Senator Sani Musa (Niger East) is one of the aspirants for All Progressive Congress (APC) National Chairman, in this interview with journàlists on key national issues, says he will not use his position to impose presidential or governorship candidates on Nigerians if he is elected to lead the party, our correspondent, Ikechukwu Okaforadi, was there. Excerpts:
Looking at agitations that the chairmanship seat be reserved for aspirants from the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), what are you chances in the contest?
My chances are very bright. You and I are Nigerians. Whether you are a member of the APC or not, but if delegates are allowed to choose in terms of quality, in terms of precedence and antecedents, I am the best candidate. There is a need for the right leadership for the party.
I have a lot of chances. I have interacted with so many party stalwarts. I did not make too much noise about this, but I believe that if there is a dark horse to beat in this race, whoever that is, it is for you to make your calculations. I have met with the majority of the APC Governors, I have traveled to their states. I have reached out to 262 members of the APC in the House of Representatives, about 62 members of the APC in the Senate, I have communicated with them, I am sending a communication to all the APC members in the states Houses or Assemblies. I will sell myself everywhere. When the chips are down, we will know. I am not calling for any assistance but there will be a time people would say they need the best. And this is the leadership that will lead them. And I will tell you I belong to that category of leaders. About the legacy parties, What I know today is we have APC. And what I know today as legacy is the only legacy President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to lay for this country. And that is what we will pursue. We have had the legacy parties: ANPP, CPC and ACN and a faction of APGA. The first three parties are defunct parties. What we now have is APC.
Imposition almost cost you the opportunity to be in the Senate during Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure as APC chairman, how will you remedy the situation?
Every organization has its rules and those rules are meant to be obeyed. Even in the civil service, there are rules on how you conduct yourself as a civil servant. So it is with the NGOs and the political parties. They are entities and not owned by one person. They are owned by all. So when you don’t follow the rules in accordance to how the books have made it, definitely there will be rancor. Before you even venture to be a member of the party, before you even venture to think of aspiring for any position in the party, you must have gone through the constitution or guidelines of the party. When there is no respect for law and order, there will be rancor. Somebody would feel aggrieved and will seek redress. I was a victim and as a Nigerian who felt aggrieved, I believed that there was a wrong done and we should be able to correct the wrong. If I happen to be a victim and I went all the way from the High Court to the Supreme Court to get a judgment, is it every Nigerian that can afford to go that way? So we must do the right thing. If we continue not to do the right thing, we will remain where we are. Once you attach personal interest, you have a problem. If I become the chairman of this party, I will bring out a guideline. This is the way we want to go. I don’t believe in imposition and I will not use my office to impose anyone on Nigerians. I will give Nigerians the opportunity to make their choices.
With imposition of direct primary on parties by National Assembly, ahead of your Convention, will you advise APC to adopt direct primary?
Whatever the law says is what the party should abide by. We should be governed by the rules. And whatever the rules are is what we should do. But I need to clarify this notion, the National Assembly is not imposing on the political parties. I happen to be a member of the harmonisation Committee and I knew what the interest of each member was. Yes, they say the majority can always have their way, but the minority would always have their say.
Are you on the same page with your Governor in this aspiration, because there are rumours that he has endorsed another candidate?
My Governor is the chairman of the North Central Governors Forum. He is also representing the zone in the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC). Don’t you think it will be a kind of conflict of interest for my Governor to come out loudly just as one of his colleagues have done? If I am in his position like the other colleagues, I would do the same thing if somebody is there from my place. As far as I am concerned, I have communicated with him, I have seen my Governor, we have sat three times on this issue. The issue of whether he endorses me or he does not endorse me should not even arise. Would he prefer to have somebody from outside than his own? So I will tell you, I have the support of my Governor and my Governor, at the right time would make a statement. It would be improper for somebody who is a member of the CECPC to even before the pronouncement of the zoning and who happens to be part of those to decide, to come out to make the statement. I don’t think it is wise for us to always personalise matters of institutions like this in a political party. My Governor’s position for now is okay. This is the same thing he did when I was coming out for the Senate. So, when we get to that bridge we will cross it.
It looks like there is a conflict of interest for chieftains of the party from North Central; a Governor is vying for the President and you are also contesting for chairman?
No conflict of interest here. The Governor you are referring to is not a member of CECPC and if for any reason the party decides that this is where the zoning will be, His excellency, who is vying for the Presidency will abide by it. It is not for me to make a statement on this, but I believe when the party takes a stand on this issue, we will have something to say. Whether Presidency or chairmanship positions, anyone the party says, we will abide by it.