*Why Shema cannot help PDP in Katsina
Senator Abu Ibrahim who represents Katsina South Senatorial District on the platform of All Progressives Congress is the Deputy Minority Whip. He is known as the Asiwaju of the Senate. In this interview, he dismissed the insinuation that Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State would harm the chances of the APC in the state. Excerpts
BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
With Governor Ibrahim Shema about to leave office would he be a threat to your return to the Senate?
Your question is suggestive that Gov. Shema is in control in Katsina state. But I disagree with you. Three senators, 13 out of the 15 members in the House of Representatives are all APC. So, Shema has never been in control. Shema has no influence in Katsina and cannot adversely affect the APC.
Besides, l have done enough in my zone as to generate even more interest for the APC. Secondly, the APC is a conglomeration of the CPC, ACN, ANPP, nPDP. Every big name of the PDP in Katsina state is now in the APC; all the former Speakers, the two former deputy governors, and ministers.
Movements to one party
So as far as the APC is concerned only Shema is left in the PDP. Even if he contests for the senate seat now he cannot win, l can assure you.
As the deputy minority whip, how have you checked the PDP from overwhelming your party’s positions in the chamber?
You see, once you are elected to become a senator, it does not matter whether you are PDP, APC or whatever.
There are senators who l used to see every night and they saw me every night and we bonded together a lot but because of the movements to one party or the other, there is suspicion.
With what is playing out now could there be a change in the Senate leadership?
I think we as APC have repeatedly said that our aim is not change of leadership of the senate. The senate president himself commended us that APC is not working to take over the leadership of the National Assembly. Mark has been fair and mature in his handling of matters in the Senate.
Besides, we have to look at figures. To remove the principal officers you need two third of the majority. So it’s not possible. Yes, there are rumours and especially are these so because of party politics. The understanding is that now it’s raw politics and l expect this raw politics to take the back seat soon. It will soon be over once the perceived injustice done to the APC is removed or satisfied, we shall go back to our normal selves.
Do you see the APC as a party that is ready to take over government at the centre, and if so, what gives you the confidence?
The APC is very ready. Look, how many governors do we have now? About 16 governors! How many senators? 40 plus! And you are asking whether we are ready? Give me Nigeria now l will rule it, as simple as that. Make me president tomorrow and see if l will not be able to do a good job. APC has quality people. If you want real change in this country, the APC has it.
It can close its eyes and change Nigeria by stepping on everybody’s toes in combating corruption to make sure that we become more aggressive and disciplined.
We have that kind of person, we have a genius in Bola Tunubu who transformed Lagos into something else, a state that was getting N2 billion and he generated N20 billion monthly. We have people who are intelligent and who can rule Nigeria better..
Is the leadership offered by President Goodluck Jonathan short of the expectation to take Nigeria forward?
Where have we made progress, tell me? Go to the Federal Office of Statistics and they will show you how far we have fallen? So, as far as I am concerned there is no progress. Tell me what have they achieved? That is why l call the PDP Poverty Development Party. Look at the economy, are we improving? No, we are not. The biggest business in Nigeria is corruption, that is the only thing thriving.
When about 23 percent of your budget is spent on capital projects and the rest on chop, chop, you know something is terribly wrong. So, obviously you need a virile leadership that will take Nigeria to where we all desire it to be.
Could you react to the allegation that the PDP gave some APC members $2m to defect from the APC to the PDP?
Anything can happen. The PDP can do anything to continue ruling Nigeria. They are desperate. All the missing oil money that people are talking where do you think they are going?
Can they attract those of you in the senate?
You see it is about personal integrity. Nobody has approached me and nobody would. I believe generally that my colleagues would be above board.