From Billygraham Abel, Yola
Umar Duhu is a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), from Adamawa state.
In this exclusive interview with Daily Sun, Duhu, a former North-East interim Vice chairman of the party, declared himself the authentic National Vice Chairman, North- East of the APC against a recent declaration of Salisu Mustapha as the zone’s choice candidate.
In a press release issued to the press recently, the state chairman of your party and other party officials claimed that the NWC of your party has endorsed Salisu Mustapha, as your party’s NVC North- East, how true is that?
First and foremost, it is incontrovertible that, APC does not have a substantive state chairman, state secretary and substantial members of the State Working Committee. Therefore, there is nothing sacrosanct about Bilal or Nera who are occupying their present positions illegally, to sign or endorse my nomination before I become the National Vice chairman, North- East of the APC.
As a loyal party man, the laws and convention of the party states that ‘if for any reason all the Executive Members of a chapter or branch decamps from the party to another party but few officers are left, the most senior of those left should act as the head for a period not exceeding three months in the first instance and renewable once, while a Congress is convened by the superior organ of the party to elect substantive officers to complete the tenure of the former.’ In Adamawa State, the state chairperson was elected a senator, the state secretary was appointed PPS to the governor of Adamawa State, and the state Deputy Chairman, who was acting, passed on, may his soul rest in peace. Instead of allowing one of the state Vice chairmen who has not decamped from the APC to act, a Local Government party chairman (Ibrahim Bilal) and his surrogates were illegally foisted on the Law abiding party men and women to perpetually hold forth as the state Chairman, secretary and the rest.
The problems of the APC in Adamawa State started at the twilight of the 2015 General Elections, where Mustapha Salihu a member of the APC then, masterminded the defection of 12 of the State Working Committee members from the APC to PDP. That act by Mustapha Salihu brought ridicule and great embarrassment to the APC in line with Article 21 A (ii) of APC constitution 2014, as amended.
Instead of the APC to reprimand such disloyal member, the party is busy working round the clock to reward them and further place them in the highest echelon of the Party. As far as I know, the NWC has not approved anyone as the National Vice Chairman North- East as it is not within their powers or that of one state chapter of the APC to do so, but solely for the entire North- East zone.
There are accusations in some quarters that you forged a party letterhead in an attempt to usurp the office of the NVC NE without recourse to party’s due process, how would you respond to that?
It is inconceivable to even think of ascribing forgery at my person? Those myopia, who have no sense of reasoning, can continue to read the dirty scripts of their paymasters. I was the pioneer National Vice Chairman North- East of the APC. I am a senior stakeholder in the APC. How can anyone call me names, simply because they have been paid to do so? Forgery cases are criminal and that who asserts has the onus to prove his assertion. I will like Nigerians to peruse carefully the names of the signatories to my nomination as National Vice Chairman, North East (NCV-NE) which they alleged I forged.
As far as I am concerned, the document is clean, genuine, unambiguous and questions proofs. However, the onus of proof lies on the person who asserts forgery. I challenge Mustapha Salihu, Ibrahim Bilal or the First Family to produce the so-called endorsement letter they claimed is in favour of Mustapha Salihu like the one I have.
I also challenge them to come up with one name from the leaders who endorsed my nomination as the NVC-NE of the APC, that had for once complaint of his or her signature being forged, nor were it obtained under false pretense? It is also laughable to claim that all four APC governors in the North- East and Distinguished Senators and Honourable members are also a part of the said forgery as they have all signed the said forged APC letterhead paper.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t join issues with those vagabonds as they are only playing the script of their paymaster, the National Secretary of the APC, Mai Mala Buni. The National Secretary should first answer the allegations against him for perjury and acting on a nonexistent issue. Between the National Secretary and myself, who is more prone and liable to forgery?
But the state party team also claimed that the nomination of Salihu Mustapha was in acting capacity and was backed by the four APC governors in the zone, All party legislators, and stakeholders, how about that?
Please, peruse the list of those who endorsed my nomination. They are all the four APC governors in the North- East, the leaders of the party in Gombe and Taraba States including the distinguished senators and Honourable Members and the Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly. They have all appended their signatures on my nomination. I therefore challenge them to show evidence of those who nominated their imposter, so that we can sift the inconsistent nominators from the pool. As it stands today, I stand by my nomination and deserve full complements of the position.
To be fair to my nomination, I was declared as the acting National Vice Chairman, pending a mini Convention to ratify same.
Your party seems to be towing the lines of PDP, as it is beginning to derail from its principle of internal democracy, what do you think?
I am completely saddened by the way the APC is run today. This was indeed not how we pioneered the leadership of the APC or how we conducted its affairs from inception. I agree with you to the extent of the level of impunity perpetrated in the party.
We gave our all ours pioneer leaders, but some few in the present leadership of the party are busy taking the name of APC to a crying shame. But, I am confident, the National Chairman and the NWC are on top of our individual and collective complaints and by God’s Grace, we are certain, victory shall prevail.
What is your position on the so-called appointment of Salihu Mustapha by NWC, do they have that power and what is your position in the party now having served as the pioneer NVC NE?
Mustapha Salihu’s purported appointment is dead on arrival as it never existed. The National Working Committee of the APC has no powers to appoint anyone as the National Vice Chairman North- East of the APC. They can only provide guides and supervision over the process. If Mustapha thinks he has any mandate, he must not be too desperate and think they can circumvent the process. He should not think out of fallacy and be a day dreamer. He should follow the due process. Let me use this medium to call on all of us to remain hopeful that, the APC under John Odigie-Oyegun will do justice to this matter and reinstate our victory and fairness to us all. I have all it takes to resume the office as National Vice Chairman, North- East, and I fully submit myself to undergo due process so that when it is concluded, it will be a win – win situation.