* Says President has dealt with impunity, enthrones prudence
* Insists ruling party did not sideline Atiku, Tinubu, others
* ‘APC leaders can’t determine who will contest’
As the issue of whether President Muhammadu Buhari will contest the 2019 presidential election or not still remains cloudy, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Inuwa AbdulKadir, has given reasons why he (Buhari) is yet to speak on the matter.
This is even as Alhaji Abdulkadir, who is the National Vice Chairman (North-West) of the APC, categorically said that it is incorrect for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar or any other leader or leaders of the party to say that the party has wronged them in any way.
AbdulKadir, a former Minister of Minister of Youth and Social Development and Magatakarda Babba of Sokoto, stated this during an exclusive interview with The Daily Times on Monday night in Abuja.
The newspaper recalls that Atiku had recently claimed that he has been sidelined by the APC and President Buhari after helping them to win the 2015 general election.
The former minister pointedly said that it would amount to serious “distraction to governance” among other things for the President to start talking about the 2019 presidential election with slightly over two years in office.
Such, he added, could also have a negative effect on economic investments as the various investors may be afraid of the risk factors involved.
He said Buhari is the President of Nigeria and he is holding the flag of APC, which was given to him for four years, noting that he was given the ticket after going through the processes of primaries and so on and he won the election.
“The constitution of Nigeria provides for two terms. If the time comes for the processes of election for 2019, there will certainly be primaries and these processes require that the party will inform those who are interested to show their interest, indicate their interest and will follow the procedure.
“At that point, that’s where this kind of question as to whether the President will contest in 2019 or not, will arise.
“As a leader of the party, I am supposed to play a role of listening to all. So, it is not our prerogative or our business to know whether Mr. A wants to contest in 2019 or not, or the President wants to contest in 2019 or not.
“But in fairness to the President, it is something that he would indicate at an appropriate time, not now.
“You see, if he starts talking now about the 2019 election, it will be distractive. It will affect governance. In
fact, it will affect every facet of things.
“Don’t forget, we have investors who have invested in this country because they believe that this man (Buhari) can deliver. By the time you are debating whether he will continue or not, they will have a rethink as businessmen, because they don’t want to risk their investment”, he said.
When asked if he thinks that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu and some other chieftains of the APC have been wronged or sidelined and marginalised in the scheme of things by the APC,
AbdulKadir answered in the negative, pointing out that the party is an institution.
His words: “Are they (Atiku, Tinubu and other aggrieved chieftains of the APC) not members of the party? Who wronged them? APC is in an institution. Did the APC deprive anybody of his entitlements, rights or privilege? Even if not Atiku but any other ordinary member of the party?
“He (Atiku) contested election, primary election. Was he deprived? He was screened like any other person. He was cleared. It is his right to. Nobody deprived him.
“There was no election that he wanted to contest for, as far as I could remember, even in Adamawa, his home state, there were no election for which he wanted to contest and we deprived him as a party.
“So, all these things you see, what some people are trying to do or rather misguide other members of the party, is to cry wolf where none exists”.
Admitting that Atiku may have made his contributions to the success of the party, AbdulKadir pointed out that such contribution was only in material terms, stressing that several others made contributions in a way that cannot be quantified.
He noted that while some other party members died in various accidents in the course of electioneering campaigns and election proper, others got maimed, with others also recording losses that cannot be quantified materially.
The former minister however submitted that under the administration of President Buhari, impunity has been cut to size in both administration of party and in governance because of the attitude of the leader.
His words: “He (Buhari) has changed the psyche of the people. The psyche of an average Nigerian, relatively, has changed. He respects prudence. He wants prudence and accountability.
“You may not attain that level of prudence in just two years, but in public and even private life now, people imbibe it because the leader is doing, to a large extent, the right thing.
“So, the larger population follows the leader. That leader may be wrong, but they still follow him. If he is leading them in the right direction, everybody will be happy. If he is leading them in the wrong direction, they will only be following him and they won’t know that they are in a mess until a particular stage where there will be a revolt, which was what happened in 2015. That’s what happened.
“People have been following PDP anyhow because they declare election anyhow, they do whatever they like, and there is nothing anybody can do. Gradually, the voters and even the elite themselves realised that they were in a big mess. That was why they came together and formed a party of APC and changed the situation”, he said.