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Buhari will defeat Jonathan if he gets APC ticket – Argungu

Notable aspirants have kicked against the planned consensus to select APC’s flagbearer for the presidential election. Do you think the party will be able to…

Notable aspirants have kicked against the planned consensus to select APC’s flagbearer for the presidential election. Do you think the party will be able to manage the fallout of the disaffection this might cause before going for the election?
APC is a new party and it is made up of democrats from the major opposition parties. We are used to the consensus issue. The constitution of the party has made provision for it in article 20. (1 to 2) sub section 2, that in the event of consensus it is just the issue of yes or no vote. But as democrats it is good that there should be an avenue where everybody, the electorate, members of the party and delegates are allowed to express their interest on who they want to govern them. We have to show some differences from the other political party that only anointed a person and said they all endorsed him.  
Despite the fact that some people are of different opinions regarding the consensus, I will love a situation whereby the flagbearer of the party will emerge in a free and fair election. We will manage the crisis and I am sure the leadership of our party at all levels are consulting seriously to ensure that at the end of the National Convention we will come out with one candidate for the presidential election.

Some elements within your party are of the opinion that the likes of Gen Buhari, Atiku, Kwankwaso and others should leave the stage for young and brilliant members of the party with leadership qualities. What is your view?
Well, my opinion is that despite the fact that there are talents I also agreed that they should be allowed to come forward and be tested to see how trusted they can be. Notwithstanding, I believe the likes of Buhari should be given the chance so that the younger ones can learn from these gentlemen that have been tested and trusted over the years.

Gen.  Buhari has declared his intention to take a shot once again at the presidency. Do you think he can get the APC ticket?
By what we saw on the day of his declaration and even before then I can tell you he will get the party’s ticket. You could see how people were converging from every nook and crammy of the country particularly from the Northern part just to identify with him.  Electorates and party members who had to transport themselves from different parts of the country to come and witness the declaration of Buhari in Abuja, it was a great feat for him. Some of this people even slept at the venue of his declaration.  
Again, if you see the large turnout of party faithful certainly you will know that the electorates down the ladder, at the ward and local government levels are seriously looking for a change and they believe it is Buhari that will bring that change. With what we saw, if more efforts are put into it, meaning that the party leaders, Buhari and his team would continue to go to other places before the time of the convention to canvass for more support from the electorate particularly from the other end of the country.  If this is done he will get the party ticket to run again for the presidency.

In past elections that Buhari contested, it was argued by his associates and supporters that he actually won but was robbed of his victories. What is your party doing now to prevent a reoccurrence of this in 2015?
It is not the issue of the party making mistake so to say but it is the electorates. Buhari contested in my party, the ANPP two times in 2003 and 2007. It was believed and we all knew that he won the elections but because of the circumstances we found ourselves, that is to say the umpire, INEC and the ruling party, PDP and some of the political elites who don’t want that change to come were used to make sure that his victories were scuttled.
We went to the tribunal, up to the Supreme Court to get justice but unfortunately, for obvious reasons, everybody saw how it happened we didn’t get justice.
In 2011 when he contested on the platform of the CPC it was very clear that he won the presidential election again. But to the dismay of Nigerians, first in the history of the country, the election was stopped at that particular time because the PDP has seen that if that election was allowed to continue certainly CPC would win. We were surprised with how the leadership of INEC, who were given a lot of money to ensure that a level playing ground is achieved in the election, succumbed to the dictate and machination of the ruling party.
We are doing everything to make sure this does not happen again. We are educating the electorates and the independent election observers who were here during the elections knew what happened and I am sure nobody wants a repeat of what happened again. We won’t say what we are doing to stop that because they may hijack it and use it against us but we are making serious arrangements to ensure we are not rigged out again.

If you look at level of preparation of President Jonathan for the coming election would you say Buhari has a chance of defeating him?
If eventually Buhari emerges as the presidential flagbearer of the APC in the coming convention, I have no doubt that he would defeat President Jonathan. Don’t forget this is a democratic set up, this is Nigeria. We all know ourselves and we know what is happening. Some of us live in the rural areas, we live with the electorates, we know what they are saying and we know what they want.
Most of this people you are seeing with campaign organizations like TAN and many others campaigning for Jonathan are just doing it for their selfish ends. Some of them are our friends, some of them are our political associates. We interact with them despite the fact that we don’t belong to the same political parties but they told us they are there just to get the booty that is being budgeted for the purpose. You wait and see, come February 2015 you will see wonders.
Even before that time you will see that after getting what they want they will decamp to the APC. When these things are happening there is no doubt Buhari will defeat Jonathan in 2015. The APC is combat ready, we have made necessary arrangements to win the elections.

What are the chances of APC in Kebbi State after the party congress that brought disaffection among its members?
Despite the disaffection that occurred during the last congress in my state the party is firmly on ground in Kebbi State. We are all politicians, we believe in destiny and that whatever happens nobody will run away from his own destiny. We have agreed, some party leaders from the North-West, the governor of Kano State, Kwankwaso and the governor of Sokoto State played some role to ensure that these differences are resolved.  
At present things are working and we have all identified with the leadership of the party and resolved to help it to improve its capacity to do justice to everybody in the state. Very soon the flabrearers of the party for the elections will be produced. We are working on coming together to bury our differences so as to take over the control of government in Kebbi State in 2015.

What is your role in this. Are you contesting the governorship of the state?
Just recently people from my constituency nominated three of us for the governorship elections. They will escort us on Friday to submit our Letter of Expression of Interest to state headquarters and leadership of our party. Before then concerned elders in the state have identified eight of us who they know can do the job of governing the state.
They have met about four times with us trying to see how we can put our heads together to come out with one of us who will be the flagbearer of APC in Kebbi State in the governorship elections. For now I can tell you that I am going to contest the governorship of Kebbi State. We are trying to show differences in the state not like before where deputy governors are carried along like spare tyres, this time we want to make a people government.  

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