Wednesday, 24 April, 2024

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Buhari’s govt sank Nigeria beyond repair—Kawu Ali


Abba Kawu Ali is the immediate past acting National Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) before he announced his resignation on Tuesday for personal reasons. In this interview with TAOFEEK LAWAL, he speaks about the party’s national convention which is coming up soon, preparations towards 2027 elections and how Nigeria can get its electoral system right.

YOUR party’s national convention is around the corner, but a faction of the party has sued your national leader and former presidential candidate over the planned convention. What do you have to say on this?

Having a faction is not a new thing in a political party setup. As you rightly pointed out, we are going to have our convention very soon, but the faction took us to court. But just last week, the court ruled out their case and judgment was made in our favour. This means as I speak with you, the court has already passed its judgment. So they (the faction) have nothing to do with our convention. This is a group of people, who are just out to frustrate the party and this is the third case we would be winning against them.

There was a case in Niger State about two or three months back, the one in Anambra and this very one. Now we want to conduct our ward congress, the National Executive Committee (NEC) and convention. The court has said they have no case to stop our convention. The court has confirmed us as the authentic and real NNPP from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In essence, the Abba Kawu Ali-led NNPP is the authentic one from INEC. For this, they don’t have any reason to stop us. And for your information, we have received the copy of the judgment (displaying it).

How ready are you for the convention?

We have gone far, if not for the obstacles from the court. We are a law-abiding party. Immediately we received the court notice that put the convention on hold, we had to obey. We waited patiently and followed the court’s instructions. In fact, we are about starting our ward congresses to obey the court order because NNPP is a law-abiding party. So, we are good to go with the convention as everything is set.

Recently, some politicians met to float a new party ahead of 2027. In specific terms, former Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has been meeting with politicians from other parties and even some aggrieved ones from the All Progressives Congress (APC) are part of this. Is NNPP going to be part of this arrangement and if you are not going to be, what is your view on this movement?

I’m not surprised that this is happening because it is expected. It is normal for aggrieved politicians to come together after elections. You will see like minds trying to come together to either join a party or form a new political party. This is just the beginning and we are going to see more of this and it is normal. On whether our party would join another party as you asked, we are not prepared for that, and we are not discussing with any political party for now, it’s too early. I cannot predict or assure that some political parties or politicians would not come to join us, but what I want to say is that it is too early for us to start discussing with any political party. But if any political party comes, our doors are open and I think I have said this many times. Our doors are open for discussion for merger either to join a party or for a party to join us. As I said, it is too early for now but anything can happen. We don’t have enemies and we are looking ahead because NNPP is a party for the future, especially 2027.

You will agree with me that a year after the general election, a lot of things have changed in Nigeria. Nigerians are passing through hard and trying times. To you, what has changed, have we made any progress, what challenges are we facing as a country?

I will answer this question in two ways, from my personal view and the position of my party. Personally, whoever tells you that the situation of things in the country is normal is not saying the truth. This is not what people are expecting. Nigerians are expecting a lot but they got less. It is right to say that people are passing through a lot and they are not happy. In government, policies come in different ways and leaders come with their own style of governance. Some can be very fast, while some can be very slow but later you will see the results.

I must say that despite my personal view that things are not going the way it should, I will not put the blame 100 percent on this government, because it inherited a series of damage from the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari, which we all know either we like it or not. The Buhari government set this country back beyond repairs, sank the country and put us in the mess we are in presently and that was when President Bola Tinubu took over. Tinubu made a lot of promises but by the time he came on board, he saw that a lot of damage has been done by the Buhari government. On a personal note, I want to give this government at least a year. One year is enough for you to show the citizens this is what you are up to. So I’m giving this government a year before I will pass my own judgement.

What do you think is wrong with our electoral system and how can we get it right?

Corruption is the bane of our electoral system and that is just the truth. Unless the politicians or the political parties, the security agents and those at INEC change their ways, our electoral system will continue to suffer. These three form the tripod on which the success of any election is judged. INEC cannot conduct election without support from the security agents and the politicians always have their ways around these two. To be frank and sincere to ourselves, our electoral system is bedevilled with corruption owing to the activities of corrupt politicians, corrupt INEC officials and corrupt security agents.

During election, INEC will provide all the necessary materials to make sure that elections go the way it should but a politician can connive with the security agents to do his bidding and even go to the extent of conniving with INEC staff so that the results can favour him. The moment we do away with corruption we are going to have a good electoral system.

Credit: Nigerian Tribune

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