Former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Abba Gana in this interview culled from VANGUARD speaks on recent political developments in the country, the clamour by the North for power to return to the region and the reason why he thinks President Goodluck Jonathan deserves another four years in office.
On the tense political atmosphere in the build-up to 2015 presidential elections, Abba Gana said, “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.”
Distancing himself from the insistence by Prof. Ango Abdullahi and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on the return of power to the North, the former FCT minister affirmed that “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.”
He added that “He (Abdullahi) 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.”
Explaining the reason behind his call for Jonathan to contest the 2015 presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) member opined that “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.”
On the above basis, Mr. Abba Gana argued that the North needs another four years to plan, to relate better and work hard to tackle the various issues bedeviling the region particularly the Boko Haram and Jos crises among others.
Afterwards he says, “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.”
He also threw his weight behind the proposal by PDP BoT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih that the President should be given the right of first refusal.
“As a political party what is wrong with that?” he asks rhetorically. “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”, he stated.
When asked what he thinks on why Mr. Jonathan lost the goodwill that preceded his emergence as President just a little over two years ago, the PDP stalwart noted: “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.”
While commending the President for ‘doing a lot of work’ despite the enormous security challenges, Mr. Abba Gana said these achievements are not given enough coverage by the press.
According to him, “No nation can face such an insurrection and do other things because fighting war and carrying on other work is not an easy matter.”