Onyebuchi Ezigbo presents excerpts from an interview on ARISE News with the National Chairman of the rAPC, Buba Galadima
What is your reaction to the statement of the APC that the party isn’t factionalised and you are in effect leading a bunch of mischievous and ill-advised individuals who are simply intent on causing confusion?
They have the right, I give them that, we are in democracy. You are allowed to say anything provided you don’t encroach on someone’s liberty and rights. That is why I am saying their right, not because they are right but because by the Nigerian constitution they are entitled to their own views. My reaction is that they are also not a product of a legitimate process that made them what they are.
And this goes back to the convention and congresses?
Of course that is the issue. When we were forming this party, we wanted to get an ideal situation for the people of this country; constitutional democracy, security of lives and properties, good economy, robust economy for the nation and total submission of everybody, including the president to the rule of law. Today, all those are no go areas.
They are also questioning the legality of your move and retention of the name APC reformed or not and are threatening to take legal action.
Let me tell you, these people that are desperate for power can do anything. The recent declaration of June 12 as a public holiday for Nigerians was nothing but desperation to get the votes of certain people. Buhari was never a convert of the June 12 and let me tell you that there is nothing under the sun that they cant do to retain power that is why they assembled amiable people who can assist them. That is why they won’t allow democracy. We have to protect what we are supposed to do according to the constitution of our party.
You mentioned June 12, some people will say if that is the way they are going to gather votes then let them go ahead. If they did that with people from the South East and people from the South South; the Ogonis over the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, that is reconciliation.
You didn’t listen to the people and you don’t have empirical evidence to support your statement. The leaders of Afenifere have said ‘thank Mr. Buhari for honouring our son but if it is for our votes, go and look for your votes elsewhere’. The desperation is for votes not reconciliation.
The current chairman of the APC made a statement regarding your move a couple of days ago.
I heard it very clear ‘those who are in the politics for bread and butter’ Buba Galadima isn’t one. Where was he when we were fighting to enthrone constitutional democracy and make Buhari president of this country? He was with the villains, dinning and shopping with them and holding false polls as chairman of the NLC against General Buhari. He is there because it is convenient for him, he wants to remain in the corridors of power. Anyone that knows my pedigree knows I have an impeccable record of service, highest form of integrity and honesty. I don’t speak from both sides of my mouth.
Why didn’t you give the new leadership under Adams Oshiomhole a chance before you took action. He is a new man?
Adams Oshiomhole said he won’t lose his sleep because of one Buba Galadima. I can order his impeachment because I have got the number and figure to checkmate any individual through the National Assembly. My support is unprecedented.
You were a former ally of President Buhari for several years, why have you in effect betrayed your former boss and friend?
He has been my co-traveller, he has never been my boss politically. I was the National Youth Leader of the NPN. I was the National Financial Secretary of the National Republican Convention. General Shehu Yar’dua and I led Umaru Shinkafi and Kusamotu to form the ANC that was refused registration by the military and because the military didn’t like my guts they had to give me an appointment to take me off political terrain because of my principles.
Yet the person you found to ally yourself with was a military man; General Buhari?
It was a marriage of convenience. You have to use a general to fight a general.
If you say that was a marriage of convenience why do you seem bothered that he used you to get into power?
He may have done that; I am saying that he betrayed me because we had an agreement to better the lives of Nigerians; to bring reconciliation amongst Nigerians; to build the economy; to build the infrastructure. People were just waiting for the next move that I will make. Anyone that neglects us is doing it at his own peril. Nobody can be President of Nigeria in 2019 without the Reformed APC group.
Does that mean that there is still room for negotiation on your part?
If he performs and delivers the dividends of democracy as we agreed according to our manifesto, why not? Other than that, he is out.
The r-APC spokesman Kassim Afegbua was a former commissioner under th
One would have thought that would give you some leverage for discussion with Oshiomhole. Why didn’t you bring exploit this?
It is selfish. As one of the founders of the APC, and as a former national secretary of one of the merging parties I was a member of the national caucus of the APC, I was also a member of the board of trustees of the party. I went to meeting once. I was barred from any of the meetings of the party. People can’t tolerate my guts. The man is even telling you that they know those who are stakeholders. If we didn’t build the house he won’t have a room to enter.If you see Kassim on this side, it speaks volumes.
Kassim Afegbua is spokesman for the former military President Ibrahim Babangida. Is IBB a part of your equation in the r-APC mix?
Let me shock you that there is no Nigerian leader or influential person or a well to do person that hasn’t phoned and congratulated or sent a word of solidarity and that we should never give up and that they will go the length with us. We are in charge of the masses of this country who know we are fighting on their behalf and they know we are genuine. Do you know how many positions I held in life? You don’t know.
People wonder whether you have a death wish for the party you helped form because that appears to be what is coming out of all this turbulence.
Rather than wish the party dead, I am using my privileged position to reshape the party based on the principles on which the party was formed.
But that sounds like something personal on your part that you were not allowed to attend meetings and therefore you are turning it into a national issue.
I am only one of the several millions of Nigerians who are crying that we are staking our lives to protect their interest.
What is the link between the r-APC and the n-PDP?
They are bona fide members of the r-APC. They are one of the groups; n-PDP, CPC, ANPP, APGA and 33 other political parties.
What do you and your group the r-APC plan to do, what is the next move in this game of Nigerian political chess?
If there is no justice within the APC we will look for justice elsewhere.
You want to be rewarded for the work you did?
You are going to the wrong side of the coin and the right side of the coin is that we have made sacrifices. If I lay my resume on the table you will know what I am talking about. I was with General Buhari from 2002 till date and a couple of us about 35 of us introduced him into partisan politics. It took a hell of a time to convince him to come into politics. Thank God we did. If General Buhari had died that time Nigerians would have thought he is a saint and they would have been going to his grave to worship him.
Who is the real Buhari from your point of view?
Maybe power changes people. The issue is we brought him into partisan politics. We made all the sacrifices to make him what he is, everyone out of the 34 left except the two of us up till 2015 and we had departure points but the most important thing is that I was the founder and the national secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, a platform which he contested in 2011 and I had to forfeit and resign that position to bring about the amalgamation of what is now called the APC. That is a big sacrifice and I was one of the nine signatories that signed the memorandum of understanding to dissolve our parties and recommend the APC to INEC for registration.
Is it not clear to you given the critical and important role you played in bringing the APC to reality that there are so many competing elements within that party that clearly the president is going to have a difficult time satisfying everybody.
That is natural. That is not the issue. That is not my problem. My problem is I put my integrity and honour for which this country knows me at stake.