Alhaji Muhammadu Murtala is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna. In this interview, Murtala says they rejected the ministerial replacement nominee by former Governor Nasir El-Rufai because he made it without consultation. Excerpts:
What is your take on the N5 billion recently released to states as palliative by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to cushion the hardship in the country?
What I want to emphasise is that after several mistakes in the past, while trying to disburse such gestures, we hope they will not repeat similar mistakes. Each state should carefully select those who would be responsible for disbursing the funds, especially here in Kaduna.
We have witnessed how these distributions were handled in the past, where those in charge favoured themselves and their relations rather than those in need. We expect the current governor to be steadfast and ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the sharing formula. If they intend to replicate past injustices, we will not agree, as it won’t yield positive results. They must choose individuals with integrity to manage the fund’s distribution, as that is its intended purpose.
- Foreign Affairs Minister to unveil vision that ‘will reposition Nigeria’ soon
- Disease, hunger hit Benue IDP camp
Selecting or appointing individuals with questionable character for disbursement would hinder the desired outcome, which would impact the party’s popularity in the state.
Some believe that the northern states deserve more than N5 billion per state due to their higher population compared to states in the south or other regions in the country. Do you share this view?
Yes, I agree with that viewpoint. When we consider population, there’s no comparison between states like Kano and Bayelsa. Larger states with higher populations should receive more palliative support than smaller ones. Additionally, we’re talking about states that contributed more votes to the president and the party. Thus, the North West states should receive more palliative support compared to others.
Our share should be greater since our population surpasses that of other regions. Our people voted for this party and the president based on politics. Therefore, I strongly appeal to the president to increase the palliative fund for the northwestern zone. This would make those who turned out in large numbers to vote for this administration feel a sense of satisfaction.
The issue of former Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s decision to withdraw his ministerial interest and the subsequent nomination of his replacement has caused division among APC members within Kaduna. What is your reaction to this?
What division and where? Are you referring to APC members in the state? Could you clarify?
Yes, we were told it is among your party members…
Alright, if there’s a division within the party, it might stem from El-Rufai’s departure and decision to single-handedly nominate somebody. Did he consult with party stakeholders before nominating a replacement for his ministerial candidacy? Did he involve us? Keep in mind, he joined our party, but nobody reached out to me. Many of us weren’t contacted either. He wasn’t interested because he wasn’t screened, yet he brought in a replacement. So what sets him apart from his nominee replacement? They are essentially the same.
Hence, we shouldn’t support President Tinubu accepting El-Rufai’s ministerial nominee. They should engage us in discussions, just as they did during campaigns when they sought our help to mobilise voters. The same approach should be applied to appointments. We need to gather and assess each other’s contributions to the party’s success at the ward, local government, and state levels.
It’s not acceptable for someone to unilaterally select a person based on personal connections and nominate them for a position without involving other party stakeholders. I, Multala, won’t endorse that, and I’ll stand firm against it. We all have a stake in this party, as we are stakeholders. All those interested in the ministerial position should be presented to us for evaluation. We can then choose the individual who has contributed the most to the party at the state level. No one should attempt to outsmart us; we all hold a stake.
Other zones, especially Southern Kaduna, within the state are also expressing interest in the ministerial position. What is your view?
Regardless of the zone, we’re all party members. However, the key question is whether Zone 3 (Southern Zone) has contributed enough votes to deserve a ministerial position. If they haven’t provided sufficient support, they should reconsider their aspirations. They should choose the best course of action if they want to remain active in the party. If they are uninterested, they can adhere to their familiar style of politics. As for us here, we’ll continue with our approach until they realise their oversight and seek cooperation. If not, they will remain in the same situation.