…Says Sen. Abbo, Bent will soon wreck havoc in Adamawa APC
…APC Federal Government trying hard to frustrate PDP controlled States
Barrister, A.T. Shehu, known as Tahir Shehu, is a Private Legal Practitioner, a politician and presently the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa State. In this interview with IBRAHIM MISTAALI he speaks on the PDP’s readiness to field Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections.
Sir, only recently a litany ofGovernorsvisited the state to commission various projects executedthecby PDP led government in Adamawa State, are you satisfied with the Mid-Term score card of your party, seeing that PDP in the State were expected to do better than the APC of the past Administration?
Sincerely speaking, I am more than satisfied with the performance of my party, the PDP, in Adamawa State under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the ATM/Fresh Air Governor and I am not surprise, because when we were campaigning to bring in Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri as our flag bearer, we were having no single councilor out of 226 wards in the state, we did not have a chairman out of the 21 Local Government Areas, no single member of the state House of Assembly, No Commissioner nor member of the National Assembly, Reps/Senator, mind you, we were having no Governor, the President was not from our party, unfortunately we contested under so many odds, because there was a pressure at that time being in opposition, and there were all forces that were definitely against us being opposition, the wife of the President Hajiya Aisha Buhari, is from the State, a Former Secretary of the Federation (SGF) Babachir, B.D. Lawal, is also from the State, the Present Secretary of the Federal Government (SGF) Boss Kida Mustapha, the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) minister, Alh. Musa Bello, are all from the State.
There were many factors, the Governor at the time was an APC sitting Governor, Mohammadu Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, for that matter, thus, used FG machinery to see that we don’t succeed.
Seeing all those factors that were against us at the time and as a party, we sat down with our stakeholders to ensure free and fair primary that will bring out God fearing flag bearer. And as God will make it, the masses of Adamawa voted for the person that can scale them through. They voted for Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, and I was so obstimatic that our party will definitely win the election, despite all the odds against us, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri was two term action Governor, so during that time he performed wonderfully, so the indigenes of Adamawa saw what he did during his Acting capacity, and he was capable of doing the job. And we in the party then beat our chest that God has really helped us with a product that will be marketable and to sale.
The only challenge at the time was on how we will safeguard our votes and as a party we sat down with our fellow stakeholders with passion on how we shall protect our votes, because definitely we were having the believe that we will win the election then.
Thank God he has perform very well, wonderfully and he has confidently moved Adamawa to the level of our expectation, and right from the time he emerged as our flag bearer, we have the believe that Ahmadu Fintiri was going to be a candidate that will serve two terms as Governor and not one term and that what that will happen Insha Allah.
Honestly, I have that believed that Fintiri is man of his words, when it is yes, it is, and when it is no, that is no. During his two years tenure, we in Adamawa has witnessed his great performance because there is no governor of Adamawa that has ever performed like Ahmadu Fintiri, who has made the people proud, and we are also proud of him.
Recently some Governors from the PDP defected to All Progressive Party (APC), do you have any fear that Adamawa governor may follow in their step?
Let me state it categorically that we in PDP are not being affected of any defection, where were they when we won the election, even the Presidential election, PDP won it, but well as a lawyer I concede, reluctantly accept the defeat because I don’t have any way, I am a lawyer, believer of the rule of law, and once a law had taken its course, rightly or wrongly, as a lawyer I must obey, but not because I accept defeat, everybody knows fully that our Party PDP won 2019 Presidential General Election, but only because of some technicality the Court said otherwise, and as a lawyer, I accepted what the Supreme Court has pronounced and we are determine again, we have to reposition ourselves and we will go back to a round table, our hand is on deck, determined to re-present our candidate who stood for us he is no one but the former Vice President, Dr. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar the Wazirin Adamawa. He is unbeatable and we are ever ready to rally round and give him support so that he will claim his stolen mandate.
What happen to the advocates of zoning of the Presidential ticket to the South?
Politics is game of number if they know that they can defeat us by number, let them advocate, we also have right to advocate for the Presidency coming to the North, not North East but Adamawa in particular, where we have the strongest, credible and responsible candidate to represent us and the country in general.
And for those that are defecting to the APC, they are not comfortable with the victory they have, everybody knows the antecedents of how the Zamfara State Governor emerged as Governor. He was given the mandate by the Court, and the Court has no option than to give him, knowing it fully what APC were, they did not participate in the election because they violated the rules and that was the main reason the Court said from the Grassroot to the top, they had no option and as the Constitution of the Federal Republic is concerned, the APC Constitution was violated. APC as a party in Zamfar did not and never participated in the election and what was the next thing to be done, only for the Court to givethe mandate to the person that was on ground, the PDP, and that was how Zamfara governor emerge and the order by the court as far as the constitution of the Federal Republic is concerned, all councilors, council chairmen, members of the State Assembly, House Representatives, the Senators and including the Governor, the mandate was given to PDP. We are challenging his defection because the judgment that brought him to power was for the PDP, not his mandate, so we are challenging him. And he knows conveniently that left for him, he cannot win election, and for his own thinking is to defect into APC, but it is unfortunate for him, those in APC are more stronger than him, because he thought that if he is in APC, he will maneuver being in power so that he can be voted again, and with him they may lose the election.
Sir, if I may take you back there is an allegation that the present PDP National Chairman Mr. Secondus is not in support of Atiku to be the Party’s Presidential Candidate what is your take on that?
Gentlemen of the Press, PDP is one, our National Chairman is Uche Secondus, and it not Secondus that will give Atiku the mandate, it is the Nigerian Masses, and it is the Primary Responsibility of the PDP to select the candidate of their choice. Uche Secondus has no control over the primaries, when the party agrees on a candidate, PDP is one, PDP is not fictionalized, Uche Secondus is our National Chairman, he is our leader and we have confidence in him, our loyalty to him as our leader, so there is no faction in PDP.
Recently, there was a called from the some quarters within your party that your National Chairman UcheSecondus should resign from the position of PDP Chairman, because he lacks the capacity to be on that sit because the party lost so many members as a result of defections? Are you part of them?
I am solidly behind our National Chairman Uche Socondus, and I have the believed that he has the capability to sail PDP to victory, and he did that in 2019, we all saw it, and in fact it was due to his capability that made our party PDP to win the 2019 election but unfortunately for one reason as the order the court decided on its ruling by giveing the mandate to the opposition the APC.
There is growing concern over senate foot dragging on the electronic transmission of result, and if you can recall it was the key argument from the PDP in 2019election.What is your call to the Nigerian masses and the National Assembly on the transmission of the election result?
My call to the people of Nigeria and particularly to the National Assembly members, if they want Democracy to be sustained in Nigeria, let them allowed the electronic transmission of election result to avoid falsification of result on the result sheet.
Let me remind the members of the National Assembly to know that by refusal to allow INEC to transmit the result, definitely it will came to hunt them, they are breeding a monster that will fight them, let them not see that they are occupying the seat, their tenure is perpetual, and perpetual because there is no time for them to perform the legislatures duties. Let them perform, let them be with their people, but the moment they say they want to truncate the mission of result transmission electronically for the time being, they might have succeed and it will surely hunt them as they may be the victims.
Chairman Sir, during the PDP Primary election in Adamawa, you stood firm that primary must take it course, and luckily Rt. Hon. AhmaduFintiriemerged as the winner, but recently there are allegation that the two of you are not in good company, what do you have to say over that?
Never a time I and the Governor had any dis-agreement between the two of us, let me tell you that there is never a time, when the Governor is in town, in his office, or in his House, never a time I that cannot go to see him in office and to rub mind, there is no any friction between me and the Governor.
Our working relationship is very cordial, and I am satisfied with his performance as the party state chairman, and he has done well to the people of Adamawa, he has put a legacy that will remain indelible in Adamawa state. While his 11 points Agenda is yielding positive result, during the time of Governor Boni Haruna, I can say or tell you that among the whole elected governor in Adamawa, no any Governor has performed better than the present Governor, Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, even the opposition have testified over his performance, and he has made us, the people of Adamawa proud, and we are with him absolutely.
Sir, sometime ago, a Senator from the Northern Zone defected from your party and recently a former Senator and BOT Member From the southern zone also defected from PDP to APC, don’t you see that it is a minus from your end?
For the Senator who presently on seat, and that is Senator Elisha Ishaku Abbo, you as Journalists know of his antecedense, Senator Abbo is a nuisance he is an insult to the present youth of Nigeria we were saying youths not too young to run, he will champion it, but unfortunately his antecedense made youths not to be trusted henceforth, his antisdense, slapping women, harassing almost everybody. I doubt this much if the Nigeria youth will forgive him, there is clamouring call, not too young to run, not too young to run, but he rubbished that call, because he bastardised the real opportunity that is given to the youths, I doubt it much if the youths in Nigeria will ever forgive him.
Thank God his attitude and bahaviour is not only watched in Adamawa State alone but is for the entire country. With regards to the former Southern Senatorial Zone, Sen. Grace Bent, she was imposed on us, by the former president Olusegun Obasanjo, as she never contested for any election, at that time the people of Southern Senatorial Zone were only informed that their senatorial candidate was Mrs. Grace Folashade Johnson Bent, and that her brother President Olusegun has directed the PDP State Executive to allow her contest for that position and as Senator a BOT Member for that matter, her husband is from the Southern Zone, and indigene of Adamawa, as a lawyer, I agreed she can contest, she has that right Constitutionally, but she has never recognize Adamawa as anything, she don’t even have a round hut in Adamawa State Capital, she don’t even have a round hut in her husband home town where she is claiming Demsa Local Government Area.
Each time she is in town, she always lodge in a Hotel, but look at the mansions she built in Abuja and that of Ilaisha her home town, Grace became a nuisance, to us when we discovered that she cannot win election because the first one she was imposed on us by the then president Obasanjo. We members of the party decided to give her a member of the BOT just to pacify her being a former Senator so that she can be recognized, but she misused that.
If you can recall and I think you were there when I did organize a Press Conference, we the entire Southern Zone, we met and issue this Press Statement, were we have been praying that God should remove the bad eggs from the PDP and God has started with Senator Ishaku Abbo, then followed by Grace Bent, she was a Senator who served for a period of four years, who have been long with this party, in her own local government area, we expected she should go with the entire Executive member of LGA during her defection, but unfortunately she only want with a women leader, who is her house girl. For us in PDP it is a great success, because Grace Bent is a nuisance, and we have no regret for losing two senators, and we in PDP wish them safe journey. We are happy that another crisis will engulf APC in Adamawa soon. With Grace Bent and Abbo present in APC there will be no peace. Ehy she left PDP is that she has been disturbing us to give her a free ticket as Senator but we said No, not in PDP, but we can only present a level playing ground for all the contestants and whoever emerges as the candidate we shall give him the support, because it is the same logic we did with the government in power.
There ws a PDP stakeholders meeting that was recently held at Banquet Hall Government House,Yola,and that crucial issues were discuss and you presided in the meeting, what was the meeting all about?
Yes, mainly it was a call to the Local Government Chairmen, because they are at the grassroot and it is with their knowledge that INEC started doing e-registration, and PDP is also doing e-registration online. We call them to make sure that the Local Government Chairmen, the party local Government chairmen, commissioners, councilors, all the political appointees should go down to their wards, local government areas and to mobilized people to come and registered in mass.
There is an expectation that we have our next president coming from Adamawa State, and that expectation can never be the truth if we don’t go out to register, we must register in mass so that on the election day we can come out to vote for Atiku Abubakar.
Only recently Governor IshakuDarius stated that the PDP State are being neglected by the Federal Government in terms of intervention and services, what do you have to say on that?
It is the utmost truth, all what the APC government wants is to frustrate all the PDP control State, so that they can give negative impression on the performance from states controlled by the PDP, so that they can be able to give a negative impression to the masses on the PDP by 2023 so that the masses would not vote for the PDP, but unfortunate for the APC administration, the masses are watching everything and the APC will be surprised come 2023.
Look at the Mambila electricity project, where the Federal Government under Buhari leadership has been lying, but there’s nothing that they have done. All those that are defecting to APC have skeleton in their carboards, the APC on the top will just open their scorecard, threatening them, they will defect to APC to have get cover, no more no less.
What could be your call to the PDP members and as well as the People of Adamawa and Nigeria in General?
My call to our members is go out and get registered in mass so that they can have the PVC, because it’s our gun, and it is with the PVC that we can chase out the APC led administration, and they should realize that PVC will be use to win and also to give us purposeful leadership in Nigeria.