Alhaji Buba Galadima is a founding chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and estranged associate of President Muhammadu Buhari. In this interview, he revealed the details of the power play within the APC and how the 2023 presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, sacked National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, will continue to unsettle the party. “They have set up a committee to organize national convention but what some Nigerians don’t know is that some of these things happening within APC have to do with 2023, and this is why you have different factions about three of them desperately trying to secure control of the party. Whichever among the factions of the party is able to control the party’s structure from the ward to state, and federal level stands better chance of producing the party’s presidential candidate in 2023. You have the Oshiomhole, and Tinubu group, you also have the El-rufai, and Amaechi’s group, and Buhari’s faction, and now the President has taken over the party”, he stated. He spoke more on this and other issues with TUNDE THOMAS.
How would you react to the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu by President Muhammadu Buhari?
His suspension was long overdue. Magu should have been long suspended from office but why it took Buhari’s administration five years to remove him may be a surprise to many Nigerians, but for me, it is not. Magu remained that long in office because he has been doing the biddings of some powerful elements in Buhari’s administration. But obviously he had stepped on some toes, and that’s why they’ve now decided to do away with him.
The man has not been transparent in the way he had been working, and a lot of people have been complaining about him including members of the National Assembly especially the Senate, but Buhari shielded him because the man was doing his government’s biddings but I believe Magu has offended a powerful cabal in Buhari’s administration, and that’s why they decided to remove him. I’m not trying to defend Magu, I have never been his admirer but Nigerians should not be deceived that Magu was sacked because of Buhari’s administration’s commitment to the anti-corruption war. Magu is just being made a scapegoat to create the impression that Buhari is fighting corruption.
But some Nigerians may not agree with your point of view because…………
Cuts in… What I’m saying is this, Magu should have long been suspended, but why keep him there for five years when it was obvious that the man was not fit? Go, and mark my words, nothing will come out of Magu’s case. It’s just like they want to entertain us, it is all part of propaganda to create impression that this administration is fighting corruption. But my stand on the issue is this, and it should also be the position of Nigerians, Magu’s investigation, and trial should be transparent. He should be given an opportunity to defend himself; after all, he has not committed murder. He should also be granted bail because the offence they accused him of committing is a bailable one. His trial should be conducted in the open, and not in camera because he can be eliminated if his trial is done in secret. Some powerful groups can decide to do away with him if he has some secrets to reveal. His trial should be done in the open so that the whole world can watch the proceedings. Anything short of public hearing into his case is not acceptable. Magu knows a lot about these people in Buhari’s government, and their cronies, and I know that some of them are not comfortable with his arrest, and detention, and may be desperate to eliminate him if he has some information that can nail or expose them. They just want to deal with Magu because he is no longer doing their bidding.
For the man who is now being accused of corruption to be in the saddle at EFCC for five years says a lot about the so-called Buhari’s anti-corruption war. For me, Magu’s case is just like giving the dog a bad name in order to hang it. Nigerians should not be deceived that Buhari is fighting corruption by removing Magu; they are doing away with him because they no longer need him. It is a pure case of use and dump. I challenge Buhari’s administration not only to give Magu a speedy, and accelerated trial but also to make it an open one. If they can take up this challenge, Nigerians will be jolted by a lot of revelations that will come out during the trial.
What’s your take on the new political group, National Consultative Front, NCF, that is being floated by some prominent Nigerians including former Minister for Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, former Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Na’Abba, Prof. Anthony Kila, and others?
Nothing will come out of it. Forget all those names being listed as members of the group; the group will soon fade out. Already some prominent people being linked with the group have denied membership of the association. Some of those who have disowned the group include Chief Olisa Agbakoba, Col. Abubakar Umar, and Shehu Sani.
According to some members of the group, their aim of coming up is to ensure that good governance is enthroned in the country, and also to strategize towards 2023 but is this the first time they will be coming out with such groups? You still remember the Patriots? Do you still hear about them again, and other similar groups that were floated in the past? I believe that for whatever reason, either personal or ideological reasons, members of the group will go their different ways before 2023.
I don’t believe in this group kind of thing, rather Nigerians should be prepared to take their own fate in their own hands, and should be ready to resist bad governance. They must also insist on genuine practice of democracy unlike what we have now, which I consider basterdised democracy. I call it basterdised democracy because democracy where you involve the military in any election is never, and can never be a genuine democracy.
What are your feelings on the unfolding developments in APC, which led to the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC and the setting up of a Caretaker Committee to organize a national convention?
I have always been saying it that it is a matter of time before APC will crash. Not only that, I have also been saying it that Adams Oshiomhole was going to be the party’s undertaker, and now I have been proved right. What is happening in APC should not come as a surprise to anybody, APC was hijacked from the original founders of the party like me, and anything founded on falsehood can never, and will never endure. APC can’t survive this crisis, and it is just a matter of the time before the party collapses. We are optimistic of winning our on-going case against APC in court. The case should have been heard, and determined so that the party would have been spared of all the on-going troubles. I believe that the court should have sacked Oshiomhole earlier, and we would have taken over before his present ordeal.
What is happening in APC now is to be expected. It should not come as a surprise to anybody. It is because some people don’t know Oshiomhole. They were thinking that they can use him to achieve their selfish goals but it is good that they’ve realized their mistakes. They’ve all now discovered that Oshiomhole has been a big albatross on APC’s neck. The bitter truth is that APC will never be the same again. The party is seriously factionalised, and the party will continue to be like palm oil, and yam, they will never meet, and agree with one voice again. It is a matter of time before the original owners of the party like me will take over. In fact, I will soon take over APC. We are the original founders of the party, and there is no way all these impostors like Oshiomhole can have their way. It is the law of Karma that is playing out in APC. You reap whatever you sow. APC leaders are reaping what they sowed. It is while you are still alive that you receive God’s judgment for your actions, and not when you die. So, it is God’s judgement that is already manifesting within APC’s fold. APC leaders will never have peace; they will never have rest of mind.
They have set up a committee to organize national convention but what some Nigerians don’t know is that some of these things happening within APC have to do with 2023, and this is why you have different factions about three of them desperately trying to secure control of the party. Whichever among the factions of the party is able to control the party’s structure from the ward to state, and federal level stands better chance of producing the party’s presidential candidate in 2023. You have the Oshiomhole, and Tinubu group, you also have the El-rufai, and Amaechi’s group, and Buhari’s faction, and now the President has taken over the party. Even on that 2023, APC is desperate to cling to power, and they are going to use the Police, and the Army to achieve their selfish goals. But I don’t know of any country in the world where they use the military to conduct elections or to be involved in any election. Constitutionally, the military are not to get involved in any election, it is very undemocratic. Their major role as enshrined in the constitution is to protect the territorial integrity of the country. It is unfortunate that Nigerians are gullible, and that’s why they’ve never deemed it fit to resist military being drafted into politics to supervise elections.
What’s your take on the recent view by former President Obasanjo expressing doubt about the government’s ability to tackle insecurity in the country?
You don’t need an Obasanjo to tell you that. Every Nigerian knows that this present government is not in any position to secure and protect lives of Nigerians. I don’t see Buhari doing anything over insecurity, and we have to live with that until he leaves office. The insurgency will continue, and the banditry will also not stop because of the simple reason that this government doesn’t have the will to tackle the problem.
Do you agree with the former President’s submission that the security situation will not improve until restructuring is done?
Restructuring means different things to Nigerians. Nigerians don’t have a common agreement on the word restructuring. For people in the Southwest, they believe restructuring is the restructuring of government, for the people in the Southeast, restructuring means they must produce the President, and for those people in the South-south restructuring means resource control.
I support restructuring but not the kind of restructuring being canvassed by some Nigerians. The restructuring I support is the one that will allow one man, one vote, that will now do away with cannibalization of our national resources, the restructuring I support is the one that will not allow politicians to go, and canvass votes from Nigerians promising that when they win elections they will provide electricity, water, and other social amenities but to me this is a fraud because all these would have been provided for in the nation’s development plan.
What restructuring means to me is that Nigerians should sit down, and say that in the next 20 years, this is how we want Nigeria to be. We will now elect people in the National Assembly who will monitor how these goals can be achieved. If this can be done, nobody will be talking that his or her zone is being dominated or being marginalized, or being denied of dividends of democracy.
Now, who is the architect of regionalism, which forms part of restructuring being canvassed for mostly today by southerners? It was the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, a northerner who first canvassed regionalism because he wanted each region to be developing at its own pace while late Obafemi Awolowo was the architect of state creation. But who is the architect of unitary system of government that southerners are complaining about today? It is the southerners themselves, specifically people from the Southeast. It was General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and others from the Southeast that introduced unitary system of government but Nigerians don’t look back to history before they talk. The North should not be blamed for the unitary system of government we are practising today but the blame should go squarely to the Southeast.
But even if now they say that the entire Southwest should become one region, do you think the Ekiti man will agree with Lagos or Oyo man? They will not. Some people talking about restructuring, if you ask them what restructuring means they don’t even know. Some people are talking about Biafra but even if they have that Biafra, they will still quarrel among themselves. We are one Nigeria, and that’s what we should be talking about. We should not be talking about issues that will divide us. Nigeria is a plural society, and what that means is that everybody must be given a sense of belonging. That’s the truth of the matter.
Southern leaders recently instituted a N50 billion suit against President Buhari over alleged bias against the South in appointments being made by the federal government. How do you react to that?
For one, I don’t support what Buhari has been doing over the issue of appointments. Lopsided appointment is not in the interest of this country. As a leader, Buhari must give everybody a sense of belonging, you must carry everybody along. If people feel marginalized, then there will be no peace, and that’s the truth of the matter. Lopsided appointments will divide rather than unify the country. Buhari’s lopsided appointment is a threat to the unity of the country. I see nothing wrong with the suit .It is the fundamental right of those who instituted the suit to do so. Let the court decide on the issue. Once anybody goes to court over any issue, I salute such people because doing so will help strengthen our democracy. Don’t carry gun or stick when you are aggrieved, just go to court, and let the judiciary decide on the issue.
Some Nigerians are suggesting the postponement of the coming gubernatorial elections in Ondo and Edo states because of the COVID-19 pandemic….
There is no need for that, as doing so will create constitutional crisis. Let the election go ahead but right measures must be taken to ensure people’s health or lives are not endangered. Even as at now, the issue is not being well handled by the federal government especially regarding the protection of health workers.
What’s your assessment of 21 years of democracy in Nigeria?
There is no democracy yet in Nigeria, not yet. There is no democracy anywhere without free, and fair elections, and we are yet to have that since 1999. It was only in 2015 that we had a semblance of democracy when President Muhammadu Buhari defeated the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan but after that it has been business as usual again with democracy being basterdised with rigging and manipulation of subsequent elections. There will be no genuine democracy in Nigeria as long as the will of Nigerians is not being respected.