Iheanacho Nwosu and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Two days after some aggrieved chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) launched the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), its chairman, Buba Galadima, has declared that the mother of all shocks is underway for the ruling party.
This is as he accused some people around President Muhammadu Buhari of reeking in corruption. He claimed that more surprises will follow in the coming days. In an exclusive chat with Saturday Sun, the Yobe-born politician, who is an old ally of President Buhari, said, governors and some serving ministers who are members of APC, will soon join its fold.
He said that the renouncing of the party by some chieftains in Kwara State will be replicated in several states soon. He however did not state the specific day such will take place.
On Wednesday, at a well-attended press conference in Abuja, leaders of the new breakaway party, said they had the support of all the legacy parties that formed APC even as they refused to rule out that Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, as well as other aggrieved members will soon join them. At the press conference, Galadima, said some chieftains of the party were compelled to take the new step because the APC has derailed from its original plans and vision.
Speaking with Saturday Sun, he said: “I can tell you that we have more surprises coming. The shocker is such that it will take APC and its leaders by surprise. This is something I can confirm to you. You remember what the leaders of APC in Kwara State told Saraki to lead them out of the party? That will happen in more states. More states will follow suit and it will be like that going forward.
“Some governors and other top government officials in this government are going to be with us at the right time, they will openly align with us. Just wait and see how things will unfold in the coming days and weeks.”
Also speaking on a morning show on African Independent Television (AIT) yesterday, Galadima said he will disprove those who have dismissed his influence.
He said: “I want to make an observation because people on the other side of the divide said that some of us are inconsequential hired machineries who he will not loose sleep over our actions. I want to state unequivocally for the world to know that there is no man with integrity, character and impeccable honesty from the other side more than me.”
Emphasising his incorruptibility, he said, “For those that know me from 1959 when I started school to date, I have never been found with anything even those that tried to destroy me could not destroy my character and integrity.
“I also want to say that we know all those opportunists who live in opulence and who cannot account for some of the palatial palaces they have built through the wealth of the people. May I also add that those who hired them for a particular purpose will live to regret because they have brought in the scenario of Pharaoh and Moses.”
Back to the crisis rocking APC, he declared that the problem within the “APC did not start from the election tussle of the National Assembly because for me that was democracy in action and once legislators are appointed, they put aside their political differences and work as one unit to produce laws for the good governance of the country and also as an arm of government to provide checks and balances to the excess of the government from whatever party the president comes from.
“The real problem of the APC started because those of us who are founding members of this party, those who made life sacrifice, those of us Nigerians with impeccable patriotism that came together because of the slide then and decided to submerge and subsume our interest to form the APC.
“I should boldly say that I was one of the nine signatories that formed the APC and nobody can delete that history. We never see the faces of all these opportunists I am talking about. They never appended their signatures then yet they are reaping from where they did not sow. “Because they have no history of why the APC was formed, what we suffered and what we did to protect entrenched interest, they started doing things that were not envisaged by the founding fathers of the APC.”
He maintained, “The crisis has been on but it took different dimensions when the tenure of the immediate national officers was expiring. Different interests started resurfacing and through to it, all the ideals for which we formed the APC were thrown to the dustbin. Those of us who are patriotic, who have made sacrifices to bring about the formation of this party cannot sit idly and watch them destroy our sweat. “ He argued that the current crisis is the worst the party has experienced . He said “this is the beginning of what you call crisis. I should say that I am glad that Nigerians of all walks of life have shown solidarity with us.
“And for those who could not lose sleep, I wonder why they went cap in hand, kneeling down before the members of National Assembly. I want to say that as at today, if I give directive to the National Assembly to impeach anybody for constitutional infraction, it could be done because I have that majority in the National Assembly.”
On his problem with President Buhari, he explained “I don’t have any problem with Mr President but I assisted him since 2002. I have made more contributions than even himself in becoming the President of Nigeria. Maybe I should tell the world that because of him, I have suffered intimidation, arrests, questioning about 38 times.
“Not only that, I was detained in an underground prison, chained hands and legs and tried for treason because of him. All these people around now were the people fighting us then. Some of these people were receiving money from the government of the time during elections in conducting fake research and using their positions as members of the trade union to say that the election was conducted fairly but today they are Buhari people. I am shocked. “There is nothing happening except that I just saw him during a world press conference, an elder statesman and former president said that he does not need my vote, my supporters, my families and those that interact with me. He never mentioned any reason and I dare say that I have more integrity and more honest than any person in this country.”
Going further, he said “The position I have taken has nothing to do with his impression about me but because the party is getting to a slide and because I made sacrifices to bring the formation of this party. The world knows that I can’t sit idly and see that happen.
“I don’t need to access him because he is the President of Nigeria and I cannot go and stand by the side of the Aso Villa to shout that I want to see Mr President. If he needs to see me, he can direct the SSS to pick me up to the Villa.
“He was quoted to have said that nobody matters and he does not need to see anybody when the members of the nPDP requested to dialogue with him because it is a party matter. If it is a party matter why did he meet the National Assembly?
The nPDP which was the subject matter then complained of marginalisation, so also my CPC. We brought in 12.5 million votes into this merger yet we get three cabinet ministers.”
On nPDP, Galadima said “the nPDP complained about the party, they were invited for meeting but after the meeting, the party made a declaration that their grudges are genuine. The party claimed that most of the grudges border on governance not party.
“Since the party produced the President, the party will book an appointment with the leadership of the nPDP to meet with Mr President. They did and time was fixed to see the President but when they were in the Villa, the President directed that they should go and see the Vice President.
“They sat down with him and after looking at their grievances, he spoke tactically, opted for a committee to look into it and take the blame because he did not want to indict the government.
“The nPDP insisted that there must be retraction of the leakage of information or they would back out of the peace deal. And when there was pressure, the President said that he does not want to see them and that they should return to the party that earlier suggested they should see Mr President.
“It is wrong to assume that I would not have taken the hard stance if I were in his kitchen cabinet. They would have known that I made more input than those in the cabinet but the issue is that I have been with him when all these charlatans around now were fighting us because of him.
“He was not giving us anything when we made all the sacrifices, use our cars for his campaign, sold our property to send our children to school and to feed. Did all these people around contribute more than us but that is not the issue because when we were with him, offers were made to me five times to become minister but I rejected them because of my integrity and honour and because I know that those making the honour only wanted to collapse our structure.
“I could have been a happy man if the promises we made to the people of this country are fulfilled to the letter. There is none among these three promises he made that he has done well. The fight against corruption is a misnomer. If I were in government, I will not be fighting corruption instead I will prevent it from happening. What this government is doing about corruption is like a policeman standing by the corner waiting for motorists to commit offense to arrest them. Why should the police allow him to commit the offense in the first place?
“The good thing is that election is coming and if our promises to the masses we swore to uplift from poverty, to make life cheaper and better and to put food on their table are not achieved, I can say that he will lose 99 per cent of the votes he got during the last election. “If they think that we are nothing and that Nigerians don’t matter, we will show and teach them the lesson of their lives that the people of Nigeria matter. We can’t go behaving as if we are law unto ourselves and that Nigerians must vote for us by force. Let me remind them that one day is enough for a politician to plot anybody’s fall.”
On the legal status of R-APC, he said “You ought to know that there is freedom of association in the Nigerian constitution and we don’t need to register with the INEC to associate. We are still under the APC fold unless they have sacked us. I won’t worry disclosing those that are part of the coalition but I can tell you that we have the cutting edge.”