Senator Abu Ibrahim, All Progressives Congress, APC, Katsina South, is one of the closest associates of President Muhammadu Buhari having journeyed with him from the All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, through the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, to the monumental 2015 presidential election success.
Ibrahim who served in the Third Republic Senate where he developed a close relationship with Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, is presently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and also the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups, NCBSG.
He spoke on issues arising from the crisis in the ruling APC in an interview that was conducted before the proclamation of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, RAPC.Sen Abu Ibrahim
Excerpts: After three years, do you think the APC Federal Government has met expectations?
To be fair, without being biased, this government has performed very well. Nigerians forget too easily that by the time this government took over, the largest source of our foreign exchange just collapsed, the price of crude oil went from $120 per barrel to below $40 and with that, the government continued to survive.
If an unbiased person can go round, he will see many positive developments. First and foremost, the government was able to stabilise the economy, it went into recession, it came out of recession despite the huge gap of the foreign exchange earnings.
Again, the government has invested heavily in infrastructure. Did you ever hear about railway before today in Nigeria?
In terms of even stabilising the government, additionally apart from the Federal Government keeping abreast with all, it helped state governments. Tell me any administration in this country from the beginning of democracy, where the Federal Government gave assistance to the states to pay salaries and meet their budget obligations? It is only this government.
I challenge anybody to tell me from Obasanjo to everybody, who ever thought of making the state government stable? But Buhari realised that if the states are stable, Nigeria will be stable. So he initiated that policy of sustaining stability through the assistance of both tiers of government.
Of course, I agree we have serious problems on internal security, but to me, these are some mistakes.
Additionally, there is the problem in Libya, Mali, and all those they have dispersed into various countries in West Africa including Nigeria … and with the pragmatism of the security chiefs, there should be concerted efforts now on how to combat this seemingly intractable problem.
There is the perception among some that even if President Buhari is defeated, that he is not a democrat and would not concede like President Jonathan before him?
I know President Buhari very well, he is a highly honest person with integrity; if you go and say President Buhari, you are going to rig election, he will not allow it; may be some people around him may do it, but if he knows, he will stop it, he will never allow something that is not right.
But you see, the opposition especially the PDP has been decimated, the brand, PDP, is dead. So they have to argue, they have to cry, they have to say these things. If I hear tomorrow that PDP people who were in government were arrested, I would not be surprised.
But these people were ministers, they were the ones who spent our money, they were the ones who negotiated for 20per cent bribes, they were the ones who paid for power projects which were never achieved; so why would you arrest anybody except for them?
The nPDP members say they were responsible for the victory of President Buhari in the 2015 election and that Buhari failed on the three previous occasions before they joined?
They contributed, but they did not make him president. Nobody will tell you that he made Buhari win Kano State, nobody will tell you that he helped Buhari win Katsina State. In the whole of the North-wWest, nobody will tell you that Buhari won those areas because of them and even the North-East. In fact, there were those nPDP members who asked Buhari to come and campaign for them.
I remember we had to go to Gombe to campaign for somebody, Buhari had to cut his tour to go to Gombe to campaign for somebody and he is now claiming that he is nPDP. There was another one he had to spend a whole day to campaign for because he wanted Buhari to endorse him to the people so that he could win.
Besides a handful of you in the APC, a significant number of the members were at one time in the PDP, so why does your party keep saying that PDP destroyed Nigeria whereas your members were part of them?
Politics is politics, elections are coming, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing like new PDP. But politics is politics and people listen to them, they are holding important positions but the new PDP itself is dead because there shouldn’t be anything like new PDP.
But it is only fair, I can go to Katsina and confront my governor and say if you don’t do this, I will not do this, it is normal in politics. But Nigerians should take it that this is a new group because there is nothing like new PDP, there is nothing like ACN, there is nothing like CPC, there is nothing like ANPP, they should not exist, this one is a recent creation for the purpose of extracting something from the party.
But these people are threatening to pull out of your party.
I am not saying they should pull out and that is why we are listening to them, but they know in themselves that they are not honest on this issue, they know it, there is nothing like new PDP, but they have the right to say we want to go and negotiate which is fair.
Why do you say that they are not honest?
There is no organisation called new PDP that is organised, that they have been discussing among themselves for the last three years, all these things just came up recently.
Why do you say it is a recent development?
First, I have said this is politics. Somebody wants certain position, he thinks he must follow us, because he wants to get all of us in Nigeria to know. Did we ever hear anything about nPDP last year? This erupted only few weeks ago. Why now?
It is because party elections are coming, primary elections are coming, so they expect some concessions, that is all!
If the nPDP insists on pulling out, how would it affect the electoral fortunes of President Buhari?
APC will win. If they pull out, we are not going to go to sleep. It means we will put in more efforts and we will win.
But they are responsible citizens, they are people who have constituencies and of course, nobody will like them to go away, but at what expense are we going to keep them? But if they go, we will survive and we will campaign and we will win election.
You are chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs. What is your reaction to the decision of the IGP not to honour Senate summons?
I have interacted with the IGP and I believe sanity is coming. I don’t want to discuss what we have agreed upon.Related