By Ngozi Uwujare
Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police and a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Azubuko Udah in this interview, speaks on the crisis rocking his party after the last primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general election. Among others, he also speaks on the forthcoming Osun Governorship Election.
The presidential primaries of your party, the APC has come and gone but many members are aggrieved after the exercise. What is your advice to the leadership of your party?
My advice to the leadership of our party is that they should handle these grievances and crises that emanated from the presidential primaries and in fact all other primaries in all the states of the federation with open mind and sincerity of purpose. The problem may be aggravated if they don’t handle it with open mind.
Take for example, the Abia State Chapter of the party; APC is in disarray in Abia State. I am from Abia State and that is why I am talking about the state. But it is the same situation in most states of the country. We should resolve all these crises on time and hit the ground running for the preparation towards next year’s election.
Many members are confused and a lot of our members are moving to other parties. We should not allow this to continue. The leadership should do something urgently and sincerely too.
Different crises arose as a result of the last primaries. We had parallel primaries in some states. Those of us who entered politics and want to practise politics with sincerity are very pained with what is happening in our party especially in Abia State. This is a party that is in government at the centre, so we can’t afford to be in disarray.
What do you want President Muhammadu Buhari to do to bring peace to the party?
President Muhammadu Buhari has done his best. The National Working Committee, NWC should work with sincerity of purpose. The National Chairman should do something to keep the party united. I am not contesting for any elective position, but eminent personalities including senators are leaving the APC. I know my contribution towards building the party in Abia State and I will not want the party to be in disunity.
The president cannot be intervening in the local crises in various states when the party has the national chairman and other committee members.
Senator Bola Tinubu has emerged as the presidential candidate of the APC. What is your take on his emergence?
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a good candidate. I don’t have any issue with him and he emerged as candidate through open and transparent primaries.
I think what is next is for all of us to unite and give him the necessary support for him to triumph in 2023. It is a collective responsibility and we must all back him fully.
How will you rate his chance especially against Atiku Abubakar of the PDP?
APC as a party should gather itself together. We have a very good candidate. But you know I talked earlier about the problem in our party which need quick intervention of the party leadership. Go to Osun, you have Rauf Aregbesola versus Governor Gboyega Oyetola. Go to Akwa Ibom State, Zamfara, most states are in crisis. We should resolve all these crises and let us work as one indivisible entity, work on one accord, then the party can move forward. If we put our house in order, Atiku is no march to Tinubu , and Tinubu will defeat Atiku easily.
We have everything going for us except the internal divisions and the earlier we settle this, the better. PDP cannot defeat a united APC. If we unite, we will make it easy for our candidate.
President Muhammadu Buhari is on the last year of his two term tenure, what is your advice to him?
What the president can do in the remaining months in office is to give us free, fair and credible election. That will be a good legacy. He should bequeath a good and peaceful transition. That is all. People should be satisfied with the way his successor will emerge.
Only few weeks ago, there was a governorship election in Ekiti State . During the election, the security agencies led by the police were given a pass mark. As a retired DIG, how do you feel about that?
I trust the Nigeria Police Force. The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Baba Alkali sent DIG Kokumo to Ekiti and he worked tirelessly to ensure that everything was done in a very peaceful manner.
All the security agencies were properly coordinated , you should know how volatile the Ekiti State used to be. But it was fantastic, everything went well. DIG Kokumo and his team didn’t disappoint. He did very well. So, we are very proud of the Nigeria Police Force. Those of us that have even retired are very proud. We were watching from the corner and we were nodding our heads with appreciation and happiness.
Osun governorship election is close by, what is your advice to the Inspector General of Police concerning that election?
The police should continue the good work. They should do better than they did in Ekiti State. Their performance was great in Ekiti state but they should continue to improve.
What about the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC?
Kudos to INEC and its officials. They also did well in Ekiti. Let them continue like that so that the people’s vote can count.
INEC has instituted a new method of allowing people to monitor the voting up till the collation level, that is transparent enough. They should keep up the good work. You are voting and your votes are being captured and people are monitoring how people are voting. INEC should be commended. Kudos to the INEC just like I have given kudos to the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
What is your advice to the electorate as we prepare for the 2023 general election?
What I would say is that those that have not registered should please go out and register.
Let them register so that they can be part of those that will determine those that will be at the helm of affairs in 2023. They should shun vote selling, they should not sell their conscience.
We have a long time now for people to campaign. Let them listen to people that will be campaigning. We have seen for example, Tinubu who is our presidential candidate; he has lofty intention. So, let everybody listen to what the candidates want to offer and then let the people’s vote count. Let the people freely choose who will govern them.
Osun governorship election is around the corner, how is your party getting set for it?
I am expecting that Osun election will follow on the heels of what happened in Ekiti. My only worry about the Osun governorship election is the Oyetola versus Aregbesola imbroglio. Why can’t the two of them bury the hatchet since they are in the same party, so that Oyetola can have his second term without much problem. A house divided against itself can never stand. The two of them should bury the hatchet in the interest of Osun State and the APC as a party.