By Olalekan Bilesanmi
The National Chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), Alhaji Buba Galadima, in this interview, speaks on why the formation of his group was inevitable.
Your announcement concerning the formation of Reformed APC triggered a huge reaction in the polity. Why is this move coming now and what are your goals?
Let me establish my credentials. I was the National Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, one of the three parties, together with the nPDP and a faction of APGA, that formed the APC. I was one of the nine signatories to the memorandum of understanding that we signed ahead of the formation of the party. Earlier, I had been, since January 2002, one of the key operational allies of President Buhari .
Our goal was to enthrone constitutional democracy, party democracy under the rule of law. Having made such monumental sacrifice for 16,17 years, we cannot sit and watch either the party in which we participated in forming or the government which I had contributed more than any living human being to bring about in Nigeria go adrift. As a patriotic citizen, we owe it a duty to our country and to the men and women including children to ensure good government.
We were abundantly rewarded by God who gave us this government. Therefore, we would not allow anybody to mess us up or drag our good names and integrity in the mud. This is why we felt it is a call to duty, having seen our party which we laboured to built getting adrift. In fact, the situation became worse than that of those we campaigned to remove from office. This is the clarion call that I have answered. I put down my life to make sure that constitutional democracy is established. Once there is no rule of law, we are in a jungle.
The Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the governor of Sokoto State, the heavy weights in your group, among others, were not present when you made your announcement. Only Bawu Baraje was there. Is there a reason for that, and are you all on the same page?.
I am a heavy weight just like any politician in Nigeria. I was the youth leader of the NPN, the Financial Secretary of the NRC, member of Board of Trustees of the APC, and member of the National Caucus of the APC. I have impeccable credentials. Kawu Baraje was Secretary and National Chairman of the PDP. We are heavy weight enough. But during the press conference, I alluded to the fact that members of this rescue mission for democracy in our country comprise of former members of CPC, ACN ,ANPP, nPDP, and elements of APGA . And Bukola Saraki or Dogara, Kwankwaso, Aminu Tambuwal.
You cited Article 20, Proviso 1 of the constitution of the APC that stipulates that when a nominee is set for an election, there must be a vote of yes or no. And you believed that the way it was done on national television, it was violated. Can you explain that?
If we were to be in court, you could have been invited as one of the witnesses to tender your record of the proceedings of that convention. You cannot build something on nothing. There were infractions right from the ward congresses leading to the convention. Therefore the processes were faulty, the processes were a non-event, therefore the executives produced through these processes cannot stand legal interpretation. That is why we call ourselves the mainstream APC. We are claiming that we are the authentic leaders of this party, not usurpers who just came, used their position to influence and got themselves announced as leaders. Therefore we are members of the APC.
Can you call people like Asiwaju Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as usurpers?
Why not, if they go against the law?
Was any of those you mentioned a signatory to the party as I am? We have a stake. We have staked our integrity and image, that is why the party was nationally accepted. Therefore we cannot sit back when we run counter to the law.
On national television, we saw Governor Badaru, who was Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee. He asked the crowd before the nomination was accepted whether everyone agreed and the response was yes. You thought he should have also asked if they didn’t agree?
Of course that was what we expected. That is what we are saying. That is what we are talking about. The Constitution is explicit. When you put the question, ‘do you agree?, and some people say yes, there should be a follow up question to say, who are those that do not agree? Then you evaluate which one is more by voice, that is if you are using the voice vote. It is after this that you can determine whether the man is legally approved by the convention or rejected because, during nomination, there was imposition, people were stopped from buying forms, accessing forms and attending venues that would generate delegates to the National Convention. And those people could have been more.
If Badaru had asked for yes/no votes, there would have been mixed reactions.
But he didn’t ask for a no vote. He only asked for a yes vote. How about those who didn’t respond, could he tell us the number?
Kawu Baraje said he was satisfied with the outcome of the convention even though he expressed his discontent with the proceedings, but you are contradicting the statement now. If a ranking member of your group says the process was satisfactory, how do we reconcile your statement?
Let me say that he has confirmed that there was only a yes question. That there was eruption of yes vote is in your own imagination. That is not correct. Why didn’t he then ask whether there were people who disagreed with this affirmation? Let me make some correction. There are two ways of authenticating and approving the candidature of a person in a convention or congress. One, you use the ballot box.
We agreed with him because some people pulled out on the podium there and then, we could not have printed those ballot papers, therefore we resorted to voice vote. It means the process and procedure was defective, legally. We are also questioning that right from the beginning, there were no congresses. Incidentally, it was Imo State where the executive did not participate in the congress that was now being affirmed and accepted by the national congress, that is the executive of Mr Rochas Okorocha. It never participated in the congress. Kawu Baraje, you alleged, I didn’t see him. His name is Abubakar Kawu Baraje. I am Abubakar Buba Galadima. Kawu Baraje is the chairman of the newPDP. I, Abubakar Buba Galadima, an the chairman of the Reformed APC. I could not stand for him.
There is speculation that this move of yours is more of desperation because you had hoped that the national convention would not hold, and your plans were scuttled the moment the tenure elongation was reversed.
Let me make a correction. We are not a faction or a bloc. We are not a break-away. We are the mainstream, original APC.
Without INEC regictration or convention
But there was no convention.
Do you have a constitution as a party?
We are members of APC. We are not desperate. Our desperation, if there is any, is to enthrone good governance and constitutional democracy. If there is any desperation, it is expressed on the side of those who want to contest election without facing challengers.. They are desperate. Infact, they can do anything to make sure they weed out all those areas of decent competitors that would challenge them in a free and fair primary; therefore, they are congregating their boys so that they are delivered on a platter of gold.
Any democracy without competition is bound to fail. In 1999, the PDP held a stiff convention to elect its presidential candidate; so also in 2003,2007 and 2011, but, in 2015, when they had a sole presidential candidate, they lost the presidential election. So also, when we brought Buhari, there was no contest against his candidature in 2003,2007 and 2011, but he lost all the elections. And if the APC conducts any primary without competition, they are bound to lose.
Is your APC going to end up with PDP?
We are R-APC for now. Politics is dynamic.
*Interview first aired on Channels Television