Interviews Politics

National Convention: APC must return to the grassroots – Iliyasu Abdu, chairmanship aspirant

A chairmanship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Iliyasu Abdu has pledged to comply with rules guiding the party and take the party to a higher height.
He spoke with a select media in Abuja over his ambition to contest the party’s national chairmanship position and some other national issues. The AUTHORITY was represented

Excerpts

You are aspiring to be the national chairman of the ruling party, if given the opportunity to lead, what do you think you will do differently?

Sincerely, I will return the party to the grassroots. I will eliminate moneybags. I will return the party to the grassroots for empowerment. Before coming to the ward, we will empower the polling units. There are one hundred and twenty thousand polling units and, must be empowered.

So, if empowered, then I think we can eliminate moneybags. That is what I want to do so that some people won’t sit down in one place and decide for the whole country. Let the people decide for themselves, which is democracy; Government of the people and by the people for the people.

How would you rate the APC in terms of performance since inception till date?

APC has fared very well; if you look at the interventions the APC government has done well from 2015, in terms of monetary value through social development and intervention programs, they have spent over N3 trillion on infrastructural development. It has never been done before in the history of this country. It is a deliberate policy of the APC government that brought all this. And you can see. The N-power, survival funds and this is a party policy to help the citizens overcome challenges.

Everyone knows what COVID-19 has caused the world, not only Nigeria. The whole world was shot down. But because of the intervention of APC, many people are still surviving and doing very well than other countries. So, APC is fairing stronger and stronger.

There is still room for improvement because that is not the end of it. That is why we are trying to come out so that we can improve on these things with a view to doing better because we are entrepreneurs. We have been in business and we know how to grow organizations for optimal performance.

Will you say the APC government as at today is being enjoyed by the people?

Yes, Nigeria is a dynamic country with over 200 million people. Some People might not agree that they are enjoying the government but, in all sincerity, majority of Nigerians will agree with me that as far as this APC government is concerned, it has done excellently well.

The ongoing party revalidation, some say it is against the party constitution, what’s your reaction to this

Well, you know this country is dynamic like I said earlier. People have their own ideas with different views. But a political party is supposed to accommodate everybody. I think it is a very good idea for revalidation and welcome new members. That is the only way a party can bring in new members, after all, we are not cultists. The party is open. It is like an association of like-minded people. If somebody wants to be with you, welcome him.

Why do you think your party has suffered leadership problems, from Oyegun, to Oshiomhole and the present.?

It is not like suffering leadership problems. APC was recently formed. A merger of different set of people with different political views. So, definitely you should have that kind of skirmishes. Even your tongue and mouth do have issues at times. It is a normal thing. As time goes on, this too will be resolved and there will be peace in the party.

What the Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, is doing gives everybody free time to participate actively. He is not intervening. He wants the party to grow by itself. He wants it to grow very well. Sincerely, that is what we call teething problems. It will solve itself one day.

What kind of leader do you expect the party to elect when it goes for its convention in the next few months from now?

Well, we need a dynamic and focused leader. A God fearing leader who will be fair to every member of the party. A young and vibrant leader who can move and have ideas to move the party to the next level. If the president who is the national leader leaves power, we should think ahead on what will happen to the party.

Because of his presence, many things cannot be done. But, if he leaves, what happens? That is why we need a dynamic and vibrant youthful person to lead the party.

How would you rate the present government in the area of security?

Well, as I said. If you are in this country prior to 2015, the sudden bomb explosion scared a lot of people. A situation where you don’t know when and where the next bomb will explode. Some people couldn’t even go out because they don’t know if the next car is loaded with bombs behind or in front of you. Even the President’ life was attempted in Kaduna. But you will agree with me that since he won election in 2015, you will find out that Boko Haram has been curtailed to the northeast. Just in the fringes. And they are just surviving. But, by the special grace of God and the help of the citizens, me and you, the issue of insecurity will be a thing of the past. At the party level, we have agents everywhere. We have party members all over this country that if we harness that power in the party we can do better.

There are some schools of thought that are of the view that President Buhari is the life wire of APC and that when he leaves the party will crumble, do you believe in this school?

This is one of the reasons I came out, because I so much believe in his ability. This is a man since he started his campaign, though I have not met him. But I have been voting for him. It was only in 2011, that I voted for Jonathan. I so much believe in his ability and integrity. What is missing in this country is integrity. So, if Buhari leaves the scene and the party collapses, the youths will be blamed.

Let us keep building on the legacy of his integrity and honesty. That is what we want. And, to do this, we have to be committed. There is this slogan, ‘’Change begins with me’’, that is the truth. It is me and you. We must be the change agent. Let it start from the polling units and see if the country will not turn to Eldorado tomorrow.

We have all the resources that we need to move this country to the next level. You don’t need to invent anything again. Everything we need, we have. It is for us to now build on his legacy. If President Buhari goes and the party goes, it will be an indictment on the youths of this country. So, if we allow that to happen, then we have disappointed the country. Nigeria will be stronger and better when Buhari goes.

Your state Governor, Yahaya Bello, is aspiring for the presidency while you are going for the party’s chairmanship position…

Yes, as I always say, it takes a King to have a Kingdom. My Governor is eminently qualified to be President of this country. He is a young man, dynamic and a two-term governor. He is very intelligent. He is eminently qualified to be president of this country.

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