From Desmond Mgbo, Kano
Alhaji Musa Ilyasu Kwankwaso, a former Commissioner for Rural Development in Kano State, is a leading member of the Shekarau camp of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano. A vocal critic of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, both at the state and Federal levels, he believes that the arrest of top shots of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state under the guise of anti corruption fight is gravely unjust even as he asks the EFCC to investigate in the same manner, the 2015 presidential campaign funds and spending of the other parties.. Here is the translated version.
What is your reaction to the arrests of leading PDP members in the state such as Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Ambassador Aminu Wali , your gubernatorial candidate, Malam Salisu Sagi Takai and several others over the 2015 Presidential Campaign Fund?
Actually, my view is that the present development is a manifestation of the highest level of political injustice. The Federal Government under the leadership of our President is killing our democracy. I honestly feel that the issue of campaign fund is an experience that took place in all the political parties, PDP, APC and others. It is not exclusive to PDP. To single out PDP is injustice! Interestingly, the APC spent billions of Naira to execute their campaign across Nigeria. They paid for adverts like any other party, they erected huge bill boards that were intimidating in cities across Nigeria and they undertook other fantastic expenses, flying round the country, holding huge rallies like other parties. Like others, they, in one way or the other, supported different relevant agencies that were to help ensure the elections were peaceful, to make the election smooth and successful. The big question is how come EFCC’s investigation is just about PDP and nothing is heard about APC? How come it is only the leaders of the PDP that are called to make statements or are detained at EFCC offices across the country? Are all the APC members saints? That is why I said that it is all injustice. I saw in the paper, they said that they are looking for N23 billion NNPC’s money….. But we did campaign appeal fund in Lagos and realized some money. Here in Kano, we held an appeal fund and got some money. We only got assistance from our party’s national headquarters for N950 million. That money came through our leader, Aminu Bashir Wali and was shared in line with the needs of the party. Isn’t it surprising that months after, somebody is coming to arrest you, to say that the same money from your party headquarters came from the NNPC? In any case, just how were we, at that time, to know the source of the assistance that was given to us? That is why I said earlier that this whole arrests and intentional denting of our leaders’ creditability is unjust. And I am calling on Mr. President to call the EFCC to order.
At the time the money was shared, do you have any knowledge that the money was not regularly sourced? Was there any sort of suspicion?
How can you know that the money was brought from the NNPC. Nobody knows the source of the money. I will say the information was unavailable at that time. But let me also say this, that Governors, Senators, the House of Reps and many people in APC also got money that needs further explanation. How did they finance their campaigns? Let them speak out. Did they finance it from their family savings or from various supports, some of which were institutional?
So your submission is that all politicians are corrupt?
Yes, if we now use the measure of campaign fund and their spending as the basis, then all politicians, from the top to the bottom, are corrupt.
We have seen a lot of how Jonathan got his campaign money. But isn’t it proper for us to hear where and how the candidates of other parties got their campaign funds?
Actually, this whole issue of EFCC arrest is political and selective. That is my take. And that is why we must re-position our party, the PDP so that we can reclaim the Presidency. Next week, by Saturday, we are storming Port Harcourt to elect our national leaders. By the grace of God, within the next two months or end of the year, you will see some APC defectors, Governors, Senators, as well as House of Assembly members moving to the PDP. You will see what will happen because our party has zoned the presidential candidate to the North. So, I am sure that by 2019, PDP will recapture power.
My appeal is that let EFCC investigate all. In Kano here, we know that there is a petition on an APC member to the EFCC; we petitioned EFCC over the former administration but one year after, they have not taken any action. That is the reason we are saying that this issue of investigation is just selective and it is political.
Tell us more about the petition you just referred to. The petition was written by some members of the pensioners in the state. The EFCC has the copy of the petition and the people too have their own copy. But the EFCC didn’t take any action. Interestingly, while the current investigation that has led to the arrests of several PDP members is just N950 million, the petition in question is three times more.
Yet nothing is heard of the petition. Honestly, this whole investigation is injustice. They are trying very hard to divert the attention of the poor Nigerians who are suffering from asking questions because this party that had promised Nigerians so much, has taken over the leadership of Nigeria for one year and has really nothing to show for their sojourn in power. Nothing! People are suffering in Nigeria today. There is no food, no water, no electricity. Come and see how people are suffering. But I am however sure that the PDP will come to power in 2019. We will surely wipe away the tears of Nigerians when we return to power.
Are you still insisting that the former administration diverted Pensioners money?
Well, it is a petition and it is publicized on the radio and the petition is at the EFCC headquarters. Everybody knows there is a petition. It is no longer news. What is news is that the EFCC did not take any action.
Some people have argued that only a court can brand somebody a thief and not an agency of the executive like the EFCC. What is your response?
I do agree with you. I get this feeling that they are only trying to tarnish the image of our leaders, especially in the North and that will not make us to relent, as we are going to re-unite and forge ahead to ensure that we recapture power. Unless you go to a competent court of law, then you can testify that somebody and prove that somebody stole money. The court is the right place to prove that somebody has stolen the money. Only a competent court can establish that one is a thief.
The fuel subsidy has been removed. When the PDP was in power, they did not take such an unpopular action; what is your reaction to this development?
I will however leave that issue to Nigerians to decide because I remember during Dr Ebele Jonathan’s administration, he increased fuel by N10 and it resulted to a rowdy strike. I can remember that this President personally came to Kano and joined the strike then. He even cried and told Nigerians that the PDP was maltreating the people. The APC promised Nigerians to peg the price of fuel at N45 per liter, but imagine now, they are now selling for 145 per liter. I cry for this country, Nigeria. My heart is filled with sorrow for our country. Somebody, who cried because the pump price was N86 and promised to sell at N45, has become the head, and he is selling fuel at N145 per liter.
Following FG’s sudden hike in the price of fuel, despite promising Nigerians that it will be sold at N45 per liter, is it proper to describe Buhari as a sincere and honest leader?
Nigerians will judge.
Euphoria as Ugwuanyi affirms Enugu State dream
By Uwakwe Abugu
At the historic Michael Okpara Square located in the highbrow Independence Layout, Enugu on Sunday, something profound manifested as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi marked the first anniversary of his administration. It was on the same ground just a year ago that he took oath of office as governor and began his first tenure.
On this 2016 edition celebration, there was this palpable feeling of harmony, of happiness, of a fulfillment in an emerging ideal leader for any state, and the people were visibly euphoric. There was this general ambience pervading the atmosphere during the Democracy Day celebration. In fact, for any keen observer of the body language of the state at this moment, the people were celebrating the triumph of unity fostered by peace wrought on the coal city state by Governor Ugwuanyi’s exemplary leadership in a manner they have not done for nearly two decades now.
Yet, one pleasant development for the people of the state is the visible disposition of the administration to delivery of needed services to the populace. This is evidenced in the practical quantum of projects already being delivered in the roads and electrification infrastructures. But Governor Ugwuanyi who addressed the people after taking salute from the police who mounted a parade on the occasion told the people that they have not seen much of what is in stock for them.
“My dear Ndi Enugu, time and space will not permit us to furnish you with more details of the efforts we have made in the past one year towards the fulfillment of our campaign promises.
However, as we recount our successes, I must, with all sense of responsibility and sincerity, remind ourselves that the journey has only just begun”, he reassured the people as he drew intermittent applause from them.
Commendations came in torrents for the administration, especially from the clergy who spoke during the interdenominational church service that kicked off the celebration. And they were unanimous that they were saying it the way it is today in Enugu. Hence, Rt. Rev. Callistus Onaga, Catholic Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese said, “the emergence of Gov Ugwuanyi has taken the people out of the prison of poverty to an era of prosperity and good governance”. His counterpart of the Methodist Church, Arch Bishop Christopher Ede, who delivered the homily during the service had this to say: “Enugu State is not just in the hands of God, it is the Lord’s. God has given us a state which He fashioned like the porter fashions clay and put a man that is mindful of his will to oversee its affairs”.
And from Rt Rev. Christian .C. Obiefuna, a bishop and chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Enugu State Chapter, came this frank point of view: “Members of the clergy were ordained to criticize leaders who fall short of selfless service to humanity and praise those who render quality service to the people such as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.” In his characteristic assessment with no room for sentiments, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Arch Bishop Of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province( Anglican Communion ) said “Enugu State has been yearning for a leader of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s caliber. He is indeed God-sent to liberate the people from the shackles of poverty.”
Both the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu and Governor Ugwuanyi’s predecessor, Barr Sullivan Chime who were present during the celebration lent their support to the administration which they also seem to be clearly proud of. Chime urged his successor to consolidate on his achievements so far. On his own part, Senator Ekweremadu declared that “I am proud of what you have achieved in Enugu State within one year in office. You should not relent in delivering the benefits of democracy to our people”.
Part of the eulogies also came from former information minister, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, who was enthused about the “the numerous achievements of the Ugwuanyi administration just within one year in office. He spoke to some newsmen at Okpara Square shortly before the service started. Yet, to him, one of the most important achievements of the governor is the feat of “bringing together hitherto feuding leaders and stakeholders of the state in such a manner as we have not experienced for many years now”. He stated that the now known large heart of the governor and his craving for touching all parts and sections of the state made him spread development projects to parts of the three senatorial districts in the state. He praised the governor for keeping faith with the people by attending to his campaign promises religiously even when nobody compels him to do so.
In his address to the people, the governor paid tribute to the founding fathers of the coal city state and the legislature and its leadership in the state. To all the stakeholders and leaders, he said, “We are grateful to you all for your cooperation and for your sincere and unrelenting prayers for the peace and progress of Enugu State under our watch”.
The governor flashed back to the promise he made exactly a year ago to the people of the state on the same Michael Okpara Square to the effect that he would liberate them from untoward developments bogging them. The reason for the renactment of the promise was to reassure the people that he was keeping his promise of delivering a new Enugu state of their dream. So far, observers believe the Enugu helmsman has been walking his talk. And the people are hoping for another year of further achievements.