Outspoken Kano-based female politician, Hajiya Najatu Muhammad, resigned as the Director of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, dumped the ruling party on Saturday. Hours after, Najatu who is a member of the Police Service Commission (PCC) threw her weight behind the candidature of the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar. But in his reaction, Tinubu said Najatu was a mole in the party, adding that she was sacked before she hurriedly resigned from her office. Featuring on Trust TV’s Daily Politics, anchored by Hamza Idris, Najatu said President Muhammadu Buhari has reneged on the promises he made to Nigerians while seeking their mandates and believes Tinubu will be worse.
You took over the airspace on Saturday with your sudden resignation; what informed that decision?
So many things; first and foremost I want people to understand that I didn’t want to take the position (director in Tinubu campaign organisation) in the first place.
Meaning the director of civil…?
Yes, and they pleaded with me to accept it and because I don’t want to be arrogant when people and some Muslims say in the name of Allah accept.
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Some people pleaded with you?
Yes and that was why I took it in the first place but I gave them a condition and my condition was that I had to sit with Asiwaju and know what he has for us, particularly northern Nigeria, because like I told him, I can no longer be a zombie. When we followed Buhari, we followed him without an agenda; we followed him blindfolded.
You are talking about you and your members?
Most of us; most of Buhari’s supporters, you understand, who followed him for over a decade did so blindfolded. Well, we thought that Buhari would change the situation for us and that is why people say they regret what they have done. I don’t regret it. I don’t regret it.
Yes, I don’t regret supporting him.
And following him since 2003 …
In 2002, I started the Buhari campaign; the day we gave him the card of APP then, he solicited my support the first day he came to our national secretariat here in Abuja and then from then I didn’t stop but you know that is history.
However, what I am trying to say is this; I followed Buhari and millions of people followed Buhari because they thought he would change Nigeria for the better but we never gave him an agenda; we never gave him demands; we never made an agreement with Buhari as to what we want.
You only trusted him?
We only trusted him, so this time around we have to learn from experience.
Has he betrayed that trust?
Yes, he has in every way because first and foremost, we are Muslims. I am a Muslim, I am first a Muslim before anything, before Nigeria, before anything I am a Muslim, I am accountable to my Creator to whom is the final return, I don’t joke with that.
And I told Buhari after he was sworn in in 2015, I said sir, you cannot rule without your trusted followers. It is an injunction in the Quran in which Allah spoke to our prophet and directed our prophet that he should listen to the advice of his khalifas, the guided sahabah.
And why did Allah say that? For two reasons; one, it is only Allah that can rule alone without any advice, without an adviser, and two; his sahabah are those that have made the sacrifices, those that fought; they have sacrificed everything for the prophet to build a government in Medina, so Allah said he should listen to their advice.
But Buhari discarded all of his sahabas, all, 99 per cent.
Do you mean the followers?
You have followers and you have confidants, you have the steering; he discarded each and every one of us, so none of us was taken to the villa, none of us after the swearing-in.
You mean all the people working with him are aliens?
They are not aliens but they did not participate in the movement; they did not partake in the movement. Most of them were his blood relations; you don’t do that. We know about the cabal; it is made up of his blood relations.
The presidency had dismissed the allegation that the government is being manipulated by cabals…
Well, there is a difference between the lie and the truth; we don’t have to go into that. However, it is forbidden in Islam to take people just because they are your blood relations, you don’t do that as Muslims.
So I am first and foremost a Muslim and all the promises he made concerning corruption, concerning security, agriculture, concerning giving Nigerians an enabling environment to conduct their businesses, he reneged on all promises, he is serving in the most corrupt government Nigeria has ever had because at no time….
Do you mean his government is the most corrupt?
It’s the most corrupt as of today.
Compared to both military and civilian rule?
Yes, it is the most corrupt.
But do you have some facts? Because he said he is fighting corruption more than any other government.
Who did he fight? Even recently he pardoned some of the biggest thieves we had in Nigeria.
You are referring to former governors?
Yes, of course. Why should he do that? You hear as billions stolen by a particular individual and the story goes under the carpet. Right now, we are hearing of trillions missing.
But Asiwaju has been preaching and saying that definitely he is going to build on what Buhari has done. So what is it about Buhari that he wants to build on?
Now, who convinced you to be part of the campaign?
He – Asiwaju convinced me.
What did he tell you and how were you convinced?
Well, you see, as a Muslim, I rejected the appointment ab-initio. When they called me for it, I said I didn’t want.
But some are even bribing their way to get such appointments…
I don’t need it, why should I? What is it, I am 66 years old, and at 66 what do I want? What do I need? All I need is the legacy I am leaving behind that will serve me in my grave.
When I rejected the appointment, he called me that they had given me the directorate of civil services and I told them I didn’t want it, so he said please accept it, I said no. He said why are you not accepting it? I said because Asiwaju knows me, he knows where I am, he didn’t call me to tell me. You are calling me today that my name will be out tomorrow, I don’t want it.
So we agreed that I would see Asiwaju but let me allow them for the list that was coming up the next day because it can’t wait. But if after sitting with Asiwaju, I feel that I am not satisfied, I can opt-out. For that reason, if you’d noticed, in my name there were two names; a director and a co-director and they were right to have done that.
So I went to London to see Asiwaju, the very next day and I sat with him and he first apologised that he didn’t call me based on that and I said sir, I refused to accept your appointment because you haven’t told me nor have you told Nigerians what you have for us up North.
You are now making reference to maybe the mistake during Buhari?
Yes and he told me point blank. I said sir, what do you have in your blueprint for us up North? He said he doesn’t have a blueprint.
What does that mean; he said he has maybe a Nigerian blueprint or what?
No, he said he doesn’t. I said what do you have for us up North?
Since that is your constituency?
He said nothing. This is what Asiwaju told me. I said sir, then what are….
Were there some people when you were discussing this?
Yes, there was Baba Bisi Akande and then I felt very bad and I said how can you go and rule without a blueprint, I am quoting him verbatim, he said “I will not have a blueprint until I win the election because I will be stepping on too many toes and they will try to destroy me.” But then he said, “If you have anything for the north that you want me to put in my manifesto then I will take it and put it on my manifesto”
I felt bad but I had to be patient. So I went back and I sat with one of my leaders and we came up with a couple of things that include the almajiri problem, the question of agriculture, the question of out-of-school kids, the question of how to tackle our sea of youths, able-bodied men and women doing nothing in northern Nigeria; how to engage them. I wrote these things and it took me just about a week while I was still in London.
Now, you said you have some issues because there was no blueprint for the North from his end but you now came and articulated some but you were shielded from him?
I struggled to see him so that I can give it to him but I was finally told by one of his handlers that he is sorry, they can’t put in my request because like he said and I am quoting “he said Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had already given them an agenda and that is the only agenda”, this was what he told me. It might not be true because I don’t expect Mallam Nasir to do just that.
To take a unilateral decision?
Not just unilateral, I don’t expect somebody like Nasir El-Rufai just to say that the only thing the North needs is state police; was what this handler of Asiwaju told me.
And who gave him (El-Rufai that power?
This is what I’m driving at and having done that, I felt very bad but I still persevered and then the next step I took was to see all those that I feel are opinion moulders from the North within the APC. I asked them to please let us come together and form a bloc of opinion-moulders in APC from the North so that we give to Asiwaju what we feel and know that the North needs. He has to sign MoU with us,
Maybe a kind of charter that would be made public?
Exactly, these are our requirements but typical of northerners, they refused. For the past three months, I have been shuttling between one of them or the other and they did not.
We have a responsibility; I have a responsibility to God and to humanity. God has favoured us, He has given us some favours and we have to account for these favours.
So having done all these things, we cannot pin Asiwaju down but the worse part of it is that we know, everyone knows and not because it is Asiwaju’s fault to be ill, it is not Asiwaju’s fault that he has dementia.
Was there any arrangement for El-Rufai to speak on behalf of the North?
Well, I don’t know whether they had that arrangement between them because if you look at it, Asiwaju appears to be dealing with APC governors alone, so I don’t know at which stage he took that.
You said Asiwaju has dementia? Do you have evidence?
Severally. He cannot even decipher, he cannot even understand. If you had listened to his speeches, I am not saying what is happening to him is his fault; it is part of human nature.
But who is packaging him?
The people packaging him are the people you see him with all the time, they are visible.
Was this part of the reasons you were sceptical even at the initial stage?
That is part of the reason but I didn’t know the severity until I met and sat with him.
So I was thinking that if at least those of us from the North can sit and put up a package and pin him down to sign that okay when you win, we can do this and this for you but if you win, these are our demands for the North because I remember seeing the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce writing out their demands to Asiwaju.
But are our leaders up here in the North trying to hide something that they don’t really care to sign this charter?
If they don’t care, I care.
After your resignation, the next thing we saw was your picture with Atiku Abubakar, why?
Yes, because that wasn’t the first time I met him, in fact, I have been trying to meet not just with Atiku but I was also gauging other candidates. As I was saying, one of my preferred candidates is actually Kwankwaso of NNPP.
Are you still going to meet with him now or you have made up your mind?
No, I have already made up my mind.
And you think APC continuity will lead to more oppression or what?
The question is that the person they are taking is incapable of leading.
But some people said Atiku, when it comes to health, Tinubu is even better.
Atiku is sane, finish.
Some people are saying he (Atiku) also has dementia.
I don’t know about that.
What is unique about him?
You know before going to Tinubu, actually, it was Atiku who first called me. I have sat with them severally, I have asked them the same questions that I asked Tinubu and they had given me brochures, blueprints of at least, one or two things, particularly the question of security.
Have you ever thought of leaving your position as a member of the Police Service Commission?
I wouldn’t want to answer that question.
Are you still a member there?
Very much so.
You were appointed by Buhari
And you are not happy with what he did?
Look, when Buhari gave me that appointment, I swore by the Quran to defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not to be subservient to Buhari, I am not serving Buhari, I am serving my country.
Was that why you have been outspoken?
I have been outspoken all my life.