In the face of mounting challanges bedevilling the All Progressives Congress (APC), a stalwart of the party and special adviser to the governor of Kano State on food security, Alhaji Ahmadu Dan Zago, speaks to ANDREW ESSIEN on the way forward if the party will make headway come 2019.
Recently, your group issued a communique commending President Buhari and also called on him to forget the group that worked for him. The next week another group came to the APC secretariat alleging that your group is being sponsored. How do you react to this?
Anybody that says that we were sponsored to recommend General Muhammadu Buhari and that person claims he is a true APC man and comes to the National secretariat, who sponsored us? Let me also say that what we said was that we are the founders of CPC in Nigeria between 2009 – 2011 before the merger, we were the founders of CPC in the 36 states including Abuja. For example, I am from Kano and the chairman of CPC in the state between 2009 and 2011 upto 2013 before going into the merger and nobody can deny that because it brought the 44 local governments and delivered it to the CPC in Kano.
I also won the 484 wards without anybody giving me a penny. I am saying this for the first time today. Let these people hear that, that is those people that say we were sponsored and given money. I was the one that delivered the 484 Wards in Kano state to the CPC. I am challenging anybody, including the National secretary at that time, nobody gave me one naira. Even at that time when I was the chairman of CPC in Kano, people bought forms from my office to the tune of N52 million and nobody gave me a penny out of that money and the records are there, Buba Galadima is there, Rufai is there, all the the leaders of CPC at that time were there. Why will somebody now come to day and say that we were sponsored? What that means is that Buhari gave us money that is why we supported him.
What do you think is responsible for this accusations against your group?
Well, these things happen. They want to get something that is why they are saying all these. We are not angling for anything. Some of the people back then in CPC are now in the government but we, the founders, are not at the national level but most of us in our forum at the states are chairmen of boards, commissioners, advisers and so on. We are not jobless, even the president knows that we have jobs. We supported him since when he joined politics since 2002 and we were together with him, never changing any party. Most of them have changed parties but some of us have never, you can ask anybody. From ANPP to CPC to APC, we have not changed our party. And what that means is that we are not people who are given to selling ourselves.
Does the leadership of APC recognise your group?
It doesn’t matter, we are not asking the leadership of APC to recognise our group. What we are saying is that we are the founders of CPC from where people are proud that President Buhari got 2 million votes and that is what brought him into merger because of the support he got in 20011 elections. People now recognized that Buhari has people in Nigeria. We are the people that delivered CPC in the 36 states including Abuja at that time. That is why Buhari at that time got those votes. We are not saying that anybody does not belong to APC, after all we are also in APC. We are not talking about APC because that is our party up till now. What we are saying is that let people remember the past. Like the deputy National chairman (North), he is from ACN and cannot deny that. He got the seat he is occupying now because he was under ACN. So if someone says he belonged to this house for a number of years, it doesn’t mean he is not in Nigeria.
After the merger, Nigerians expected you to do away with your former parties. Why is it difficult for you to forget the groups that formed the APC?
Anybody who forgets his father’s house is useless, you have to remember from time to time. A man who works for you for 10 or 15 years and I just wake up one day and say that I have forgotten you, is that correct? Let me give you an example, in Kano, there is what is called NEPU. It was an action group started by Mallam Aminu Kano formed on the August 8, by 8 o’ clock, with 8 people. Up till today, people still remember that day. This means that if I remember you that may have worked for me, I will remember others also. But if the reverse is the case, anyone who may have worked for me, I will not remember him.
Specifically, what are you asking president Buhari to do?
We are not asking president Buhari to do anything for us. We are not jobless neither are we looking for work. We have a lot of work to do. What we are saying is that we are the people that took CPC to its first destination which was the merger. Whether we like it or not any position to be given, it will be said that this man came from either of these sides. Let’s just say chief Bola Tinubu Is given something, it is because he was from ACN. If secretary gets anything, he was from ANPP. This is why it is called merger, legacy party, which is the coming together of many parts to form one.
Does your forum have anybody in mind to campaign for come 2019?
It doesn’t matter as it is not yet time. A politician should always be ready. A real politician is always ever ready. In 2002, nobody forced us to support Buhari and the same happened in 2015, nobody forced us to support him. We saw his character, vision and everything, that is why we supported him and we still support him up till now. Buhari is tackling insecurity, corruption, and several others. He is doing what Nigeria needs.
There has been so many crisis bedevilling the party in various states. Do you think the National leadership is doing enough in managing these crisis?
I cannot blame the leadership of the National headquarters of the APC because the situation it has found itself. The people making up the party came from different groups and with that comes different ideas, knowledge and so on. This is what is happening and you know it is a new party. Take PDP for instance, they are more than 18 years but they are in crisis more than the APC. This crisis is normal in politics.
Recently, a factional chairman of the party in your state came out to say that Nigerians are hungry, this is just as some APC chieftains are also complaining. If you are to be in a position to advise the president, what will your advice be?
I would advice him to look upon the masses because we have never seen a person who is supported by the masses in the whole of Africa like president Buhari. The people will die for him, cry for him, in fact, they can do anything for him. So, this is the time he is to put more effort. Like I have said before, president Buhari has tried. If someone is talking about hunger, it means the person is well. If you are laying on the hospital bed, you will not remember if you are hungry or not. If I do not know the whereabouts of my family, o will not remember hunger. We are getting things better now, you have the freedom to go to anywhere and associate with anybody. That is why people are now thinking that there is hunger.