Dr Umar Duhu is the pioneer National Vice Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC). In this interview with SUNDAY ISUWA, he speaks on the controversy surrounding the inability of the party to filled the vacant seat of the National Vice Chairman, North-east.
We learnt the National Working Committee of your party the APC appointed Mustapha Salihu a nephew to the suspended SGF as the National Vice Chairman, North East. Have other contestants including you backed out?
The men and women of the National Working Committee (NWC) are leaders of proven integrity and they will never be a part of this shame process that is being alluded to them. When the matter came up, other contestants and I went to the national secretariat to enquire the veracity or otherwise of the said letter issued to the nephew of BD Lawal, the former SGF. The responses we got from the NWC members were that, there was never a working committee that discussed the North East Vice Chairmanship issue and they expressed their dissatisfaction with the National Secretary who signed the purported letter. The National Chairman too did corroborate the statements of the NWC members. So, as far as I am concerned, the so-called letter is not only a nonexistent one, but null, void and of no effect to its inconsistencies.
But, the Chairman and Secretary of the APC in your state wrote that they have, in collaboration with your governor, endorsed Mustapha Salihu as the replacement of Lawal until ratification by the mini convention?
I still will not believe anyone on this except there is a cogent reason to substantiate. I want to know that, the governor of Adamawa State was the first to sign my endorsement for the replacement as the National Vice Chairman, North East before the governor of Borno State and those of Bauchi and Yobe States. But, if there is proof that anyone of them has signed for another person when I am holding on to their signatures of of endorsement, then something is definitely wrong with the crop of people we elect as our leaders. In any case, if my governor or any of my nominators decided to change his or her mind, courtesy demands that they speak to me, as no one was compelled to sign my nomination in the first instant. If you go through the list of all those who signed my nomination, the acting management party chairman in the state did not endorse my nomination as his allegiance was and is still to the suspended SGF. It is instructive to inform all that, the election of anyone into the Office of the National Vice Chairman North East is not the sole prerogative of Adamawa State alone, even though it was zoned to Adamawa State at the last APC Convention 2014. Therefore, Adamawa State cannot assume the sole jurisdiction to nominate and elect someone for the position. In essence, even if the vote of Adamawa State does not come my way, the votes of other five states in the North East counts.
But the Adamawa State APC said they are backing Lawal’s nephew because of his contributions to the Party in the state and the zone?
I don’t understand what you mean by contribution to the party. It is on record that, Mustapha Salihu was the one who brought the APC in Adamawa State to a state of near comatose. Has everyone forgotten so soon that, at the twilight of the 2015 general election, Mustapha single handedly pulled out over twelve members of the Adamawa State APC working committee out of the APC and decamped to the PDP along with them? When has he of sudden become a contributor or builder of the APC in Adamawa State? I now believe with the assertion that, those who sacrificed and laboured for the entrenchment of the APC in Nigeria have either been neglected or uncompensated and excluded from the skim of things in the polity today. Please, go and ask Bilal and his cohorts; who actually took the party to Adamawa State and wooed them from the PDP to join the APC. The then Governor His Excellency Amiral Murtala Nyako CFR, GCON is still alive and knows how tedious it was for me to speak to him and begged that, he should collapse his political structure into the APC fray. His Excellency Atiku Abubakar knows very well the role I played to get the APC Leaders in Nigeria including President Buhari GCFR, to visit him in his Asokoro Manson and requested him to join the APC. Go also to our leaders of the APC in Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba States, they will tell you the roles I played in getting the party stabilized in their states. Between Mustapha and I, who has contributed significantly to the destruction or building of the APC in Adamawa State, North East and Nigeria?
Is it true that you are at loggerhead with the party chairman in your state?
As far as I am concerned, I have no problem with any party leader in Nigeria. But, if I may ask, is Bilal the Adamawa State APC Chairman? The answer is certainly no. It was as a result of the fall out of the anti-party activities of Mustapha Saliihu that crippled the APC structure in Adamawa State. It is also the same National Secretary of the APC that single handedly planted Bilal on the APC in Adamawa State as the head of the APC Management Committee for a small period of time. Have you ever seen where a local government party chairman not through election, will be the one superintending over state executive members if not in the Adamawa State APC? Where have you seen the so-called chairman and secretary coming from the same senatorial zone, if not in Adamawa State? Where will you see in the 21 Centaury a state of Senior Technocrats, Seasoned and very senior National leaders, which is being led by an unlettered fellows at the party level and no one is talking, except Adamawa State? It is totally out of place to join issues with these unsound fellows on party issues. Can you imagine the Article of the APC Constitution the Party in my State referred to as the basis for their nonexistent action? What relevance has ‘Article 17 iv of the APC Constitution’ has on the subject matter? This is a justification that, there was never a meeting to draw the so-called letter to nominate the nephew of BD Lawal as obtained at the National Secretariat of the APC. I am sure, if there was any meeting, the Legal Adviser of the party in Adamawa State is a very senior officer at the bar, and would have guided them accordingly. To put the record straight, the unilateral action of the National Secretary of the APC is in gross violation of Article 20 i (a) and Article 25 C (ii) of the APC Constitution (October 2014 As Amended), and still remains a suspect, selfish, undemocratic, brazen abuse of due process and the Change Mantra APC is predicated upon.
What than is your next line of action?
It is totally out of place to ever contemplate the National Chairman of this great party will trash our individual and collective complaints. He is the father of the party and I believe he will never condone the impunity to subsist in this Great APC under his watch. There will be absolutely nothing difficult to determine as the issues for determination are simple and very straight forward. First, the party is to determine if Mustapha Salihu was the only contestant for post of National Vice Chairman, North East. Certainly, the answer is no. There are Four contestants. Secondly, was there a consensus to produced Mustapha or any other aspirant to occupy the position? The answer is certainly no. Thirdly, was Article 20 i (a) of the APC Constitution (October 2014 As Amended) complied with its sourcing for a replacement as the National Chairman, North East? The answer is certainly no. lastly, has the NWC complied with Article 25 C (ii) of the APC Constitution (October 2014 As Amended) before arriving at the decision as contained on the purported letter No. APC/NHDQ/NEZ/33/017/05? The answer is also no. So, where will the problem arise from? But, if within the stipulated period, we do not receive any tangible answer from the National Chairman by cancelling and withdrawing the fraudulent letters issued to Mustapha Salihu, as well as issue a directive to convene a North-East Congress, the arm of the party saddled with the responsibility of dealing with such matters, as provided for in the APC Constitution and obtained in other Zones, we will have no option than to seek redress in a Court of Law to determine the matter and any other issues associated thereof.
So, who nominated Mustapha Salihu?
Let them come up with their list of signatories so that we would know who truly is the nominee for the replacement of Babachir David Lawal’s nephew. Is it not crazy to say that Gov Bindow, former VP Atiku Aabubakar and Babachir David Lawal of Buhari camp are together in unity to support the same candidate (Mustapha Salihu). This is unbelievable and it will certainly not be under this present political setting.
What is actually happening, we learnt Salihu is acting?
Let me clear the air once more to the fact that, the position of the National Vice Chairman North East of the APC, is still vacant and shall reason until the National Working Committee of the Party decides otherwise. APC is a creation of the Constitution and as a legal entity, due diligence must be adhered to strictly in handling and managing the affairs of the Party. If there is any aspect that is in doubt, the doors of the Judiciary is always open to interpret the constitution to the satisfaction of all. Let me at this juncture reiterate that, the correction in the party has to be holistic.