KATSINA PEOPLE DON'T LIKE GOV SHEMA. I DON'T KNOW WHY – BARR AMINU IBRAHIM MAIGARI, ANPP CHIEFTAIN
Is ANPP really on ground in Katsina State?
Actually, the ANPP is the second leading party in Katsina State, if not the first. The reason I say it is the second party is because ANPP is the party that has some feet either in the State House of Assembly or local governments. But you know that in Nigeria, there has never been an election.
If they allow us to vote, we are going to dislodge PDP because now the people are tired of them. But the question is, are they going to give us free and fair election? We know it is not going to be free but if we have just fair election, we are going to make waves.
People are saying that ANPP is no more since General Muhammad Buhari (rtd) left the party but that assumption is not true. Buhari came and met ANPP with its own structure: elected governors, National Assembly members, House of Assembly members, local government chairmen and councilors. So, Buhari came and met a strong party and left a very weak party.
By the time Buhari left, he had dislodged all the people that built ANPP and now they are reconvening. We are all coming back. If you take the election that took place in Abuja recently, you will see how strong ANPP is. Out of the seven seats, PDP took four and ANPP took three while Buhari's CPC got nothing. The point I am making is that we have the structure, we have the people, we have everything to excel in Katsina and elsewhere. All we are hoping is, let us have free and fair election. You may even see me as the governor then.
What are your perspectives into Katsina politics?
The politics of Katsina State now is very interesting. Before we, the other parties, I used the other parties because there is no opposition party, are not faring as opposition party. Take my party as an example. When Buhari was with us, you will find ANPP aspirant going for primaries, get the vote of the congress to represent them and Buhari will change him with another person.
So, there was no difference between PDP and ANPP at that time. And up till now, there is no party that is challenging government. They can only come out for election. As the government is making mistakes and doing all the wrong things, no party is challenging government. That is not opposition. This time we get opposition within the PDP. You know, there is the Aminu Bello Masari group, who call themselves PDP change. They want change. So, they are now fighting the other side. In other words, PDP is fighting PDP. So, if the other parties can do their homework, they can unseat the PDP while they fight.
The other thing is that the people do not like the incumbent governor. I do not know why. During the burial of the late president Umaru Yar'Adua, people were throwing things at Governor Shema. He cannot enter the town now because of the fear that the youths can rise against him.
The governor is my junior as a lawyer but he has never consulted me for any advice. So, I cannot say the reason the people do not like him. So, if there is election that is at least fair, even if it is not free, the people will fight to see that their votes go to the other party. It is, therefore, left for we, the other parties, to organize ourselves either to come together or work out some form of understanding on what each party can get.
What effort is the opposition making to come together so as to exploit the crises in the PDP?
It is the national parties that can only cause mergers. We are always coming together at the time of election. This is what we have been doing in Katsina. Considering the trend in Katsina, the parties will come together and map out strategies to dislodge the PDP, which is becoming increasingly unpopular. Although they are creating unnecessary logistics which cost money, this time people are coming out to work voluntarily for us.
What is your advice to the electorate?
I cannot say I will advice the Katsina electorate because now they are telling people they are ready to go for change.
Nobody is organizing them. They organize themselves and oppose the governor. So, one can see the writing on the wall. It is left for us, the politicians, the educated ones, to organize these people so that we can take away the ticket. People have shown their intention, it is left for the elite or the other parties to come together and assist these people because the people have already shown that they want a change. That is the position now.