The Deputy National Chairman (North) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, has said that most northern leaders, especially those who are card-carrying members of the Peoples Democratic Party, are fully in support of the current bid by General Mohammadu Buhari for the presidency of the country in 2015.
He described the divergent opinions expressed by some leaders of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on the Buhari candidacy as inconsequential and of no impact on the overwhelming support base which the former Head of State enjoys from the north.
Officials of the ACF recently expressed divergent positions on who to give their support between President Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari in the presidential election, thereby giving the impression that the region did not have any common position on the issue.
Shuaibu, who spoke in an interview with some journalists in Abuja, said such views by leaders of ACF do not hold water since they do not represent the true position of things.
“ACF is not a political organisation, it is a cultural organisation. So what anybody from that organisation says does not reflect the political opinion of the generality of the people in the North,” he said.
He added: “Let me tell you, I never said it before, but I should say it now that the leaders of the PDP from the North are resolved for Buhari come February 14th 2015, go and write it down that I told you this.
“Forget what they are telling you, forget what they are telling Nigerians. Of course man must eat but when it comes to that day, you will see what is going to happen,” he said.
Shuaibu, who stressed that his main concern was to ensure that Buhari got the massive backing of the northern voters, described the chances of APC in the 2015 general election as very bright.
He said the kind of change that is going to blow in the general election does not have respect for the power of incumbency, adding, “When Nigerians are resolved, they go the whole hog to realise the revolution.”
Speaking on the recent fundraising by the PDP, Shuaibu said for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure transparency, it should demand for the receipts issued to each donor by the PDP and for the accounts of the ruling party, pointing out that such monies cannot come in Ghana-must-go (local parlance for jute bags) but through either electronic transfer or other instruments like cheques.
“We must know the source of that money. If the money comes from government accounts, then INEC has a responsibility to sanction the PDP or sanction even the individual who stole government’s money and donated it towards political campaigns,” he added.
The APC deputy chairman stated that the party would publish the names of donors who contribute to its campaign fundraising and will not accept anonymous donations to ensure transparency.
“In our own case, we want to do a fundraising and I am telling you our fundraising is going to be very transparent because whoever donates, we are going to publish. We are going to publish all donors to our fundraising so that the world will see.
“We will not accept anonymous donors. And then whoever brings in money, it is for the world to know where this money is coming from. So we don’t have any concerns about the N21 billion raised by the PDP as there will be transparency as the law stipulates, and as far as INEC will be neutral and prepared to enforce the provision of the Electoral Act against any party that violates it,” he added.
On the insurgency and its impact on the elections in most APC-controlled states, the party chieftain said: “Elections were held in Afghanistan, legislative elections also held in Syria, elections were equally held in Iraq, so the insurgency is not an impediment.
“The people in the North-east are too eager to use their vote and express their opinions as regards the incumbent government because they feel highly disenchanted,” he said.
The APC chieftain added that the insurgency would not be an impediment to the success of the party although it is more pronounced in the North-eastern part of the country.
Also, commenting on the insurgency, the vice-presidential candidate of APC, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo stated that Buhari would wipe out the Islamist terror sect and create jobs in the country if elected in 2015.
Osinbajo, who was responding to questions on his Twitter handle, said the Jonathan administration has not been able to tame Boko Haram because of the corruption in the armed forces, resulting in soldiers that are not properly equipped and motivated.
“The current administration has politicised Boko Haram. The corruption around defence funds has created a situation where soldiers are not well equipped/motivated.
“GMB (General Muhammadu Buhari) wiped out the Maitasine, another Islamic insurgency in his own administration by sincerely identifying the problem as a challenge to the authority of the state to maintain law and order. The administration took command and funded the military transparently.
Also, commenting on the rate of unemployment in the country, he said the Buhari/Osinbajo administration if elected in 2015 would tackle the challenge by supporting every state to create 20,000 jobs as well as pay a stipend to every youth corps members for a year while they are looking for employment.
“We expect that every state will be supported to create 20,000 jobs directly funded. The federal government will also match the creation for every additional job created over the 20,000 mark.
“The federal government will pay a stipend to every youth corper for a year while they are looking for employment and in that year will give vocational training.
“The federal government will undertake a massive public works programme; this is expected to have the multiplier effect of producing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“The federal government will give tax breaks and recognition to employers of labour who provide a certain minimum number of jobs.”
He criticised the Jonathan administration for its luke warm attitude towards corruption, stating that the APC government will not tolerate it.
“One of the fundamental problems is that there is no consequence for corruption. I think that what everyone will agree that a Buhari government will not tolerate corruption.
“If the number one citizen has a clear and uncompromising anti-corruption stance, then the anti-corruption policy will work. If the number one and two have a strong stance on anti-corruption then our policy can succeed.
“In Lagos State, we were able to deal with judicial corruption by dealing with issues of remuneration and enforcing a strict policy on the consequences where judicial personnel were found to be corrupt. That model can be replicated,” he said.
Osinbajo drew a line between APC and PDP, saying what distinguishes the parties is the focus on policies that will impact the lives of the common man.
On his vision for the country, Osinbajo said he wants a country where everyone has a good job and lives a decent life in peace and security.