•Says ‘Presidency faction’ divided into three sub-factions
•Explains why camps are like oil and water
•‘Why I fell out with Buhari’
Alhaji Buba Galadima is not an inconsequential politician in Nigerian politics. He has been around for a while. Galadima, a former close associate of President Muhammadu Buhari, was the National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the platform that presented Buhari for the presidency in 2011, and one of the nine signatories to the merger agreement between the three political parties that came together, with a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
In 2017, he decamped to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after falling out with Buhari and was named as one of the spokespersons for the party.
In this interview, Galadima speaks as a former insider in APC on the crisis rocking the ruling party at the federal level which has seen the dissolution of the Oshiomhole leadership and the inauguration of a Caretaker Committee to produce a new executive through a National Convention in six months. Excerpts:
You were a member of the APC before you defected to the PDP. What is your take on the crisis the ruling party is going through in view and the dissolution of the Oshiomhole leadership by President Muhammadu Buhari and the NEC of the party?
The truth of the matter is that every knowledgeable Nigerian knew that what happened would be the climax. I was quoted to have predicted severally when Adams Oshiomhole was made Chairman.
Made or elected?
Made. There were factions because he was not properly elected. He was put there to do the bidding of some people because they knew that he was an arrogant and a ‘gra-gra’ person. And I predicted that he was going to crash the party and that he was going to be the undertaker. That is exactly what has happened. And unless extreme care is taken and a lot of wisdom is applied, the APC will blow into pieces.
They are now divided into three factions. One of the factions is also divided into three sub-factions. The Adams Oshiomhole and Bola Tinubu (National Leader of the party and a former governor of Lagos State) faction is one. The El- Rufai (governor of Kaduna State), Amaechi (Minister of Transportation), Badaru (governor of Jigawa State) and others is another. The Presidency itself is one faction. Now, the Presidency faction is divided into three sub-factions with three different people sponsoring them.
Technically, before the death of Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, it used to be five sub-factions. I saw this coming. Unless there is wisdom, perseverance is applied, they will never come together. Just like water and palm oil, they will never meet. It will be a fight-to-the-finish for the soul of the party because whosoever controls the executive would produce the presidential candidate of the party in 2023, who they believe, automatically becomes the President of Nigeria because they have the forces of coercion under their control. You can see that the President didn’t sign the Electoral Bill into law. He promised before the election that whoever wins (whether APC or PDP presidential candidate) should immediately sign the bill into law. Now, he won and refused to sign, and Nigerians are not bothered why he refused to sign.
So this allusion of yours is the reason he is yet to sign…
Yes. Because we all know that APC cannot win an election without the support of the forces of coercion. Did you think they won the 2019 general elections without the support of the judiciary among others? A senior INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) official told me that they assisted to win seven states for the APC.
Are you, in essence, saying PDP is more popular than APC?
So you didn’t know? If they (APC) are not that popular, why do they need to make use of the military for elections? Buhari dissolved the leadership of the party, the question is, is it fair and legal? The answer is no, but since the dramatis personae have accepted the verdict of the President.
Who are the dramatis personae?
Every one of them! The Oshiomholes, the Tinubus, the Waziris, they have all accepted the illegality and so the illegal becomes legitimate, by their own admission of fear. When they said they were going to court, I swore by my life that they would never dare take the party or President to court because they have what they can use against Oshiomhole if he dares to go to court.
That is why he rushed to accept the verdict or the illegality of the dissolution of the APC leadership. If the airports had not been shut down for Covid-19, I am sure he would have taken the next available flight out of Nigeria.
Unless the country is properly restructured, it may be extinct, former President Obasanjo just warned. What is your take?
I would not say if Nigeria is not properly structured… What is keeping us as a nation is a bunch of contradictions. That is what is keeping us together. We shall continue to be there because of the inherent contradictions in ourselves, community, states and the country. So who bells the cat? If the old Eastern Region wants to secede, they cannot because even the local communities there will not accept one another. It is just like the clamour for the regional structure to be brought back.
Is that not where we were before?
Yes. But who brought us to this stage?
No. who was the architect of regionalism? The Sardauna of Sokoto. He was the architect and ardent believer in regionalism. The late Chief Awolowo (former Premier of Western Region and Federal Commissioner for Finance under Gowon administration) was the architect of states creation from then regions; he forsook Bendel just to make an incursion into the North.
The late Dr Azikiwe and General Aguiyi Ironsi were the architects of the unitary system of government. Even as we have 36 states, there are still agitations by small groups within states, asking for states to be created within them. If you go the South-West, which it is assumed to be monolithic, do you remember that Lagos even refused to join them to form a region? We don’t fight for what is good for the country or for everyone; we fight for what is good for individuals.
That is part of the contradictions I am talking about. I believe very strongly in restructuring, but what form of restructuring? Up till now, nobody has been able to define the restructuring they agitate about. I was a member of the 1987/88 Constituent Assembly. I was a member of the 1994 Constitutional Conference. I was a member of the 2014 Jonathan’s Conference.
So, I should know. I wasn’t a bench warmer while there. I was a foremost person with people rallying around me. I was the arrowhead of my group then. We can do restructuring to make Nigeria better if it is the restructuring I am thinking about.
Part of that restructuring is the agitation for state police.
No, I can’t support state police because I have personal experience.
That is an isolated case.
All the people talking about state police are people who didn’t know anything about the First Republic or the Native Authority. It is not in your interest to have state police. The mere fact that your name is Ola, you will be personal non-grata here in Abuja. It will bring more damage and harm. The typical example is what you see with the state electoral commissions, whether the ruling party is popular or not, it is the ruling party that usually wins local government elections. That is exactly what will happen with state police. If you are talking about restructuring, check Malaysia. There was a conference in the country after their President was sworn-in.
The President put a question before the people: How do you want Malaysia to be 20 years after independence? They sat down to decide where they wanted Malaysia to be 20 years after independence.
Malaysia is comprised of Chinese, Indians and Malase, three tribes. The Malase are 54 per cent to 56 per cent while the rest put together are about 44 per cent. They all designed constituencies to vote for people. What is the role of those constituents? They are to come and superintend and look after what Malaysians agreed to be 20 years after independence.
Every five years, they have what you call Development Plan that takes care of everybody, no need to fight. In Malaysia, no politician comes to talk about “if you vote for me, I will give you borehole, I will give you electricity”. All those have been guaranteed in the agreed Plan. That is restructuring. Now, we are fighting about borehole and light and employment here.
You don’t need anybody to give you employment. All that you need in the country is a representation to make sure that what is destined for you by that agreement is delivered to you. And they (Malaysians) designed the country in such a way that everybody, for example, if you are getting married, there is a house and key to a car for you. There is money for upkeep for you. If you are old, 60 and above, you don’t need to work, you cannot go to a shop and take two bags of rice, you don’t need it. It is one.
And they are all peaceful. But here, there is no employment, there is nothing for you. Nobody in my area is given employment. My children here, all graduates, do not have jobs because I don’t belong to the right camp. Here, everybody fends for himself like you are on your own. You create wealth for yourself. This is the kind of restructuring our leaders should be asking for. You must belong to a particular tribe or religion to get some things done.
No. it should not be. All of us should be on the same page. If I don’t have money to bribe, I cannot win the election. Before now, a minimum of 50 cars must come to this house. By 3 am, there won’t be space for you to park. Look at my house, two bedrooms, because I didn’t steal. I built it 30 something years ago. I just returned from the farm now. Everybody that is in office surrounds himself with his tribes and kinsmen. That is why everybody wants to steal. That is why nobody wants to farm. We cannot develop without self-sufficiency in food. No country develops without manufacturing.
Prof Ango Abdulahi of the Northern Elders Forum said Nigerians were stupid to have elected the APC government. But the government replied to the Forum that it was just a general without troops.
They are right. The reply they gave Ango Abdulahi was right because they have no stake. They are there because they must get something to eat. They didn’t cook the food. They are just eating. They had to say that to somebody of the calibre of Ango so that they continue to retain their jobs. When we were in the trenches with Buhari, where were they?
What do they know? When Ango and the Northern Elders supported Buhari in 2015 against President Jonathan whom they assumed was responsible for the killings all over the North, where were they? They were on the other side. Since they want to keep their jobs, they would have to say something. Good luck to them. But Nigerians are yet to see anything. We told them in 2019 that Buhari should not be touched with even a long spoon.
But you claimed Buhari was your friend, that he was a good man…
There is always a first time. You may not fully understand people until they have money, power and that is when you know their true colour. And I didn’t hesitate to say I am sorry. I erred. - Vanguard