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Let Nigerians determine Buhari’s fate in 2019 – ACF

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[FILE PHOTO] Buhari

Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Elder Anthony Sani said the northern forum would be neutral in determining the choice of presidential candidate in 2019. He urged Nigerians to decide President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term ambition by assessing his performances vis a vis his 2015 campaign promises.

Based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance so far, do you think he deserves a second term in office?

Although Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is political on issues most northerners share, the forum is not partisan.

This is an odd thing to say, especially considering the fact that the forum comprises members of different political stripes and persuasions.

It, therefore, cannot afford to be partisan, and there is really no need for the platform to be politically partisan.

If we study democracies in the North from the First Republic, when Northerners contested not only against political parties and candidates from the South, but also against political parties and one another in the North, then you can hardly avoid the conclusion that the North is never one, when it comes to partisan politics.

It is one only on issues most northerners share. Recall that Buhari contested against Yar’Adua, who was also from Katsina State.

And that is why ACF limits itself to enlightening voters on the qualities they should look for among those offering themselves to be leaders.

Such knowledge helps in informing voters’ choices during elections.

ACF was in favour of Buhari in 2015 because of his pedigree, which bordered on integrity, patriotic courage and perseverance needed for purposeful leadership.

With regard to this regime’s performance, the assessment has to be against campaign promises, as contained in the All Progressives Congress’ (ACF) manifesto to tame terrorism and corruption for the express purpose of enabling the economy take root and thrive by way of diversification.

What do you think the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or other political parties should do to bring out a credible northern Presidential candidate to challenge President Buhari in 2019?

We can only say all political parties should employ internal democracy in their choice of candidates, so that those who emerge reflect the choice of majority of party members. This would be in the interest of multi-party democracy.

There are 91 political parties, whose place in the order of democratic things is to provide viable alternative platforms.

Political parties should deliver on promises of democracy, because it is the ruling political party that is often held accountable, since the mandate is to the party and not to any individual.

The Presidency is embroiled in politics of survival with legislature. Is that how it should be?

The ruling party has been at war with itself due to the circumstances of its formation, reminiscent of how PDP was formed.

In the same way, APC was formed by a coalition of groups with different political tendencies and persuasions to drive away PDP from power.

And though APC had proper campaign promises by way of fighting insurgency and corruption to enable the economy take root and thrive, most of the party’s seminal gladiators did not buy into the programmes.

As a result, the party has been at war with itself, which culminated in the recent gale of defections, which may turn out to be a boon for democracy, after all. Water is finding its level.

The defections will most likely make like minds be in political parties of their choice and create a democracy that will be based on real issues of real concerns to ordinary Nigerians, as against politics of identity, which tend to encourage defections and unnecessary altercations at the expense of good governance and multi-party democracy.

We are praying both the executive and legislative arms of government would see reason and pass the Electoral Act in order to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prepare and conduct elections.

I also hope they will agree soon that in order to reduce cost and bandwagon effect, all elections should take place the same day.

That way, order of elections will no more be relevant. If Kenya could conduct its elections in one day, Nigeria can also do it.

What is your take on direct and indirect mode of primaries that has become an issue in APC?

Direct primary is when all card-carrying members of a political party are allowed to participate in the choice of its flag bearers.

Direct primary improves internal democracy because the outcome reflects the choice of majority of party members.

It is, therefore, preferred to indirect primary, which allows a few delegates in representative capacity to elect flag bearers.

Indirect primary can be abused by influence of power and money. And that is why governors struggle to control party machineries in their states.

That is why there are problems of parallel congresses across the states.

And when governors or gladiators fail to control party machineries in their states, they defect to other political parties.

Direct primary will render the need to control party machineries superfluous. This is because there would be no need.

Direct primary has an added advantage of encouraging people to register in political parties and be financial members.

It will, therefore, improve internal democracy and inculcate a sense of participation and responsibility among party members.

The Deputy Senate President wants single tenure of six years for both the president and governors. Do you think that is the solution to the nation’s political challenges?

I do not subscribe to single tenure precisely because in single tenure, there are no rewards that can motivate hard work. In single tenure, both the good and the poor in performance are the same.

And we all know that management principles and practices, which do not have incentives and reward for hard work is without motivation. Such a practice is unserviceable.

Multiple tenure has rewards by way of reelection. Given the last defeat of an incumbent president by the opposition party, I see no basis for any fear of incumbency.

But if we must remove the fear of power of incumbency in our polity, then we can retain the multiple tenures, which are not consecutive.

That is to say, no president or governor would be allowed to conduct an election in which he or she is a candidate. Both Chile and Uruguay practise this kind of model and it works well.


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