I will re-engineer internal structures of APC, says Musa
Senator Sani Musa currently represents Niger East senatorial district in Niger State. He is also the chairman, Senate Committee on Services. Musa has indicated interest to contest the post of national chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) next year. He spoke with ADAMU ABUH and SEYE OLUMIDE on his plan to lead the party.
There is fear that APC’s may have a turbulent national convention next year, what is your take on this?
There is no cause for fear. I believe we are ready and we are going to have a hitch free national convention, which other parties will emulate. All the indications for the conduct of the convention are positive. The Chairman of Progressives Governors’ Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, had earlier disclosed after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja that the convention will hold in February 2022. There is enough time for the states that are yet to hold their congresses to do so.
The APC reconciliation committee is also working round the clock, going from states-to-states to find solutions to all grievances either before or after the congress. So I am optimistic that we are on the right course, and the convention will be a success.
Has the party changed the idea of adopting consensus option to elect its national chairman?
In any democratic process, all options are always on the table. You must also bear in mind that consensus candidature is one of the recognised modes of electing the leadership of the party so you cannot foreclose the possibility of consensus arrangement even at the eleventh hour to the convention.
How certain are you that the Governors forum of APC will support your aspiration bearing in mind they may likely support one of their own?
Since I indicated interest to contest for seat of national chairman, the support has been overwhelming, across the leadership of the party at the state level to the grassroots and back to the federal. Those who are sincere will tell you I am the candidate to beat. Even my opponents know in the recesses of their hearts that I am a better candidate based on my pedigree, my contributions to the party and my sincere commitment to ensuring stability and success of the party.
If it is an elective convention, what is the assurance that you will come out victorious?
I told you from the beginning that all options are on the table and I have no discomfort or difficulty emerging as the national chairman even if it’s an open contest. What are the qualities of a good leader? Make your assessment based on those qualities that makes a good leader, you will see that I stand higher. Leadership isn’t something people are born with – it’s a skill that can be cultivated over time. When you’re able to develop strong leadership attributes, you’re positioned to inspire your entire organisation, team or country. Right from the inception of our campaign, we have always been reaching out to party leaders and members at every level. I will surely triumph even in a highly contested election.
What would you do differently if elected chairman?
If given the opportunity to lead the party I will completely re-engineer the internal structures and workings of the party. I will be adaptive to participatory work style that will usher visionary and pacesetting leadership for the party. My reform agenda for the party is expressed in what I call the three Rs for success, that is, Reconciliation, Re-organisation and Redirection. We need to immediately reconcile aggrieved members of the party on a sustainable basis. We need to reorganise the party in such a manner that it is able to effectively mobilise all segments of the country from youths to women groups for elections. And thirdly we must redirect our efforts towards winning elections. We’ll run an inclusive leadership that is devoid of sectionalism, favouritism, money politics, and parasitism on the public pay roll, cronyism and patronage. We’ll run a party that will preserve the legacy of our founding fathers to build a strong country that is more tolerant, more prosperous and fairer by giving every member of the party equal opportunity.
What is your view on direct primary for parties’ choice of candidates for general elections?
The decision of the National Assembly to pass direct primary elections has been applauded by some, while others see it as an infringement on the independence and internal democratic workings of individual political parties.
There is nothing new about direct primaries as a means of electing party candidates because it is one of the options in our party Constitution. Nigeria’s democracy has been evolving and if it is the aspirations of Nigerians that direct primaries is the way to go then to me it’s a welcome development because it will guarantee credibility and integrity of the electoral process and internal democracy of various political parties. Whatever the legislation brings we will adapt to it.
What is your opinion on zoning of the presidency?
Rotational presidency has no place in our Constitution, neither is it recognised in the Electoral Act. It has always been a coinage of political parties at every point in time, looking at political exigencies. Like I said earlier, Nigeria’s democracy has been evolving and so we are gradually navigating away from political solutions to our national challenges to solutions that are based on the Constitution, which is the norm. So, while others are clamouring for rotational presidency, all I can say is that from a strict reading of the Nigerian Constitution, rotational presidency is not recognised. However, as a people and party we will take the right decision at the right time in the interest of the nation.
Is there a sort of agreement to zone national chairmanship of APC to North-central?
Like I said, all options are always on the table in a democratic process but whether it is eventually zoned to the North-central or not, what is important is to conduct a transparent, credible, free and fair convention that will not trigger disputes and factionalise the party after convention.
If that happens, will the North still be able to take presidential slot?
Either north or south when we get to the river we will decide how to cross it.
Do you think that APC will survive its current travails and go on to conduct a national convention, seeing its congresses at ward, local governments and states are being disputed, even in court?
Disputes are indispensable in democracy because democracy allows for different shades of opinions. This in itself is not a disadvantage because it allows people to learn from such disputes and even matters that end up in courts afford the judiciary the opportunity to expound and develop the law regarding issues in dispute, which serve as precedents for the future. So I don’t see how disputes will affect the convention. I do believe that once I emerge the chairman of APC, my reform agenda will address most of these challenges and reposition the party for the better.
Many leading members of APC warned against CECPC from inception, some of their fears have manifested today, what is the way out?
The party is looking beyond the challenges that emerged before the emergence of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and any other. The CECPC has been positive and it will bequeath a strong institution despite all the emerging challenges. But I can assure you that the party will come out even more formidable after the convention.
Is it possible for Nigeria to return to the era when the party was supreme and had a clear manifesto as against now when individuals look more powerful than the party?
I don’t know about other political parties, but APC as a party is guided by principle of party supremacy. In every organisation some individuals are often more influential but no individual is bigger than the organisation. If individuals are supreme then we won’t be talking about a convention to elect party leaders. Nigeria’s democracy has grown and it is above any godfather, so I don’t know where your fears are coming from. For me I will continue to strengthen the party to an institution, an entity that is operating on the basis of ideals, rule of law and constitutionality.