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Buhari Will Get The ‘Macron Treatment’ in 2019 – Saidu Dansadau

The former senator reveals how the President will fall, and how the third term money was shared

Saidu Muhammed Dansadau
Saidu Muhammed Dansadau

The maverick senator who once represented Zamfara Central constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Party, Saidu Muhammed Dansadau, has predicted that President Buhari will lose in 2019 and “a David” will take over. It’s bare-knuckles stuff

Do you think things have gotten better or worse with the quality of laws made by the National Assembly in the last 19 years?

Things have definitely gotten worse, because the quality of representation has degenerated substantially. And secondly, the membership of the Senate as it is constituted today, in fact, as from 2007, has been made up of mostly ex-governors and their cronies.

The understanding of many Nigerians is that this crop of politicians does not come to the National Assembly for the sole intention of working as legislators or to serve.

The general opinion is that most of these people come to the National Assembly just to shield themselves from, maybe EFCC or other security organizations. That is if you take into consideration how they governed their respective states.

Thirdly, money politics, election after election is taking a more prominent position in the polity. People are gauged and rated based on the amount of money they have at their disposal. All these contributed to the degeneration of the quality of representation.

Do you see the situation improving?

By looking at the two chambers in the National Assembly and observing the number that are usually present and the vacant seats showing those who are absent, you will find a lack seriousness on the part of members of the two chambers. When members are absent, how do you expect the quality of legislation and oversight function to improve?

A fourth factor is that serving governors dictate who becomes a legislator in their respective states. And it appears that governors don’t want people of substance because they don’t want people that will come to the National Assembly, make names for themselves nationally to the extent they will overshadow them as political leaders.

On a fifth note, legislative duty has been reduced to personal interest unlike in the first and second republics when it was seen as service to the nation. Today, the power brokers in the two chambers are mostly former governors and these former governors have other political ambitions.

So, the entire work of the National Assembly has been reduced to political ambitions of the power brokers. The interest of the nation has been relegated. If you look at the bickering now, the power tussle between the executive and the legislative, it is all about power, it is all about ambition.

I also blame the executive arm government. Why should the executive arm of government engage National Assembly on what is a power tussle?

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo regularly trades blame with lawmakers over corruption in the country. Do you agree with the allegation that he corrupted the National Assembly?

No, not at all. Obasanjo didn’t corrupt the National Assembly. It would be unfair to him to say he corrupted the National Assembly.

So, who introduced Ghana-must-go to the National Assembly?

Well, I would say the legislators themselves. That is a fact. It is true that money changed hands when we came even before inaugurating the National Assembly in order to ensure that the choice of the executive arm of government got the leadership of both chambers.

But it would be unfair to say that it was President Olusegun Obasanjo who corrupted the National Assembly. It was not all members of the National Assembly at that time that were corrupt.

Often, there were members who rejected corrupt overtures either from the executive arm of government or from MDAs. And nemesis caught up with those who exposed themselves to temptation of corruption.

So, I think it all has to do with the society. We live in a society where if you don’t have money, people don’t respect you. They don’t care where you get the money. Even if you are selling body parts of human beings to make your money, people don’t care.

Our traditional rulers can give you traditional titles. People applaud you because of the money you have. But in Nigeria, nobody applauds you because of your honesty or your selfless service to the nation.

During his third term attempt, Obasanjo reportedly gave senators N70m each. Many of you voted against the amendment and yet, you still collected the money. Didn’t such double dealing appear unprincipled to you?

No. In fact it was not N70m. It was N50m. Even those of us who were opposed to third term, some of us were approached with the money. In fact, five of us were approached with N1bn; N200m each. What was required of us was not even to support the third term agenda but just to keep quiet, for us to stop talking against third term.

Late Senator Uche Chukwumerije, my humble self, late Sen. Sule Yari Gandi, and Sen. Idris Kuta, we were approached through our leader, Sen. Chukwumerije. He was one of the leaders of the anti-third term group.

We said they should take the money to the market. We are not interested. It wasn’t money we came to make in the National Assembly. We came to the National Assembly to serve the people who elected us. Where we got evidence that it was N50m is from the present governor of Oyo, Ajimobi.

He was a staunch supporter of third term. But the day he was met in his house with N50m, in appreciation for what he was doing, that was the day he defected from supporting third term. And it was the same day he came and met us, the anti-third term senators in a meeting in my house in Apo Legislative Quarters.

When we saw him, we all shouted; you intruder, what are you here to do? He said, stay calm. Listen to me, I have defected from supporting third term and I have joined you, the anti-third term forces.

He said, just 15 minutes ago, N50m was brought to my house, I rejected it. I told the person who brought the money that I had been supporting third term because I was personal convinced that Obasanjo has good intentions for this country and therefore, it is worthwhile that we give him a chance.

For someone to bring N50m to me so I don’t waver and continue to support, I now know there is ulterior motive. So, the third term agenda is not purely in the interest of this country. If is in the interest of this country, nobody will give anybody money. So, that is how he defected and that is how we knew exactly that it was N50m that was shared to all senators that received it.

You are giving testimony of everyone you know turning down the money. The information that was out at that time was that most senators did collect the money.

Yes, there is no doubt that a lot of senators collected the money and in fact, even a senator I know. You could say majority of the senators collected the money. But not all the senators collected the money and I have given you evidence.

Even in the group of five you mentioned, no one collected the money?

Nobody. Definitely no one did.

But then there was a seminar held somewhere in the south south where some of you were present and that was in part where the money was being given.

That was the Port Harcourt retreat. It is the Port Harcourt retreat you are talking about. Uche Chukwumerije, some others and me walked out of the retreat. We were all there at the retreat.

When we discovered that rules were not followed, the rules of the Senate were not being followed in the deliberation, we joined the same flight with late Idris Kuta, Uche Chukwumerije and quite a large number of us who walked out. And we left.

But there were so many senators who remained, and probably, collected the money. It was some of the money, because the money was not shared or the whole money was not shared at that time. In fact, it was just a little of the money that was given at that time. But the actual N50m was shared in Abuja. People were met in their houses with the money.

Back in 2006, the National Assembly had a budget of N40bn, today it is closer to N140bn. Added to that are constituency projects inserted into the executive budget. In the end, lawmakers corner close to a N1trn to themselves. Do you think constituency projects serve the interest of the public?

No, honestly speaking, the way it has been abused, it doesn’t serve the interest of the public because it has been grossly abused.

The essence of introducing constituency projects was because the executive arm of government’s proposed budget takes its root from bureaucrats, from civil servants. And when they are proposing this budget, they don’t care about equity, making sure that all parts of the country benefit in one way or the other.

We discovered that a lot of proposals are skewed either towards a particular project or towards a particular area of the country or towards a particular ministry. What we discovered is that proposed budget, mostly money is allotted to where it can easily be stolen. I served as a member of Public Accounts committee for eight years. And I was chairman of the Public Accounts committee for two years.

Mostly what civil servants do is put a lot of money where it can easily be stolen and where it is extremely difficult in the course of investigation to trace. And that is how we said, we can’t be here representing our people and they continue to hear that billions, trillions have been budgeted and there is no single project in a senatorial district. It is unacceptable. That was the whole idea. And we said, every federal constituency should be touched in the national budget. That was how it came up.

With what is going on today, do you think the constituency projects should continue?

No. It shouldn’t continue. If I were the President, I would introduce some mechanism that would meet and satisfy the interest of members of the National Assembly without having constituency projects.

It is just because we have not been fortunate to have presidents that really know the true workings of members of the National Assembly, who understand the psychology of members of the National Assembly and know the expectations of the electorate on members.

As a senator, you were an active supporter of the EFCC under Nuhu Ribadu. These days, there is no love lost between the chairman of the commission and the National Assembly. Even if Ibrahim Magu is replaced today, doesn’t the fact that a nominee will need senate confirmation serve as an impediment to his ability to investigate and prosecute erring lawmakers?

All these things are about what I told you earlier on. Personal ambition of leaders of the legislature and leaders of the executive arm of government. That is number one. Number two, it is simply about personal interest.

Certain corrupt things that happen in this country are revealed by the legislature itself. And you know, some of these legislators who were governors, even before they were elected to the National Assembly, they have EFCC cases.

For me, my personal opinion is that Magu is in some way like Ribadu. He wants to discharge his duty to the best of his ability without fear or favour. And he is determined to investigate cases before the EFCC dispassionately and objectively.

The leaders of the National Assembly have seen Magu as a serious threat to them in view of the EFCC cases they have. So therefore, they feel maybe it is better to deal with Magu so he is not confirmed and in fact, he is removed by the President so somebody else who will probably play ball is appointed. That is one factor.

Another factor is even among the functionaries of the executive, there are some allegations of corrupt practices by the powers that be within them. From all indications, they see Magu as a serious threat to them.

Probably Magu might have reported certain cases against them that Mr. President did not know about and they now see that as an onslaught. Magu’s non-confirmation is not in the national interest.

Some of those you are referring to working at cross purposes with the President. The Attorney General, the Chief of Staff to the President, and even the (former) SSS DG are working to oust the EFCC chairman. What does it say about the President?

Well, it shows his inability to abide by the oath of office he has taken to discharge his duty without fear or favour and to do right to all manner of people. That is simply what it has shown. He has reneged on his oath. That is what it means; no more, no less. He is not just and he is not fair.

You cannot be arresting other people, prosecuting them, showing interest in their prosecution and then some people directly under you have been accused of the same thing and you have not sacked them, not to talk of prosecuting them.

Remember the case of the former SGF. This is so clear, so unambiguous that he has reneged on the oath he has taken by the Holy Quran and it is unfortunate.

You have a reputation of someone willing to speak truth to power. And here we have a government that disregards court orders refusing to release Sambo Dasuki despite being granted bail by several courts. Hasn’t the government effectively pronounced him guilty? And how is it that you have remained silent?

I am not a human rights advocate. I am a politician. I leave that to human rights advocates. But at the appropriate time, we will speak on the impunity of the government.

What impact do you think the defections would have on the forthcoming elections?

Honestly speaking, the way the defection affected PDP and they lost election, that is the way it is going to affect APC. There is no doubt about it. Some of them, there is no way a party can make impact without them in their states and they have shown that.

When they were in PDP, that party won the governorship election and majority seats in the National Assembly. And when they moved out of PDP, PDP lost in their states. So, it is going to affect APC. But that is not to say what they have done is the right thing. I will not do that. Morally, it is not right. People cannot be moving from one place to another like birds.

My advice to political leaders is to remember, all of them are either Christians or Muslims and by the teachings of the Holy Quran, it is only God that gives power, not your movement from one party to the other.

It is not political party that gives power. It is God. And if God has destined you will become president, no matter what, you will become president under the platform of any political party.  Why can’t people believe in God and trust God?

Is that an indictment on Atiku Abubakar?

I am talking generally. You asked me a question about those who are moving from the National Assembly. I am talking about anybody moving from what party to another. It is not the right thing to do. I will not do it. It is not morally right. It may be constitutionally right because the constitution guarantees your freedom of association.

The literacy level in Zamfara is one of the worst in the country. The statistics are dire. Are you not better off addressing this emergency rather than seeking political change?

If you don’t have political change, how can you improve the indices? If you continue to have the kind of governors we have had when will things improve? Remember, I resigned my membership of ANPP and said I had no plan to join another political party. What brought me back to politics first, is the state of affairs in Zamfara because you cannot improve anything, you cannot bring about any positive change without political power.

Either you personally or you install a government that listens to you. It either takes your advice or takes your directives. It can’t happen. If you are not in politics, you can’t achieve that and that is why I’m back in politics.

My second reason for coming back into politics is the state of affairs in the country. We have been making ourselves a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community and people don’t care, so long as they are in power.

Security situation in the country is degenerating to an unprecedented level. Poverty has degenerated to unprecedented level. And we should just sit down and watch?

Don’t you think you, along with leaders across the north, deserve a share of the blame for state of education in the state and the north at large?

Honestly speaking, we have a share in the blame. No doubt about it. In which respect? In the fact that we don’t embark on either personal projects or self-help projects to boost our education in the north.

Unlike in the south. In the south, you come across an elite that will build a school and he will donate the entire school to his community. You will hardly find that in the north. People give scholarships to indigene students. We have very few of such in the north. You find people going back to their alma mater building  structures, classrooms, libraries, laboratories and donate. You hardly find that in the north. That is our share of blame.

For the last two decades, I address this and any opportunity I get addressing elite in the north, I always call on them to emulate southern elite by way on embarking on self-help projects to assist communities with whatever God has blessed them with.

But unfortunately, majority of our elite in the north are simply interested in building mansions, going to Dubai for holidays, going to Umrah either every week or every month. That is not what God wants. God does not want that kind of Umrah or Hajj. What God wants, what God cherishes is that you use what God has given you to assist the poor. You use it for the common good of the people. Set up factories where people will get employment.

These are the kinds of things that are there in the south. And that is why education indices in the south are by far better than the north. It is not what the government’s in the south are doing. It is what southerners are doing in their individual capacity. That is what is lacking in the north.

Do you see a link between the poor level of education and lack of opportunities with the insecurity plaguing the country?

It is playing a very significant role. When you have an illiterate society, anything goes. But when you have high literacy levels, then certain things are not easy to be perpetuated because certain things will be resisted.

Low literacy level in the north in particular is responsible for allowing our political leaders, particularly governors to do whatever they like with state funds. That is why I said low level of education plays substantial role in the level of insecurity. You allow a governor to be junketing all over the country, all over the world while there are a lot of things that are required in his state.

Security agencies are looking for his attention and he is no where to be found. And his deputy who is acting in his absence cannot spend a kobo. Whatever report he receives from security agencies will have no consequences because he cannot act on the report at the appropriate time. You know, security report has two things. It is time bound. Time is of essence in treating security reports.

And then security reports, management of security requires a lot of money. You have to have money at your disposal to be able to address the issues. So, if the governor is not around, who has the authority to spend money? The state money has been turned into the governor’s personal interest and the security continues to degenerate. That is not the only problem.

For me another reason why security has degenerated is the lack of adequate funding from the federal level and dearth of adequate utilization of the meager resources that are being released to security agencies. The foot soldiers at the bottom are left in hunger.

Your state governor, Abdulaziz Yari has renounced the title of Chief Security Officer of the state over incessant killings. If the governor feels so incapacitated, why has failed to call for a change in security personnel deployed to the state or join advocates of state policing to take control?

This question is for Abdulaziz Yari to answer, not me. What I have said by that his pronouncement is that he is being clever by half. The most honorable thing for him to do was to have resigned as governor of the state. That is the most sensible thing for him to do and what is morally right. But you cannot resign as chief security officer of the state and then cling to the position of governor.

Because in the position of governor, there is money that he can use or misuse for his personal aggrandizement. My argument has always been, the same position he has in relating to security operatives that he does not have control is the same with the other 35 governors in the country. And they have not resigned.

They have been doing their best. So, his pronouncement shows that he is incapable of serving as governor. He has exposed himself as incapable of functioning as a governor, as simple as that.

In part, the crisis between farmers and herders is driven by the competition for land. With the country’s growing population, it obvious there isn’t enough space for both, yet the government is intent on doing things the old way. Is the government’s lack of creativity setting us up for more violence?

Look, the question of this crisis, that these killings are because of the issue of land is not true. In fact, if the issue of land is a factor, I tell you, it is just five per cent of the factors responsible for the crisis. That is the fact of the matter.

The killings we are going through in this country today is simply an issue of criminal versus innocent citizens. People have been rendered poor. Employed people have been rendered jobless. People who have some small businesses to do have been rendered poor with no single capital because of the harsh economy, because of the policies of government.

People who are working, they hardly get their salaries and there is high cost of living. This is one fundamental factors as a result of which people find criminality as an easy way of making a living. So, a large number have moved to criminality.

There are other factors, that some Fulanis have lost their entire herds of cattle, they don’t know how to farm and therefore, they join the criminality.

There is also the factor of our neighbours, criminals in our neighboring countries have discovered that Nigeria is a free zone for criminality. You perpetuate any kind of crime, no sanctions. Nobody will arrest you. Nobody will prosecute you and therefore, there is convergence of criminals from neighboring countries into Nigeria.

This is the line of argument that the President has advanced – that criminals from neighbouring countries are responsible for the clashes. What evidence do you have?

We have evidence. Security agencies have evidence. Even some communities have evidence. We had a meeting about two and a half months ago with community leaders from Benue. And when I explained certain things to them, the leader of the delegation, Chief Simon Shango said, no wonder, the Fulani we know in Nigeria are light in complexion and they are lean.

And in some cases, when security agencies arrest them, or they are killed, when inspected we see hefty black people. So, there is a lot of empirical evidence and security evidence to show that there is inflow of criminals from neighboring countries. There is no doubt about that.

You have been an advocate of peace deals to end the killings by bandits and cattle rustling in Zamfara. You are opting for making deals with criminals rather than prosecuting and jailing them? Do you have faith in the country’s justice system and by extension, the rule of law as a means of solving society’s ills?

No, in Nigeria there is no rule of law. We have no respect for rule of law from top to bottom. And that is why things are extremely difficult. If Mr. President will not respect the rule of law, and you know Nigerians, we have a penchant for emulating our leaders.

The fact that court has granted somebody bail several times, that is Dasuki and the federal government under the leadership of Buhari refuses to release him, that is impunity. That is disrespect to the rule of law.

The executive arm of government can appeal but they should first of all be seen to respect court rulings. So, there is no respect for the rule of law in Nigeria. And the crux of the matter is that not only under Buhari’s government, even under previous governments. In Nigeria, the elite regard disrespect for the rule of law as a thing of prestige. They take pleasure in breaking laws.

Do you think that justifies your position to deals with criminals rather than prosecuting them?

Look, I for one was vehemently opposed to striking any deal with any criminal. Criminals should be fought. For five years, Zamfara Government was negotiating with criminals and I refused to participate in those negotiations.

After five years, the deputy governors kept pressuring me. For three months he followed me and I was evasive. At the end of the day, he pleaded and I remembered a verse of the Holy Quran that says, if your opponents or your enemies look up to you for reconciliation, listen to them.

God is watching the two of you. If they are looking for reconciliation in order to deceive you or as a deceit, God will be by your side in order to protect you against their evil machinations. It was when I remembered this verse that I agreed. And when we agreed, we brokered the so-called reconciliation.

There was relative peace for one year. Immediately after the reconciliation we gave the state government, I personally gave the state government three pieces of advice for relative peace to endure, to be sustained.

Unfortunately, the state government refused to implement any of the pieces of advice that I gave. And it was the failure of the state government to implement those suggestions that led to the breakdown of the relative peace that we enjoyed.

And the ineptitude of the state governor complicated matters and also brought us to where we are today. For me, once you are a criminal, we will fight you to a standstill. Even the military that were in Zamfara at the time were opposed to the proposed peace accord. They vehemently opposed it. It was against their will that the peace accord was reached.

The day it was completed, because I heard what was arranged, I refused to be part of it. That is because it was a disgrace to the Nigerian military. It was a disgrace to the entire security agencies and a disgrace to Zamfara Government.

The state government invited the GOC in Kaduna, the brigade commander in Sokoto, the commanding officer in Gusau, commissioner of police in Zamfara and the director State Security Services in Zamfara, including the deputy governor; they went to the bush waiting criminals to come for two and a half hours.

What a disgrace in order to consummate that agreement. I wouldn’t be part of that rubbish. And all these were arranged by the governor of Zamfara. In fact, I know the military were coerced into it.

They didn’t want to refuse so that they won’t be accused of being unwilling to have an accord. And some people were accusing them of wanting the troubles to continue so they will be collecting money from the state government. It was a disgrace.

A senator has suggested that the bill on state policing won’t be passed because many senators fear arrest and intimidation by their state governors. Is what do you think?

It is time for state police. That is my opinion. It is when you don’t elect the right kind of people as governors that they will use the police to intimidate the opposition. And any right thinking governor who knows what he is doing, will tolerate opposition.

But unfortunately for us, majority of governors do not tolerate opposition. Look at the congresses of APC throughout the federation. Simply impunity. No respect for the party’s constitution, no respect for the nation’s constitution. So if some senators have fears, yes their fears are genuine. But I don’t think because of this fear, we shouldn’t do the right thing.

“Like I always say, you do not have control over your destiny. You can have your plan. But what God has destined for you is what will prevail. I have no control over my destiny, but I have my plans.”

Today, you are back in politics after more than a 10-year break. What exactly are you aspiring for?

That is an extremely difficult question. If you go to Zamfara today, you will see posters everywhere, ‘Dansadau for governor’. But I didn’t come back to politics with the intention of running for governor or contesting for senator or president.

My intention is to recruit credible Nigerians, lead a party that will exercise party supremacy so that we will have the kind of governors that are required in a democracy. And have the kind of President that the nation requires in a democracy. That is my desire. That is my intention. But everything is in the hands of God.

Like I always say, you do not have control over your destiny. You can have your plan. But what God has destined for you is what will prevail. I have no control over my destiny, but I have my plans. What I have told you is my plan.

When I started the process of registering this party along with my other colleagues in other parts of the country, people kept on saying, look we have no interest in party politics anymore. But when we heard you are forming this party, we are interested but on the condition that you will contest the governorship of Zamfara.

The answer I use to give was that, my interest is the development of the people and the nation. If the people of Zamfara want me to be a security guard of government house in Zamfara believing that guarding the government house will help Zamfara, I am prepared to do it.

A group of people comprising classmates came and said they were not leaving until I tell them whether or not I am contesting for governor. And if I am not contesting, I should go away with my political party, they are not interested.

And because my interest is to install a purposeful governor, who is credible, who will listen to elders, God fearing. And then put a stop to those people who have been running Zamfara for the past 20years, brought Zamfara to where it is today.

My fundamental objective is to kick them out of control of Zamfara. That is my fundamental interest, not really becoming governor.

The Obasanjo government encouraged the registration of more political parties in 2003 to fracture and weaken the opposition. With your party, the National Rescue Movement, are you not helping the ruling party?

No, not at all. We have nothing to do with the party. We are an opposition. An opposition not like other opposition parties. Some people form political parties simply just to own a political party and when elections come, they will claim to support the ruling party and maybe collect money or be promised some offices.

We are not that kind of opposition party. We are out to take over power because we have a vision for this country and we want to attain that vision. And by the grace of God, this new political party will take over from the APC.

And the presidential candidate of this party by the grace of God will take over from Buhari as the president of this country in the manner Macron won presidential election with any political party in France.

The PDP has a history and though APC is relatively new, the parties that make it up have a history of governance. Yours does not. Atiku Abubakar tried to revive the PDM in 2015, he failed to make it popular. Obasanjo has been making efforts to popularize his adopted party, ADC and he looks to be failing. Why do you think your party, National Rescue Movement, will succeed where others have failed?

Because of what the Bible and Quran tell us. The way David was anointed. When a Christian who knows the Bible, he knows how David was anointed and we have the same in the Holy Quran.

In that same manner, that NRM will take over. Power belongs to God, nobody else. You know how the history is in the Bible, how David was anointed. Anybody who doesn’t know, let him go ask his pastor. Any Muslim who doesn’t know, let him go and ask his Imam how God anointed David against the other choice that was seen in the manner you are seeing Atiku today.

In the manner you are seeing NRM and its presidential candidate, that was how people were seeing David. Somebody in the bush, somebody rearing animals in the bush with inconsequential influence, yet God anointed him. So, in the same manner, God will anoint the presidential candidate of NRM to take over from President Buhari.

The politics you speak of sounds more like a utopian idea. It is politics that has failed you in the past. Your politics left you at odds with your then state governor, Ahmed Sani Yerima and Olusegun Obasanjo. Between the two of them, they managed to push you into retirement. Can you go up against them now?

It is not me, it is God. If such people do not believe in God, I believe in God. And they didn’t push me out. They didn’t force me out of politics. Let me tell you, since my youth, since I was in school; I had a plan for my life. I said to myself, once I am 55 and above, if God spares my life and God happens to bless me with children and God happens to bless those children to be capable of managing whatever businesses I am involved in.

At that time, I didn’t know I was going to be involved in politics. I didn’t know my fate. I was going to retire by the age of 60 from whatever I am doing and live from my house to the mosque. That was my plan even before I got married. When I served my second term, I concluded and made it known to everybody that I was not interested in contesting election again. That was my decision. The records are there and I have cuttings of newspapers where it was carried.

The then national chairman of ANPP, late Ume Ezeoke, called me and I have witnesses, before two senators, Sen. Sani Kamba and Sen. Farouk Bunza and said, ‘I learnt you are not contesting’. I said, yes. He said, ‘No, that is not possible; you are one of the senators that I respect, you are one of the senators that I see not only representing their constituency but representing Nigeria. I cannot allow you not to contest elections’. That is how I reluctantly agreed not knowing it was a ploy.

He too was innocent. It was later I learnt that it was Yeriman Bakura who told him to convince me, I wasn’t going to contest, that he should convince me to re-contest. Ume Ezeoke innocently did that. I consulted my senior brother who is like my father. He said, you are not interested and yet, if this is the opinion of people, it is service to the people. Go and serve people. And that was how I agreed to run.

The day I agreed to run, the day I collected a nomination form, that was the day Yeriman Bakura began to do what he was doing.

When I realized it, I went to Ume Ezeoke, I said look, you know I am not interested in this thing. I am not going to contest against anybody. If I will be returned unopposed, good and if not, I am not contesting. That is what I told him.

Two weeks to that election, when there was no clear evidence I would be returned unopposed, I wrote a letter to the state chairman of the party and the national chairman of the party informing them I had withdrawn from the contest.

But simply because Yeriman Bakura wanted to say he disgraced me, that I was defeated, and with my letter in the hands of the state chairman, they still went ahead with their mago mago nomination claiming I was part of the contestants.

After every 30 minutes, Zamfara Radio was announcing that Dansadau had been defeated. I was laughing. So, I wasn’t forced out. It was because of this my plan that in 2008 I said to myself, today makes 30 years I have been in politics. And at that time, I was 57 years old. I said look, my company that is sustaining my family is running and my children are already the managers.

Was your party part of the 39 that signed an MoU with the opposition PDP?

No. We do not plan to join them. We have no intention to join them. We will not join them. And we will never join them, nor shall we join any coalition. But we are not ruling out electoral alliance at the presidential level.

If the challenge for the presidency came down to one between President Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, where will you stand?

I will not answer that question because I do not see the contest becoming between the two of them. There are some dark horses coming out that can also be attractive to Nigerians. So, I don’t see the two of them emerging as the major presidential aspirants.

Dr Dayo Olukoshi

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