Alhaji Dahiru Yusuf Yabo is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Sokoto State, and an avid supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari. He was the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) governorship candidate in the state in 2011. Yabo is also a member of a political frontier known as APC Adalci Buhari SAK, a group galvanizing support for President Buhari’s re-election in 2019. The politician in this interview conducted by TUNDE OMOLEHIN, spoke on the ultimatum given to Governor Aminu Tambuwal and APC leadership in the state, to declare their loyalty to President Buhari among other issues.
What informed your group’s decision to issue an ultimatum to Governor Aminu Tambuwal over President Buhari’s 2019 re-election?
What informed our decision was the fact that 2019 is around the corner, and we are part and parcel of the APC in Sokoto State, through one of the legacy parties that formed it. Secondly, the antecedents of the current governor of the stateAminu Waziri Tambuwal, his actions and inactions prompted us to have some apprehensions and his antics clearly show that we deserve some clarifications about his position toward 2019 presidential election. Also, some of his recent moves had added up to our fears. We felt as loyal party men and bonafide members of APC in the State, we need to voice out if things are not right, especially his relationship with Mr. President. All these things put together, we felt we are even helping him to clear the air on some public misconceptions about his personality and political moves toward 2019. In the last two years, we have been watching closely about his performance as a governor and we are not satisfied. We are also not comfortable with his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari. We are also not comfortable with the way he is treating some of our party members, especially those from the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the state. As patriotic party members, we are also not comfortable with his relationship with former governor, Alhaji Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. So, all these put together informed our decision to come together as like minds, within the party, who believe that something needed to be done in order to harmonise our moves toward galvanising more support for President Buhari in 2019, in the state and nationally.
In one of your group’s press conferences, you accused Governor Tambuwal of anti-party activities, what evidence have you to make such allegation?
The allegation is not only from our group, rather, we are only informing the governor that there are a lot of speculations going around and well reported by the media showing or indicating fears that his (Governor Tambuwal) moves and antics are not in consonance with the values of party system politics. We know him as a governor under the platform of APC but it has been reported widely that he is romancing some personalities from outside his party, particularly those in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There are speculations that he (Tambuwal) was among the people who funded the new leadership of PDP and his frequent visit to Rivers State which is literally the PDP headquarters and where the party national chairman comes from. We are also aware about his deep and close relationship with the governor of Rivers State. Being old folks in politics, we can read along the lines and understand the movements of any politician, especially toward an election time. With what is happening now at the National Assembly, one can see clearly too that there are a lot of apprehensions. Even within the party at the national level, we have seen what is playing out there and that was the reason Mr. President himself is more concerned and a committee was set up, headed by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu to reconcile all aggrieved members.
Also, knowing the relationship of Governor Tambuwal with the Speaker of the House of Representatives who everybody knows he galvanised support for, to become the Speaker, we knew he must have an influence on the current happenings in the National Assembly. That is one aspect of it. The second aspect is that, the Senate President who is also a very close ally of Senator Aliyu Wamakko, who handed over to Governor Aminu Tambuwal, had both made a declaration that they have a political bond that cannot be broken, knowing the fact that Senator Wamakko is also an ally of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. The fact that there was a recent move whereby the chairman of the Northern Senators Forum who was opposed to some of the lines and aspirations of the party was removed and replaced by Senator Wamakko, one can easily see that there are moves that are not really good enough for some of us who want to have a common front ahead of 2019 general elections.
Let me remind you that, three years into this administration, Mr. President has visited several states to commission projects but yet to be invited to Sokoto and we can see the kind of speed at which Governor Tambuwal invited Vice President Osinbajo to Sokoto, not to commission any project when there were rumours that President Buhari was incapacitated while on medical treatment abroad. You can juxtapose this with Mr. President statement recently in Jos, where he said, when he was away, people were pursuing the Vice President to give them the position of Vice President when he, (Osinbajo) becomes President.
Your group’s agenda is to galvanise support for President Buhari come 2019 election evenwhen Buhari has not decided to run. In the event he declines to seek re-election, what becomes of your agenda?
We don’t have to wait until he publicly declares his intention to seek re-election, rather, we see it as our responsibility to encourage him to seek re-election because we are satisfied with his performance so far, looking at the rot he inherited from the immediate past administration.
Your former party, defunct CPC, was one of the legacy parties that collapsed into APC, how formidable is your new group, APC Adalci Buhari Sak?
We are indeed a formidable force to reckon with in Sokoto politics because our bond with the defunct CPC is still intact, except for one of us, who was lured away with a mere Special Adviser office, but a lot of new converts have also joined us.
To buttress our strength, in 2011when Senator Wamakko was the state governor and Tambuwal, as the House of Representatives Speaker under PDP, there was an election with President Buhari as the CPC presidential candidate. President Buhari in Sokoto clearly won the election with a margin of over 550,000 votes alone and in 2015, when both Wamakko and Tambuwal joined Buhari’s bandwagon, we only won with about 670,000 votes which show that PDP in addition only gave 120,000 votes. Another fact was that with former governor Aliyu Wamakko as an incumbent, we (CPC) beat him in his local government with a margin of about 20,000 votes.
Why does it take your group a long time before raising your voice on these issues?
As loyal party members, we decided to take our time to watch keenly and gave benefit of doubt to happenings around us, with the hope that things will change for better, but unfortunately things are degenerating as the leopard never changes his skin. We believe that there is no better time than now to expose the ineptitude surrounding the government of Aminu Tambuwal.
We can recall things were not good enough at the beginning of this administration both at the central and state levels, especially in terms of economy but we also know the efforts made by the Federal Government in terms of fund interventions. We also understood that the immediate past government causes most of the problems which, they (Tambuwal and Wamakko) were part of them. So, we thought Governor Tambuwal should be given time to plan his government and also execute projects. But with three years gone now, it is expected of him to start showing what he has done, instead, there is a lot of propaganda being disseminated and people in the state are now becoming apprehensive that this government is not doing anything.
We know that Tambuwal wouldn’t have won on his own merit but, he won on President Buhari’s popularity in 2015. We all know how Niger and Jigawa governorship candidates lost election because they failed to join Buhari’s mantra in the last general elections. We all know what would have happened if Wamakko and Tambuwal had not joined APC during the last election but after benefitting from Buhari’s mantra, Tambuwal is now trying to betray President Buhari. People are complaining and we are the leaders of these people. At least two of our members were gubernatorial aspirants in the last party primary and still have pending court cases, which anyone of them can even be declared the governor, all things being equal. I was also a governorship candidate on the platform of defunct CPC in 2011. So if we cannot talk, who will talk? It is our responsibility as responsible leaders and politicians who had the state at heart to come up and show off how things should be done. If we did not correct these things, we are all bound to find it difficult in the forthcoming general elections. The CPC group is much on the ground and more popular in the state.
Has anyone, either from the governor or party leadership in the state responded to your observations?
You know we gave the governor an ultimatum, which has elapsed, to state his position, regarding loyalty to President Buhari. His silence confirms to us that he is not with Buhari and for those of us who are with Buhari, we will move a step further to find out from the party leadership in the state, if they are in support of the governor in his anti-Buhari scheme. Their response and action will determine our next line of action.
Our apprehension that they will ditch us when it matters most is glaring because that is their stock in trade particularly, Governor Tambuwal. We know what he did to PDP toward 2015 general elections, even though it is to our favour in APC. We don’t want to suffer such betrayal. We cannot also forget what Senator Wamakko did to us when he hijacked the defunct ANPP structure and later moved to PDP, snatched the gubernatorial ticket from a party member who had already won the party ticket. Aside their insignificant contribution to the APC, they cannot be trusted with the future of the party.
It is in the open that all is not well within the APC, which necessitated the Bola Tinubu reconciliation committee. Taking into consideration the magnitude of issues bedeviling the party at state and national levels do you think the committee can deliver on its mandate before the party goes into election?
Time shall tell whether the Tinubu committee will deliver on its mandate because the problems in each state differs and in some states, the issues have been left to fester for long, that, individuals have suffered personal and material losses, as the case may be. In Sokoto, we have a gubernatorial aspirant who is seeking redress on the sudden emergence of Governor Tambuwal as APC candidate, whose farmland has been confiscated, same for another, whom a section of his school is under threat of demolition, for daring to speak out against the governor. We are aware of the magnitude of the problem in our party in Kano and Kaduna states.
Still on your question Tinubu has been given a herculean task by the President and I appreciate his ingenuity by reaching out to members who seem to be aggrieved. A good example was his visit to Sokoto, which was surprising to outsiders. But Tinubu’s visit to Sokoto however, buttresses our claim on who to watch closely on the radar as politicking approaches. Tinubu in his wisdom, has been to the National Assembly, the national headquarters of the party to resolve his differences with the national chairman, and his alleged proxy war with the Senate President. He should be commended for taking bold steps to reconcile with those he has grievances with, in the party.
We all know that issues arose between Tinubu and Tambuwal on the emergence of the Speaker of the current House of Representatives, where Tinubu was allegedly betrayed by Tambuwal, despite all he did in supporting him to become the Speaker then. Tinubu has shown his large heart and forgave Tambuwal by visiting Sokoto, towards achieving success in his assignment. Despite all these moves by Tinubu, his traducers are yet to come to term with him because their heart is not in APC and this is why we want people of like minds to join us in check-mating those disloyal elements from destroying or causing collateral damages before jumping boat into their alternative party.