By Zahraddeen Yakubu
Abdulmajid Dan Bilki Kwamanda, a renown supporter and grassroot mobilizer of President-elect Bola Ahmad Tinubu speaks on recent developments within the fold of the APC that is likely to brew crises. In this interview with Daily Focus, Kwamanda speaks on the rumor doing the round that President-elect is wooing Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to APC and also what the stance of the North is on the issue of Senate presidency.
Daily Focus: What have you to say about the recent developments in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Kwamanda: I want to start by thanking the Almighty God that has brought us to this day in which we speak of our victory as a political party.
What I want to say on politics today is that, it should be noted that it is those who are in the majority that should have a say in politics.
I want to speak on the issue of Ahmad Bola Tinubu, our leader and President-elect, who will soon be sworn-in as president and Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
There are rumours doing the round claiming that he is seeing Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as the leading political figure of the North and he is having this wrong assumption.
I want to draw his attention to the fact that the politics of the North and particularly that of the Northwest differs from the way politics is done in other places across the country.
We in this region play politics based on commitment and conviction which is also devoid of any form of tribal sentiments. That is even the reason why we came all out in support of Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu more than all the other regions in the country and in the North in particular.
We did all this to show him how truthful and committed we are when it comes to politics. This is also an evidence of our loyalty and support when it comes to politics.
There is the rumor that Bola Tinubu is trying to woo Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, seeing him as a strong political actor in the region simply because he won election in Kano and so on.
The rumors also show that they are already talking underground on the matter.
We want to draw the attention of our president-elect that he needs to study the politics of the North properly and understand how we play it. Our type of politics is such that it is straight forward, it is either we are in support or not in support.
He should study the past political history of the North to understand this. Despite the popularity of Malam Aminu Kano of blessed memory, and the strong support he enjoyed, it was such that he was the most popular politician in the region then, but in the end when he took a wrong political step he faced the consequences.
He himself was surprised how politics took another turn on him because of what he did. Though some were supportive, others were outrightly against him.
More so, Abubakar Rimi faced the same problem when he took the wrong political step despite his popularity.
We want to draw the attention of Bola Ahmad Tinubu to understand that we the Northerners don’t support any attempt to woo Kwankwaso to our beloved party. If he makes such a mistake we will come all out to challenge him the way we challenged the past regime in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.
DF: Why are you making this declaration?
Kwamanda: Kwankwaso was not the one that gave us victory in the election, we worked for it and won. He was there and never did anything for us and could not stop us.
We are against any form of political hypocrisy to woo Kwankwaso to our party. We will not agree with this. Should they refuse to heed to our call we will come all out to fight against APC and the leadership of APC.
DF: But is there any clear reason for this?
Kwamanda: Our reason for this is clear. It would be recalled that when Rabiu Kwankwaso was in PDP and his leaders were suspended and an administrator appointed and he could not conduct local government elections in his favour, he joined APC and we gave him the chance to conduct the local government elections. Even at that point, we were the ones that helped him, he did not help us.
At the end of it all, when he could not win election, he left APC for PDP. More so, when he could not get what he wanted in PDP, he left the party for another unpopular party.
Therefore we want to inform Bola Tinubu that we are not interested in Kwankwaso’s type of politics. It is not our type of politics here in the North because it is devoid of reasonable ideology.
That is why we are reiterating calls on Bola Ahmad Tinubu not to attempt wooing Kwankwaso to our party , we don’t want him because he did not contribute in any way to the success of our party.
More so, for the fact that he won election in Kano does not imply that he represents our politics in the region. We are talking about 36 states in Nigeria, winning election in just one state should not impress Bola Ahmad Tinubu to the extent of seeing him as a political figure. We don’t practice that type of politics and will not support him in that.
We supported Bola Tinubu not because he gave us money but because we accepted him as our right choice. We believe he is the right person to go with and we went with him and we have succeeded.
DF: What have you to say about the recent tussle on the issue of Senate leadership?
Kwamanda: We call on President-elect, Bola Ahmad Tinubu not to disrupt democracy. What I mean by disrupting democracy is that there are people that have not supported or voted for APC, they do not accept the APC as a party, they even see the APC as belonging to a certain religion; they even went ahead and founded their own party, and now they are coming out to claim that they are entitled to the seat of the Senate Presidency claiming unity.
There is nothing like unity here. If there was anything like unity they would not have formed their own party with a candidate from their religious inclination and mobilize their own people and even claim they will not vote for a party that belongs to another religion.
I have also heard the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu calling for zoning and federal character, there is nothing like that. Even in the laws that Constitute the Senate they have their rules.
Let me remind Abdullahi Adamu that Bukola Saraki became the Senate leader because he had the support of the majority of the Senators, even as the government in power and the party leadership wanted Ahmed Lawan and not him. The Senators voted for Bukola Saraki against the interest of the party.
This brings to bare that the two areas differ, as far as the party and the Senate are concerned. The national Chairman knows this because he was a Senator when it happened.
DF: But there is the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket that was criticized by some politicians, what would you say on the this as regards the Senate presidency?
Kwamanda: Another issue they are bringing up is that of religion. They should understand that the issue of religion is something different. If it is said that the Senate president should come from the north, he must then come from the north, especially the Northwest which gave the largest contribution to the success of the party.
Therefore if it is said that Senator Barau Jibrin is the right choice, it should not be seen as a favor done to us in the region, it is a result of our contribution to the success.
If in the past it is claimed that the president is from the Northwest, this time around the president is not from the Northwest. All the states in the region contributed the largest votes.
Therefore it is compulsory to make Barau Jibrin the Senate president. We are warning all those in the leadership of the APC not to attempt to bring confusion as far as this issue is concerned. This will only give birth to crises and we are not foolish and cannot be fooled.
We are professional politicians that have received proper training from our elders right from the time of NEPU to the time of PRP as far as politics is concerned in the North.
DF: What is your call to the Chairman of the APC who has the idea of zoning the Senate presidency?
Kwamanda: We call on Abdullahi Adamu that is talking about the need for zoning, there is nothing like zoning, it is not Constitutional. We will not support any zoning idea that will take the Senate president seat to others who have not contributed anything to the success of the party.
That not withstanding, those seeking the Senate seat are not in any way as qualified as Barau Jibrin is. He has the experience, the connection, the human relation and he has very good knowledge of the laws of the Senate.
But those they are seeking to take the Senate seat to are people that have skeletons in their cupboards, they are all facing one accusation or the other.
It is therefore wrong to pick on such people and give them the Senate presidency. It will be shameful to the Senators to accept such.
DF: But this is more like challenging the position of the party, who then is going to select the Senate president?
Kwamanda: The Senators are supposed to be the ones to make their choice of leaders. They are legislators and have the capacity to choose the right person to lead them according to the laws guiding them.
PDP had attempted imposing a leader on the House of Reps but failed when Tambuwal became the Speaker. If you remember, the party leadership had their choice while the Reps wanted Tambuwal and he won.
If it is left for the Senate to choose it’s leader, I am sure, Barau Jibrin is the most qualified. Even the leaders of our party are aware of this. This is the choice of the Senators and they will exercise their choice. They know Barau Jibrin and they know him even more than we do.
It will therefore a big mistake for the party leadership to come out and act in the contrary and we don’t want the party to act wrongly. We don’t want to face crises in that direction.
DF: You briefly mentioned the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket, can you speak more on that?
Kwamanda: On the issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket, there is nothing wrong with Muslim-Muslim ticket. Whatever is given to us is a result of our contribution.
It is Muslim-Muslim ticket that brought this government to be to power. So what, if as a result of our contribution some seats are occupied by us?
Why did they on their part found their own party and even used their worship places to promote it? Had it been they won the elections the story would be different a and they will not consider us in any way. It is only what they like that they will give to us. Now that we have won the election some selfish people are out there telling us to consider this and that for the sake of peace.
You can’t say that the seat of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation should be given to them for the sake of peace. If they wanted peace why didn’t they join hands with us to contribute to the success of the party? They went and did something different. You are talking about unity, there is no such thing, they are the ones that turned away and did something else.
We will not submit to any form of intimidation by any group of people from any region or inclination. We are the true seekers of peace and unity. We in APC are the true peace lovers. Some of them even threatened that the election will not hold. Now that they have lost they are coming back to threaten us to get appointment.
There is nothing like federal character here, if they want to participate they should wait until 2027 join hands with us to participate, win and be rewarded for their contributions. This is our government and we will not submit to any intimidation.
DF: What then is your call to the leadership of the party in this regard?
Kwamanda: We are calling on the leadership of the party to be watchful and careful. In this kind of situation, the party leadership should remember what happened when David Mark, a Christian, when he became the Senate president, his deputy was Ekweremadu, also a Christian and Ete was also a Christian in the leadership of the Reps.
We never complained as Muslims because we were after unity and understanding. Why then will anybody begin to complain using religion because it is now our turn, using Muslim-Muslim ticket as excuse?
This is a wrong way to do politics and this will bring the downfall of the APC in the North. And I believe our President-elect Bola Ahmad Tinubu will not allow our party to fall because he has the experience and political capacity to understand and solve a problem where there is one. That is why we are advising him and his vice, Kashim Shettima not to accept any idea of zoning the Senate president seat. After all even those seeking for the seat have skeletons in their cupboards. They have a lot of allegations against them, so is wrong to consider them.
Barau Jibrin is clean and has no allegations against him and he is qualified because he has the experience, and had led a very big committee and has strong connections across the country as well.
We say no to zoning of the Senate president seat. The Senators should be allowed to choose who their leaders will be.
DF: What more would you like to mention on this issue?
Kwamanda: We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC leadership not to allow crises in the APC, even though it is clear that president Buhari does not give a damn if the party is shattered to pieces because he has come to the end of his road and is retiring to either Daura or Kaduna, we wish him all the best, however.
But the truth is that our party loyalists have not benefitted in any way with the Buhari regime. We started everything together many years ago but today the government now belongs to his friends, family and relations. They were the only ones that benefitted from the regime. We are saying this not because we are afraid of anybody. The regime has come to an end and yet they are nothing better than us, infact we are better than then because the people still dignify and respect us. We are free and nobody is pointing accusing fingers at us.
We are rightfully, members of the APC, we established it from the beginning and we are still part of it. We therefore will not watch anybody bring our party down whosoever he is and whatsoever his position.
We therefore pray the leadership will not engage in what will not be possible. Let the party stick to what is possible and what is implementable.
Whether the APC leadership accepts or not, the Senators have their guiding rules and will certainly vote in the right person to lead the Senate, even if the party leadership accepts or not. This has happened in the past when David Mark emerged as Senate president, it happened when Bukola Saraki emerged as well and also Ete.
These are signs warning against any form of forceful imposition on us by anybody within the party and the country at large.
I finally reiterate this call to our President-elect Bola Tinubu not to attempt wooing Kwankwaso to our party, we don’t want his contribution in anyway after all we succeeded and won without his support. If he makes any attempt to pull him to APC he should be assured of crises and rejection by political leaders from the North. We will also turn our backs on him. Peace and progress of the party is for you to avoid wooing Kwankwaso to our party. We will certainly turn our backs in you attempt that, the way we turned our backs on Buhari when he derailed. We are no political boot leakers.
DF: What would you say about the recent seeking for forgiveness by the President and other politicians leaving office?
Kwamanda: It is part of human weakness to hurt others, whether deliberately or by mistake. Some times he is aware that he is hurting the feelings of the people and is acting deliberately, when it comes to the end, he will then begin to seek for forgiveness, just like what governor Ganduje did.
They are aware that they have wronged the people. It is now left for the people to see if they can forgive them. It is also their own prerogative to refuse to forgive them as citizens who have suffered injustice and oppression perpetrated by the rulers.
Is left for the people to decide to forgive them or not to forgive them.
But a lot of them are aware that the people will not forgive them for the mistreatment they suffered under them. They should stop deceiving themselves thinking that they people will forgive them, they will not be forgiven.
Imagine the hardships, redesign of currency, lack poor fuel supply, insecurity, poor road networks and the rest of them. The eight years of this administration is as good as nothing in some of the sectors.
DF: Can you tell us the measures you intend to take should the APC leadership fail to heed to your call?
Kwamanda: The measures to be taken are also political. It has to do with disloyalty where loyalty is needed. They will instruct and we will refuse to comply. These are things we have learn as young politicians in the past.
Therefore we are definitely going to take measures if they insist in implementing the wrong plans. We are the link to the grassroots and we mobilized the public for them and the people accepted them because they trust us and voted for them.
But you surly are aware that if we have not done the mobilization, with the way the poverty stricken masses are angry with the government especially as regards killings and the introduction of the redesigned Naira notes at the last minute of the regime, but they listened to is because they were sure we would not deceive them. We mobilized then and they came out and voted for the APC. They know that we are the link to the masses they are with us and not with them.
That is why we said we are going to take measures. The measures we are going to take will be political measures that will be detrimental to them and their interests. We know what disloyalty is and we will mobilize the masses not to accept them and they will not accept them.
DF: What is the choice of Kano as regards the Senate Presidency and the Speakership of House of Representatives?
Kwamanda: You are talking about what we will chose between Barau Jibrin and Alhassan Ado Doguwa. Yes it is clear that there are differences in views with each one of them enjoying support in his way. There is no right thinking person that will pick on Hon Ado Doguwa to become the Speaker when Barau Jibrin is seeking to become the Senate President from the Northwest zone. He will not add any value to Nigeria when compared to the value Barau Jibrin will bring as a Senate president.
That is why I want to assure you that all the right thinking people prefer Barau Jibrin as Senate president to Ado Doguwa as Speaker from the Northwest.
This is not because he cannot do it, no, but because he lacks the hood human relationship, he even lacks the ability to address people rightly. Ado Doguwa is lacking as far as that is concerned.
But talking about Barau Jibrin, you have a personality that is educated, enlighten, experienced, with good human relationship and excellent oratory skills.
But when you talk about Ado Doguwa there are a lot of issues that do not concern him, due to his lack of ability to speak well and address them he becomes a victim of the issues. Imagine what happened to him not long ago that sent bag signals about him in the media the world over.
Therefore, to us, it is more important for Barau Jibrin to become the Senate president than for Ado Doguwa to become the Speaker of Hoise of Representatives.
More so, we in this region are not looking for the position of Speaker, we are after the Senate president seat.
DF: With the position of the APC as a ruling party in the country, why are you expressing resentment over leading politicians joining the party?
Kwamanda: The APC is a party that prefers people with the right ideology, that are positive in their mindsets and seek the progress and development of the people of the country. This is different from Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s mode of politics. He is only after his own personal whims and caprices as an individual. Where ever you see him, he is there for himself and not for his people. He does not agree with any view but his own. That is why he alone is the one that has the say and no one else in their circle. That is their way of politics, that is why we say we don’t need him in APC.
But we surely need people to come and join the APC, but the right people like Kawu Sumaila because joining the APC for Kawu Sumaila in particular will be a blessing for him and we are going to invite him to come. Because Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is not the right person for him to be with.
He is aware of this judging by the fact about what he suffered when he was seeking to become a Councillor. He knows what he suffered in the hands of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
We don’t want Kwankwaso to come and disrupt our party and bring about indiscipline and disrespect among our members. It is such that his supporters are a bunch of people that have no regards whatsoever for anyone except him.
We don’t want his kind of politics and that is the reason why we are particularly saying we don’t want him in our party.
But there are a lot of people in the NNPP that our doors are opened for, they are welcome to join the APC. A lot of them were wronged by the party leadership and they joined the NNPP in reaction. They are given birth to by the APC.
But we don’t want Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to come because if he comes he is going to breed confusion in our party. He will breed crises in the party, he has done this in the past and everybody has seen it in the PDP and how it ended. We therefore don’t want him to come and disrupt the well being of our party.
If our president-elect elect insists he is going to bring Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, we are going to challenge him. He is going to lose support from the North and will have a crises situation that he cannot manage in the APC.