2019: Let Buhari emulate Nelson Mandela, by running for one term -Mustapha


 Mustapha, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). He later became the Peoples Democratic Party,
( PDP) chairman, Ogun Central Senatorial District, and later  the National Auditor of the  party. But before the 2015 general elections, he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), and he was the Director General of the second term campaign of Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosum.
He speaks on why  Ogun -West must produce the next governor, after 40 years of creation of the state and other sundry issues.

What’s your take on Ogun -west for governor in 2019?

In the spirit of equity, justice and fairness, I am a total believer and supporter of Ogun West for governor in 2019. Life is about give and take. It is about concession. In 1999, if other geo-political zones in the country did not make concession, it would have been difficult to have a Yoruba president in this country. You will recall that because of what happened to the late MKO Abiola, his loss became the gain of the Yoruba. That was why the two major political parties then, fielded two Yoruba against each other in the presidential election. We are at that point in Ogun State. Over 40 years of existence, as a state, nobody from the Ogun West has been governor. This is unfair, but it will not be served ala carte, they have to work for it. Whoever wants to be governor from Ogun West must reach out to the Ogun East people to sell himself, not by imposition of anyone; that will not work.

Do you think APC can still reclaim Ogun State in 2019,?

Why not!. However, that depends largely on whether the party gets it right or not, particularly if it avoids imposition, which to me will be self-destructive to the success of the party at the general election. When PDP was basking in the euphoria of being in government, I had the opportunity of cautioning them as the National Auditor.  At that time, governors were making themselves too powerful; they continued to impose candidates on people. That’s why many serving PDP governors then ran for senatorial election and lost woefully.
Like the situation we found ourselves in some state now, many governors then and now operate Family Friends and Associates (FFA)  politics,  forgetting about the members of the party and the public . They feel they are lords and masters, untouchable.  Let me tell you, if it is about spending money, the then Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN did not spend one third of the money spent by the Peoples Party of Nigeria,(PPN) during the general elections in 2011 in Ogun State. When you push people to the wall, they get tired.  How do you push them to the wall?, By imposition, by shutting doors of the party against them. I can tell you that there are many people who have left the PDP, UPN and other parties in the state, who want to join the APC now, provided the doors of the party were opened to them. It is in this regard that I call on the leadership of the APC to embark on aggressive membership drive. Those who want to join the APC from other parties should be allowed to join without any hindrance. It is through this that the real voting strength of the party could be determined. After this; a free and fair primary that will produce a popular and acceptable candidate for the party must be conducted. We must listen to the people and not to an individual that may want to impose a candidate for his own selfish interest.
We should avoid what happened in the Osun senatorial by-election to happen in Ogun State. Nigerian electorate appears not to be interested in money anymore, but in the personality of the candidate running for an election. You may not like Buhari for whatever reason, but he and his party, APC have done the country a lot of good, particularly in the area of fighting corruption headlong. Once we do the needful, avoid imposition, APC will win again in Ogun State, but If that is not done, I am not a prophet of doom, it will be a tall order for APC to win election in Ogun State and indeed anywhere in the country.
Imposition will not work. As a party, we have got to a stage where we must whether we like it or not strengthen political parties. Give the parties back to the people and open up the register; allow people to register through an online platform. Let people register with the PVCs and TVCs so that at the end of the day, people can vote for who they want. If this is not allowed, APC will lose the way PDP lost in Ogun State and at the federal level too. That should not be allowed to happen to our great party.

How do you assess President Muhammadu Buhari so far in office?

God brought President Muhammadu Buhari at the nick of time to salvage this country from going down the drain. Otherwise our currency today could have become rubbish. It would have been devaluation upon devaluation because with hindsight and expose so far, and with the depletion going on with our foreign reserve, Nigeria and Nigerians would have been in deep shit.
You will recall that by the time President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, we could not even pay for three months of import, now God has used him to take on corruption headlong. What he should do next is to strengthen that institution of fighting corruption and governance.  How? Let the National Assembly pass into law the bill that has been with them for months to set up the special court to try corrupt persons in the country. Once that law which is crucial to the war against corruption is passed, no government can repeal it, I am of the opinion that whoever succeeds Buhari will only work to improve the fight against corruption, because the institution would have been strengthened.
It is also my candid advice to President Buhari that with the complexity of almost 300 nationalities and the enormity and challenges of this nation, President Muhammadu Buhari should become another Nelson Mandela.  Let him run for one term and let someone take over from him. To me, those who are urging him to re contest do not love him. They are his real enemies, who only pose as his friends. For any Nigerian or group of Nigerians, who has been in this country for the past one year calling on  Buhari to re-contest, such a person or group must not only be  sycophantic, but  have their own hidden  agenda which is not in  the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Anyone who genuinely has the interest of Nigeria at heart and indeed Buhari will not ask him to re-contest.  With the state of his health and age, he will not be the best for Nigeria and Nigerians. President Buhari has come to stabilise and help Nigeria to fight the monster called corruption. To an extent, he has succeeded in doing this among other achievements; he should not listen to those sycophants who want him to re-contest or their own selfish reasons.

What do you think is responsible for the refusal of the National Assembly to pass the anti-corruption bill?

I do not know, but the national assembly is also not oblivious to the fact that Nigerians are not happy that that law is yet to be passed.  I am just appealing to them to pass the bill into law quickly for the president ‘s assent because even with the agreement now signed with the United Arab and other countries, a lot of properties, acquired with ill-gotten wealth will need to be repatriated, but you cannot get them until you go through the process of the law. That is why the law is very important. If the national assembly had passed the bill about the special court and if we have a strong prosecution, because you see, the law is an ass, people push the law as they wish and lawyers always look for a way of defending you today against the law and prosecuting you tomorrow against the same law, the war against corruption would have been better assessed.
I think the judiciary has also not been very fair, because a man steals and someone comes up with some technicalities on why he should be freed, and it is allowed. That is why sometimes, I like the style in China, where if you are caught stealing, you are killed instantly, no discussion. Because it is the patrimony of everybody, it is the wealth of everybody that some people are just stealing. I believe that President Muhammadu Buhari also needs to strengthen his prosecution team, so that water-tight cases could be built against anybody that is seen to be corrupt. Because if nothing happens, if someone steals N500million and he hires three Senior Advocates of Nigeria and pays them N100million each and get acquainted, he still gains N200 million and having his freedom and nothing has happened to him and the next time someone steals N10billion and he says if out of this amount, he has to pay lawyers N1billion, then he has not lost anything. Buhari has the will to fight corruption and I also think that the situation of his health also affected some of these things in terms of taking charge fully, but I thank God that he is back, I have never sat with him, but my mind tells me that the vigour with which he wanted to take on this anti-corruption thing is back and he will achieve it.

Recently, a chieftain of your party, APC, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar complained of being used and dumped, what is your take on that?

Well, he must have his reasons for what he has said. But one thing is certain that almost two and a half years down the line, political patronage have not been given to people. Certain people who contributed are not consulted and they feel used and dumped. At every level, everybody has his own can of ‘used and dumped’ that he carries and I think he now comes out forcefully about it out of frustration, it happens at all levels and if it happens that way, then that is politics.

Is political patronage not a kind of corruption or what is your definition of political patronage?

Appointment into political offices, people need it for their Curriculum Vitae and as a way of serving. I will give you an example; I was the former Chairman of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria. When I left PDP, I resigned as the chairman. I sent my resignation letter through DHL and when it got to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, he called me, wanting to know why and I told him that ‘sorry, I was only called to come and serve, I want to build my CV, what am I doing with the chairmanship and that was it.’ I still have the resignation letter and evidence that it was delivered and Senator Pius Anyim is still alive, I think it is more of morals. It is a question of people work for the party, I am not complaining as it is not as if I got many appointments, I am busy doing my thing. I am not a professional politician; I am a professional in politics. A professional politician has no other address or any other business but politics. To him (Atiku), he expects to be recognized and appreciated, but the undertone of it all, I do not know and it will be uncharitable of me to comment.

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