Senator Musa Adede businessman politician is the owner of Kings Airline and represented Cross River State North Senatorial District from 1999 to 2003 in the Senate.
In this interview he lauds Governor Liyel Imoke for his inclusive approach to governance and flays recent critics of the governor, cautioning them to tread carefully. Excerpts:
Why has Governor Imoke become the subject of much attacks by some stakeholders from your state?
I believe that politics should be played in line with moral principles at all times. I do not support the barrage of attacks on the governor. As a former governor, when you begin to come down so low like Donald Duke did and begin to call your friend, your partner and best friend as he told the whole world then, monkey and all that, it is quite ludicrous. I challenge the former governor, if he claims there are only two monkeys that are eating to tell us who were the other monkeys that are now reduced to two? It predisposes that there had been other monkeys who were stealing and eating.
So he must tell us who were the other monkeys and what they have taken. For me, I will want to plead that in our tense moments, we guard against what we say, especially about our leaders. As an individual, I will not disrespect or go to the public and begin to insult our leaders because we owe them that respect and we never can tell, we ourselves may become leaders someday and so history has a way of taking you back to what you said when you were not in position of authority.
There are those who appear to be uncomfortable with the caucus arrangement put in place, where the people are allowed to take ownership of the democratic process and would rather choose to describe the system as an imposition of candidates. From your own observation, is there any indication to that effect?
I would not say that the governor is imposing candidates, but I know as a matter of fact that for close to four years, we started what is called a consultative forum which the governor introduced. Those of us from the Northern Cross River met with him severally at the Ranch Resort, Obudu and Ogoja, to see how we could close ranks and work together for the betterment of our senatorial district and Cross River State at large.
So the governor has been consulting with stakeholders for over four years now constantly to forge unity among ourselves with a message that we must see ourselves as a family. He recognizes that even in the family, there is bound to be a disagreement but that at the end of it, we must sit down as one united family and resolve our differences.
That has been Liyel Imoke that I know. I’m not saying that from 1999 to 2011 there had been no imposition of candidates or selection of candidates, there has been and across the country in all the political parties
Would you say the consultative or caucus arrangement has been successful so far?
Democracy is about the people and what affects them. So, it is also good to allow them, like you rightly put it, to participate in the democratic process.
They need to participate in the decision making process to choose their leaders. So the governor, as a matter of fact, is already implementing what we started in 2007 by ensuring that there is participatory form of democracy in our party. When he started these caucuses, it gave opportunities to the candidates to interact first and foremost with their various wards, local governments, their leaders and to come and sell their respective blueprints to the caucuses.
And I think for the first time, candidates campaigned in various caucuses, met their leaders and presented them with their programmes and manifestoes and their blueprints to the respective caucuses for evaluation.
And it gave people the opportunity to meet these candidates, know them closely and understand them better. So I don’t think it is a bad idea.
What is your assessment of the just concluded ad-hoc delegates’ election?
Well, for me, you know there was the first one that brought so much disagreement which in turn brought tension to the state. Some persons went to court and the court made its pronouncement that it was purely party affairs. Of course, the leadership of the party came up with new dates for the re-scheduled congresses for the three affected states including our state which took place on Monday, November 24. By my assessment, I will say that the delegates’ election was peaceful at least from the northern senatorial district that I come from. So far, from what I gathered, everyone participated in the exercise and reports that I got from other senatorial districts confirm that it was free and fair. Everybody was carried along and the result we got is one that all have accepted and the National Working Committee has endorsed.
What do you make of the reported protest at the party secretariat in Abuja, following the conduct of the last ward congress in the state last week?
You see, there is bound to be disagreements. We were not the only state that had such disagreement, Oyo State also had a protest. This is normal in every democracy. I see it as a healthy way of addressing some of our grievances so long as we are not violent. At the end of the day, the governor said every member of the PDP is a family member and he went further to say he was ready to meet with all the aspirants one on one to discuss and resolve whatever differences arising from the process. So I will urge our brothers and our sisters in the party from the state that whatever their grievances are, we resolve them here rather than take them to Abuja because at the end of the day, even if Abuja rules one way or the other, we will all come back to the state.