Alhaji Buba Galadima, a signatory to the All Progressives Congress’s 2013 merger, talks to ENIOLA AKINKUOTU and TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN about the agreements between Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu.
Buba Galadima: As a former colleague of President Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), do you believe the President will impose his nominee or will the APC Presidential primary be open to all aspirants?
You don’t need to be a prophet or soothsayer to know that the President will indeed anoint whosoever he wants to be the candidate of the APC. But what one needs to look at is whether he could do that with some sense of decorum, with some sense of decency, with some sense of consideration for the opinion of the majority members of his party. My answer is No. Therefore, whoever he anoints will cause bickering, infighting, and a lot of anti-party activities. This will bedevil the APC.
Buba Galadima: Was there ever any understanding that Tinubu would succeed Buhari as one of the APC’s founding members?
There was an understanding because Tinubu sat down with another person and the President sat down with another person, and according to the information we received, they agreed that if Tinubu helped Buhari win, he would become Vice-President. When it was not possible, they called him and asked him to help because of the time constraints, which prevented a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
They suggested that whatever he does, he should deploy and ensure that Buhari is elected President, and that when he (Buhari) leaves, he will do the same.
Now it appears that they want to renege on their agreement with Tinubu. This is why Tinubu is enraged, and I understand his rage because of what occurred to him, which I informed him about years ago. I informed him of his impending doom. And everything I anticipated those years is now coming to pass. My prayer for him (Tinubu) is that he should come out of this unscathed and healthy. That is my biggest prayer for him.
But for him, it looks like he has already been subverted. The only way he can get his momentum is if the party agrees to do primaries. If the party agrees to go to the primaries, I have no doubt in my mind that Tinubu may emerge victorious, but as far as the consensus which they want to adopt is concerned, he is out of the game.
Buba Galadima: Who was present when Buhari and Tinubu formed this deal, according to you?
I’m not going to tell you, but the persons concerned are aware. Tinubu arrived with a previous governor, whereas Buhari arrived with a current governor. That is why, out of dread of God, that governor is now firmly supporting Tinubu. But I’m not going to name the two of them because Tinubu has hinted at this kind of arrangement.
So you’re saying Buhari is the type of person who doesn’t keep his promises?
Well, I’m not sure. You should be the judge or inquire about Tinubu’s verbal pledge to whoever he made it.
Buba Galadima: So you see a situation where the party faces crises or maybe breaks up if Tinubu is kicked out?
Nigerian politicians, on the other hand, are cowards. Nigerian politicians lack integrity. The APC would have crumbled a long time ago if they were gutsy and principled. However, due to betrayals, God will never enable the APC to succeed, and even if they do, they will never be at peace.
Buba Galadima: So, what do you make of Tinubu’s outburst in Abeokuta last week and the threat of punishment from APC National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu?
Well, who is the APC chairman? Where was he when some of us were fighting for Buhari? Where was he? He should remember what he did to us in 2003. Is it because Buhari has forgotten?
If Buhari recollects what the APC national chairman did to him, he would not even ever allow him to shake his hand, let alone make him chairman.
Buba Galadima: What did the APC chairman do in 2003?
Well, you can ask him (Adamu Abdullahi) that Buba Galadima said that you did something to Buhari in 2003. And that it is abominable to the extent that he (Buhari) shouldn’t even shake hands with you or stay under one roof with you. Let him tell you what he did to Buhari during our campaigns.
Buba Galadima: But some may argue that in politics, alliances change. What would you say of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who was Tinubu’s protégé but is now running against his former boss?
So, politics does not connote decency or respect at all? Is that what you are trying to tell me? I am a principled person. I am with Rabiu Kwankwaso, for example now, even if you give me the whole of the Central Bank of Nigeria, that cannot change me. And you can ask Goodluck Jonathan’s people about me. In 2015, they tried to induce Sule Yahaya, who was our director-general; Mustapha Saliu, the man from Kwara State who was Deputy National Chairman of the CPC and me, just for us to make an appearance and endorse the candidacy of Jonathan but we refused to take it.
Therefore, we are not doing things for personal benefits. We do things hoping that it would be the best for Nigeria. That is why I don’t believe in sentiments; primordial sentiments of religion, tribe or where one comes from. We have tried all these and we have failed as a nation. Why don’t we try for once capacity and capability to accommodate all Nigerians and deliver Nigeria from this present status instead of predicament?
Buba Galadima: If he doesn’t, can you now trust him? If you look at how Osinbajo came with Tinubu and he’s now contesting against Tinubu who brought him, how safe would you be to work with such a person?
If the man who did all this to someone who made him commissioner, made him this, made him that and he is now fighting him. You will now want to fight for him now, what would be your status later in life with him?
Now that you are in the NNPP…
(Cuts in) I am the national chairman of the Reformed APC, a faction that broke off from the APC and I am still one. But there is no law, either an act or the constitution of the party, or that of the country that prevents any member of any political party from supporting a candidate of other parties.
Maybe my knowledge is small, but if you think there is, please advise me on the law or in the section of the constitution that stops that so that I could stop parading myself as Chairman of the Reformed APC or supporting another candidate or aspirant of another political party.
Buba Galadima: Are you not afraid that they can expel you for anti-party activities?
What are they waiting for? Even if they expel me, that is physical. It is because of me that there’s the APC. Even, the APC never held a Board of Trustees meeting since its inception. If I were chairman of INEC, I would de-register the party for that contravention of the article of BOT.
It is already indelibly written up to eternity that I was the number four person who signed the amalgamation treaty of the APC; you can’t take that away from me again. Anybody that is chopping or stealing in the APC now is to my foresight of signing to amalgamate the party to become APC.
Buba Galadima: The northern governors have all agreed that the presidential ticket will go to the South. So don’t you think that it’s almost automatic that at least the APC is going to come out with every southern presidential candidate?
You don’t know the reason they did that, and how powerful they can be. But that is the decision of their party. I don’t give a damn about it. Because every political party envies getting to a position where they can achieve success, it’s not about sentiment, if they think that a southern presidential candidate will give them victory? So be it.
If other people think that a northern presidential candidate will give them victory, so be it. That is democracy. But what we’re asking for is a level playing field, free, fair, transparent, processes and election. So let he who has got the support of the majority of Nigerians win
Buba Galadima: What do you see emerging as the candidate for the APC?
That’s not my problem. We are not afraid of the person that the APC will pick because if Kwankwaso is given a proper atmosphere and levelled the playing field, he will defeat anyone who emerges on the platform of PDP or APC, even if they are put together.
Buba Galadima: Why do you think Kwankwaso will win when the NNPP doesn’t even have a single governor?
It’s because you don’t believe in yourself. You don’t believe in your capacity to organise and network Nigerians. Kwankwaso became the governor of Kano State for the second time without a councillor, without a local government chairman, without a member of the state or National Assembly. Without any elected person. He contested the election in 2011 and won the governorship of Kano. We can replicate that for Nigeria.