Senator Shehu Sani, a member of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly representing Kaduna Central District, was at the All Progressives Congress (APC) national Secretariat recently to meet with the fact finding committee led by Mr. Segun Oni on the party crisis in Kaduna State. The Senator spoke with journalists shortly after the meeting. TOM OKPE was there for The Daily Times
May you please tell us why you are at the party secretariat?
My presence here at the APC National secretariat was in response to an invitation I received from the Segun Oni-led fact-finding committee that was sent to Kaduna to investigate the political crisis in Kaduna State.
Unfortunately, I was not able to meet the committee when they were in Kaduna despite the fact that we waited at No 11B, Sambo road, and the very secretariat that was demolished by the governor of Kaduna State.
But now, the committee invited me to the office and I am here to state my own side of the story and it is very clear that the Kaduna APC is in crisis and the crisis must be addressed by the National secretariat of the party and by the leadership of the party so as to avert the tragedy that may befall the party in the upcoming elections.
The crisis in the APC has been lingering for a very long time and it has been left to reach such a crescendo whereby the broom automatically transformed to a hatchet.
The Segun Oni committee came to Kaduna and requested that we should all sheath our sword and bury our hatchet, but as for now, we only covered our hatchet with leaves and we are waiting for the next step which is the national secretariat of the party (NWC) and see what the Asiwaju-led reconciliation committee is going to do.
As you know, most political parties in Nigeria and in the history of Africa, crisis as a result of an internal purpose is implosion that destroys political parties and it is something that they have to do everything possible to avert.
Our position is this, that if the governor of Kaduna State is for peace, we are for peace. If he’s for war, we are also for war and a bigger war.
And that, it is the desire of everyone that we should all come together, to work together, to heal the wounds, in order to restore confidence and hope in the hearts and minds of the millions of Nigerians that voted us in 2015.
But a situation whereby some people are treated as outcasts and slaves, that will not augur well for the party and I said it repeatedly that it is wrong for anyone to simply categorise some people as pro-Buhari and some people as anti-Buhari, all of them within APC.
Everyone who is in the APC is pro-Buhari, but the only thing is that some are not sycophants and some are sycophants. So, as far as I am concerned, the success of this party in the upcoming elections is dependent on how it would be able to manage the crisis and solve the problems.
I can understand that the tenure of the existing leaders of the party has been extended by a year, so, I see that the stakeholders of the party have used helicopters to flyover the problems of the party.
But we still have to solve the problems. We must confront our problems and solve them. I am in support of any effort that is aimed at bringing peace, unity and stability within the party. But it’s also in the interest of the party that we don’t defer our problems and crisis, we will solve them.
There is no problem in the APC that cannot be solved. There is no problem in this party that cannot be solved, but you can only solve problems when the contending parties are all ready for the problems to be solved.
If one person is ready and the other person is not ready, certainly we are not going to make any headway. So, I, very much identify myself with any effort that is aimed at bringing peace.
The Segun Oni panel that was set up by the National secretariat of the party is serving in that direction and the Asiwaju reconciliation committee is serving in that direction and there is no conflict there, because they told us that they are on the fact-finding missions.
We gave them the facts. So, it is now left for the reconciliation committee to address it properly. For me, I see Asiwaju as a tailor of how he can use his own skill to mend the crisis as far as I am concerned.
Asiwaju sent a memo to the President, which was leaked to the press recently expressing fear that the NWC led by Oyegun is trying to frustrate his efforts, do you still have confidence in the Tinubu’s troubleshooting team to solve the party’s crisis by agreeing with the tenure elongation of the party leaders?
First, I must tell you the fact that with the appointment of Tinubu to chair the reconciliation committee that gave many contending parties within the party the hope and the confidence that the issues could be addressed.
For example, for those of us in Kaduna, there were two attempts at peace. One was the one led by the National Vice chairman of the party, Inuwa Abdul-Kadir which failed, and the second one was the one led by the governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari which also failed.
So, before Asiwaju, there was virtually no hope that this crisis would come to an end. And the very fact it was said that this committee is to reconcile while that of Oni is to gather facts is also very clear.
We have provided the facts and then we are waiting for Tinubu to act on it. So, as far as I am concerned, I believe that Oni is working together with Tinubu and there is no conflict of responsibilities.
Now, about the extension, as far as I am concerned from what I foresaw is the fact that the party want to mend itself before it goes to the public. So, it wants to wash its linen in the room before drying it in the public.
There is no doubt about it if there is no healing process and if there is no reconciliation and we all move to the convention centre, which means; there is going to be fireworks there. So, to me, extension or no extension, if the crisis in the party is not solved, we are simply postponing this day.
Is it possible that there will be a situation where the parties involved in this crisis will say I am tired of this reconciliation, I will quit?
You see, we say all politics is local. As far as I am concerned, if the crisis in Kaduna lingers and it defies all sorts of peaceful moves, certainly people will take the next step.
And as far as I am concerned, everyone has plan B. Even for me, I have plan B, Plan C and Plan D. So, If anybody feels he can enslave me, if anybody thinks he can dictate to me, if anyone felt that this party belongs to him and doesn’t belong to me and I am not needed in the party, there is no way I can continue to remain in the party, after all it is a free world.
The chieftains of this party are worried, I am sure you know the lacuna within the legislature and the presidency…
I will start with this, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, is a man who is expected to bring peace to our Somalia, to bring peace to Syria, to bring peace to Afghanistan and also to reconcile Palestine and Israel, so, we pray for him to be able to achieve all these, but we can say this clearly that we allowed APC’s problems to move from being a cat to being a tiger. And it now grew to such a level that threatens to consume everyone.
I still see President Muhammadu Buhari as the glue of APC. These three words you are seeing, A, P and C, Buhari is the glue. If we don’t have Buhari in the APC, suddenly everyone will find way to his home.
So, as he remains the glue, he must also be up and doing in addressing these crisis. And part of the problems we are having here is the philosophy of being for everybody and for nobody; it led the party to nowhere.
So, as far as I am concerned, I believe that there is a future for this party, but if only every member of the party is treated with equity, justice and fairness. We must avoid the symptoms of crisis that destroyed the PDP.
It must not come over here. If this problem is not counseled and resolved, as I said earlier, it has been allowed to move from being a cat to the tiger.
I still see President Muhammadu Buhari as the glue of APC. These three words you are seeing, A, P and C, Buhari is the glue. If we don’t have Buhari in the APC, suddenly everyone will find way to his home. So, as he remains the glue, he must also be up and doing in addressing these crisis. And part of the problems we are having here is the philosophy of being for everybody and for nobody; it led the party to nowhere.