It’s Time For Presidency, Senate To Close Ranks – Yahaya


Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Gombe State. Ha spoke to select journalists about the party in the state and other national issues. ANDREW ESSIEN was there.
You contested the governorship election in Gombe state in 2015 and lost. What would you say went wrong?
A lot of water passed under the bridge. Elections has a lot of intricacies and that of Gombe is no exception. We went into the election knowing fully well that we had the capacity and all it takes to deliver. We went in with the full intent to win the election and we won if you go by the records. During the presidential and National Assembly elections, we got 85 percent of  the votes for the president, two senatorial seats and four House of Representatives seats out the six available. When we went for the governorship election, I contested against an incumbent governor who had all the resources and machineries of government. He was able to convince with law enforcement agencies and some some INEC officials who are still being investigated and will hopefully be indicted as well as the Commander of the Army battalion based in Gombe and the Police Commissioner who are also being investigated. At the unit, ward and local government levels, we did our own part, but they connived and changed the results in favour of the incumbent who emerged winner, we challenged the results up to the Supreme Court and that was the end of it because election cases end there. The court has given him victory and we take it in good fate.
But how come you lost the election despite winning two senatorial seats and four house representatives seats?
There was connivance between the electoral officers and some of our own who cooperated and hobnobbed with the PDP to scuttle our success.
Two years down the line, will you say that Gombe is better for it?
Not really. Go and ask the people of Gombe whether this government has been able to achieve what it promised the people in all areas of human endevour
Since after the election, the APC in Gombe seems to be disintegrating rather than uniting. What is the problem?
In every political environment, there must be differences of opinion and there must also be a situation where people accept defeat because when elections are held, there must be losers and winners. The crisis in Gombe started after the primaries. Some of those who contested against me refused to take the outcome of the primary in good faith and decided to work against the party and betrayed us so that we will lose the election and they succeeded. They connived with the PDP and since then, the party has not taken appropriate steps to sanction some of them. That is why we are still a divided house.
The National Secretariat has waded into the crisis and for the second time running it had set up a caretaker committee to over see the party in the state and try to resolve the crisis. Are you saying that effort is not yielding results?
The efforts by the national secretariat to solve the crisis in the APC in Gombe state is not yielding result because you must go into the root of the matter to address it when appropriate sanction is not meted on wrong doers, you can never expect that those putting in their best and operating in good fate will just fold their hands and watch. Things have to be done appropriately.
What is your relationship with former Governor, Senator Danjuma Goje and former Deputy Speaker, Usman Nafada who seems to be fighting for the soul of the APC in Gombe state?
They belong to the APC and I am also in the APC. That is our relationship. We are in the same party.
That takes us back to the crisis in the party in Gombe state. With people like you, Goje and Nafada in the party, what do you need to be done for the party to take over the state in 2019?
The needful has to be done. People have to understand and take positions on where they belong. You don’t have to be fighting when you don’t have the weapon to fight. Those who deserve to lead should be allowed to lead. When you have the number, democratically, you should be allowed to lead and that is the position and it will not change.
Don’t you think that it is an indictment on the leaders of the party in Gombe State for the national body to bring somebody from another state to head the caretaker committee?
That did not begin in Gombe State. It has been happening in other places. When you have infighting, there has to be somebody neutral who will take the grains out of the chaff. So, if that is what it takes for the national leadership to put the APC back on track in Gombe, I support it.
Do you believe that the committee is doing the right thing to bring back peace to the party in the state?
If they take the correct steps, I believe they should be able to bring back peace to the party.
Why do you think that outsiders have to be brought to run the party in the state?
Internally, the affairs of the party has been mismanaged by the party administrators. That is why the national body felt that there has to be change and somebody else was brought in.
The Gombe slot in the federal executive council is presently vacant and there was the belief that you were interested in filling that vacancy?
Ministerial appointment is the prerogative of the President and whoever he deems fit, he will appoint and we will support that. So, I don’t have a say in that. But I know that I am a key player in the APC and I believe and cherish the principles and the doctrines of the APC and I believe that the President has the capacity and ability too deliver change which is what we preach and which is what we hope will be given to Nigerians.
Will you be contesting the governorship of Gombe in 2019?
Let the time come. When we get to the bridge, we will know how to cross it.
Are you not worried that about two years into the life of the present administration, Nigerians are suffering and has nothing to show for voting the APC government into office?
It depends on the angle from where you are looking at it. I come from the North east and I know that the greatest challenge in that part of the country is security challenge and without security, you cannot achieve anything in life and because of the challenge of security which was foisted on us by the immediate past administration, there was virtually nothing we could do. Now, peace has been restored and at least, Boko Haram has been reduced to about 10 percent. Our people have started going back to their market, their churches and mosques to pray and to socialize. People are also going back to schools and to their farms. This government campaigned on three main issues. These are security, fight against corruption and the economy. He has done a lot in the area of security and I feel peace has been reasonably achieved. In terms of corruption, you are aware that this has been the bane of development in this country for a long time and got to its apex during the last administration. In the past, no Justice of the Supreme Court has ever been arraigned for corruption or government who participated in government were brought to justice with such massive recovering of looted money. You can see the N-Power scheme which is ongoing and the fact that social security is bringing to people despite the economic challenge. As far as I am concerned, this government is performing and all we need do is to pray and support the president so that he could do better.
One of your governors wrote to the president saying that the government has failed to meet the aspirations for the voted for the APC government especially in the area of the economy. The President promised to generate employment and right now, people are losing jobs?
There is no way you can go in an human endeavor without rancor. The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai wrote the President on his own observations and many others have made these observations. Let us give him time and see how the President will handle those things. I believe that the President and the party will work together to achieve our promises to the people.
Two years into the life of the government, you still have appointees of the PDP heading government agencies and this is causing disaffection within the party. Don’t you think this is a disservice to those who made sacrifice for the party to come to power?
Unfortunately, there are some key appointments that are tied to specific tenure and there is no way the President will easily remove them and replace them with his own appointees otherwise, he will be accused of wrong doing. However, I agree that there is need for all APC supporters, especially those who believe in the programmes of the President to be appointed into key positions so that they could help him deliver on all those areas Nigerians want improvement.
Are you not worried that though the National Assembly is dominated by the APC, the President still finds it difficult to get his nominees confirmed by the Senate?
It is a real point of concern and that is why it is important for everybody to return to their own senses. They have a role to play in all these, but they should not decide who the President should appoint. Since we belong to the same party, the party has to play a role of being the fulcrum where other segments of government should operate so that we achieve what we should achieve for the people of Nigeria.
Source: News


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