Why I left GPN for APC – Yuguda

For­mer Bauchi State gover­nor Malam Isa Yuguda re­cently left Green Party of Nige­ria [GPN] for APC. Here, he ex­plains his rea­sons and his re­main­ing mis­sion in pol­i­tics.

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Mah­mud Jega

Daily Trust: You re­cently left Green Party of Nige­ria [GPN] for the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress, APC. Why this move?

Malam Isa Yuguda: The time had come to make the move. It was God’s time, which is al­ways the best. The de­ci­sion to move was made to­gether with my fol­low­ers. We de­cided to leave GPN be­cause it is a small party, even though it has a very good chair­man, Dr. Sam Eke. GPN only ex­isted in Bauchi State, so we did not see our­selves mak­ing any se­ri­ous im­pact coun­try­wide. We did not want to mort­gage our po­lit­i­cal fu­ture in a small party. So we de­cided to move to a big­ger plat­form where we can con­trib­ute to­wards pro­duc­ing a good leader for the coun­try.

Go­ing to APC is also ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause its leader, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has a num­ber of pro­grams in place that when im­ple­mented will move the coun­try for­ward.

DT: You con­tested the last Bauchi South sen­a­to­rial bye elec­tion on GPN’s plat­form. What hap­pened?

Yuguda: INEC an­nounced that I lost the elec­tion, but there were more ques­tions than an­swers. Many thingswere wrong with that elec­tion but I de­cided to re­main silent. I stood for elec­tion three times pre­vi­ously in Bauchi. I won the first two gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions [2007 and 2011] and lost sen­a­to­rial elec­tion in 2015. In Bauchi Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment alone, I never got less than 80,000 votes but this time they said I got 33,000 votes in seven lo­cal gov­ern­ments [laugh­ter]. It didn’t add up. There were many mal­prac­tices in that elec­tion, frankly. Over 120,000 of my votes were can­celled, for in­stance. I how­ever pray for the man who went to Se­nate to work for the bet­ter­ment of Bauchi State and Nige­ria.

DT: But you didn’t go to the elec­tion tri­bunal.

Yuguda: Why should I go? It was the peo­ple that asked me to con­test even though I per­son­ally had no pas­sion for be­com­ing a sen­a­tor. I don’t want to be un­grate­ful to God. I headed two banks in my ca­reer, in­clud­ing NAL Mer­chant Bank.I was a min­is­ter for six years un­der Obasanjo. Many of the trans­port sec­tor poli­cies be­ing im­ple­mented to­day were ini­ti­ated by the late Chief Ojo Madueke and I, in­clud­ing the trans­porta­tion mas­ter­plan, rail­way mas­ter­plan and Nige­ria at­tain­ing Cat­e­gory 1 sta­tus in avi­a­tion. I was also a gover­nor for two terms, so I be­lieve there are bright young peo­ple to­day who should go be­come law­mak­ers. I only con­tested be­cause my sup­port­ers in­sisted. In pol­i­tics if you don’t do what peo­ple ask you to do, one day you will ask them to do some­thing and they will refuse [laugh­ter]. DT: You were a PDP min­is­ter for six years and you were a PDP

gover­nor for many years. Why did you leave the party af­ter the 2015 elec­tion?

Yuguda: PDP’s in­tegrity van­ished af­ter the Obasanjo and Yar’adua eras. Obasanjo had his prob­lems with Third Term but I be­lieve he was one of the best lead­ers Nige­ria ever had. PDP be­came some­thing else af­ter Yar’adua’s death. It lost its soul and spirit and be­came more of a jun­gle.I was gover­nor of a North Eastern state at the height of the Boko Haram cri­sis. I saw first­hand how Jonathan’s gov­ern­ment han­dled the Boko Haram. In Bauchi State es­pe­cially, they han­dled it in a cava­lier man­ner. I was left alone, to­gether with a very com­mit­ted Com­pol, DSS di­rec­tor and Bri­gade Com­man­der. With­out that, the state and Nige­ria would have been over­run.

A mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in Bauchi cap­tured all the top Boko Haram commanders and they were in Bauchi Prison. I re­peat­edly ap­pealed to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to move them out of Bauchi be­cause it was a colo­nial era prison. They failed to do so and a year later, Boko Haram at­tacked the prison and freed all the commanders.I did all I could with our lit­tle re­sources to pro­tect lives and prop­erty, in­clud­ing hir­ing hun­ters to pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties and also do­ing a lot of con­di­tional cash trans­fer to prevent dis­grun­tled youths from join­ing the in­sur­gents. For all that ef­fort, I did not re­ceive a kobo in aid from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment. Not a kobo! We did many ma­jor op­er­a­tions with sol­diers to prevent in­sur­gents from re­group­ing in Lame-Burra and other forests but not a sin­gle kobo!

The sol­diers were re­quested for that were guard­ing our long bor­der with Yobe State to prevent in­fil­tra­tion were poorly equipped and their al­lowances were not be­ing paid. In Bauchi we were also re­ceiv­ing and bury­ing the re­mains of sol­diers lost in the war, many of them. I still have night­mares from that episode. Only for me to read later what Sambo Da­suki did with the money meant for the equip­ment that would have saved the lives of those young sol­diers. How could I re­main in that cir­cle?

Then we got a PDP Na­tional Chair­man like Ali Modu Sher­iff. As a gover­nor he could not pro­tect the se­cu­rity of one state. Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is still spend­ing bil­lions if not tril­lions in Borno due to what he left be­hind. The night we were to con­duct an op­er­a­tion against the in­sur­gents in Bauchi, I called and ad­vised him to se­cure all the key ar­eas in Maiduguri be­cause there will be a spillover ef­fect. He never did and he never cared. So, I said if this is the only North­erner that Wike, Fayose and Jonathan could find to come and head the party, I must leave.

DT: Some peo­ple are say­ing that you changed par­ties too many times since 2007.

Yuguda: Well, that is partly be­cause the par­ties we have to­day lack a philo­soph­i­cal vi­sion and mis­sion [laugh­ter]. Our par­ties have be­come lad­ders to win elec­tions. Though no law stops a politi­cian from chang­ing party but politi­cians will not move around if a party has the right fo­cus, the right lead­er­ship and it does jus­tice to all its mem­bers. Some­times you have a very good party leader like Dr. Sam Eke, but he doesn’t have a party that has the ca­pac­ity to win elec­tions [laugh­ter].

In 2008 we had to leave ANPP be­cause of the con­duct of its lead­ers. Though we won our elec­tions in 2007 with wide mar­gins, ANPP lead­ers still treated us al­most as Har­i­jans. For ex­am­ple, ANPP en­tered into Pres­i­dent Yar’adua’s cab­i­net and when we got a min­is­te­rial slot, Sher­iff gave it to his younger sis­ter. We felt very bad about it and we unan­i­mously de­cided to re­turn to PDP at that time be­cause we had en­coun­tered a big­ger devil.When we left PDP in 2016, we went to GPN but when we saw that the go­ing was not good, as pro­fes­sional politi­cians, we de­cided to have a change. Is Isa Yuguda the only per­son who has been chang­ing par­ties? [laugh­ter].

DT: You were to­gether with Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari in ANPP. Since your re­cent en­try into APC, what kind of re­cep­tion have you re­ceived?

Yuguda: There is no rea­son for me not to get a warm re­cep­tion in APC be­cause I play my pol­i­tics

in such a way as not to of­fend any­body. I am not of­fen­sive in my lan­guage or ac­tions and I al­ways re­spect elders. When we were in ANPP and Gen­eral Buhari was my party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, I gave him ev­ery hon­our and re­spect and sup­port. Some peo­ple felt I should not have left ANPP but if they were in my shoes, they would have done worse, be­cause of the in­jus­tice in the party. Re­mem­ber that af­ter I left ANPP, the pres­i­dent also left and formed CPC [laugh­ter].I there­fore ex­pect a warm re­cep­tion and I am re­ceiv­ing it. I am not in APC to con­test for any­thing. I am here to as­sist Pres­i­dent Buhari and my gover­nor in Bauchi State to se­cure re-elec­tion.

My peo­ple in Bauchi know my worth. The state uni­ver­sity that I set up, the roads that I built, the ra­dio sta­tions, even the se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture I left be­hind and Yankari Game Re­serve, will peo­ple re­ject Isa Yuguda just be­cause he changed party? We have 90 par­ties in Nige­ria so as to give peo­ple the chance to change if they like.

DT: You have been a min­is­ter; you have been a gover­nor. So, what is your re­main­ing am­bi­tion in pol­i­tics?

Yuguda: I am very grate­ful to God for all the favours He did to me. I had a good pro­gres­sion in the bank­ing in­dus­try. At one time I was the one re­cruit­ing my class­mates into the in­dus­try, be­cause I ben­e­fit­ted from Sa­van­nah Bank’s high­fly­ers pro­gram. All the banks I headed, I left them very healthy. As min­is­ter, I also left my foot­prints. I went to China to sign the rail­way con­tract. The Cab­o­tage Law meant to save Nige­ria $4bil­lion, we did it. We had a fan­tas­tic plan to dredge River Niger. In avi­a­tion too, I left a mark. We achieved Cat­e­gory 1 sta­tus for Nige­ria, we also pro­fes­sion­al­ized NCAA, com­pleted the To­tal Radar Project which is why ver­ti­cal sep­a­ra­tion of air­craft is no longer a prob­lem, etc.

As gover­nor I did not leave one un­com­pleted project. I com­pleted the ones I in­her­ited and I com­pleted the ones I started.And I left one of the clean­est bal­ance sheets. So what else can I be look­ing for? I have no wild pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion [laugh­ter]. My re­main­ing foray into pol­i­tics is to see that the best pres­i­dent emerges, and right now I see that best can­di­date in Muham­madu Buhari. In Bauchi too, I see the best can­di­date in my friend Muhammed Ab­dul­lahi Abubakar. What­ever mis­takes he made ear­lier, I be­lieve he will cor­rect them be­cause as hu­mans we make mis­takes.

DT: You worked with Atiku Abubakar in the Obasanjo regime. Why are you not help­ing him to re­alise his am­bi­tion?

Yuguda: I be­lieve he also has the ca­pac­ity to be pres­i­dent but he still has an­other chance in the fu­ture [laugh­ter].

Malam Isa Yuguda

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.