ALHAJI Mohammed Abba Gana, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, former special adviser to the president and presently, member of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in this interview with newsmen gives his views on recent political developments in the country and his reasons why President Goodluck Jonathan should serve another four years in office.
Why do you think there is tension in the land? All this tension, anger, bitterness, hatred and acrimony throughout the country are caused by the inordinate ambition of just a few individuals, who want to replace Jonathan in 2015. They forget that we have had great leaders who deserve to rule this country by any standard but could not make it inspite of all their efforts.
All these leaders at one time or another aspired to lead this country but they never caused trouble. Awolowo, Zik made a lot of efforts but the Lord never gave them the chance to rule this country. Same thing with Adamu Ciroma. He did primaries with Shagari and tried with the NRC but he never succeeded.
So, this is a food for thought for the five governors and others who are exercising inordinate ambition as if this is the end of the world, there were others before them who were greater and more deserving. They had all the efforts but God could not make them to rule. So, it is a question of destiny, it is not making noise, scheming and manipulating or subterfuge.
So, do you mean you do not share the views of Prof. Ango Abdullahi and the Northern Elders Forum, NEF?
People are allowed to talk, criticize, agree, disagree and people can promote their interests within the law. So, Ango Abdullahi and his group are pursuing what they consider as their own view of Northern interest but there are other groups who are against them in the same North.
So he doesn’t speak for you? He doesn’t speak for me, he doesn’t speak for the North, no, no, no.
Once there is a political party it becomes the institution for seeking power, no other group. The political parties are recognized institutions, nobody can seek anything outside political parties. It is not going to work. The political parties are there. Even if Ango Abdullahi says anything it must come to either APC or PDP, they cannot nominate anybody, they cannot have delegates. So, it is another NGO like the Governors Forum.
What is your view on the agitation that the North should produce the next president in 2015?
Some people in the North want the presidency to go back to the North, some people also in the North do not see anything wrong in allowing Jonathan to finish his eight years. In the North, we have had about eight or nine heads of state of this country and allowing Jonathan another four years will not take away anything.
We should not be talking as if the North has never had any president. We have had about eight or nine presidents, yet all the poverty, illiteracy, crises are in the North. So if the previous eight or nine leaders who are northerners did not make any difference, is it the remaining years of Jonathan that will make the difference?
The PDP already has a sitting president in Jonathan and if he says I would like to seek for a second term, there is no way the PDP should say no because there are all sorts of advantages for the party if the sitting president says he would like to seek another term that he is entitled to.
It would be very unwise for the PDP to even bring in somebody when Jonathan is sitting down in Aso Rock and another PDP presidential candidate is running about. How do you expect him to support that candidate, so we will lose most of the advantages of incumbency.
T.Y Danjuma, our highly respected statesman told our northern elites that the North needs to plan very well, he also said that the North needs to work very hard and he also said that the North also needs to relate better and finally, he said the North should talk less.
So, for me, if you ask me, the North needs another four years to plan, to relate better, to work hard and create a programme so that these our Boko Haram crisis, Jos crisis and so on will be settled. And we need a leader from the North. We should search for or groom a leader from the North who will unite the North and at the same time give Nigeria a very good leadership and you can’t do this in a crash programme.
So you believe like Anenih, who said Jonathan should be given the right of first refusal?
As a political party what is wrong with that? It is a PDP arrangement and if my party agrees with that, what is wrong with that? I am a very loyal and committed member of the PDP and I am also a member of the Board of Trustees and Chief Tony Anenih is my chairman and I wouldn’t want to contradict my chairman in any way.
But why do you think Dr. Jonathan lost the goodwill that preceded his emergence as president just over two years ago?
You see, some of these crises that we are having were not created by Jonathan. Boko Haram was not created by Jonathan. Boko Haram is more troublesome than the Biafran war because in the Biafran war you know who you are fighting, but this is an insurrection and this security challenge is rare.
Dualisation of roads In spite of all that, Jonathan is really doing a lot of work. I am telling you he is doing a lot of work and the press should give recognition to his efforts because no nation can face such an insurrection and do other things because fighting war and carrying on other work is not an easy matter.
The fact is that in most parts of the country where the insurrection is a little less, work is going on, there is dualisation of roads and other programmes are there like in Abuja the light rail project is going on, the Nigeria Railway Corporation is doing the Lagos – Kano line and the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line would be ready soon and Nigerian Airport improvement programme is going on very well and most of the imprints of the Transformation Agenda are going on well but in places like in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, understandably we have difficulties because some of the Europeans who were working there have left.