Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Engr Buba Galadima has dismissed claims that the party has any link with terrorists, insisting that the Federal Government is the terrorist.Engr Galadima, a delegate to the National Conference, in an interview with IHEANACHO NWOSU, also spoke on other issues including decisions taken at the national conference and impeachment of former Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako.It is argued that the National Conference, to which you were a delegate, failed given the way it ended, what is your position on this?
In the first place, let me say that we have not gone on a long recess; we have only gone on two weeks recess. The recess is to enable the secretariat to compile our thinking as reflected in our recommendations or resolutions at the plenary sessions. Once these things are compiled and properly documented, we will resume on August 4 to look at them and decide whether they were true reflection of our decisions. As soon as that is accepted, the recommendations will be passed to the convening authority, that is, the government that set up the conference. They will now know what to do with the resolutions so far adopted by the conference.
But the inability of the delegates to agree on key issues like the derivation formula has led to the argument that the conference was a failure?
A lot of people are not conversant with parliamentary procedures and they are not in a position to understand what it was that we agreed upon. Everything accepted by a group of people in a parliamentary debate becomes the position of the parliament. As far as we were concerned, we adopted a position. This means that we agreed on that position, whether it is for or against is immaterial. We had a recommendation by the committee on Devolution of Power and Resource Control. We agreed that the status quo should be maintained. And that position of the committee was adopted at the plenary.
By arriving at that decision, we advised government to set up a technical committee of experts to advise it on the nitty-gritty of revenue sharing. It means that the status quo will continue to operate until that committee brings up a contrary position. The National Assembly will adopt this before it becomes law.
If you say that there was no disagreement on the derivation, how about the five per cent recommendation for rehabilitation and reconstruction of North East?
The five per cent was not part of our committee’s recommendation. An ad hoc committee set up by the conference recommended it. It came up when some people wanted to change the status quo which was adopted at the committee level. They failed to achieve that.
At the beginning of the conference, you accused the President of habouring a hidden agenda. Now that the conference is about to end, do you still hold such opinion?
Of course, yes. Whoever sets up such advisory body like the National Conference must have an agenda, which may be open or hidden. As far as the open agenda is concerned, everything was treated. As for insinuations of hidden agenda, yes I held strongly that there were. Some of the hidden agenda, which were under the table, were at a point brought up but were defeated at the plenary.
They include new constitution, tenure extension, referendum, etc. They were hidden agenda intended to promote certain things for certain people but they were roundly defeated by majority of the delegates.
At what point did the tenure elongation come up?
Of course, there was issue like that. Some people projected and tabled a motion that they wanted the tenure of Mr. President and the governors to be extended from four years to six. Even some people suggested that the President should be given a two-year extension over and above what he is enjoying now. All these things were openly debated and roundly defeated at the plenary. This could be some of the things that I referred to as hidden agenda.
Of course, parts of the hidden agenda were moved by some people to secure a large chunk of our revenues. This was also defeated. We agreed that the status quo should be maintained.
Outside these issues you mentioned, are you satisfied with other decisions reached by the conference?
I am satisfied with some of them. We are in a democracy, I may have my different opinion on certain issues but the majority will definitely have their way. I objected to the issue of the dissolution of local governments. I don’t believe that it is in the interest of Nigeria that we dissolve the local governments. We should rather maintain the local governments as a third tier of government. I will continue to say and defend at any level that we need the local governments as presently constituted. If there are inequities in the distribution of local governments, we must find a way of addressing these inequities and inequality in the number and size of councils.
Some people out of hate and spite tried to compare Lagos and Kano without looking at the parameters that were used in creating local government areas in these two states. Kano has 44 councils while Lagos with nearly an equal population to Kano has 20 LGs. Because some people are promoting hate,z they only questioned why the two states with almost equal population have disparity in the number councils. They argued that Kano has 44 because those who created the councils were from the North; they were from Kano. They have never extended the argument to say that in creating local governments, a number of factors and parameters were taken into consideration. One of the factors is population. Other factors are landmass, contingent parts like the environment.
All these issues were considered. When you look at these factors, Kano is 10 times the size of Lagos. Lagos is a city state. If people who say some of these things were not mischievous, they should have compared Lagos to Osun. The former with a population of 10 million, according to the census, has 20 LGs and the latter with a population of less than three million people has 30 LGs. If it is also not out of mischief the same people talking about Kano should also talk about Rivers that has less than four million population, yet it has less local governments than Osun. Whether we accept it or not, we are using the census figure for all the things we do.
Akwa Ibom, which has less than 10 per cent of the size of Kano with a population of less than three million people, has 32 LGs. Nobody is talking about that. Rivers, which has more population than Akwa Ibom, bigger landmass, has less LGS than Akwa Ibom.
If the comparison of Kano with Lagos was not out of mischief or hate, the same people making the criticism should have compared Rivers with Akwa Ibom or Lagos with Osun. It does not matter what parameters you use, there is no way anybody can defend that the criticism of Kano, which was not done out of hate and mischief. No matter the parameters used as criteria for creation of LGs, Kano would always have more councils. The state has bigger landmass, large population, etc.
I suggested at the national conference what we should do but people because of primordial sentiment refused to listen. What I said is that we should allow local governments to be a third tier of government but make a recommendation to authorities like the Presidency to set up a national commission as was done by Gen. Murtala Mohammed under Justice Irikife to draw criteria for creating local governments and address all inequities and inequalities. The commission should arrive at the number of local governments that would be acceptable based on laid down criteria, not sentiments.
You cannot dissolve local governments because the reason for creating them was on account of the fact that there are certain communities in certain states that would never have the opportunity to have a say on who becomes governor of a state or what happens at the state level. But if you give these people their small autonomy, authority and enclave, they will manage themselves as they wished.
They can use the local government, when we go into strict constitutional requirement for councils, to manage their primary school education, bursary, scholarship, agriculture, health, environmental challenges . Allow them to do that at the level of their communities. It is wrong to say you are throwing away these councils because you believe certain states or certain parts of the country have more councils, therefore they have more access to national revenues. That is why they want LGs taken out of the federation units.
The other issue, which I also do not agree with, is that of state police. You saw Abia State recently registering northerners in the state because it has the support of Federal Government. Kano immediately resolved to do that also. Imo also moved in that line. That is not healthy for the country. We have the constitution, which provides that every Nigerian is free to live in any part of the country and carries out his or her legitimate business and cannot be discriminated against.
But suddenly Kano people woke up and said every non-indigene in the state should be registered. Is that healthy for us? Is that healthy for the polity? Is that healthy for the unity of this country? It is not. And if Kano has its own police, it may not use the federal police to effect the registration exercise. Abia was using federal police to do that because they belong to the same basket. Is that good for the Igbos, Yorubas, Nupes,Tivs, etc in Kano to be registered because they are not indigenes? When we know that Kano people have got the largest heart among Nigerians. They made a Nupe man become governor of Kano, Borno man was made governor of Kano, Edo man was crowned governor of Kano, an Igbo man was made governor of Kano. Which other tribe or states in Nigeria have shown such large heart to not only accommodate other people but made them governors of their states.
Those, who do not know the implication of what they are clamouring for, promoted the issue of state police. This issue was fought and won by Mallam Aminu Kano because he and those that worked with him knew what the native authorities were doing to the opposition. Adoption of the local authorities police or state police means that you are killing democracy. If Kwankwaso had a state police during the appointment of Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi, there would have been war in this country by now. We should promote those things that would unite us and do away with those that would divide us.
There were media reports that some vocal northern delegates, including you, are lobbying northern legislators at the National Assembly to kill some of these issues you outlined ahead of the formal presentation of the conference’s report. What informed your move?
I hope those who are accusing the vocal delegates from the North who have gone to the National Assembly do believe that the National Assembly is a structure of government in Nigeria. We have the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. The National Assembly has a role to play in any constitutional amendment. In a democracy, whether vocal or passive, if a person feels shortchanged, he can run to every section of Nigeria. So, why is anybody afraid of people going to the National Assembly?
Having said so, however, I don’t know those vocal delegates who have gone to the National Assembly. I may be termed one of the vocal delegates but have never gone to the National Assembly to speak to anybody. But people should also agree that I have some rights in a democracy. They tell us that is the best practice in America, Europe, etc. If it were so, then why would anybody raise eyebrow if anybody decides to approach the National Assembly to promote a cause that he believes in. It means that these people shouting democracy are not sincere. Are there hidden motives that they are trying to keep away from the public? Let the same people making the allegation also go to the National Assembly to promote their views and ideas. It is the superiority of ideas and arguments that would always prevail.
You accused Federal Government of trying to destabilise the polity, why such allegation?
Are you not a Nigerian? Are you comfortable with what the Federal Government is doing? Removing governors because they disagree with the Presidency. We have intelligence report showing that the presidency wants to remove six governors who belong to the opposition. The presidency is afraid that if APC continues to control the number of states they are controlling, Jonathan will lose the 2015 election.
Even in the PDP states, I want to assure you that Jonathan will not win those states in the general election if we play our cards well. They intend to remove the Governor of Edo who they consider too stubborn for them. We don’t know the type of troops they will deploy there -whether Army, Air force or Navy to get him off. They had wanted to remove Nyako by force. They did not want him out because he embezzled the money they are accusing him of. If the issue is about embezzlement of money, then those who sent troops to remove him would be the first people to be hanged, not even impeached.
They removed Nyako because they are claiming and suspecting that he has a compendium of what have been happening and want to send it to the International Court of Justice at the Hague. They resolved to remove him and poison or kill him so as to destroy every evidence. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t know that God is greater than man. They intended to catch Nyako as a common criminal; he left his house 15 minutes before soldiers arrived at his home in Abuja and Yola. They combed his house thoroughly, including climbing the ceiling, trying to find those evidences. They didn’t know how Nyako escaped.
Nyako, as Vice Admiral in the Nigerian Navy, couldn’t have left such evidences in his house.
But there were claims that he ran away to avoid being probed?
Who deserves probe more? I am telling you the reason they are after Nyako. If that is the propaganda they are doing, they are merely feeding you with falsehood. For instance, Gov Al-Makura of Nasarawa State is the most thrift governor, yet they want him impeached. They do not like his face and they want him out. They know that they cannot take the state through the ballot box, they want to impeach him and take over the state.
Nyako has been removed, Al-Makura is on the cue, and also Borno governor. They are among the six governors that they want to remove before the 2015 elections.
However, even if they remove all the governors of the APC, they will still not succeed in coming back.
There is the general feeling that APC is in disarray and that the party has a close link with Boko Haram. Are you not disturbed over that?
Of course, they are saying that. Why won’t the party be in disarray when they are using military police, EFCC and ICPC to hunt APC. We have only one life. If you are not worried over what is happening, let me confess to you that I am worried. So, only APC people are thieves? Our $20bn that was stolen is not money? All the things that were done in the Ministry of Aviation and yet the person who did that has never been chased by EFCC. That does not make any meaning to Nigerians. God is the best planner. They are giving APC different names including having a link with terrorists when they are the real terrorists, terrorizing Nigeria on all fronts. Anybody can do whatever he likes but only God knows His plans for everybody. We are not worried about their lies and propaganda; Nigerians and God know the truth. They are discrediting us because they know that we have both the number and capacity to oust them in 2015, but their campaign cannot work. They are the real terrorists; they have stolen resources that belong to the people of this country, causing death here and there. They are using state apparatus to hunt opposition.
Some APC leaders are leaving the party on the ground that the party has lost focus that Buhari and Tinubu are overbearing. Do you trace that also to the ruling party?
Why can’t they promote themselves to become a Buhari or Tinubu ? They are afraid of competition, they just want to be given leadership on a platter. Where they are going now, will they be alpha and omega there? They think people are fools. Do we look like fools? We cannot take their cheap propaganda and misinformation. Anybody that looks and speaks to us would know that we are intelligent and forward looking like several other Nigerians. We know how to differentiate the chaff from the grain. They are leaving because they have been planted right from the beginning to destroy the party.
Are you talking about ex-governor Sheriff or who?
All of them, they were planted. They have seen that there is no way for them to do that job they have been asked to do. So, they have to go back to where they belong. We have bid them goodbye and wish them best of luck where they are going now. We are good hearted people and that is why we are wishing them well.
What are you foreseeing for the country between now and 2015?
A very bad omen for all of us. The rate these people are going, nobody is sure who they will come after. Maybe, when they finish with those holding office, they are likely to descend on some of us who disagree with them on a number of issues. They can arrest us and lock us up or kill us outright.
Is that part of the intelligence available to you and APC leaders or you are merely predicting ?
Am I the first person to say that? Have you forgotten about Gen Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan? Why are some Nigerians forgetful?
Time will tell. Time is already telling going by what is happening.
What is APC’s plan B?
You mean I should reveal our war strategy for our enemies to know. They will lose the 2015 no matter what they do. That, I can assure you. Even if they kill all the people they think are their problem, they will still lose the election.
Are you saying that Jonathan has no chance in 2015 poll?
Nothing will make him to return. Honestly, I can’t see that happening.