In this interview with HINDI LIVINUS, Senator Abdulaziz Nyako speaks on the crisis currently rocking the All Progressives Congress
Y ou moved out of the APC with your supporters and announced your decision to join the African Democratic Congress. Since when have you been considering your defection?
What happened yesterday (Monday) was not even the official defection; it was in preparation for that defection. I’m sure you saw a crowd and you assumed that we’ve defected. For me, it wasn’t the main defection, although every action we are taking now is in preparation for the formal or official defection. What we did yesterday was about our congresses in the ADC. We are trying to conduct congresses; we want our people to have a platform. Once this structure is in place, then we will defect formally, Insha Allah.
Before your recent action of identifying openly with the ADC, there have been reports of a lot of National Assembly members and some governors identifying with the ADC. Do you think the current alliance of political parties, including the ADC, will work?
For me, our major concern is Adamawa. Beyond Adamawa, our major concern is what happens in our wards. You cannot come to our wards where we live and sit down in a room somewhere and tell us who the ward chairman should be. I think it is the highest level of insult. For you to sit down in the Government House in Yola or in Abuja and determine who should be our ward chairman is a slap on our faces. Some people do elitist politics; for some, elitist politics work for them. For others, grass roots politics works for them. For us in Adamawa, our own kind, the Baba Mai Mangoro (former Governor Murtala Nyako) kind is grass roots politics. With regard to politics, it all starts from the ward level.
Are you aware of other senators who have a similar grouse against the APC?
Yes, many of us, there are many senators and many members of the House of Representatives, a few governors in the same (aggrieved) position. All of them have grudges against the APC, and you will see it (defection) in a matter of weeks.
Are you going to defect on the floor of the National Assembly?
We might do so en masse and we might not. What I am saying is that when I am through with the necessary arrangements and this (Adamawa ADC) structure is in place, I’ll move. Whether we are going to coordinate it centrally, I don’t know. But for me, I know what my priority is.
Should Nigerians expect a mass defection of senators on the floor of the Senate or the members of the House in similar fashion or each defector will do it individually?
It is quite possible to have a case of mass defection on the floor of both chambers, but I have a clear vision as to what I want to do.
If the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee is able to convince aggrieved members against leaving, will you and the others still stay back in the party?
What do they have for our people? This is a very fundamental question. Some very important parties, other than our party, the APC, have approached me, and offered us positions. And some of these parties are as good as the APC. They have said, ‘Come to our party and we will support you. Even if it is the governorship ticket that you want, we will give you. If you want senatorial seat, we will give you’. They have already offered me all those positions. My discussions with them are at the highest level.
But the question I have always asked those parties is, ‘What are the arrangements for our people?’ I lead people. Baba Mai Mangoro, Admiral, has thousands of followers in Adamawa State that are into politics. What arrangement does the APC have for us if we should reconcile? Are they saying they will tell the people that have come from the other parallel congresses that they will not recognise them? Will they now recognise only the people that are from our own side if we agree to stay back? I don’t think realistically that is feasible.
Are they now saying they will give us 50 per cent while the other people will take 50 per cent? If we do that, are we now saying for some of those people who voted Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman, their elections were improper? On what ground will they say? It is not about me as an individual. If it were about me as an individual, I have the option of parties. But most of those parties have conducted congresses. What of our people? What is the arrangement for them?
Are you saying that the Oshiomhole-led exco has not reached out to you at all?
No, not at all! If you are talking about 50 per cent (sharing formular), who will I look at now? Am I going to tell the chairman of Numan (Local Government Area), ‘They have taken 11 local governments, and then we are dropping you as the chairman of Numan LGA?’ How will he look at me tomorrow? Or how do I tell the chairman of Mayo-Belwa or Yola to go? Who do I face out of these 21 local government chairmen and ask to go? So, they have already created a mess. They created the mess at the ward level because the most crucial election is the ward elections. We have all found ourselves in a quagmire due to their lack of sincerity. Once again, they have taken the path of other parties that have failed to ensure internal party democracy is carried out. And as such, we are not happy with them (APC). And they have not also contacted us with any tangible proposals.
Are you inferring that the Adams Oshiomhole-led NWC of the APC is not equipped enough to address the crisis rocking the party?
No, I’m not in a position to undermine Adams Oshiomhole in any way. I have a lot of respect for him. You cannot rise in this country to be a labour leader without being a good manager. You cannot complete two terms as a governor of a state and be given this position and you won’t be able to perform. Unfortunately, when they gave Adams Oshiomhole this position, they dumped him into a sewer. So, he cannot exonerate himself from the stench. They have already created a quagmire. So, no matter how hard he tries now, whether or not he gets the night soil men to clear the sewage of its filth, the situation is already messy. For me as an individual, I have profound respect for him, but he has been brought to clear up an absolute mess. It will be difficult, but I’m sure he will do his utmost. But if there’s a genius inside him, maybe, he might be able to give us a solution.
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