From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin – Kebbi
Kebbi state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Attairu Macciddo, has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari would run for a second term.
Buhari’s critics have been calling on him to resign while others believe that his illness could deprive the north its 2019 chance. What is your take ?
President Muhammadu Buhari is an ordinary human being like us, he is not God and he could get sick at any time. If he went abroad for vacation for any reason, that does mean he would not come back. We are not God to determine whether he would not run for second term or not. I have a very strong feeling that President Muhammadu Buhari will return and continue to discharge his good leadership service to all Nigerians.
Do you see President Buhari making it in 2019, considering the threat from the mega party ?
I don’t know anything about mega party and they can’t lure Nigerians with President illness, because being sick is not abnormal. That is why we have doctors and nurses to treat us whenever we fall sick. Nothing is abnormal about Mr President illness. On the 2019 presidential election, when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it.
Recently, a former Governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, declared that if President Muhammadu Buhari would not contest for a second term, he would run. Will you support him?
My views on Asiwaju’s declaration is that, he had said he will not contest against President Buhari. But the President himself has not told us he would not contest. President Buhari’s main concern is to complete his first term mandate Nigerians gave him. If Nigerians decide to vote for him for a second term, like they compelled him to contest in 2015 which he won, so be it. You know, if President Buhari contest for second term,he would finish all the mess the opposition party ,PDP , created in Nigeria for 16 years. So, let us wait till the man himself say he is not recontesting.
Critics of President Buhari have described his anti- corruption war as a witch- hunt. Do you agree ?
Every Nigerian has been seeing positive results of Mr. President’s corruption war. Does the former NNPC boss belong to any political party? He was not a politician. Does the former Comptroller General of Customs belong to any political party? The answer is no. Even the former Chief of Air Staff was removed from anti- corruption committee when it was discovered that his hands were not clean of corruption. He was removed and prosecuted. Whoever is saying that anti- corruption war is one sided is being mischievous. We have seeing it now that Nigerians have started appreciating Mr. President’s efforts because we can not be isolated from among the committee of nations. Our main problem, despite abundant human and mineral resources is corruption. This monster is dragging us back. We must support President Buhari in his efforts to sanitize the system of corruption. We will be the best country among the ten nations of the world if corruption is successful dealt with under this administration. Why do you think South Africans are attacking Nigerians in their country? It is because we are intelligent, hard working and we always stand out among other nationals.
Is it possible to wipe out corruption in Nigeria?
It is not possible, even in the whole world. What we are saying is that, let’s allow the President to reduce this social vice to the minimal level and clear our names from the list of corrupt countries in the world.
While President Buhari was on vacation , the naira started appreciating against the dollar under Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. But many have accused the President of not giving his vice-president the free hand to operate. What is your position?
It is the same economic blueprint President Buhari left behind that his vice-president was using. You will also have realised that the price of crude oil is going up now. So,it not as if the Osinbajo performed any magic, that is the result of team work and President Buhari believes in him as his second in command. For handing over the government to him while on vacation, shows that President Buhari is a democrat. Those who knew Mr President very well during his regime as military Head of state and when he was in PTF knew that he always delegate power to his deputy and young ones. We all remembered how he delegated authority to General Tunde Idiagbo. Also, at PTF, he did unforgettable jobs because most of the infrastructure he built across the country still remain intact in many institutions and states. So, all these leadership traits are to tell you that once we have a good head, the nation would be a better place for all of us.
It seems the opposition party appears more comfortable with the APC in the state. What is the secret ?
There is no secrete except that our government is doing a good work and nothing left for the opposition party to oppose. APC is also doing well, therefore it would be very difficult to criticize a responsible government. In the state today, many projects are going on; roads, rehabilitation of schools and many others. In the past, people outside the state didn’t know Kebbi until our government introduced dry season farming where we have rice farmers planting rice for the nation. Today, in any part of the country, if you mention Kebbi state, they will reply that, that is the rice producing state. You know that any product that has not been sold in Lagos state has not reached Nigeria. This is so because that is the number one commercial city in Nigeria. We thank God that our rice has created good name for us. Now our governor is the Chairman of rice producing states. States like Jigawa, Sokoto even Niger Republic are coming to Kebbi state to learn how we are doing it. We started with 78,000 farmers; we registered them,got BVN for them. Last year, we got one million metric tonnes of rice. If other states could produce similar tonnes, then,we will be able to feed the nation.
So why is it that cost of rice is higher in Kebbi than Lagos state. It being sold in Kebbi at N16,500 while Lagos state sold it for N12,500 ?
The mistake people make is that they don’t know that the Lagos government is subsidising its own . Our farmers make good profits and I can tell you now that all the hajj slots tickets have been purchased by them. By the time more states join us in rice production, the price of rice will drastically fall and everybody would be able to afford it.
How would you described the rate at which big wigs in the South-South and South-East regions are embracing the APC?
The development is overwhelming because in the past South-west always stand alone while northern region and South-South do aligned with each other. In the history of this country,it is difficult to see downward trend of
anything thing that goes up such as price of any product. But now,we are witnessing uncommon alliances and that is good omen for the country. People like former Abia state governor are joining our party because they knew they have permanent seats in the party.
We learnt that you are making efforts to woo former PDP governor and other opposition party members in the state to join APC. Is your efforts yielding any result?
We have gone round the 21 local government areas in the state and made it clear to them to join our party, that they shall be welcome. The only condition attached to it is that they must join the party from their wards. It is their wards that will present them to local government areas and to the state level where they would be duly registered as bonifide members of the party. So far, we have received a lot of them. Similarly, we are discussing with former governor of PDP and other big wigs in the party and we are receiving positive responses from them. In fact, what they are telling us is that they are more concern about the development of the state and that they have been following the good work of President Muhammadu Buhari and APC at the national level.