Bala Kao’je, an engineer is a former Minister of Sports. He is confident that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has what it takes to move the party forward, but he however advised him to get the right advisers with deep knowledge in Nigerian politics. In an interview with journalists in Abuja, the former PDP National Treasurer said it will be difficult for any party to defeat the APC in the 2019 polls. MATHEW DADIYA was there for The Daily Times.
Recently, your party the APC conducted its national convention, considering your experience in politics, how would you describe the outcome?
The convention can be said to have gone quite well, in the sense that it started and ended without rancour as some people had expected.
They thought that what happened during the PDP convention in 2015 where a number of stakeholders walked out of the Eagle Square would happen, but that didn’t happen.
Many people had thought that on that day, APC was going to break, but far from it, the party is now stronger and more formidable.
A lot of people were really disappointed because there is a level of cohesion within the APC and because of that, a number of people who are APC followers have seen the light that there is possibility for negotiation with some members of the n-PDP so as to settle the rift, so that the party can wax stronger to prepare itself for the 2019 general elections.
The convention went smoothly, not without hitches though, but you could see that there were some noticeable errors with the way the convention was arranged.
Time was not taken into consideration, because in planning, you have to plan in such a way that where you need to spend five hours, you will spend just three hours and go. But in the case of the last convention, the planning was not good.
I know Oshiomhole has what it takes to put things together to move the party forward. And I know that he has a serious task ahead of him, because of this task one tree cannot make a forest,
he needs to have the right people around him, he needs to have some advisers who are experienced from all the parts of the country, to give him advice on various aspect of ruling the party.
That will help him a lot in knowing what exactly is going on, because all the advisers will be doing their homework, and also draw some agenda for him to use in the interest of the party and to manage it.
But he has to be very careful, he shouldn’t be in haste to select the right kind of people who will advise him on politics, relationship with the National Assembly, the governors, because many of these things need to be planned.
There must be somebody who has idea on new things to do in terms of planning the next action to be taken by a leader, and that is why I think it is important for Oshiomhole to look for the right kind of people with experience,
political and managerial and otherwise to assist him so he can be able to achieve the mandate given to him of solidifying the party, and preparing for 2019 elections, I believe he will be able to do it.
The polity is barraged with gale of defections, but the most concern was the formation of a faction out of the ruling party by Buba Galadima, what is the implication of that for the APC as the 2019 elections get closer?
People have been wondering why things have become what they are now, especially in the relationship between Mr. President and Buba Galadima, because everyone knows the two of them to be good paddies in politics, but now everyone has moved on his own.
I think most of these things can be avoided. Human beings are very fallible, no matter what happens, as a leader you need to endure and look at the weight of people around you, do what you can to service those people.
It was failure to attend to their needs that created this kind of misunderstanding that led to what Bubba has done. Anyway, it has happened, perhaps because the President didn’t take advise of people around him, or those around him didn’t advise him in that direction, we don’t know.
Though, our new chairman has done everything necessary to bring Galadima back to the APC but he refused, so for me the party has done what it ought to have done with regards to aggrieved members like the rAPC leader.
But Adams Oshiomhole needs to intensify efforts, see how we can have reasonable percentage of the aggrieved members to remain in APC and forget the issue of rAPC.
You chaired the APC state congress in Nasarawa State and was adjudged as one of the most peaceful congresses, what was the secret behind that success?
The credit goes to the governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Almakura. I must say he performed credibly in terms of the way he managed the election activities, Tanko carries all his politicians along,
when I spoke to some stakeholders, they were all happy because the governor didn’t abandon them. Before the convention he held series of meetings, and town-hall meetings with the people.
He worked with former senators, House of Representatives members, all former ministers and current ones, he virtually met with everybody who has a say, who is a stakeholder in Nasarawa before the convention, they shared ideas among themselves and they were able to agree that they will maintain the structure, except for those who have left the party or have died.
We did what we are supposed to do, and there has not been any petition so far. The governor did well, I hope all stakeholders will also learn from him, doing things that will make the people have more love for the party.
There is nothing as sweet as knowing your leader cares for you, if the leader doesn’t create that kind of atmosphere, there will be a gap, and that is a problem. Some leaders you can’t get access to them, so they need to change the way they do things.
You were recently honored with an award in the United Kingdom, what is the significance to your career?
I am actually a full time professional builder; people might know me more through politics; so I decided to go international. I am a member of Association of Chattered Building Engineers in the UK.
I have been with them for over 10years, and every year, I attend their conference, it is a must, and other technical seminars that are organised by the association, I was a member before it became a chattered body and I still enjoy my membership.
That award is an award that enables me to practice in the UK. I can practice in the UK anytime, I have partners there and access to building construction as it is done in the UK.
It means my level of understanding of building is far ahead of what is practiced here in the country. That is the essence I moved out of the country to seek more knowledge, share knowledge with people in the profession and I enjoy it.
President Buhari has spent over three years in power, how will you assess his performance generally?
When I came into APC, I came not directly initially because before the election, everybody knows that the PDP was unfair to me, I felt that I cannot just go without fighting back, we have to take the PDP to court because what they did was unethical.
We looked at the future of Nigeria and realised that if something was not done to change the leadership of the country it will be catastrophic, and some of us left immediately to APC, while some stayed back in the PDP and worked for the victory of APC. I didn’t hide my support and it was clear that I supported Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari has done well and deserved a second term to be able to complete the good work he has started, especially on infrastructural development across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
One cannot in a very complex society like ours, satisfy all the people. But I believe Buhari did well to sanitise the economy, such that the level of stealing, corruption or whatever they call it has been reduced to its barest level.
But I will still point out areas the President need to do more, but he is doing well in terms of bringing the economy back on track, and redeeming our image amongst the comity of nations.
I know Oshiomhole has what it takes to put things together to move the party forward. And I know that he has a serious task ahead of him, because of this task one tree cannot make a forest, he needs to have the right people around him, he needs to have some advisers who are experienced from all the parts of the country, to give him advice on various aspect of ruling the party. That will help him a lot in knowing what exactly is going on