What is the position of your party, CPC to the recent Federal High Court ruling that overturned three out eleven of your lawmakers from Katsina in the National Assembly?
CPC sees the judgement as a sad commentary on the nation’s judicial system. The people are already getting worried about the integrity of the judiciary and this judgement further lends credence to the people’s apprehension. Look at a judgement that sought to set aside what the Supreme Court has said.
The Supreme Court judges in their wisdom made it clear that the contending issue here was a case of two primary elections. If it was one primary election, the agitating members may have a case. For instance, if it were a case of one primary within the CPC, the court has the right go into that and find out whether the political party went through its own laid down process. But in a case of two primaries, Supreme Court made it clear that no court under our extant law has jurisdiction to enter into judgement and it made it abundantly clear that it is only the political party that could say clearly which of those primaries was conducted by it. And the party has made clear that the primary that it sanctioned was the one that brought in former Speaker Masari and others in his group from Katsina state. So the judgement by Justice Gladys Olotu was for us very sad indeed. Of course, we are very sure that the Court of Appeal will set it aside and declare it a nullity.
Would you say that the seeming unending crisis and legal tussle involving your party members in Katsina State is an indication that all is not well with the party in the state?
You see, there is a level that you will reach rather than being seen as fool-hardy, or not having good level of reasoning, one would need to reappraise his actions. You get to to some level of reasoning where you are able to say enough is enough. Some of this people in Katsina are not seeing that time has come to sheet the sword and agree with what the party is doing.
The party is pursuing genuine reconciliation and the party leadership will not surrender its responsibility to recalcitrant members or members that have continued to show desperation for political power. We will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed into submission. What the dissident group is doing is clearly anti-democratic. It is important that these set of members learn from the example of CPC, who after the verdict of the court on his election case, hands off the contest. Sadly, this has not been the case with the people in Katsina.
What may have given rise to the two contending party primaries in Katsina that has thrown up the present controversy?
You see the kind of wrong impression people have about the popularity of General Muhammadu Buhari. People have come to believe that once they are adopted as a CPC candidate in the north, they will be sure of being elected for the position because of Buhari’s influence. So that has been the notion pushing the people to do anything to secure the party’s candidacy, even at the risk circumventing the normal process. This is with a view of gaining some undue advantages over others. It is because of this factor that made some people resort to self-help to scale through instead of allowing the normal procedure.
I believe this was the reason for the similar cases in Kaduna, Bauchi and Zamfara . In Bauchi for instance, there were more than eight governorship aspirants with no one ready to step down for one another. With regards to the lawmakers legal tussle, we believe it is in the interest of the party to secure the seats in the National Assembly and then we go back to settle our internal quarrel. But these people have not seen it in that direction, what they are saying is either I have it or nobody will have it.
Can CPC confidently say that it’s primaries in Katsina during the 2012 general elections was a fair contest?
We know that the national leadership is responsible for presenting candidates for national election. So a lot of people have erroneously believed that by trying to get the party hierarchy in the state that they are already as good as being in. That was the crux of the matter.
But at the end of the day justice must be done and when it is done, it will be clear and unambiguously clear to all that justice has been done. In a situation whereby people will have to resort to use the courts to achieve their own bidding does not augur well for our democracy. If the party organised primaries and you did not participate in it and you went ahead to organise your version, expecting it to sail through. That cannot be possible.