REP. Abdulmumin Jibrin represents Kiru/ Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano in the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC. He was Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation before he was suspended for 180 Legislative days. In this interview with some journalists in Abuja, Jibrin bares his mind on the defection of some APC members to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and President Muhammadu Buhari's re-election bid, among others.
On whether defections will affect the APC at the 2019 polls
If the APC was presenting another candidate other than President Buhari, I would have been a bit jittery but there is this consensus within the party and we are just waiting for the timetable just to do the formalities and adopt Buhari as the candidate. With Mr. President as the candidate of the APC, we are not threatened by all the people leaving the party. For many reasons, we are so lucky that we have Comrade Adams Oshiomole as the chairman of the party. He has been doing extremely well, he has been reaching out to everyone, holding a series of meetings, and persuading people to stay.
During election period, these problems are normal. It is not unique to APC alone, as that was the case in 2007, 2011, and 2015. All the time, when there is a buildup to the general elections you have these kind of problems. To say that the APC would disintegrate or crumble is absolutely false. As people are going, people are also coming in. But when people leave the ruling party, they make it a big news. A lot of other people from the opposition are coming in. At the moment, not less than four to five PDP governors are working in a cross-party arrangement, to support the APC.
There have been a lot of inflow from the South-East. You have people like Orji Uzo Kalu and a lot of prominent people in the South-East that are coming. They also understand that it is an opportunity for the South-East to put up a good show for the APC and stand a chance of competing for the presidency after Buhari's second term. So, I am very confident that APC isn't going to confront any challenge.
Factors working for APC
There are certain things that will help the APC to retain power and ensure that President Buhari wins. He has massive electoral value and his stronghold states are still there like Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Plateau, Kogi, and of course the South-West is a no-go area. This is because they have positioned themselves to take the presidency in 2023 so they don't want to make any mistake about that. Do you hear any party making any noise in the South-West? Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, and Oyo are all for Buhari. Edo is already there. In Delta, we are making a significant move and very soon, you would hear a lot of people that would decamp to the APC. You know we lost Rivers State just by the whiskers, we have Senators, we have people like Rotimi Amaechi and Dakuku Peterside and I can assure you that Rivers would also come home. The APC is standing firm and President Buhari is also standing firm.
The President is naturally connected with the masses. Nothing has tampered with that. Buhari is a man of the masses particularly in the Nnorth-Central where he has a stronghold.
Those who are against Buhari in this country are just a section of the elite that does not have any electoral value. The next election would be between a section of the elite and the masses.
When you talk of electoral value, there is nobody that has the electoral value of Buhari. Tell me one person that can match the electoral value of Buhari among all the people contesting the presidential election? In Kano, we are going to give not less than two million votes to Buhari. Assuming Senate President Bukola Saraki goes with 300,000 votes in Kwara which is practically impossible, we have the extra two million votes in Kano. Our strategy in APC now is to work extra hard to ensure that more of our supporters come out to vote.
What if Buhari did not run?
We are facing reality. Buhari has said that he would contest and we have all adopted him, the governors have all adopted him, the party and youths have also adopted him. By the grace of God, Buhari will rule this country until 2023 and he would leave a good legacy.
There is an aspect that people tend to forget. When we take out the aspect of governance, there is the issue of zoning and generational shift that would work naturally for Buhari. The issue of zoning is not a joke. If anybody other than Buhari is elected from the North as President, he is going to do eight years. The South-easterners have woken up and it is time for them to have the presidency. This country must be one. They have realised that the fastest way they can get that is through Buhari's second term. They would support Buhari and the APC to be able to compete for power. The South-west believes that naturally, it is going their own way.
For now, they are ahead in the race. By the time you give Buhari a second term, power goes to the southern part of the country for eight years, and and by the time it comes back to the North, the whole generation of leaders have retired. That is why you see the whole tension going on now. Even after eight or 12 years when power comes back to the North, some of them may be in their 60s.