In this interview with Hindi Livinus, the Secretary of the All Progressive Congress in Adamawa State, Warnfari Theman, says the APC crisis is not enough to cause its defeat in coming elections
Some notable stakeholders in the APC, including former SGF, Babahir Lawal, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Brig Gen Buba Marwa, among others, appear not to be backing the re-election of the state governor. Is the APC in Adamawa really in a crisis?
The APC has a challenge, but it is not the type that can consume the party in the state. You know that the APC is the ruling party in the centre and in the state. At the time this party was formed in 2014, this squabble was not there because we were in the opposition, but now we are the ruling party. The APC has become a very large party. Of course, you will find this tension because of what is at stake. If after being a ruling party, the challenge is just a little one, then we must be grateful.
However, the current challenge is not desirable. As part of democratic norms, after the congresses of a political party are concluded and the candidates have emerged, every member of that political party is expected to queue behind the candidates of the party. Every discord ought to be buried in the interest of the party, but we are still grappling with complaints arising from those congresses.
Ideally, being the ruling party, we expect that every interest of members should be accommodated in order for those who are aggrieved to be able to sheathe their swords.
Is there any reconciliatory mechanism put in place to regain the confidence and support of the aggrieved party members?
We have a process of reconciliation which was put in place after the congresses.
But is time not against you?
That is why I have said it is a process. You will agree with me that the APC has more than 500,000 members in Adamawa State, so if three people are still aggrieved at this point, we do not think that it represents a fair number. Forget about their image that these are big shots or whatever. Politics is local. There’s one little man or woman in the party who can mobilise for you more than 200 votes in his own unit. If I am the secretary of the party in the state and I cannot bring 200 votes from my unit, then what are we talking about?
We know the crisis we managed at the beginning. Many as a result of this even said the party was not prepared for leadership. We must acknowledge that these are all part of the pressure that a ruling party must encounter and resolve. The gospel we have been preaching to stakeholders who feel aggrieved right down to the unit level is for us to close ranks and work together. We are reminding them that we are one people and one party.
How are you managing the pandemonium which greeted the governor’s loyalists that threatened to attack Marwa, who was whisked out of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s rally in Yola by security agents?
I am not aware that Marwa was whisked out of the venue of the rally. If you told me that an executive of the party attempted to lynch him, that would have been a different thing. Your allegation about an attempted attack on Marwa by a crowd was entirely a different thing because many people came to see Buhari. Not everybody who was there could claim to be a member of the APC. I don’t think any APC member would have sought to attack Marwa.
With the kind of crisis you have now in the APC, both at the state and federal levels, are you not concerned that your party may go the way of the PDP?
I have an idea of what happened to the PDP in 2015. The PDP was not consumed because its own fold was in disarray. The PDP was consumed because it was in government for many years and the citizens of Nigeria were not comfortable with its performance. There also was a major challenge of insecurity and some people felt that the government did not do enough.
The APC was a formidable political structure in the sense that it was an amalgamation of different interests.
Another factor which also contributed to the collapse of the PDP was that when it was becoming clear that the PDP was going to lose the elections, a lot of politicians started looking for an escape route into the APC.
Are we not still faced with similar challenges of insecurity, dwindling economic fortunes under the APC?
We have fared better. In Adamawa State for instance, in 2015 before the general elections, I could not go to my local government because Madagali, Michika, Mubi South and Mubi North were under the control of Boko Haram. But today, normalcy has returned to these places, activities are going on in these places without any let or hindrance.
There is now massive infrastructural development through the Federal Government road projects like the construction of Yola to Mubi roads; Maraba Mubi-Damboa Road in Borno; Numan to Jalingo road and Mayo-Belwa-Jada-Ganye and Toungo roads.
What is your view about the allegations by the PDP that the APC cannot absolve itself from the postponement of the elections?
The President, who is also the leader our party, has expressed disappointment with the postponement. The kind of leadership we have in the APC is not the kind of leadership in the PDP; that somebody will pretend as though he were not the leader. In our own case, the leader takes responsibility.
He went to his own locality in Daura to cast his vote. It is not as if he was 100 per cent sure he was going to win the elections. Not even 51 per cent. He is hopeful he’ll win. He was angry because of the inconvenience the postponement had caused Nigerians.
Adamawa is home to the wife of President Buhari and PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Do you think the APC easily defeat the PDP in the state?
The wife of the president coming from Adamawa is just one of those reasons why the APC must win in Adamawa, but it is not the most important reason. We have seen candidates losing even in their own polling units in their own states. It will not be surprising that Atiku Abubakar loses in his polling units and his party also loses Adamawa State. It has happened before and it will happen again.
Are you saying Atiku will be defeated here in Adamawa, his home state?
Atiku will be defeated here in his home state. He will lose here and the APC will win Adamawa.
Even in economics we make forecast. Though one is not God to speak with certainty, but we are saying this based on what is obtainable. And if it doesn’t happen, we will not be completely disappointed because we are not God.