2023: APC’s constitution doesn’t recognise zoning – Basheer Umar was the national coordinator, Buhari Mass Movement (BMM) in the 2015 and 2019 general election. He says in this interview that President Muhammadu Buhari may hand over to a Southerner or Northerner as the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC), does not recognise zoning. See excerpt of the interview below.
How did your organisation contribute to Buhari’s re-election in 2019?
The BMM carried out door-to-door campaigns and we were also involved in print and electronic media adverts. We printed T-shirts, stickers and held workshops and press interviews. Our group was also part of the Buhari Support Organisation and even the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC). I personally served in PCC support groups committee and election planning and monitoring committee. We worked both at PCC and the grassroots and we were in the polling units and collation centers all over all the country and we ensured our votes counted.
Do you think Buhari has really rewarded, by way of political appointment, those that worked for his reelection?
Nigeria is a very large country that not everyone may be rewarded. So many people worked for Buhari’s success, some he doesn’t even know them. The government is still at its formative stage and I am sure the president will accommodate so many that worked for him. We can see that from the ministerial list that most of them are from the Presidential Campaign Committee.
If you are to meet Buhari today, what will you tell him?
I will tell him that I thought I will make it to the ministerial list especially when I heard him say ‘only people I know will make the ministerial list.’ I will further advise for massive recruitment in the Police force, Civil defense, Air force and Navy. This will drastically improve on our security and curb unemployment.
Do you see Buhari handing over to a northern candidate in 2023?
Handing over at end of one’s tenure is mandatory. Whoever wins whether from North or South President Buhari will hand over to him but whether the APC will field a Southern candidate is another thing, but take note that the APC’s constitution does not recognise zoning.
What is your reaction to the ministerial list because some people are saying it is short of technocrats?
It is the constitutional prerogative of the president to nominate and appoint ministers that he feels will assist him in delivering his campaign promises. For instance, among those nominated from Kaduna State, Zainab Ahmed is a technocrat and Dr. Mohammed is a seasoned politician and is with the grassroots. I think the nominated ministers will take us to the next level. This is the hope of most Nigerians.
Do you see the sustainability of APC as a ruling party after Buhari’s government? This because the general notion is that without Buhari, APC will pack up.
Surely, the APC will continue to retain power even after President Buhari leaves office because of the development projects embarked upon by his administration. Look at roads and railway projects, see the rehabilitation of so many fertilizer blending plants and so many other human development initiatives. This and several other reasons will see APC winning; moreover people are still tired of the PDP.
The level of insecurity and poverty in the country is high, and it is this backdrop that former president Olusegun Obasanjo wrote Buhari to find solution to the insecurity. Are you in agreement with Obasanjo?
The issue of insecurity in this country is pathetic even though it is being exaggerated by the enemies of this administration. Former President Obasanjo’s open letter is hypocritical and uncalled for. He raised issues that were raised previously and which the government is addressing. The insecurity issues are also disturbing, that was why the President held several meetings with all the security agencies. Everyone is seeing government efforts in curbing banditry in Zamfara, Katsina and other places. Boko Haram is almost defeated and you know very well that the Fulani herdsmen banditry is exaggerated and lots of criminals pretend to be herdsmen and attack innocent Nigerians.
What is your take on the suspended RUGA policy by the federal government?
The RUGA policy is a good one but it didn’t get the required enlightenment before it was tabled to the public. I also feel that it should not be forced on any state government, especially those against it. The government should take the project to where they need it. We are very eager to see the end of Fulani herdsmen and farmers clashes. RUGA will develop our milk and meat industries. More people will be lifted from unemployment and I assure you beneficiaries of the RUGA policy will also come from the states that are vehemently rejecting it.