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We expect waiver for Albishir to contest 2011 poll in Yobe – Mai Goroma

You crossed over to the PDP with Senator Usman Albishir, dumping the ANPP which you people built from scratch in Yobe; don’t you regret this…

You crossed over to the PDP with Senator Usman Albishir, dumping the ANPP which you people built from scratch in Yobe; don’t you regret this in any way?

Like you rightly said, Senator Albishir, along with many of us, built the ANPP in Yobe state. We laid the foundation that others came to enjoy and even turned against us after benefiting from our sweat. I do not regret leaving the ANPP which is like dumping the house I helped build, but you see, as a politician or even any human being, your ability to clear any obstacle before you to move ahead is what makes you successful. We built this party, we constituted the structures of the party and as you can even go and confirm, since we moved out of the ANPP, it has become an empty house in Yobe. Virtually, every day, people are leaving it.

Albishir was the father of the party, if you like we are the uncles, committed uncles, but we all resolved to leave because the party has lost its bearing, something we didn’t envisage. While we were in the ANPP if you recall from 1999 to 2007, the party grew from strength to strength because we sustained politics of all inclusiveness and we were fair to all party members, but all this is no more there. If you recall in 2007, Albishir contested and won the governorship primaries.

The late Mamman Ali was the one who set conditions for the elections. Albishir accepted and won but along the line, the party’s senior officials conspired against him for no just cause and substituted him with the late Mamman Ali. Meanwhile, this same man contributed immensely to the party’s formation, the party’s victory in 1999, 2003 and even the 2007 elections despite the fact that he was substituted.

It will also interest you to know that the late Mamman Ali of blessed memory who benefited from the conspiracy, was greatly assisted by Albishir during some of his political challenges. I just can’t still figure out why the party chose to reward Albishir’s good gestures with conspiracy. So, the party has lost its focus, no internal democracy. Right now, there is confusion amongst virtually all ANPP members in Yobe.

Having joined the PDP, people believe your target is for Albishir to emerge the governorship candidate of the party but the PDP’s constitution requires at least two years membership before you are eligible to contest elections. How would you overcome that?

First of all, let me say with all sense of humility and due respect to the leaders and members of the PDP in Yobe and Nigeria at large, that Albishir is a great asset to the PDP, especially as it affects the 2011 governorship because insha-Allah, what is standing between the PDP and the Yobe government house is presenting Albishir as a candidate and the INEC conducting a credible election.

Now, regarding the two years policy in the PDP, yes, it is true but the party’s National Executive Committee usually gives what is called a waiver. This waiver is initiated from the ward to the local government, state, zonal and national levels, then the NEC gives approval. What it entails is that the ward leaders of the party write a clearance where they feel that a new comer into the party is popular and can bring victory, so they write that that person should be given special consideration and allowed to contest. Then the local government up to the zonal levels concur and the NEC approves.

This is how the PDP operates and they even did it to Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state despite the fact that he was in the PDP but because he left and came back he was treated as a new comer. So, in the case of Albishir, the PDP ward leaders in Nguru have written the waiver, the local government, state and north east zone have all approved. In fact, we expected the NEC to approve it…


We gathered that someone in the PDP requested that the NEC stand down Albishir’s waiver.Doesn’t this suggest that some forces in the PDP are against Albishir’s emergence?

  Well, I don’t want to comment on any speculation that someone stopped the NEC because the PDP is the ruling party at the national level. Its NEC is bigger than any person, at least that is what we expect. We have confidence in the PDP’s leadership at all levels. We are sure they are aware of Albishir’s popularity and don’t forget that it is not only about Albishir. We have two serving members of the House of Representatives who left the ANPP and are now in the PDP. They also need the waivers, we have many others who are very strong in their own areas and need these waivers.


What happens in the event Albishir is not granted this waiver given the fact that only the NEC approves and no one knows when next they will sit?

The NEC is expected to sit, I think by the end of this month or in July. Someone told me but I stand to be corrected. Now, regarding your question again. This is futuristic but you see, let me again say with all sense of humility that Albishir is the easiest person to be sold by the PDP or even any other political party. He has won the hearts of millions of people in Yobe. This can be confirmed. We don’t expect the PDP to discriminate against those of us who joined the party in Yobe when others have benefited. I am sure the new national chairman of the PDP and of course, our focused president, Goodluck Jonathan, will like to make a point by ensuring that the PDP captures more states through credible elections in 2011 because under former President Obasanjo, the PDP captured more states.

Under the late Yar’adua, the party won its by-elections in Sokoto, Adamawa and Kogi. So the president and the party’s national executive can conduct an independent study of what is on ground in Yobe to ascertain if the PDP has a clear chance of taking over Yobe when it fields Albishir like I said or not.

Does it mean you don’t have any option other than the PDP?

You see, no good politician operates without option B. In fact, in the case of Albishir, we have options B, C and even D. As a matter of fact, there are parties that have been making efforts to have us knowing well that insha-Allah any party that fields Albishir will win the governorship overwhelmingly but we are very focused. We are in the PDP and we will work tremendously for the party’s progress at all levels; ward, local government, state and national assemblies, governorship and presidency, we will work with every PDP member to deliver Yobe state. We know the winning formula insha-Allah and we will deploy it and succeed.  

 

Does it mean you may decamp to another party?

Nothing is impossible in politics but the issue of leaving the PDP doesn’t arise at all. The party is good; the people we met are receptive and hard working too. Of course, with the amendment of the constitution which we hope will be concluded, there is room for independent candidature but all that is not the issue now. The issue is about the PDP. We are in that party. We will be loyal to it.

 

There is speculation that Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe may join the PDP. Wouldn’t this ruin Albishir’s chances if it happens?

I have heard some rumours in that regard myself but I also heard that the governor said recently that he will be the last person to leave the ANPP. But that is not even the issue. You see ordinarily, the rumoured crossover of Gaidam as a sitting governor to the PDP looks attractive but the fact is that Giadam will not be an asset to the PDP. He will be a liability.

You think if he believes he has a chance in the ANPP, he will leave ahead of elections? The ANPP is in disarray and this is courtesy of the governor’s inability to deploy effective political strategies in managing his affairs. For instance, only recently, a commissioner resigned from his government and joined us in the PDP.

Many others are coming. The governor just wakes up, attends a rally and announces that he has given ticket to this person or that. Politics is not done without consultations. Every person has his supporters even if the supporters are himself, wife and children. So you must accord respect to all aspirants even if they are aspiring in the hidden. Soon, insha-Allah, you will see a mass exodus from the ANPP.

 

Do you support zoning the presidency to the north in 2011?

I support democratic advancement. I support upholding the constitution of the land. I support defending national unity, I support good governance. I support respect to everyone’s rights. I support credible leaders, I support internal democracy. Ultimately, I believe power comes from God, He gives to whoever He wishes, I pray that He gives us credible leaders at all levels in our dear nation.

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