All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Senator Mahmud Kanti Bello, who represented Katsina North Senatorial District in the National Assembly between 2003 and 2011 and was Senate Majority whip, in this interview culled from Vanguard, speaks on the newly registered party, crisis in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) among others.
So, how prepared is the new party to fight the PDP in the coming elections given that elections will take place six months to the end of the life of the present administration?
We do not have any problems with time once we are willing. All that people want is that it must be different from the PDP, people want distinct party, crises-free and you can only get that if you are honest.
Putting the cards on table now, there is no way zoning will not play out…
(Cuts in) Which zoning? Zoning is not even part of the constitution of the APC. There is nothing like zoning but there is something we call fairness but most importantly, there must be capability, credibility and somebody who can do the job. So, don’t bring the question of zoning because it is not part of our constitution. It is part of PDP’s previous constitution because President Jonathan kicked against it and he is the leader of the party and that is one of the reasons why I disagreed with him.
Not because the North is having an agenda but because I sat down with you and we made an agreement that this is the way we want to live together, you cannot come and change it because you have an advantage. It is not because Jonathan is from the South-South and I am a Northerner, it is because there is a rule and the rules have been disobeyed and that is why the PDP is having a lot of troubles now and they will continue to have problems because some people want to cut corners and that is what I am saying to my new party not to allow this to happen; be honest with your people and be sincere.
How does the North’s clamour for power shift play out in APC?
We need a large hearted President; we need somebody who is honest and ready to take criticism. What we have been suffering in this country is a President without experience and without focus and because of that, we don’t even know where we are going and that is why there is no respect for the party. And you can see what is happening within the PDP, the five governors are going stronger and fighting the chairman, Bamanga Tukur.
All these show lack of discipline for the party, I cannot say that to Chief Akande because I respect him, not because I cannot mobilize the same people Chief Akande can mobilize in my own state in my own right, but because he is my leader and I recognize him as a leader. We need a disciplined society and that is why we need General Buhari because he has the power to bring discipline and wage war against corruption.
If you are still talking about Buhari as a Presidential candidate, how does that come to play when people are already calling for generational change?
I hope that the party will accept him. I am not saying he has to be. Where were you when there were problems in South Africa and Mandela became President? We just need somebody to clear this corruption menace. Do you agree with me that Buhari is not corrupt? And do you agree with me also that the problems of this country are corruption? All these subsidy and pension problems boil down to corruption and something needs to be done urgently.