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ANPP WON'T HAVE PROBLEM PICKING CANDIDATE – RABIU BAKO, SECRETARY

By NBF News


The elections are coming, will the ANPP be able to repeat its performance in Kano in 2003 and 2007?

We can, despite the PDP rigmarole, the whole political brouhaha that is taking place, the scheming they are hatching to pave the way for them to achieve the usual way of winning, which is through rigging, and all the dirty games they play which is their normal way of manipulating elections.

They are trying to extend the time-table beyond what has been planned, and we can see the internal politicking in the opposition parties. Apart from the gentleman's agreement reached amongst responsible men and women in the party some years ago, they are now coming back to tell the world that they don't believe in what was agreed upon, why because they are not gentlemen, they are not gentle women. Secondly, because they don't agree upon making agreement based on trust, why, because they are not trustworthy themselves, and don't even trust themselves as far as their own system is concerned.

So we have a lot of chances; you can see that we have performed very well in Kano State. We are almost making eight years now. Just recently, we celebrated seven years of our governance in the state, and we agreed that a lot of changes have taken place, many people have done many things with a view to creating positive changes for the benefit of Nigerians. What is important for people to notice is the progress report card of the administration of Gov. Ibrahim Shekarau, which is part of the reasons that precipitated our thinking that Mallam Shekarau should contest for the presidency.

If Shekarau runs for the presidency, would he have the time and resources to deliver Kano State, given the array of politicians that have shown interest?

Did the fact that Yar'Adua was contesting for the presidency in 2007 affect the PDP's chances of rigging their way to power in Katsina State? It did not. Yar'Adua became president of Nigeria and PDP won in Katsina State. And Yar'Adua did very well.

If you say that Yar'Adua had done so well, is it not contradictory to say that the PDP, the party he led has not performed?

It has not performed very well, taking into consideration what Nigerians expect from it. By the time Yar'Adua became the president of the nation, he came up with what was called seven point agenda, none of which was really fulfilled. You can't tell me that one of the points was achieved, but he was making attempts, very good attempts to make sure he achieved some of them. But none of them was achieved because of the problem he had. He made efforts to improve the quality of life of the people.

Secondly, we should be very honest, as a Nigerian, he tried his own best to make sure he created some kind of transformation for our country. The best way to criticize is to criticize constructively, whether you are from the opposition or the so-called ruling party. We should tell the truth about what he has done and commend him in areas he has done well, and criticize him constructively on areas he did not do well.

Buhari has always received a large following in Kano. Today he is in CPC, and some members of the CPC came out from the ANPP. How will this affect your party's fortunes in the elections?

Let me also take you back. On 11th April, 2007, when it was only three days to the election, we formally invited Buhari to come to Kano to round off his campaign, because as usual he would go to Daura from Kano to wait for the elections and participate.

We asked him as usual as he had done in 2003 to come and present himself to the people of Kano State because of the fact that he has large following in Kano, more than anywhere in the country, including his home state, Katsina. During this time, we asked Buhari to come. He said he was coming. Much later, his mind was changed, he was contemplating whether to come to Kano or not. Eventually he didn't come to Kano, and we went and informed the gathering that we were waiting for Buhari, we told them Buhari had been engaged in official engagements, and could not come as was expected.

We apologized to them and told them to go home and cast their votes for ANPP. Buhari made his own pronouncement through one of the local radio stations in Kano, apologizing for his failure to come to Kano. He was telling them and assuring them that he knew that Kano people were 100 per cent behind him, and Kano is controlled by the ANPP. His message was that everybody should come out and vote for the person he so wished. It was a clear testimony of anti-party activity.

He didn't tell the people of Kano that everybody should come out and vote for ANPP and for Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. But he told them to come out and vote for any candidate they wanted. So, this happened in 2007. Before this event took place, he had tried to change the candidate of Kano people from Shekarau to any other person like Magaji Abdullahi.

The people of Kano vehemently opposed that, and Mallam Shekarau was returned as the party's candidate for Kano governorship, and we won the election. The Buhari people who are now in CPC today had not voted for Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau during the governorship election. That's why we had got the disparity in the votes. We got 641,000 plus in the governorship election, PDP got 600,000. For the presidential election, Buhari got nearly one million votes, you can see the difference, about 400,000, even though this could be attributed to some political calculation and manoeuvre of scientific rigging which the PDP did in collaboration with INEC.

Therefore we have no problem with Buhari's exit because he did not support us in 2007 because he is contesting for presidential election, and we are also bringing out our own best material. So he has moved to CPC, we wish him good luck.

But there is this disquiet in ANPP because Gov. Shekarau is said to have anointed an unpopular aspirant as his successor. Is this true?

It is known to all that Mallam Shekarau has presented a person who, to him is the best material for the office.

But he has not told the world that that person he has presented is going to be the candidate of the party, but only an aspirant, a person who is going to contest for the party's ticket.

Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau has presented a person whom he feels possesses the acumen, the qualities needed to contest for governorship election, and to me there is nothing wrong in that. He is a very god material, very honest, very God-fearing and very decent. He has served in the government for a period of seven years, and he has not been found wanting in all his endeavours.

His name is Sagir Takai. But going by the magnitude of the politics in Kano and the strength of the party in the state, we have got a number of responsible men and women who have indicated their interest to contest for the governorship.