•Says arrogance of govt, APC destroying Nigeria
•Tells Oshiomhole that APC is not a trade union
By Chioma Gabriel, Editor, Special Features
Buba Galadima was a former National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party, formed in the run-up to the 2011 national elections as a leading platform for Muhammadu Buhari.
In the Fourth Republic, Galadima was a chieftain of the leading opposition party, the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). In June 2002, Galadima in an interview opposed the proposal by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to restructure local government in the country. He expressed his party’s opposition to the move. He said that Obasanjo, “the usurper president of this country”, was trying to sneak in the changes surreptitiously, giving state governors the right to appoint unelected officials to run the local governments, but also introducing Consultative Assemblies for regions and thus undermining the powers of the states.
On 29 April 2004 Galadima was arrested in Abuja by officers from the State Security Services (SSS). Amnesty International expressed concern that he was at risk of torture or ill-treatment.]As chairman of the mobilization committee of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) Galadima had planned to be involved in an anti-government protest which took place on 3 May in Abuja and Lagos . He was released without charge on 13 May.
After the 21 April 2007 presidential election, the Supreme Court heard various charges of impropriety. Buba Galadima, National Campaign Secretary of The Buhari Organisation (TBO), claimed that the ruling Peoples Democratic party (PDP) was trying to frame Buhari with false claims about the sources of his campaign funding. He said the PDP was plotting “to take them [opposition leaders] out of circulation so that they can continue with their misdeeds against the Nigerian people unnoticed”.
He is one of the nine signatories that signed the merger agreement between the three political parties that came together, with a faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party, (ANPP) and Action Congress of Nigeria( ACN) to form the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It is difficult to find any politician, lately, who has ever suffered the kind of calamities Engr Buba Galadima went through in the country. He was arrested, detained and harassed for about 38 times and he never changed.
In 2015, he voiced his concerns over attempts to scheme out northern Christians from holding one of the presiding positions of the National Assembly, namely speaker of the House of the Representatives. Eventually, members of the House of Representatives elected Hon Yakubu Dogara, who represents Bogoro/ Tafawa Balewa federal constituency in Bauchi state, as the Speaker of the 8th Assembly
Currently, Buba Galadima is in the news again as one of the founders of aggrieved Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC and they are currently in court challenging the outcome of APC’s National Convention.
Your people surprised everybody with the formation of Reformed All Progressives Congress. Obviously, some issues arose during the convention, couldn’t it have been tackled inward instead of breaking away?
Let me also say that we have not pulled out. What we did was to stand out patriotic citizens of this country and stakeholders who have made every sacrifice to bring about the formation of the APC. We could not have sat idly and watched the party slide into what we did not anticipate during its formation. This is what has happened and even though I will not comment deeply as the matter is already in court, but a lot of other things had happened that were not right from the ward congresses, local government congresses and state congresses even in the national convention and also many things happened during the national convention. Therefore these are what triggered our patriotism. We stand out to try to bring sanity in the party. That is what R-APC is all about.
What exactly do you intend to do?
Bringing sanity into a political party is not a joke, essentially when you are facing monsters like the government we have and the party we have which are manned by people who have no qualms about the welfare of the citizens or the constitution or democracy which we wanted to establish during the formation of the APC.
The party has a new national executive with Adams Oshiomhole as the national chairman…
Adams Oshiomhole is on his own. He has not been properly established as the chairman of the party. His matter is in court and we are demanding the nullification of his election and that of other people. So, we don’t recognize him as the national chairman of the party. And let me establish my contentions. I was a former national secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, one of the political parties that came together with other parties to form the APC. I’m a member of the national caucus of the APC. I’m a member of the Board of Trustees of the party.
Therefore, nobody could say that I’m not a stakeholder or that I have no locus and if somebody like me was not invited to statutory meetings of the party or to the national convention of the party which I am an automatic delegate and for which I have made sacrifice, relinquishing myself as the former national secretary of the CPC and signed the memorandum of association which led to the formation of the APC, then you would know that something is wrong. So people should understand if I say I stand out to bring sanity to my party for which I have made sacrifice.
There was uproar in the APC over some of the happenings in the party; last week there was a shouting match in the national assembly over some of the things going on in the party. How do you intend to achieve success in the 2019 elections?
I want people to really understand the issues we want to address. Many of us in the party, even those in the national assembly are not happy with the way things are going in the party. I can tell you that majority of the people in the national assembly are supporting what we are doing. As I speak to you, we are now making members of the party relevant because we have a party that thinks that Nigerians don’t matter, that they can do whatever they want and they can railroad on Nigerians.
Now it has just realized belatedly that it is not possible and that some people could gather against them, and there are people who cannot even voice out their anger in frustration but are fully in support of what we are doing because this country belongs to all of us.
No group of people can force their way on the rest of Nigerians. Nigeria of today is different from the Nigeria of yesterday. People need to work hard and earn victory. We are not doing that. APC is not doing what people mandated it to do, to run the country transparently, under God and under the rule of law. Therefore, I am calling for the support of Nigerians and the people in the media. This is not the battle for Buba Galadima. It is a battle for all of us to protect Nigeria from dictatorship.
What exactly do you people have against Oshiomhole who emerged the national chairman of the party?
How can you tell me that he emerged? I have already said that the way he became chairman was not correct and we are already in court to challenge it. We have written INEC and we gave our reasons and gave transcripts and evidence that in 24 states of the federation, where congresses were ran and nobody authenticated any of the congresses and they presented people in the convention and even the way things happened in the convention, there were no yes or no votes to determine the people who supported him and those who did not, to determine that he was unopposed. So this is the issue.
There’s a National Reconciliation Committee of the party headed by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Set up by who? Who sets up a National Reconciliation Committee of the party?
It’s the party and the president who is also a national leader of the APC.
This is a misnomer. The President cannot set up a reconciliation committee. People are arrogating to themselves powers that they don’t have. That is the point I have been making all these while.
The elections are close by. Shouldn’t the R-APC yield to the reconciliation committee of the party to resolve all these issues?
At this point it is the court that determines everything; whether they are right or we are right, whether they are wrong or we are wrong. I want the nation to know that anything that is produced out of the Oshiomhole’s perceived chairmanship will be challenged in court and I am sure this vibrant judicial system that we have in Nigeria today can do anything including acting like the judiciary in Kenya.
How far can R-APC go?
I don’t need to tell you how far we can go. It is how far we can go that made you to call me.
I have read the new national chairman say there are still PDP members in APC and they should go. I hope you are not among those he said should go.
Oshiomhole was not part of the APC. When we were signing the memorandum of association with other parties that formed the APC, Oshiomhole was not there. I didn’t see his signature and I didn’t see his face. I look at him as a usurper but I want to say; you know desperate people and drowning people can do anything. Adams Oshiomhole, the purported chairman of APC and Ibrahim Masari, the purported national welfare officer have made statements in the press, both in print and electronic media that they will crush me.
That means that they can kill me. So, should anything happen to me, the nation and the world should hold them responsible. They can use state powers to detain me. They can use state powers to eliminate me. I want this to be on record and I want this recorded. To crush means anything. They have no confidence in themselves in engaging me in a public discourse for the world to know who is right and who is wrong. So, they want to use extra means to deal with me. I have the papers; I have the audio and the video.
Is there no way peace can be achieved between your group and the party before things get out of hand?
You sound like the devil’s advocate. You are like making case for them. They don’t need peace, they don’t need anybody. They said we are inconsequential, we are insignificant, we have nobody, and so why are you worried?
I ask questions because your APC is the ruling party and if not united, things could get worse in Nigeria; the killings happening around Nigeria could be worse and the people will suffer more.
I understand what you are saying and that is why people like you should give us the support we need. It’s because we are not happy with what is happening that we are doing this. We are not unaware of the dangers and the risks we are taking in standing out for truth. They can call us any name; they can do anything to us. If you are not happy with what is happening in Nigeria, you know what to do. We supposedly voted these people into power, if they are not living up to our expectation, what are we supposed to do? Speak out or vote them out. That is our responsibility. Are Nigerians happy? We promised that we will provide security, we will provide food on the table, have programmes that will get youths employed, we can do this, and we can do that. Is that what is happening? But why are Nigerians gullible that we cannot speak out.
If the government is fulfilling its promises to the people, there won’t be cause for us coming out. If the government is not doing well, it is the party’s responsibility to call it to order. So many interests are clashing in Nigeria; tribe, status, religion, age and so many things. When those killings are happening in Nigeria, we should be able to call our people to order. The party has in its membership, all tribes, and religions, interests in Nigeria from all the nooks and crannies in Nigeria. We as a party should come together and discuss these issues.
But the government is not communicating with anybody. It is so arrogant and believes it can do anything. Look at Oshiomhole, he came in, arrogant and rabble-rousing. He thinks Nigeria and the party are a trade union. No. It is not a headman/labourers issue. If he is indeed elected well, he is supposed to be the servant of the people.
Therefore, what the party is doing is trying to be a conciliatory port where people who feel marginalized should complain to. For example, some of the issues people are alleging may not even be true but perfection says you should listen, there should be communication. But nobody is listening to anybody. If you say you are marginalized because you are Igbo, Kanuri or whatever, nobody listens to you. This is the arrogance they are carrying in the party which is not helping the party or Nigerians who made sacrifice to form the party and those that voted them in.
I understand now the grievances of R-APC but I don’t know if there was any attempt to try to table these grievances before the party.
The body language of APC, from the party to the government, is arrogance. But let me tell you, we have achieved something. Nigerians can now speak out against the injustice in the party and government. You don’t keep silence in the face of tyranny. Government should stand up and protect Nigerians. They are not our rulers. We elected them into office and therefore, they are our servants. They should understand that Nigeria is governed under rules of law and nothing else.