there are imbalances as PDP is presently constituted. One zone cannot have everything when the beauty of democracy is to carry everybody along. If they had thought that by opening up presidential contest would stifle the South, we have gotten it all wrong. If they thought that by bringing Iyorchia Ayu will make the North a disadvantage, that too, has been proven wrong. Now, we are faced with stark realities, and we have a few months to resolve all the differences. Thank God for the electoral law that gave so much time between primaries and the general elections. We would have been most embarrassed if that was not the case. It is a family thing we can sit down and discuss because politics is all about give and take.

If the South feels that they have not been given proper accommodation in the PDP, we must dialogue over the issue. We cannot have the party’s national chairman, BoT chairman, and the presidential flag bearer, among other things to the total exclusion of the South in these principal offices. Yes, we have a vice presidential candidate from the South, but is that enough, the answer to me is no, but we must eschew bitterness in pursuing it. There was dialogue even after the civil war and at the end, reasoning prevailed over bullets. Yes, we are shooting now, which is the path of politics because it is a strategy to confuse the opposition, who will think that it is all wrong with the PDP and lower their guard to fight.

I can assure you that all the rumbles will be quiet before the D-day. We will resolve it and the PDP will win. Nobody in the PDP wants to be in opposition again. Whoever that is shouting is because PDP still has hope of winning the election. Otherwise, why are other political parties not shouting as if they don’t have problem? PDP is fighting because it has a genuine possibility of clinching power.

Do you think that the APC made a mistake opting for a Muslim-Muslim joint presidential ticket?

It was a terrible mistake from the ruling party and that is attached to the insecurity problem. That has been the agenda many years before el-Rufai took over as Kaduna governor, and even at the national level, for a particular religion to overpower and wrest every other apparatus of power.

And the only way they can do so is to ensure that your number is reduced because politics is a game of numbers. It is a case of if I can cause mayhem at your place so that nobody will be bold enough to come out on the day of the election, I have succeeded and that is the problem we have in Kaduna State.

Our governor has deployed these tactics effectively. He unfairly overplayed diversity to the total exclusion of a particular religion or tribe. He has refused to share the resources accruing to the state equitably. The total number of tarred roads in my zone in the past seven years is less than two kilometres. And in Kafanchan, he picks the road to the Emir’s palace, Fulani settlement, leaving other tribes, and localities. The governor has become the chief hatred propagator and a bad mind to do evil.

We never accepted the Muslim-Muslim ticket in Kaduna because that election was rigged. If the BVAS will work, there is no way the single faith arrangement will succeed in Kaduna let alone at the federal level. Are Nigerians happy with the APC single faith presidential arrangement, the answer is no. They knew that it was something they would not have contemplated at all. Nigeria is more complex than this. If Abiola and Kingibe did that in 1993, today, in 2022 going to 2023, close to 30 years ago, when Nigeria was not even fractured like this and when we don’t have Boko Haram people, bandits, Fulani herdsmen terrorising everybody and making you feel that if you are not part of them, you are an inferior Nigerian.

We didn’t have that before, but we have them now and I cannot continue to support what is oppressing me. So, Nigerians should wake up and brace the reality that this APC wind does not blow anybody any good. We must resist it. And thank God there are some faithful APC members that have seen the single faith ticket as an aberration and are willing to fight it and do everything to ensure it does not succeed. If it succeeds, Nigeria will go its separate ways.

Where does the Labour Party stand in the equation in next year’s presidential election?

LP is PDP’s younger brother and whoever that is going to vote for the party is coming from the PDP. If it has 100 members, 90 must be an offshoot of PDP. We see LP as a party in the making, as a party with a presidential candidate with brain and idea of what it takes to make Nigeria good. But the truth is that LP started very late. I wish they would have listened and allowed their elder brother to do eight years, and then they can come back. We are not going to have APC again because it will die after the 2023 election and LP will be number two as the main opposition party to the PDP in Nigeria.

There will be an interchange after eight years, but it can never be with the APC. Truth be told, we are not also completely ruling out the possibility of Obi winning because he is calculative and knows what it takes.

I missed everything up to the 7th Assembly. But from there till now, I have missed nothing. The National Assembly is a washout, but in the 6th and 7th Assembly, which I was a member, the Assembly had honour and integrity. Our words were our bond and members were respected if they go to ministries for oversight functions.

Then members will say a word and Ministers will tremble. We rejected gifts even when they came in good faith. It is no longer like that today. The ministers do whatever they like because there is no oversight. There is no legislative strength over the executive. It has now boiled down to give and take. Quote: “there will be an interchange after eight years, but it can never be with the APC. Truth be told, we are not also completely ruling out the possibility of Obi winning because he is calculative and knows what it takes”


Source: News Express

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