The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, fielded questions in an interview with the magazine on a range of issues from the role of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to the forthcoming convention and the power tussle in the South East. Read details:
Promoters of the mega party, Action Democratic Party, recently began formal registration with INEC. Could this be a threat to the APC?
No, I don’t think so. Firstly, I have to say that there is nothing wrong or unusual in a group of politicians coming together to form a political party, whether it is mega or mini. Our constitution clearly supports the right to form associations. On whether, the so-called mega party is a threat to the APC, no, I don’t think so. Politics is a game of numbers and for now I am very confident that we have the numbers, and we will keep getting stronger going forward. I mean, we won the last two gubernatorial elections in Edo State and Ondo. I believe this can be viewed as evidence that our party is strong. Also, I believe the philosophy and manifesto of our party is quite unique.
As the APC prepares for its convention in April, there are indications from the South West that its fold there, including one of its leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, may not attend. Do you anticipate this happening?
If you look at the notice announcing the proposed date of the convention, you would find that there are several pre-convention activities. The process will start with congresses across the states, followed by meetings by the national caucus of our party and the NEC. All these processes are designed to resolve whatever concerns any group or individual may have. It is impossible to lead a political party as big as ours and not have some issues regarding different opinions or even interests. These should not always be translated as crisis. Regarding the southwest, I think we sometimes exaggerate some of these issues. Asiwaju remains a major pillar of our party. Its astonishing how people think a man would labour so much and invest so much to build a house and he would just walk away from it. If there are issues of concern, I believe they have will be dealt with before the convention proper.
One of the members of the party's BOT, Buba Galadima, recently complained that the Secretariat had been neglected and couldn't pay its bills. What is the situation now?
We are trying to get by. It is tough no doubt. But we cannot expose our party to the odium the former ruling party is experiencing now by collecting funds from the government for our activities. That is the easy way to get money, but I believe, it will be counterproductive in the long run. It is also morally wrong and against our absolute abhorrence of corruption. We are trying to design an alternative funding template that will depend more on contributions from our members. It is tough, but we should get by.
The South East appears to be in ferment, with Governor Okorocha and Muoghalu disputing, among other things, who the party's leader in the South East is. What is the party's official position?
There is no provision in our constitution for some of these positions. However, nothing should in my opinion, debar people from designating certain individuals as they wish. But that will be their local arrangement only.
Will the April convention formally take a position on the chair of the BOT?
We will cross that bridge when we get there.