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I値l back APC candidate if not picked, says Buhari

News » Politics

IMAGE: Former Head of State Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) »

03, Jun, 2013


Former Head of State Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) spoke yesterday on his political future.

He said he would support whoever emerges as the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) to challenge the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 election.

Gen. Buhari, the leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who expressed optimism that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would register the new party, which the CPC, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) are championing, spoke in a Liberty Radio interview monitored in Kaduna.

The three-time presidential candidate also fielded questions on a wide range of issues, among which are the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) election crisis and the Boko Haram insurrection.

Gen. Buhari, who has been touted as a hardliner in his quest for the emerging party’s ticket, said: “If APC fails to give me the ticket, I will remain in partisan politics and in the party. Anyone the party picks as its candidate, I will support because I will remain in the APC.”

“The guest of the week” first spoke in Hausa before speaking in English. He said the promoters of the APC were aware of the challenges ahead of them in an effort to register the party, adding that “the road to merger is quite rough”.

“The ruling party, with its enormous resources and its capacity for coercion, has seen it as a threat and they have said it. Personally, I came to realise since 2007 that Nigerians believe that the only way to stabilise the system of multi-party democracy is for the opposition parties that have representatives right from councillors to the National Assembly to come together to deliver their constituencies democratically. This is the only way you can counter PDP’s enormous physical and material influence in the country.”

Gen. Buhari expressed optimism that the APC will be registered. He said: “By nature, I am an optimist. If I were not an optimist, I would not attempt to contest the presidency three times and end up in the Supreme Court three times. I believe we are going to be registered.

“There is a law guiding registration (of parties), which states that you must have your headquarters in the nation’s capital that can be identified by INEC and you must have a convention. All the three parties involved have held their conventions and have agreed to forsake their existing parties and go for APC.

“At the national level, we must have those who will run the party. As soon as we meet these criteria and INEC acknowledges that, 30 days after the acknowledgement, we are APC, whether INEC writes to us and to give us the registration or not”.

Gen. Buhari accused politicians from the Niger Delta of encouraging the insecurity in the country by recruiting and arming youths in their desperate attempt to retain power as governors.

The former Nigerian leader said unlike the special treatment given to the Niger Delta militants by the Federal Government, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished by government.

While accusing President Jonathan of failing from the beginning to address the security situation in the country, Buhari said he had never supported the state of emergency declared by the President on May 15 on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

He said: “What is responsible for the security situation in the country is caused by the activities of Niger Delta militants. Every Nigerian that is familiar with what is happening knows this. The Niger Delta militants started it all.

“What happened is that the governors of the Niger Delta region at that time wanted to win their elections. So, they recruited the youths and gave them guns and bullets. They used them against their opponents to win the elections by force.

“After the elections were over, they asked the boys to return the guns; the boys refused to return the guns. Because of that, the allowance that was being given to the youths by the governors during that time was stopped.

“The youths resorted to kidnapping oil workers and were collecting dollars as ransom. Now a boy of 18 to 20 years was getting about 500 dollars in a week, why will he go to school and spend 20 years to study and then come back and get employed by government to be paid N100,000 a month, that is if he is lucky to get employment.

“So kidnapping became very rampant in the Southsouth and the Southeast. They kidnapped people and were collecting money.

“How did Boko Haram start? We know that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf started his militancy and the police couldn’t control them. The army was invited. He was arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police.

“The appropriate thing to do, according to the law, was for the police to carry out investigations and charge him to court for prosecution, but they killed him. His in-law was killed; they went and demolished their houses. Because of that, his supporters resorted to what they are doing today.

In the case of the Niger Delta militants, Gen. Buhari said the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua sent an aeroplane to bring them. He sat down with them and discussed with them. He added that the militants were cajoled, given money and granted amnesty.

“They were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the North were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues. What brought this? It is injustice,” he said.

Speaking on the controversy surrounding the election of the NGF chairman, Gen. Buhari said since the forum was not a legal body; he saw no reason for the controversy. “The confusion is unfortunate,” he said adding:

“To me, the Governors forum is not constitutional and it is not a party affair because they are supposed to come from all the parties. There is no constitutional law as far as I can see. So,why all these row about it.

“I watched the clip of the election which seems to have been conducted in a free and fair way. But then, Jang came and said he won the election when we saw visibly on the screen how they conducted the election.

“The man who presided over the election declared the result there and then. I was surprised how Jang came to say he won the election and proceeded to open his own secretariat.

“So, if 36 of them can not conduct an election, Nigerians should begin to appreciate what we are in for when they are supposed to be conducting an election for over 140 million people by 2015.”

Article Credit: The Nation Newspaper

Updated 6 Years ago

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