Northern Elements Progressive Union is the oldest party in Northern Nigeria, and since 1950 has gained reality in a modern Nigeria. In a chat with Daily Trust, Balarabe Musa looks at how the party has transformed with the country’s politics.
DT: How has the journey been so far from NEPU to PRP?
The journey has been difficult even though we are the oldest political party and we are a reality because we participated in the contest for power and won power at state level including Kaduna State.
Therefore, we are a reality but because politics has been that of manipulation and use of money we have been reduced to a lower level than we could have been.
But now Nigerians have clearly seen the reality, that money and power shouldn’t be the deciding factors in the leadership of the country. We believe the system should be controlled by credible people which should be the most important thing.
They are now saying that the PRP is the best alternative because the PDP and APC which have been in the political arena have not been able to perform and people are saying that the alternative is PRP. So we regard this as a good opportunity which will clearly show what we have the opportunity because we are the first ideologically based political party in the history of Nigeria.
Are you saying that the APC and PDP that have governed the country have failed Nigerians?
They have completely failed and are endangering the lives of Nigerians in terms of the level of insecurity and incompetence of leadership in the country.
Do you see the possibility of the PRP attaining power in 2023?
We are not giving ourselves a date but 2023 is possible. But we are thinking of the future when Nigerians would be efficient enough to know that the PRP is the only alternative. That will be the right time because we are with the people. We are not exonerating 2023 but we are trying to see the best we can do in 2023.
How did your party manage to win some seats in Bauchi State in the last election?
This is part of the problem because of the new leadership of the party that brought changes like the fees for application forms which I think was N5,000 for councilors but the new leadership raised it to about N70,000 which ordinary members of the PRP can’t afford. So, only members of the PDP and APC that failed to get nominated in their parties despite their money decided to move to PRP. For instance, in Bauchi, two of the people that won the election were prominent members of the PDP and APC, they failed to emerge during the primaries despite their money, so when they found out that PRP members couldn’t afford to get the nomination forms they came to PRP to get nominated and won the elections. As it is today we are not even sure whether they will remain in PRP go back to their former parties.
Is PRP looking at the possibility of going into an alliance with other parties ahead of 2023?
Of course, we have formed a committee of four which we call caucus to advise the party on what relationship we can have with any political party, including the APC and PDP but particularly with other political parties even though we don’t have same ideologies because one of PRP’s ideologies is social restructuring of Nigeria, that is liberating states from the federal economy to ensure peace, equality, justice and development of the country. We have been consistent and it is part of our history right from 1960 when we were NEPU.
What is your party’s position with regard to zoning of the Presidency in 2023?
Yes, the party has no position but individual members of the party like me have positions but the party has not arrived at any position yet.
As an individual, what is your position on zoning?
As far as I’m concerned, for the sake of justice, peace, equality and progress of the party we should accept the zoning system established by the PDP even though we are opposed to the PDP, we shouldn’t oppose everything simply because we are in opposition. So, I support zoning because it looks more justifiable and we are saying that what has the continuation of northern leadership in terms of governance of the country which has brought disaster to the north because when you look at everything the north is backward in terms of development. So this must be changed in favour of a system that is based on peace, equality and progress of Nigeria.
The PRP in Kano
In Kano State, before the 2019 general elections, the PRP was seen as the only small political party that could redefine politics. The party was at a time seen as the third most popular in the state that could win the state.
However, before the 2019 general election, a faction of the party began to have issues with the entry of Malam Salihu Sagir Takai who was later declared as party’s governorship candidate.
The faction led by Mukhtar Zango accused some forces of trying to hijack the party he claimed his group had nurtured for 27 years. The factional leader claimed to be among the followers of late Mallam Aminu Kano, the founder of the party.
It is on record that the crisis started after Takai returned to the PRP and was made the party’s governorship candidate, after he lost at the PDP primaries. The faction believed that when the call for the revival of PRP began, the faction was at the forefront and laboured very hard to actualize the quest.
Similarly, with Takai’s recent defection to the APC the party is said to have witnessed yet another setback. However, a publicity committee member, Alhaji Aminu Gurgu Mai Filo, said Takai’s exit meant the party was now taking the shape it ought to have taken since 2018.
According to him, PRP is gearing up in preparation for upholding the virtues of its founder, Malam Aminu Kano, adding that the exit of Takai marked the beginning of the party’s cleansing process.
Gurgu Mai Filo further stated that currently, members of the party under the leadership of Alhaji Sammani Sherif are making preparation to mark the PRP’s (NEPU’s) 70th anniversary. He added that members of the party are very much optimistic that in 2023, the PRP will be the darling party especially in the north.
“PRP will soon be a popular party in Kano as virtually all the two so called powerful political parties in the state have failed the people. We are optimistic that more people with credibility and ability will soon join the party for the liberation of the common man in the country,” he said.