John Shagaya a former ECOMOG Field Commander, a former Senator and currently an APC chieftain, and Senatorial Candidate in Plateau State, speaks on the chances of his party, the APC, why Buhari should be voted and other issues. The Excerpts
Can You Tell Us About Your Party The APC, How They Will Fare In The February Polls.
True, things seems to very low but we should understand why. APC is growing they came to being in less than two years in the country and in the cause of electoral process. the party just concluded National Convention in the presidency which Buhari emerged and then gubernatorial, National Assembly and then House of Assembly emerging Lack of noise making allow level is not to say that there’re no activities there are activities is just that we are doing very careful at the party in what we do, in what we say to the citizenry. More so, activities are coordinated at national and state level and so those who already has certain mantle of responsibility where there seems to be no crises before are already up and doing. You’ll from next week begin to see lots of activities in arranging and challenging the seating government, a seating government that believes that it belongs to most powerful and the largest political party in Africa. Our part of strategy is not about noise making and to be able to get what we want to get. Unleashing your strategies too quickly also could cause the seating government to take measures you know that could undermine you plans so the slide silent is part of our strategy. But then you’ll find out that quiet a few of us are up and doing by granting interviews here and there talking issues of principles of that of National interest issues that are very topical covering the sector of the economy, security. Coming down to Plateau I am sure that our gubernatorial candidate who is in action to find a new direction on many reason discussions that may not necessarily has to do with any political party or any religion rather than looking at governance on the Plateau. The arrogant behaviour of the seating governor who believes that no other person is qualified to continue in running the affairs of the state of the country.
Also, it is making Plateau citizens to wonder and worried and of course Plateau being the nerve centre of political activities of middle Belt (MB) what take a advantage of some of ill feelings among our citizenry because in one of the public statement by the governor which he keeps saying categorically that the particular ethnic groups belongs or forms percent (40%) of the population of Plateau and therefore, he has the right to rule the state. So, the silent behaviour and the submarine movement of AC will amount to sidelining some ethnicity.
You talk about the silent and the strategies being adopted in Plateau State, you said that silent is part of the strategies, how satisfied are you with the APC leadership in Plateau State?
Well, I’m not too sure about any issues that emerged after the congress. I was satisfied because, I was interim chairman of the party from the date APC was handed down by INEC on the 30th of June 2014 we were up and doing on the Plateau. By September, Plateau state will be first to come out with an interim management team under my humble leadership. From then on, I believed the state made up of presentation of candidate even though we were just three months old, with the announcement of local government elections in the state which hold on 2nd December, which we won most of the local government and we were rigged out by the government of the day and that shows that we are up and doing and I think after that, the party went straight into the registration and Plateau State like all the states of federation we did very well in registering strong members of the party given the target of minimum 100 voters at polling unit we were able to register them out of over three thousand polling units over a hundred and seventy thousand of APC and after that the party went straight into its wards congresses rancor free local government congresses leading to the state congress and with the emergence of the today’s seating Chairman of the party. But of course what we seems to observe is the fact that the Central Senatorial District to which the Chairmanship seat was zone and had a minor problem within its self because of there were two candidates that seeks for the election Amos Gombi and Latep Dabang.
I believed that it was an internal problem, the issue of zoning to central Senatorial districts and there were grievances as to the emergence of a particular individual as a leader will be an issue that could be sorted out by that senatorial districts to which a seat of Chairman ceded. For us in the Southern senatorial zone for example, were governorship slot ceded to us we never had any problem till today. For me, as an elder statesman, a man who has vision for the state. I must mention quickly that individuals who will create a necessary variable of change which APC is creating, of course, that has to go along with a lot of discussions, disagreement, and agreement for us to resolve the issue is the best without that you’ll not be able to create necessary change that we are preaching or you were saying.
Still on that, you spoke on the national issues that permanent peace can only be achieved if General Muhammadu emerged as President, also you as an aspirant in Plateau State how do you intend to do this?
If you look at Buhari’s time as president of this country compare to the seating president, most Nigerians including me have come to believe that PDP is not for sincere about searching and mending of peace for the country especially when you found commends on news papers pages and or electronic media saying that those of us for you are more than those against you! Now for God’s sake, it takes more than two-third of the voting population of the 36 states of the country to make a president to accept that there are some Nigerians against him it is too scandalous to accommodate and PDP government and especially the president has not call such saying adverts on news paper pages and electronic media to question. One would wonder where such funds comes from where Transformation Agenda (TAN) and other organizations get the money to be able to dish out some of this issue that tried to divide us as against unifying us I think that’s the direction from where such individual is coming from. If we go into the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended on into INEC Laws there’re certain commend and propaganda that should not be dished out by certain organization being NGO or Association on behalf of the seating government that it in itself is a breeder of insincerity and I think that’s what my colleague is coming from one would expect some strong condemnation from the presidency all the ruling political party against such statement that turn to divide the country rather than unifying us. And so if you weigh the behaviour I’ve mentioned and from the very mature commend of General Buhari from the time he was presidential candidate of the party till date every statement is made to the citizenry to believe that it shall come to power like Mandela to unified and not divide. Again, when you begin to take a look at advert by TAN such as Obama is doing it Mandela done it, Martin Luther King is doing it now I don’t know how civilize, how educated such individuals who has packaged that kind of a laughable advert Mandela came to power he was jailed by an administration that promoted apartheid and is Mandela that unifies South Africa and the white the comparism is not there with the present administration. EK Clark and Co. who have been preaching a divisive whatever, Martin Luther King to the best of my knowledge from the history I have read he stood up to defend the interest of the blacks he had a dream that dream has come to pass. Obama is a president today. As a sitting government in Nigeria are they ready to make sacrifices and are they prepared to lay down their lives for Nigerians the answer is capital no! So you can’t compare the man who laid down his life for a cause. Obama, if an American is captured, Kidnap, injured, killed anywhere in the world he will make a statement and follow it with an action. We have, now is history adopted girls over two hundred government has not been able tell us where they are. You can’t compare that with Obama. The Obama man could have gone to the North-east of part Nigeria and find out where those girls are. We have lost Churches we have lost Mosques, we have lost markets, and we have lost lives. Obama with one life in the South East will be there through his Secretary of State to make a statement on American stands on one life.
Looking at the scenario
Well, I think that is a very serious security issues that I’ll rather not dealt into it. The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who also doubles as commander in chief of the Arm Forces needs to give the necessary command incentive and other tips principles through the Nigerian Arm Forces to the extends that their morals could be higher than what it is for them to prepared to die for this country the way some of us operated.
Talking about the politics and you candidature, and your certificate
Of course, my credentials are with INEC. I have served the military gallantly. I have retired on the 26th of Noveember, voluntarily in 1993. The retirement certificate is there with INEC that John Shagaya retired voluntarily. By the privilege of being in the military when the power of Naira and other currencies of the world were good. I was a beneficiary of some of the advance training that any Nigerian Arm Forces Officer enjoyed beginning from India to Europe to United Kingdom (UK) to America and to Canada. Today that power of naira and others were not there and so, there is a limitation in exporsure of some of our colleague who are today in service. All the credentials yes are there with the Army and that when I left the service in addition to everything, I have between 1994 and 1995 when I went into politics and yet I wrote four books. To I feel very proud to be the beneficiary of the benevolence of the Nigerian Arm Forces through the Tax payer monies.
Sir, as an elder statesman, what is you assessment on the 2015 elections
Yes, there is a risk but that I will tell you there is no risks because in the three North Eastern states like Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, there are seating governors we are also told that Local Government Elections have been conducted in some of those states very successfully. We are also told today that our primaries of all the political parties were held in those states and that lists were submitted to INEC and so if people gone for all these procedures. Then, one would expect that the same citizenry that cause the emergence of the representatives there shouldn’t be any problem.
The risk that will be emerging will be for protection on election day when no one takes advantage of ambushing or putting a bomb at the pulling unit and what a view which we have been assured by both the police and the various Task Officers are up and doing so I believe in the security agencies especially INEC for up and doing to save us. So I think for Plateau, I will not speak for the citizenry of Plateau. The citizenry of Plateau have already spoken. They have already spoken on what they have seen from the hypocrisy of religion. Because the 2011 elections almost all the polling units some were saying “Kuzabi gobnati” those are what some people at the polling unit were saying “Kuzabi atdini” meaning vote the seating government and to vote religiously. Now the citizenry has also now comes to know that. Willing the Plateau there are fifty three (53) communities indigenous communities that are almost equal in number and have Chiefdoms content them. Based on the land demographic report of 1993, 53 communities, and communities that belongs to their Chiefdoms and Kingdoms and one person comes to say that is only his religion or tribe that will dominat. So Plateau people have come to realized that, there is nothing Christians about ensuring that your son succeeds you.
In langtang North, there were four Armoured cars surrounding an area that the primaries for deciding a member of the representative was being held on a market day where the citizenry who sons are party men. Many were not and are not, but denied from going to the market because an in tra party activity was going on in Lantang North. Now, let our citizens said you do not need any visitor, or stranger to tell the Taroh man in Lantang North that something was wrong. You didn’t need armoured cars to surround the VIP for those of you who have records. These are the issues that really go beyond just discussing with some concern media men and women.
I understand you will soon come out with a book on the government and tenure of Babangida administration. Just like you contemporary Obasanjo have come out with his book now causing a controversy, do we expect a reputation which in Nigerians I need to know about the Babangida regime
I’m not yet working on the volume two of that book. The volume one is been on more than years now. In that book I wrote and Titled “Governance in Nigeria. The IBB Era” And of course I narrow it to my own understanding on involvement and my appointment from the military has something to add to the history of the country when they are building. I do know in that book which I had enough copies to give you, if you wants them in that book the only challenge that the person who reviewed the book was Dan Agbese. Agbese said that from his own perspective he understood my participation, my understanding on the operation of that administration that not for Nigerian and that he challenged me in his conclusion that I must go and work and tell Nigerians more about some of the aspect on the administration that I had report. My response to that in the vote of thanks I did said to him that there is supposed to be some sort of secrecy. When you are expose to governance and you are the privilege to having access to government secret, one is not supposed to divulge all especially when as at the time I published book, I was not yet ten years out of the military and until ten years after any document that is of government could be count as classified and so I said yes I will give you the thought as at the time in Era have align and if the actors some of them are already gone then I would document but rather I would not want to put anything beyond what I have put that may turn to create ill feelings within the society rather than creating the understanding behind some of the activities of the military administration.