From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A former commissioner of education and Chairman Akida faction of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna, Tom Maiyashi has described the recent report of President Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement of Governor Nasir El-Rufai for a second term as laughable and ridiculous.
In this interview, he argued that, even if Mr. President uses ladder to present the governor to the world, people’s verdict will determine whether he would return or not, come 2019, saying the governor has inflicted terror on the people of the state within his two years of governance.
Your party, the APC seems to be having crisis right from the state to federal level. What really is the issue?
There are a number of factors responsible for that. One of them is, if you go back to the history of fusion of political parties in Nigeria, it has not been an easy thing to attain. During the 2015 elections, the three parties; ANPP, ACN and CPC and faction of APGA were able to come together. What should have been done from the very beginning was to understand this ahead of time and that is the need to blend the party into a cohesive family. This is because when you have people coming from different tradition and you want them to work together as a team, there must be a deliberate effort to ensure that you build a cohesive team. Now that they have come together as one entity, that is a big problem. Instead of looking at issues from unified perspectives, they will be looking at issues with the tradition of where they were coming from.
Secondly, the issue of leadership is important. The party prophesied changes and that should mean that, every elected person whether as executive or legislature should key into that prophesy to make it a reality. Those who are elected on the platform of the party and particularly at governorship level, have completely emasculated the party and have turned it to instrument of what they want the party to do and not allow the party to function base on the policies upon which it was founded. Now with this type of situation, how can we do without having crisis?
What measures are you putting in place to address some of the identified lapses in the party?
We have a party that was founded on a philosophy of change. We have a party that was constructed on principle of change and this change is to promote human peace, human dignity and human happiness. All we have been insisting is, if you want the party to sustain itself based on it dignity philosophy, we must come back to its philosophy and principle on which the party was founded. We made this clear at various levels even here in Kaduna. In the last quarter of 2016 because of the attention we drew to this issue, the national headquarters mandated the National vice chairman (North-west) to come and prepare a round-table where we will discuss this issue and find a common understanding so that we can shape the party on philosophy and principles it was founded. That effort went down the drain due to lack of cooperation specifically from the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai. But we never relented. We sought audience on our own to discuss this issue; we held series of meetings on very clear agenda which is how to bring back the party on its track.
The last case was officiated by National vice chairman (North-west) who incurred the wrath of the governor and we all know how the governor personalised the issue and destroyed and pull down his (vice chairman) residence here in Kaduna. The same thing with second committee and here we are seeing this going on and on and what is coming out is that, the governor has made up his mind that this is his government and this is his party on which he derived the right to do whatever he wants to do.
On a lighter mood, you will recall he has said that anybody who is not happy with what he’s doing should go to Kufena hill and jump down and possibly commit suicide. We have not done so. At another meeting sometime in May, the Giwa town hall meeting, he said we are all ants but he has a crushing boot that he’s going to crush us and wheelbarrow us to the dust bin and set fire on us. And after then, we are still here very much alive. But that is just by the way to give you illustration of the mindset of the governor.
But he has not relented. Very recently when he called for a meeting at Murtala Square, he described himself as a fierce fighter. He reminded anybody who doubt his prowess to fight that he has fought two Presidents of the federal republic of Nigeria where one ended up in the grave and the other was sent back to his village where he’s lamenting, ruminating agonising on what happened to him.
During that meeting you mentioned, I meant the one held at Murtala Square, the party was said to have endorsed the governor for a second term, what is APC Akida’s position on that?
That endorsement was laughable and ridiculous. This is somebody who said it is only a dull student that repeats a class. Is he now saying he has lost all his wisdom and now dull to repeat a class? I am the headmaster of that class and I’m really going to whip him into line. I thought we have taught him enough to be brilliant but since he has decided to repeat a class, we wish him best of luck.
Similarly, there is a report that Mr. President has graciously endorsed him to re-contest the governorship seat come 2019. Isn’t that a signal to change your perception about the person of the governor and support him?
Ridiculous! That shows his level of desperation. This is somebody that says there is nothing attractive in repeating a class. So why is he announcing to the world that Mr. President has endorsed him to contest again? That means he was doubting himself that he cannot contest unless Mr. President ask him to do so. He’s just looking for an alibi and that shows how unfit, low, unqualified he is to be the state governor.
What if Mr. President shows up in Kaduna and lift up the governor’s hand the way he did in 2015 and tell the people, this is my anointed candidate…
(cuts in) The electorate will give their verdict.
Are you saying he cannot be imposed on people?
No, no, no…President Buhari can even raise a ladder and lift him up, but that is not the decision. The decision is with the people. Honestly I don’t see how somebody will quarrel with that. He’s lifted like a satellite and show to the world and to all people of Kaduna State, ‘here is thy king here is thy governor. ‘
But certainly that cannot be the decision. The decision still rest with those that will vote and that is what is going to determine who is going to be our next governor. Even when Buhari lifted up his hand in 2015, we still had to vote. The process will repeat itself in 2019 by the grace of God.
Any moment from now, campaigns for 2019 elections will begin. Do you see the possibility of your faction of APC in the state reconciling with the governor before then?
No. Completely no. We will never ever support Nasir. He’s evil. He has unleashed terror on our people. We will never ever support him. Don’t forget that after Abraham, there are other prophets. In each of the 23 local governments we can find governorship materials. So, if we are to line up in term of qualification to be governor, Nasir will be at the tail end.
But the governor has been able to attract investments to the state, aiming at transforming the economic status of the state. Don’t you think he may have won the heart of some electorate base on that?
You don’t need to be a Harvard graduate to invite businessmen to come around. So, there is nothing special about that. It doesn’t put him on any pedestal that he has some wisdom. Whether the electorate can reason along that line, well, fine, so be it. We will wait and see but don’t forget, we are not talking of opposition. Emergence of leadership must be based on certain criteria; integrity, honesty, commitment and in this case, we are talking of commitment to human development, human happiness and human dignity. So, it is not about bringing the likes of Bill Gates that will transform into happiness of people of Kaduna State. He may even bring the World Bank and centre it here.
You seem to have forgotten the power of incumbency too.
There is a proverb by my Niger friends that says ‘one day will be one day, monkey go, go market he no go return.’ If leaders who are elected on platforms turned round and mitigate those platforms in order to sustain themselves in power, that is not sustainable and history has shown that nobody can continue manipulating the same platforms that brought him to power. Don’t forget that a political party represents aggregate of aspiration and expectation of the people for which they want to be done to better their lot and that of their children. So if Nasir has the power to manipulate everybody, if he knows how to dribble and how to maradona everybody, I wish him best of luck.