Former Minister of Information and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tony Momoh, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is the most prepared person for the presidency. Reacting to the declaration by Buhari to seek re-election, Prince Momoh, in an interview with VINCENT KALU, noted that the president has bright chances of winning and will score more votes because of his monumental achievements.
What are the chances of President Buhari getting re-elected?
For anybody to contest, there is one hurdle you have to pass, that is the party giving you the ticket. Announcing that you want to contest on the platform of APC is an expression of intention, and that becomes real when the party gives you ticket at a convention. If he gets the party tickets, he will campaign against other candidates, and whoever that Nigerians want would win at the end. However, his chances are very bright. One thing many people mistake for popularity and victory is the loudness of those who are shouting. So, the beautiful thing to be done is, go and register and on the day of election, go and cast your vote, wait for the votes to be counted and ensure that your vote counts.
Fortunately, INEC is there to do the needful, and to ensure free and transparent election. When Buhari was elected in 2015, he told INEC that ‘in 2003, I complained for being short changed; in 2007, I did the same and in 2011, I also did, and 2015, I have emerged, I don’t want anybody to complain that he was short changed during my tenure. Don’t rig any election for me, go and conduct elections, free and transparent’, he told INEC that. We are assured that INEC will follow the guidelines of the Constitution and the Electoral Act. He stands the chance of winning if the party gives him ticket. The first hurdle is the party ticket. Having done that, we look at all the people who want to contest. I hosted in my office yesterday, someone who came from the US, he is a church leader and wants to be the president. He is highly focused and a youth. He is looking for a forum to choose, and if he chooses, he would be one of the candidates to beat. The advantage Buhari has is that he is the most prepared person for presidency. He didn’t come as someone who wanted to be a senator and became the president, he didn’t come as someone who wanted to become a broadcaster and became a prime minister; he wasn’t in prison and the only thing he wanted was to be freed, and even he became a president. This man had wanted to be president in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, he succeeded. He didn’t just want to be president, he has a package, and he has been pursuing that package. He has attended to the economy, he has attended to security, and he has attended to infrastructure. Having done the four years, it will give him the opportunity in the next four years to improve on what he has started. His chances are very bright, incumbency is one of them; secondly, he didn’t have money when he scored so high, but now he doesn’t need money because wherever he goes to, people troop out to welcome him because of his achievements as president. There are a lot of things working for him and he would score more votes than in 2015.
You earlier said that Nigerians should stone you people if APC doesn’t perform, but everywhere you go, citizens are crying because of hardship, which they say your party brought. What is your reaction to this?
We are in a democracy. As Minister of Information, I gave Nigerians information; one, to satisfy your need for information; secondly, to give you the information to do what you like to do with it. So, people who are saying that APC has done nothing have a right through the information they have to achieve the aims they want, but that does not reduce from the fact that objectively, APC has done something. Whatever happens, I said stone us if we don’t perform, but some people are stoning us, not that we didn’t perform, but because they are in opposition and cannot appreciate that we are preforming. In the area of security, nobody would say that we have not tried. Nobody will say that the challenges we have in the Northeast, Middle Belt, South-south, Southeast, Southwest and even in the Northwest, are not being attended to. In the area of agriculture, nobody can say that we have not attended to eating what we grow, and growing what we want to eat. We came out of recession. There are a lot of things we have done.
In the South East, the leaders of the region are joining APC not because they want money, but they saw that for 16 years what didn’t happen in the zone is happening. Anybody doubting it should travel from Onitsha to Enugu or drive from Enugu to Port Harcourt. Is it the Second Niger Bridge, visit there and see if something is not happening there, visit the erosion sites in the Southeast and see if something is not going on there. All these are areas of activities for which the South East leaders are grateful and they started joining APC.
Buhari is said to be a man of integrity. In 2011, he said he was going to do one term if elected, and now he has declared interest for second term. Doesn’t this erode what he stood for?
He didn’t say so. He is a true progressive man, and he is entitled to two terms. If he runs for two terms, God’s willing and then says he was going for third term that is when people should complain. He didn’t say so. You know many of these social media people always publish what Buhari didn’t say. He didn’t say so.
Will age be on his side to run for the second term, because all over the world the youths are taking charge?
I pray for the youths taking charge. The youths are the ones to be blamed. They are the ones carrying guns and the bodyguards of the older people; they are the ones going to the older people asking for money. They are the ones selling out. Mantu confessed that he was rigging elections, it was the youths that he was paying to do that. We need an orientation and training for them. There are offices to be occupied – Council chairman, House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate, governorship and presidency, is it the presidency you are thinking of. All these talk about age doesn’t have meaning. You may be 70 and be stupid, while you may be 21 and be wise. There are so much troubles in the world, but we have someone with integrity, focused, someone who is making sacrifices to see that people’s needs are met, and you are talking of age.
PDP is in jubilation that it’s going to be an easy battle for them…
The PDP will have sleepless night because what they took advantage of is no longer there. That is, being in charge of the purse at the centre, and then money for arms, money for roads, money for projects, etc, they just sat down and shared it. This is no longer there. The big brothers for PDP are Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta. These are the areas they look towards to for funding, but I assure you they will not fund beyond their areas of control now. Is Akwa Ibom funding PDP, is Bayelsa funding PDP? The man funding PDP is Wike because of Secondus. The advantage the party has is because it has been there for 16 years and it has structures everywhere, and it really punished the country, and apologising for what it has done has meaning only if the members return what they had taken; for us to forgive them fully, they have to return all they have stolen.