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JONATHAN'S HANDLERS NOT CLEVER ENOUGH

By NBF News

Dr. Inuwa Mustapha, former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Katsina State, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders supporting President Goodluck Jonathan to contest 2011 are 'trying to be clever unnecessarily.'

In an e interview with the Daily Sun, he admonished the ruling party to sort out the zoning debate, although he was no longer bothered by the problems in the party. Mustapha was SSG to the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. He recently defected to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Excerpts:

He spoke on this and other issues. Excerpts:
You were a chieftain of the PDP, why CPC now?
Democracy is about people's opinion, views and their aspirations. We had similar experience with people in CPC. They were in All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) but were forced to leave by this politics of exclusion, which governors largely adopt to ensure that it is only what they want happens in political parties.

We were founding fathers of PDP, there is no doubt about it. We did all we could to build the party to the level it reached, winning elections and establishing government and working for the government to ensure things were done as people wanted them. Unfortunately, with the coming of the present governor, Ibrahim Shema, he excluded almost every reasonable person who contributed to the development of the party. We felt we should leave the party and find allies as co-travelers with the people of CPC.

So, we are there in order to build a party which will encourage internal democracy, which will provide level playing ground for every person in the party to aspire to what he or she wants to become.

What is the focus of the CPC?
We know for sure that the CPC is very popular, especially the leader of the party who is loved by Nigerians. We will try and harness that goodwill and popularity of the General and make sure the mistakes in the other parties do not happen in CPC.

That is, we will encourage internal democracy, we will allow people to really get together and form very strong political party. We will also encourage people to allow their supporters to choose whatever they want.

We are really going to go round, we are going to work hard to ensure we mobilize and sensitize. We will make people understand true democracy, this is, where you allow the electorate to make their choice.

Are you eyeing any political office in 2011?
No. I don't join a political party for political office but things turn out as God wants. I have no particular office in mind, whether elective or by appointment. All depend on what Allah has ordained for one to become.

We are encouraging right thinking people, who are of like minds to come forward. We encourage them to go into whatever positions we feel they are capable of holding in order to move the society forward.

You are not worried that a clash among the gladiators in your party already could cost the CPC the state governorship next year?

Honestly, we have not come to that yet. What we are concerned about now is to build up the party, to develop and encourage people to join the party. When it comes to that time, I assure you, we have the capacity to solve whatever problem we may have.

The most important thing is to encourage internal democracy. Allow people to freely contest and allow them to elect whoever they want. I believe CPC is out for that. We are for internal democracy which is lacking in PDP.

Do you have any regret over your role in the government that helped Shema to emerge governor in 2007?

When people accused us of putting the wrong person there, of manipulating the system to favour Ibrahim and so on, to be candid, we are human. You don't know what happens tomorrow. You can only assess the situation and make your human calculation which is sometimes bound to be faulty. At the time we took the decision we took under the given situation, I think that was the best decision under the circumstance. But what turned out later was entirely a different thing.

May be, if he had carried everybody along, if he is somebody who takes advice from people, all this rubbish wouldn't have happened. I think, it is not the problem of the choice, it is the problem of the personalities there.

I think it is not putting him there that is the problem. He is supposed to carry everybody along and work as a team and appreciate the roles individuals and groups played. That was what he was unable to do.