Naja’atu Mohammed, a politician and renowned activist recently resigned as a Director in the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council. She speaks with DIRISU YAKUBU on dumping the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and why the Tinubu/Shettima ticket is a disaster waiting to happen, among others
At what point did it occur to you to part ways with the APC presidential campaign council, where you oversaw civil society organisations?
Let me tell you what really happened. In the first place, I did not support Tinubu as a presidential aspirant; my support was for Professor Yemi Osinbajo from day one. In fact, I had sent emissaries to Osinbajo to come out and contest, that he is relatively young, well educated, proactive, and brilliant. We noticed that each time Buhari leaves the country; we regain some semblance of sanity, including the value of the Naira.
When Tinubu emerged, he emerged in the most corrupt way. I knew how delegates were given money to go and vote, but it was not just to go and vote; the name Asiwaju was written on each ballot paper. They were only paid to go and drop it in the box. For that reason alone, I had no interest in that primary election. Yes, I was in the APC, but I couldn’t even liberate myself at that point in time. I waited, but I never attended any of the meetings, and I was not interested in anything.
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One day, Hon Faleke called me. I didn’t know Faleke from Adam. I was on a flight when he called to introduce himself. And then he said, “Please, ma, we want you to be on the campaign council; we want you to be a director.” I said no, why? I don’t want to be the director of your campaign. He started saying, “Please, ma,” and I said no. “You are embarrassing me,” because it is not good for anybody to be begging you; it is very embarrassing, and if you don’t accept it, you appear to be arrogant. He asked why I didn’t want the appointment. I said because I haven’t sat with Tinubu, I haven’t seen him, he hasn’t told us what he had for us up North, and at this point in time and at my age, I cannot be a zombie. He kept pleading with me, and we agreed half way.
So, he said, “Okay, ma, by the time you see Asiwaju, if you are not satisfied with what he has to say to you, then you can opt out. We agreed on that. After that, I saw a call several times, which I did not answer, and then they sent me a text saying that Asiwaju wanted to talk with me, and I said I would be waiting.”
So, what did Tinubu say to you on the phone?
He said, “Hajiya, please forgive me, but I respect your stance on not accepting my appointment. However, I want you to hear me out. Can you come over to London?” I said yes. That night, I purchased my ticket, and I took a Lufthansa flight the next day to arrive in London the day after. That same evening, I was taken to Asiwaju by one Ibrahim Masari, and we sat down.
You finally met him in London?
Exactly, I said, “Sir, what have you got for us up north? What is your blueprint for our situation? He said he didn’t have a blueprint. I said, “Sir, how can you rule without a blueprint? He said the reason is because he would be stepping on too many toes, and they might kill him. I thought that was silly. I said, sir, if you don’t have a blueprint, then how do you rule? By the time you get power, there will be a lot of distractions. So, he said, if I have anything that I want to include in his manifesto, I should go ahead.
What did you do thereafter?
I sat with my elders; you know that we have been networking for the salvation of the country for quite a while now. We sat down and came up with a brochure on the Almajiri, agriculture, the economy, and out-of-school kids. But I was not allowed to see Asiwaju again. I was still in London, so I called Ibrahim Masari, and he said, “Sorry, your proposal cannot be said because Governor Nasir El-Rufai has already told them that all the North needs is the state police.”
I came back to Nigeria, and it took an eternity to even inaugurate the campaign council. The person that was helping the campaign council is the secretary, Senator Mohammed Hassan. Meetings are held in his house. He sponsors the meetings, buys the refreshments, and gives everything, but nobody has received anything.
After a while, Faleke and Senator Hassan asked us to come up with a budget. We set up a technical committee and got to work. We came up with a document and handed it over to Faleke, but nothing happened.
Asiwaju was not accessible. It is easier to see Prophet Mohammed because, during his time, if he doesn’t see you, he goes looking for you. Buhari was accessible to the lowest of the low when he was contesting. I had never seen anything like that. To see Tinubu, you have to lobby, but I can’t condescend to that level. In all this, however, I persisted, so what did I do? I said, “Okay, let me look for the who’s who of our northern leaders in the APC. For about three months, I was shuttling to get us to sit and give Asiwaju the position of Northern Nigeria, but they refused to sit.
Why did you insist on making demands for the North?
Before the South-West decided to support Buhari in 2015, they gave him a blueprint of demands. That was how Babatunde Fashola got three or four “jumbo” ministries. Go and check; the highest amount Buhari gave to the North-West, his own region, is 12 per cent of his total budget. The biggest beneficiary of Buhari’s government because of their deal with him is the South West.
Meanwhile, I was getting overtures from Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar, and Rabiu Kwankwaso, and I kept rejecting them because I didn’t want to come across as a hypocrite. Obi and I wanted to meet, but we were both very busy, and I outright refused to meet with Atiku. I am quite close to Kwankwaso, and this is even beyond politics. I knew what he did as governor of Kano State. He prioritised education, provided an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and rehabilitated drug addicts.
What stopped you from joining the Obi or Kwankwaso’s camps when you decided to leave Asiwaju?
I respect Obi very highly. He has been the rallying point for the youth in this country. However, both Obi and Kwankwaso are handicapped now. They started their parties too close to elections, and they don’t have structures. So, no matter how hard you try, it is difficult to make it.
Our experience is similar to that of Buhari. Nobody has ever been as popular as Buhari in Northern Nigeria, but why does he keep losing? He was getting his 15 million votes consistently, but he never made it until he got a bridge to cross to the other side. Unless and until Obi and Kwankwaso get across that bridge, it is going to be difficult. The Obi and Kwankwaso movements, if properly managed, can outlive them.
You had a personal encounter with Tinubu in London. What’s your assessment of him in terms of preparedness and readiness for the job?
I saw him firsthand in London. He was sleeping most of the time. He cannot stay for ten minutes without dozing off. Sometimes, Pa Bisi Akande supported him like this (shrugs off her right shoulder). It is so frustrating! He didn’t even understand what I was saying. The man is not mentally alert. I asked some of those around him, as well as some of our clerics, who claimed that having a Muslim-Muslim ticket is a Jihad. I asked them, “Can you allow Tinubu to lead you in prayer? Can you allow Tinubu to be your Imam? If you say yes, I will join you. But they said no, so I asked why? They said because he is sick.
APC has a candidate that cannot be deciphered, a man that the chairman of the party helped to be able to hold the party’s flag. Let us not crucify Tinubu because of his ill health, but we should also not sacrifice the lives and properties of over 200 million people because we want to be sympathetic to a sick person.
You once described the APC candidate as an emperor. What makes you see him in that light?
He claims he made Lagos what it is today. He claimed that Lagos and the entire South West revolve around him. How else should I qualify him, if not as an emperor? Who gives him that right? How did he manage to get that right? Over 20 years after he left the governorship, why? Why was Akinwunmi Ambode removed? Ambode was doing a great job. He was removed because of the emperor.
The campaign council dismissed your claims that Tinubu has no plans for the North, stating that in his manifesto, there are specific programmes of action for the region.
These people don’t even know the difference between a manifesto and a blueprint. I can tell you that I have a menu in my house. I want to have rice and I want to have beans; that is the menu. How do I cook the rice and beans? That is the blueprint, and Tinubu does not have that for the North. He’s too superficial because he told me he wouldn’t make a blueprint until after the election. Is that impossible?
Until your resignation, you were part and parcel of everything in the APC. What is the general acceptance level of Tinubu in the North?
I tried to help these people, including Tinubu, because they don’t understand the North. The North is not like the South. If you remember, before 2015, Buhari had only one state in the whole of the 19 northern states. Buhari did not win even his own state, even though he got his 15 million votes. Even though PDP was in power, he was still getting his 15 million votes.
In the North, the peasants hold the ace, they control the votes. In the South, the governors are in charge. They determine who gets the votes. The whole of the South-West did not give Buhari the differential votes that Zamfara State alone gave him.
In 2015, we were able to dislodge a sitting president. We mobilised and succeeded. We guarded the votes and sacrificed our lives, but Tinubu thinks this silly Muslim-Muslim ticket will help him. He thinks that when you say “Muslim” in the North, everybody in the North jumps. It is not like that.
All they are depending on is that you pay the elites and the governors to give Tinubu his 25 per cent. His calculation is that he will get bloc votes because he believes that all the Yorubas on earth are his slaves. He believes they must obey him no matter what.
APC Hails Uzodimma, Ododo On Election Victory, Commends INEC
The All Progressives Congress has congratulated its governorship candidates in Imo and Kogi states, Hope Uzodimma and Usman Ododo, respectively, on their victory at last Saturday’s election.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, revealed this in a statement signed on Monday, November 13.
The statement read, “The All Progressives Congress congratulates His Excellency, Hope Uzodimma, on his re-election as Executive Governor of Imo State, and Usman Ododo on his emergence as Governor of Kogi State.
“The landslide victories of both Governor Uzodinma and Ododo at the just-concluded gubernatorial polls attest to the exceptional performance of the APC-led administrations in both states and resonated loudly with voters.
“We are confident that Governor Uzodimma will consolidate and extend the impressive accomplishments of his first term in Imo State, while Usman Ododo, on his part, will build on the solid record of the outgoing APC-administration in Kogi State.
“We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies for professionally discharging their constitutional duties during the election in both states.
“We salute the Imo and Kogi electorate for their invaluable and massive support of our great party.”
Breaking News! IMO DECIDES: Hope Uzodinma Steps Down For Anyanwu, Looses Presidential Support
Gov. Hope Uzodinma has stepped down for SamDaddy Anyanwu as he could not garner support from Mr. President, Bola President Tinubu.
Ahead of the November 11th governorship election, the All progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, has stepped down for Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu, also known as SAMDADDY, as he could not garner a nod and/or any iota of support from Mr. President, Bola Tinubu.
recall that during the presidential primary election of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2022, Gov. Hope Uzodinma personally purchased the #100m nomination form for Ahmed Lawan, the former Senate President, who got the support of the National Chairman of All progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.
Our investigation revealed that the embattled Gov. Hope Uzodinma, for over two months now, has been restless trying ferret and/or fetch the attention of Mr. President to help him clutch at his re-election ambition by directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agents to lend him cooperations to rig off the upcoming governorship election but Mr. President insisted while maintaining that he would not interfere in the said Imo election.
Standing on his firm resolve, Mr. President promised that there would be fair play, free and/or unhindered participations in the said upcoming polls in Imo State to all the parties and their candidates without any interference and/or undue favouritism and/or supportations of any kind of from the security agents: military, police, etc as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In fact, it’s gathered, from inside Aso Rock, that Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would not want Gov. Hope Uzodinma to be re-elected to quell and/or douse the burning fires of insecurity in the State.
Political analysts as well as some political high-fliers both in Imo State and in Nigeria, including elsewhere, have interpreted Mr. President’s position as a payback in Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s coin for the socio-political betrayal or sabotage from Gov. Hope Uzodinma against Mr. President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during the days in “wilderness” at All Progressives Congress’ (APC’) primary in 2022.
On Thursday, the 9th day of November, 2023, after all efforts made by Gov. Hope Uzodinma to obtain Mr. President’s support dashed away or proved abortive, unfortunately, the said embattled Imo State governor, Gov. Hope Uzodinma, has informed his loyalists and his few myopic supporters in the State that his guber aspiration and/or project was unsure and visibly in confusing jeopardy as his sordid plans to use the military, police and Ebube Agu security to rig the said election has been shattered as the Presidency has directed the disbandment of Ebube Agu secret militia and redeployment of Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, whom Gov. Hope Uzodinma had already but heavily sorted with millions of Naira and Dollars.
Inside information indicates that Gov. Hope Uzodinma has been directed by the Presidency to work together with the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) Candidate, Sen Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu, (SAMDADDY), to save himself from pepertual socio-political condemnation and/or being disgraced by probe.
In compliance with the above, Gov. Hope Uzodinma has directed his loyalists and/or supporters to mobilize and support the candidature of Sen. Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu (SamDaddy) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and vote for him come Saturday, the 11th November, 2023 governorship election in Imo State.
Afenifere: Fasoranti Differs With Adebanjo On S-Court Verdict
FORMER Leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, yesterday, disagreed with the leader of the group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, over the Supreme Court verdict that affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s victory during the February 25, 2023 general election.
Pa Adebanjo and other Afenifere leaders had met in Isanya Ogbo area of Ijebu in Ogun State, and faulted the Supreme Court verdict, which affirmed the victory of President Tinubu.
They said that the judgement has rendered the billions of naira expended on electoral reform, a waste.
But, in a counter-reaction, Pa Fasoranti, in a statement, disowned Adebanjo’s position on the Supreme Court judgement.
Fasoranti said: “The attention of Chief Reuben Fasoranti and other leaders has been drawn to a communique purportedly released in the name of Afenifere by the General Secretary, Chief Sola Ebiseni, where Afenifere is said to fault the Supreme Court judgement upholding Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu’s election as the President of Nigeria.
“This is far from the truth about Afenifere’s leadership position on the matter.
“Let it be on record that Chief Fasoranti and other Afenifere leaders are not privy to such ignominious press release, did not authorise it and do not subscribe to the seditious act such may portend.
“It is merely an unfortunate misadventure of some Labour Party elements within the Afenifere fold who would rather drag the body’s reputation in the mud to achieve whatever sinister and seditious end they might have concocted.
“The world will recall that Chief Fasoranti had congratulated the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on his election into office, and also expressed solidarity over his victory at the apex court.
“It is then clearly underhanded and mischievous to have such preposterous attack on the judiciary by intemperate elements within the fold, fanning the embers of national discords with political motives, using the name of Afenifere.
“We are unequivocal in reiterating that Pa Ayo Adebanjo is the Acting Leader, who, in the natural and traditional order of Afenifere, is expected to defer to his leader who appointed him, Chief Fasoranti, without reservations.
“To do otherwise is to tread such ignoble path in national discourse as this unfortunate release reveals.
“The meeting recently held in Ogbo Ijebu, at no point raised or decided on the attack on the judiciary as the statements of the General Secretary seemed to portray.
“The leaders of Afenifere would like to challenge Chief Ebiseni to offer the world, the true record of deliberations at the said meeting to confirm its concurrence with the communique he so released to the world.
“The ethos and structure of Afenifere vest the leadership authority in the Leader as the Olori Ebi; until such time that he joins his forebears, notwithstanding whoever he has chosen to act on his behalf.