Why I am leaving elective political scene – Senator Abu Ibrahim
Senator Abu Ibrahim represents Katsina South Senatorial District.The senator remains the surest trusted bridge between Asiwaju Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari. He explains why is not re-contesting for the Senate among other issues. Excerpts:
On his withdrawal from the APC primary election
I decided that I may not likely contest because I have been on the political scene since 1993. All through the time the people supported me. I feel it is time for me to move forward and play other roles.
Definitely if I was contesting, nobody will contest against me, if they contest they know they will lose. So my decision was that I should allow the younger generation to contest and continue from where I stopped.
It is not that I’m tired of the Senate. I like the Senate but I have successfully done my own part. The world is like a stage, you play your part and allow others to play their parts. So I decided to allow the younger ones to come into the system and play their part.
I will continue to impart my knowledge to them and allow them to play their part. I will continue to guide them and collaborate with them to continue to move our state and the country forward.
You are leaving the stage for the younger ones, how do you look at it from the perspective of your constituency?
I told the people over one year ago that it is most likely I will not contest. I thank my constituents for accepting my nomination. I did not participate in the primary but the person I supported won. I am not leaving the political scene at all. I am still a politician and I will continue to be, and continue to participate in the politics of Katsina State, politics at the national level and the country in general. I will also continue to work with others to make APC stable and formidable. We are already working to return President Buhari in 2019.
What are the chances of the person that wants take over from you?
Bello is a National Assembly man. He has worked at the National Assembly. He is a strong member of our National Assembly Unity Forum. He is indeed the secretary of our forum when we were having issues in the National Assembly. He is not a new face in the National Assembly. He is also the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Katsina State.
I opted out of the primary before the conduct of the primary. Like I said, I feel I have done my part. I have other roles to play. Definitely if I’m going to contest as a senator, I may not have the time to devote to the roles, as the anchor man and contact men for Buhari Campaign Organisation. We are working with many others in Nigeria to ensure that President Buhari comes back in 2019 to continue the good work he is doing for Nigeria. This is my major preoccupation now. It is a commitment and there should not be divided time. I feel I should spend more of my time to ensure that President Buhari comes back. I am the main contact man in our organization. There is also the gentleman agreement we made. I needed to fulfill the promise I made. I did not participate in any of the primaries. I did not participate in any of the programmes in local governments and wards.
APC appears to be facing crisis in all fronts. What is the problem?
The APC is a governing party. Everybody believes once you have the ticket, APC will do it for you. Obviously the interests are high, the stakes are so high. Everybody wants to take APC ticket. Everybody wants to be APC candidate. Many people were shocked when I bought APC form and decided to opt out of the primary election. I said I will not contest again. They said, you are Mr. President’s man, you will get. Why do you want to leave. Everybody believes that taking the ticket of APC is a sure way of winning the election. People believe that once you have the ticket of the party your work is done. The primary election is the main thing, once we are through with it, every other thing will fall in line. It was easier for me to secure nomination when I was in opposition in Katsina State. For those who were in PDP it was difficult because then PDP was government party. We were only two people that bought the form while PDP had close to ten people. So it is always like that with the governing party, the government party. So you can see, even those of us who are not contesting, there is pressure. Our duty is to make sure that the right persons take over.
Nobody is happy with the crisis. It is there especially when the system is not perfect. I salute the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole for putting a lot of his time to the party, for working to institutionalize democracy in the party. That is what he is trying to do, let democracy take root in the party. Oshiomhole wants to change the system to allow proper democracy to work in the party. Anybody who wants to change the system will face the kind of challenges Oshiomhole is facing. In the end people will begin to see the benefits. It will be easier for future politicians.
So what is the way out of the issues?
I believe we need to set up reconciliation committees at all levels to consider and reconcile issues.
The presidential contest for 2019 appears to be mainly between President Buhari and the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar. What is your take?
Of course it is, yes I agree with you, it is between Buhari and Atiku. Atiku is certainly not a push over but Atiku is not a match to Buhari in terms of political record, commitment to the nation, fighting corruption and fighting insurgency. Buhari formed a new political party that is moving the nation forward but Atiku has moved from all the political parties. Do you call that a leader? But I know the challenges are huge, I agree. All the restructuring he is talking about is a gimmick. He was a vice president in this country but he did not talk about restructuring. Because he has seen that the south said they want restructuring he wants to use it. What restructuring is Atiku talking about? Bring any detailed documents where Atiku espoused the restructuring he is talking about. We have not seen such documents anywhere. I have not seen any written detailed document of Atiku on restructuring. So he is just deceiving Nigerians. We will answer him, let him start talking he will get answers blow by blow. Let us see his plans, let him start talking we will answer him in full dose.