From Abel BillyGraham, Yola
Former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Youth leader in Adamawa state and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Aliyu Bakari, has described the party as a failure, just as he opens up on what role APC at the state level could play, in making the people appreciates government’s efforts.
The APC had a landslide victory during the 2015 general elections. But two years into the administration; Nigerians don’t seem to see the much talked about change. What is really happening?
That is true, that shows that Nigerians especially the youth believe in us and they still believe in us. When President Muhammadu Buhari took over, many people tend to forget where our country was, insecurity, hopelessness and an era of unbridled corruption. The treasury was empty Nigeria’s economy was already on the precipice. Nigeria’s economy was hanging completely on oil, so when global oil prices collapsed, Nigeria’s economy also collapsed with it.
If you notice, the APC led government under President Muhammadu Buhari has been working hard to strengthen other sectors of our economy, so that we will not repeat the same mistake. Agriculture, specifically rice production has received a tremendous boost; very soon we will be able to grow our food. Power is being addressed; so much resource is being channeled towards rebuilding abandoned basic infrastructures like roads. I think we should turn our attention towards the progress made especially for those of us in the north-east; thank God we can now sleep with our eyes closed. The reason it is challenging for this government is because it is easy to bring down a whole building in a day but rebuilding it takes time.
In spite of the recession, Nigeria’s economy is still strong; we did not need foreign aid to still survive, so we will overcome it. It is a gradual process. With my travel experience, the plane does not just start and then gets airborne. It starts gradually; add more speed before it gets ready to air lift. We have to be patient, we are moving, and we will soon begin to fly. Buhari is restoring the respect of our country. In the past, when you travel and your papers have Nigeria as your country, you will be subjected to all kinds of humiliating treatment and that is changing now. We are going back to the basics, for example you cannot buy a car and not plan for its maintenance, so Buhari is planning not just for today but also for the future. There is a new re-orientation among Nigerians, the culture of hard work and discipline are gradually returning into our personal and national lives.
But Nigerians are already taking to the streets, to protest high cost of living, won’t that affect APC’s chances in Adamawa?
The responsibility for addressing these kinds of issues should fall within the activities of the party. There is a function of the party leadership called Daily Executive Report, which involves a day-to-day report to the government about what the people feel and an education of the people as to what the government is doing so that there will no breakdown in communication. That is one of the reasons the party exist from the federal to the ward level. But if the people at the state level of the party don’t know their jobs, the whole party will suffer and the people will not understand or appreciate what the government is doing.
Are you saying the party is not doing its job?
What I am saying is that party must play its role down to the ward levels in order to carry the people that voted for us into office, along. The party has representatives, in every community in this country; therefore, they should help the party to let Nigerians know the efforts government is making to turn things around. That’s how democracy works.
There are posters indicating that you want the chairmanship of the APC in the state, how true?
All these things you see are the work of my supporters. They know how hard I have worked within the party, from the time when I was the state youth leader in the PDP, to the time we moved out to start the APC. I was a member of the taskforce saddled with the responsibility of convincing other people to join the struggle in the APC, so they know I will champion the cause of the APC.
So these calls are getting stronger because since setting up the party, we had Binta Masi as the state chairman and Salihu Bakari as the state secretary. Masi was elected as a senator while Bakari was appointed as the PPS (Principal Private Secretary) to the governor and two other officials defected to the PDP, the guidelines of the party stipulates that officials in acting capacity can only hold that office for three months after which a congress must be held to elect officials to fill the vacant offices. Right now, there are no members of the state working committee here in Adamawa state.
Is that why you formed another faction?
No, it is just a party policy as enshrined in the party’s constitution. We don’t want those old ways of doing things in the PDP, where there is no internal democracy, people were just nominated.
There are no factions in Adamawa APC, the national secretariat has already declared those offices vacant and that is what will be done, so any member of APC, who has the ambition, has the legitimacy to contest for the office. The people running the party now are just in an acting capacity, the chairman has been elected as a local government chairman.
There are no factions in APC in Adamawa; we all carry the same card of APC. But within the party there are support groups, Buhari support group, Atiku support group, Bindow support group, and so on. These are all legitimate party associations and that is what makes a great party. Atiku is a member the APC, but the party structure is clear, Buhari is the leader of the party and at the state level Governor Jibrilla is the leader of the party. As long as they are in the party, they will always have groups that support them, but that does not amount to a faction in the party.
It is just unfortunate that the state secretariat of the party is not doing its job that is why there are these questions. It is sad that the person holding the office does not know anything about running a party. He just uses the party’s money to fly to Abuja, travel for pilgrimages. He is from the local government, the person acting as the secretary is the zonal youth leader, and they both don’t have the capacity to coordinate the party affairs. He has not been able to keep the party together or the staff motivated, which is why you hear complaints among party members and among Nigerians, because they are not happy with the state leadership. I have plans to restore order to the party secretariat and get everyone in the state involved. It is the media at the state level that brings the people closer to Buhari and shows them what he is actually doing.