Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Basheer Garba Umar who was the National Coordinator,Buhari Mass Movement (BMM), in 2015 and 2019 general elections has said that the ruling party has the capacity to rule the country.
The BMM Coordinator believes that th APC has what it takes to rule the country forever.
A leader of the Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi was quoted recently to have said that the North may keep the Presidency for 100 years. Do you agree with him?
Prof Ango said ‘may’ and if you interpret democracy to mean majority carries the vote or is a game of numbers, the North has the capacity to do that. It’s all a matter of calculation and permutations as is going on now. The North can always get a willing partner from any of the three zones in the South.
Some people are insisting that South East should be allowed to produce the president in 2023. What is your reaction?
Why should the South East be allowed to produce the President in 2023? For playing exclusion politics? I am talking as an APC member.The South East was not with us during the 2015 and 2019 elections. So, no matter how anybody insists, I don’t see how the South East will just be allowed to produce the president in 2023. They need to work hard and play politics with other Nigerians, and not isolation politics.
Kidnapping, banditry and other crimes have taken over the country. What is the way out?
Generally, security situations have deteriorated and especially in the northern part of the country. I will want to join well meaning Nigerians that have been calling for the sacking of the service chiefs. I am also of the view that there should be prosecution of all those arrested for kidnappings and banditry. Evans, Wadume and his gangsters, Zamfara Emirs and District Heads should all be appropriately dealt with and it should not take long time in courts. There should be cleansing in the Police force to rid it of criminals in uniform. The Federal Government should hasten the formation of the Community Police as it will not only improve security but also create employment for our teeming unemployed youths.
Do you think APC will remain united after Buhari must have left office in 2023 because people are saying that it is only Buhari’s Integrity that has united and kept the party so far?
I don’t know why people think APC will disintegrate after Buhari’s Presidency. It will not. I am certain that PMB will not allow it to disintegrate because allowing that is just like saying, ‘oya’ looters come back! Leadership of the party too will surely work towards unity of the party and its members. The crisis you find in the APC is also in all other political parties and they find ways to mend fences. APC will survive against all odds. But It is only God that gives power and He takes from whomever He wants. We can only make our calculations and permutations. God can use your little mistakes and take power away from you. I however, feel that if the APC holds unto their good works in correcting the infrastructural decay it inherited, revamping the economy and especially by keeping to its words to bring 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and improving security challenges, the party can continue to rule till thy kingdom come.
It is obvious that Northern leaders are divided over 2023 presidency. What is your advice to them?
I don’t see the division anyway. Who are the Northern leaders that are divided? Is it the governors? Is it the emirs and chiefs? Is it the Legislators?Is it the ACF,NEF or Arewa Peoples Unity Association? Is it the politicians? I don’t see any division now. Even if there is any division, it is along party line which is obvious. The voters may be united when it comes to voting time. The voters will tow the line of only people that are pro-masses.
Under your organisation, Buhari Mass Movement, you campaigned for Buhari’s election in 2015 and his re-election in 2019. Can you do same for a Southern candidate in 2023?
Don’t forget we are all APC in the Buhari Mass Movement and we shall surely support any candidate that the party presents as its candidate from wherever, especially if we are invited. So many of our members were in the various Sub Committees of Buhari Presidential Campaign Council. So, any candidate that wins the primary election of the party and invite us,as loyal party people, we shall join them.
You were once a governorship candidate or aspirant in Kaduna State. Will you contest again, if no, why?
I was a governorship candidate in the 2003 elections. I may stand for election again depending on the situation in Kaduna State and the call of the people.
Majority of Nigerians are crying over poverty in the country. What is your advice to the Federal Government because governance is about welfare and security of the people?
Yes, there is poverty because of the economic situation of not only Nigeria but the world over. The FG has been trying in its intervention programmes but more needs to be done in the area of job creation and supervision to ensure that all intervention efforts reach the grassroots and are well spread. Poverty is more obvious in the Northern part of the country, which I think explains why the CBN just announced that it will concentrate its efforts in the North. Also, the FG needs to hasten on its plan to lift a 100 million people out of poverty. So, the Nigerian government through NNPC in 1993 signed offshore Production Sharing Contract (PSCs) with six oil companies. The contract stipulates that under the JV, profit sharing formula will be reviewed once prices of oil rise above $20 per barrel.
Since 1998, the prices of oil has gone far above the $20. It even reached $120 or more at some point in between 2013-2014. Some people ran this country from 1998. They knew the country should get more money but chose to look the other way, apparently, in cahoots with the IOCs. This country was gang-raped while the oil companies went away with billions of dollars that should benefit Nigeria.
Now, the current government is demanding the oil companies must pay $62billion in arrears from 1998 which is the amount of money the Nigerian government should have earned above $20 per barrel. The government is in court with the six oil companies to get them to pay.
The oil companies too are saying, yes we should pay above $20 per barrel since 1998 but we are not liable to pay since Nigeria slept on her own rights for almost 20years. The Oil companies are simply telling the FG that we are not the one who made you forget your right for 20 years and you can not be asking us to pay now having, wilfully, forgotten your right to the money since 1998. From P&ID and other designed-to-fail projects over the years, this is how those entrusted with the material well-being of Nigeria have connived with local and foreign interests against the best interest of our country.
I will continue to appreciate PMB as one leader, in Nigeria, who has the courage to beam searchlight on some of the darkest recesses of our national life. He is straightening some of our crooked past.