Bulama: APC needs unity, better cohesion
Alhaji Waziri Bulama contested unsuccessfully for Borno State governorship in 2011 on the platform of defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), but eight years after he says he want to be national secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with MSUGH ITYOKURA, the Borno State-born Architect talks about contending issues in the ruling party.
There has been quiet agitation for replacement of vacant offices in the National Working Committee of APC, what informed your decision to aspire to the position of national secretary?
There are a number of reasons. After failing to clinch the position in the last national convention, I served as a deputy director in the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2019, where I also garnered a lot of experience concerning the party.
A lot needs to be done about coordination and information sharing among party members. And of course, you will discover the need for unity and better cohesion in the party for members to meet their aspirations. So, as someone who has experience in party management and presidential campaigns, we hope to make the party stronger by institutionalizing information sharing.
A lot of people feel the national chairman Adams Oshiomole is running the party with iron hand, what is your take on this?
This is a completely misplaced impression. The chairman as you know, is the highest-ranking official of the party and Comrade Oshiomhole is an organisational leader, an activist and fighter, who has always fought for the rights of Nigerian citizens. So, how can anybody say he is a dictator? He is not; because his entire life has been service to the people and as a leader of the party, whatever he says or does has no ambiguity and this is something many people find difficult to understand.
But, the point is, he is a highly experienced leader, who is tested and trusted, having served the NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) meritoriously and as governor of Edo State. He led the party to victory and so to me, may be it’s because of the nuances of his presentation that make people misunderstand him.
But, some party faithful also accuse him of being responsible for the electoral woes of the party in Imo State…
There is nowhere the APC as a party lost out that it was not due to local problems, whether it was Imo, Zamfara, Ogun, Benue, Adamawa or Bauchi States respectively.
The party was actually able to secure 35 per cent and above in the states and don’t forget that this is a party that has broken the line of religion in Nigeria. This is to the credit of the leadership of Oshiomhole, which was why we won the election very successfully and any decision taken by the chairman is that of the National Working Committee of the party.
How is the party preparing to avoid mistakes in the forthcoming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States later this year?
The party is getting prepared, just as it has always prepared for elections. We are going to mobilise all our members and unite all stakeholders in the party so as to go into it strong, robust and to carry out issues-based campaigns.
We will look at merits. Members will discuss and take decisions collectively and arrive at a decision that will be in the best interest of the party. Thereafter, we would present policies and programmes that will help those states move to another level.
How would you want President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue of poverty in the country in this second term?
The level of poverty is high, but it is being addressed through the provision of infrastructure. More investments are coming in and the government has spent billions of naira on improving infrastructure. And this has led to massive improvement in rail transportation and roads.
Infrastructure is what provides the foundation for economic growth and solving the problem of poverty permanently. The President has also introduced many business-friendly policies, where for instance, access to capital has being made easy. Development banks, like the Bank of Industry and Agriculture and others, are encouraged to give small-scale loans to medium and small-scale enterprises.
A lot of facilitation is done through the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) to encourage farmers. The level of insecurity and brigandage you see is not due to poverty. I attribute the insecurity in terms of abductions, cattle rustling and banditry largely to the level of lawlessness among youth gangs in many states and the situation differs from state to state. While some state governments have taken measures to bring in some local militia, the situation is less in some states.